He’s not a saint or a blessed, but nevertheless, I am putting this new site for my blog under the patronage of Dietrich von Hildebrand. What I mean is this: even though he cannot be considered a true patron saint I will be asking for his prayers in regards to what I write on this blog, while at the same time I will be praying for his eternal soul.
Why, you may ask? Why not choose one of my many patron saints that have been declared saints by Holy Mother Church: Holy Mary, Mother of God, St. Vincent of Lérins (Confirmation), St. Ignatius of Antioch (ordination to the diaconate), or St. Cuthbert (ordination to the priesthood)? Let me try to explain.
Only recently did I ‘discover’ the writings of Dietrich von Hildebrand. While I was working in the Office of Marriage, Family Life & NFP here in the Archdiocese of San Antonio (a position that was recently replaced by a full time parochial vicar position at Our Lady of the Atonement) I came across one of his books in my office. That book is titled Man and Woman. Since the book was relatively short, pertained to marriage and was from an author I had heard good things about I decided to read it. In short, my reaction to that book can be summarized with one word: amazing!
This short book of his simply wasn’t enough. His brilliance and ability to explain things left me wanting more. (And this is similar to the reaction I had when I first discovered C.S. Lewis.) Therefore, after completing this book I immediately looked for another one of his books. After some brief research on the internet it seemed that the common consensus was that Transformation in Christ was his greatest work. So I promptly ordered a copy. That was about three months ago and ever since I have been very carefully reading it by way of lectio divina. Currently, I have about 100 pages of the 500 pages left.
Although I have not yet completed the book I can already tell that, in years to come, I will look back at the discovery of this book as a life changing experience. After completing this book my plan is to read more of his books and to do an even more in depth study of Transformation in Christ. The purpose of this would be to bring all the wonderful things he has to say to the people I minister to: part of whom would be the people that happen to read this blog.
Dietrich von Hildebrand hasn’t changed my understanding of what it means to be Catholic – he has deepened it. I could never match his genius and do not consider myself qualified to interpret his teaching but, as a Catholic priest, it is my duty to hand the Catholic Faith on to others. And that is what I propose to do by using what I learn from the writings of this truly extraordinary man.