St John Paul II Seminar Group – Audio Sessions

The St John Paul II Seminar Group of St Bonaventure is currently studying John Paul’s Encyclical Dominum et vivificantem (The Lord, Giver of Life) “On The Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World.”

Subsequent audio sessions will be added to this page.

Therefore, when visiting this page, scroll down for the latest session, or to where you left off, or to which ever session you wish to listen to.

Comments feature of this blog is closed.  However . . .
Your comments and questions are welcome, please contact me via email:

Thank you for your interest,
Dcn. Peter Trahan

Session 5 below is the latest session, scroll down to read and listen.

Session 1 (DV.1-7)
Jesus’ Promise of the Coming of the Holy Spirit

The first session, Sept 1, 2016, has been documented in the form of notes because the audio failed.

In this session, (DV.1-7) John Paul discusses the progression of verses in the Last Supper Discourse in the Gospel of John; That the Holy Spirit will come, sent by the Father and the Son.  The progression of these verses is as such:

(a) [In sending the Holy Spirit] He will be “another advocate/counsellor.”  A second advocate with Jesus being the first.
(b) He will “teach” and “bring to remembrance” what Jesus had taught
(c) He will bear witness to Jesus, “and you also . . . because you have been with me from the beginning.”
(d) He will lead you [the Church] to all truth
(e) He will take from what is mine and declare it to you.  [Jesus clarifies by saying that what is His is from the Father, showing that the source of truth is the Father, to the Son, taken up by the Holy Spirit and declared to the Church.]

In paragraph 7 John Paul mentions a verse (John 16:7) which has always been difficult to explain.  “I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.”  John Paul goes on to make the transition from the coming of the Spirit to its relation to Christ’s “departure from the Cross.”  In the next session we will look more closely at John Paul’s explanation of why it was necessary that the Son go, so that the Spirit can come. Particularly, I will comment on why John Paul focuses on “departure from the Cross” rather than Christ’s departure at the Ascension.  This explanation is a bridge for John Paul that transitions from the coming of the Holy Spirit to the metaphysical concept of Baptism.

The document of notes can be found here

Session 2 (DV.8-10)
Departure From the Cross in the Economy of Salvation

In the second session, Sept 15, 2016, we read and discuss the distinction between Christ’s departure from the Cross and its relation to the coming of the Holy Spirit and particularly in the institution of Baptism.  Which leads to a discussion of Person and Nature.  The audio of Session 2 can be found here: Session 2 Audio

Session 3 (DV.11-15)
Divine Logic and the Joint Mission of the Son and the Spirit

In the third session, Sept 29, 2016, we discuss John Paul concept of Divine Logic as the rational sequencing of events within God’s Economy of Salvation.  As John Paul discusses the Joint Mission of the Son and the Spirit in the New Covenant [the Age of the Church] we look at an episode in Genesis where Abraham is visited by Three Men (Gen 18:1-25.)  The dialogue in this passage reveals that the Three Men are the Trinity, albeit in a very subtle way.  The dialogue moves, sometimes within a single sentence, from Abraham speaking to “The Lord,” and references using plural pronouns such as “they.”  It culminates with the familiar discussion between Abraham and The Lord, wherein Abraham intercedes on behalf of the potential of God sparing Sodom and Gomorrah if there are some there who are innocent, (50, 40, 30, or even 10!)  The most interesting verse is v22: While the two men walked on farther toward Sodom, the LORD remained standing before Abraham.  Here we see a precursor of the Joint Mission of Son and the Holy Spirit sent by The Father for the Redemption of mankind.

In this session, particularly in relation to redemption, which began in Session 2, I do some commentary on the three perspectives of Redemption.  Most familiar, and held as the only reason for the Redemption is that Christ “paid the price” for our sins.  This, of course, is one of the three perspectives, but not the only one.  In fact in this perspective (Christ paying the price) it needs further understanding lest it lose its meaning when the question arises as to whom the price was paid. The idea is that it was not an exchange as to buy back, but the result of rescuing mankind from the power of sin.  This rescuing must be put in an analogy of soldiers “paying the price” of losing their life in a battle for freedom, or rescuing a kidnapped victim from the kidnapper rather than paying the monetary ransom.  The three perspectives of Redemption, rendered in the Paschal events of Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection, are (1) Ransom (i.e. rescue), (2) Satisfaction (Justice of God requiring punishment for sin), and (3) Victory (Victory over evil through obedience to suffering and death, victor ultimately in the Resurrection.)

All of this within John Paul’s theme of Divine Logic.

The audio of Session 3 can be found here:  Session 3 Audio

Session 4 (DV.16-18)
The Manifestation of the Trinitarian Mystery and
What is meant by “New Covenant”

The St John Paul II Seminar Group met last night (Oct 13, 2016) for our fourth session on the encyclical _Dominum et Vivificantem_, The Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World.

At the close of our previous session John Paul, (DV.15) having quoted verses from the prophet Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah, gives us this thought-provoking sentence: “However, with this veiled reference to the figure of the future Messiah there begins, so to speak, the path toward the full revelation of the Holy Spirit in the unity of the Trinitarian mystery, a mystery which will finally be manifested in the New Covenant.”

This prompted me to ask the question, “What is meant by the ‘The New Covenant’?” We would pursue this question more deeply in session 4 and last night it lead the group into what I call “Doing theology at the table.”

What I mean by this is when a group discussion, through inquisitive dialogue, leads to theological assertions that are not a regurgitation of learned facts, but on the contrary, new ideas based on theological foundations and principles already established. This definition, in a more general sense, is what “doing theology” is in formal writing. Doing theology at table, however, is spontaneous without the luxury of concentrated and isolated development of ideas through writing and rewriting. The spontaneity of theology emerging from a lively, interactive discussion, on the other hand, is unique and very exciting.

Paragraph 16 is long and takes up most of our time together, but we did manage to cover DV.17-18 in closing.  (Reading Assignment DV.19-21)

The audio of Session 4 can be found here:  Session 4 Audio

Session 4 (DV.19-21)
Jesus “Rejoiced in the Holy Spirit” (Luke 10:21)

The St John Paul II Seminar Group met for our fifth session on the encyclical _Dominum et Vivificantem_, “The Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World.”

We met for our 5th session on Oct 27, 2016. We discussed DV 19-21: _Jesus of Nazareth, “Exalted” in the Holy Spirit.”_ St John Paul in these paragraphs, in continuity with his previous themes of “departure from the cross,” “a new beginning,” and “divine logic,” makes three key points for our discussion and meditation: (1) Along with the many who were coming to the Jordan to St John the Baptist, “Jesus of Nazareth too comes to the Jordan to receive the baptism of repentance” DV.19 (2) Jesus’ mission to reveal the Father to the world; and (3) Jesus awareness of his divinity and his relation and place in the Trinity.

In order to understand Jesus being “perfectly aware” (cf. DV.21) of his divinity, we discussed the Gospel story of Jesus, at the age of 12, being in the Temple, in dialogue with the Elders, the Teachers of the Temple. (Luke 2:46-47) Luke tells us that Jesus was found “in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.” He concludes the story with Jesus going home with Mary and Joseph, obedient to them and that there at home He “grew in wisdom and age, and favor before God and man.” (vv 51-52)

Jesus in his humanity grew in learning and maturity just like any other human. Acknowledging this we must also acknowledge Christology which presents Jesus, the Incarnate Divine Son, as a Divine Person; incarnate as a human being, but not a human person. He is One Person, divine, who assumed or took on human nature, a human soul and human body.

In our discussion of the mystery of how Jesus’ divinity interacted with his humanity, we first needed to discuss the mystery and metaphysics of how our human soul interacts with our body. Each human soul is created simultaneously with the body at conception. The soul however, distinct from the body, is fully mature. The soul is spirit (non-material) therefore there is no change in it over time. The soul, however, can only express itself through the body. It is limited, therefore, by the maturity (and eventual capability) of the body to express itself as a person. Thinking and learning is a function of the neurological process which is a function of the body. As we grow in knowledge and understanding of the world, this knowledge becomes a fulfillment and perfection of us a a human person, body and soul, and is retained by our soul. Many questions will arise from these assertions, but in this brief reflection I can offer only one clarification; the acquisition and retention of knowledge and understanding is not a change of the soul, it is the fulfillment of static capacity that the soul already has.

To consider the created maturity of the human soul, we need only consider the souls of the unborn who do not reach life outside the womb. What will our encounter be like when we encounter these souls in heaven. Will they be “fetus” souls? Of course not! We will encounter them in full maturity as they were created. The fulfillment of their capacity for knowledge and understanding of the world will be provided in ways unknown to us by God. The mystery of how this infused knowledge and understanding might differ from knowledge and understanding gained through the experiences of life, is also known only to God. What should not be an unknown is that there are souls of infants in heaven, there are no infant souls in heaven; there are souls of the elderly in heaven, but there are no old souls in heaven; their age is not reflected in their heavenly existence, but their experience of life is.

Relating this to Christology and the interaction of Jesus’ divinity with his humanity, we can step back in concept to “view” him as Divine Person together with his human soul/body presence. Just as our human soul is fully mature but limited in expression to the growth and maturity of our body and thinking-mind, so also Christ’s divinity was limited by the composite maturing of his humanity. The perfection of his divinity and his humanity however, brought about both his own human awareness of his divinity and his human knowledge and understanding of the world (and of God) rapidly. At the age of 12, as the Gospel shows us, he was greatly advanced in his theology and at the same time obedient and humble to Mary and Joseph. We often wonder about the “hidden life of Jesus Mary and Joseph” during those first thirty years, but this brief window into the twelfth year, is enough for us to consider and see both his humanity and the expression of his divinity through his humanity, in a very advanced, if not full, awareness.

These are some of the things we talked about last Thursday night. I offer them to you now through this text and the linked audio of our session.

We will read DV 22-24 for discussion in session 6, I hope that you are following along with us and reading these wonderful writings of St John Paul II. If you are following along I would be greatly encouraged if you let me know.

The audio of Session 5 can be found here:  Session 5 Audio