Dominicana presented this video series for the Year of Faith: To The Heights. The series begins by asking that most vexed question: how can I be happy? For nearly two thousand years, the Church has proposed one answer: true and lasting happiness comes from union with God. Yet, for many, this answer seems like a trite soundbite from a suspect source. Why should one really believe in Jesus Christ today?
In these short videos, the student brothers seek to show how the faith offers compelling answers to life’s essential questions. By grappling with common objections and challenging misconceptions, we hope these videos will encourage people to take another look at the Gospels, and deepen their faith.
To The Heights is meant for believers and non-believers alike. You might watch them as a complement to your own reading, or send them to a friend to start a conversation. The series could also be used in R.C.I.A. or religion classes, as a prelude to discussion of the mysteries of the faith. To The Heights follows the basic structure of the Creed, and each video concludes with the relevant reference to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The name of our series comes from a favorite saying of the famous Lay Dominican, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, who always strove for great heights, whether in mountain climbing or in the pursuit of holiness. We also drew inspiration from Msgr. Ronald Knox’s translation of Baruch 5:5: “Up, Jerusalem, to the heights! Look to the sun’s rising, and see if thy sons be not coming to thee, gathered from east to west, joyfully acknowledging God’s holy will!”
Episode 1: The Perfect Day
Br. Tomás Martín Rosado, O.P., speaks about man’s desire for God (CCC, 27):
“Let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.” (Ps 105:3) Although man can forget God or reject him, He never ceases to call every man to seek him, so as to find life and happiness. But this search for God demands of man every effort of intellect, a sound will, “an upright heart”, as well as the witness of others who teach him to seek God.
You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised: great is your power and your wisdom is without measure. and man, so small a part of your creation, wants to praise you: this man, though clothed with mortality and bearing the evidence of sin and the proof that you withstand the proud. Despite everything, man, though but a small a part of your creation, wants to praise you. You yourself encourage him to delight in your praise, for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you. [St. Augustine, The Confessions]
–Catechism of the Catholic Church, 30
Episode 2: The Artist’s Signature
Br. Philip Neri Reese, O.P., speaks about natural knowledge of God (CCC, 31–33):
The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God’s existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. the soul, the “seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material”, [Gaudium et Spes, 18] can have its origin only in God.
–Catechism of the Catholic Church, 31
Episode 3: Divine Revelation: The Revolution of Wisdom
Br. Edmund McCullough, O.P., speaks about divine revelation (CCC, 50–53):
By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works. But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of divine Revelation.1 Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. This he does by revealing the mystery, his plan of loving goodness, formed from all eternity in Christ, for the benefit of all men. God has fully revealed this plan by sending us his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
-Catechism of the Catholic Church, 50
Episode 4: The Message Needs an Interpreter
Br. Clement Dickie, O.P., speaks about Scripture, Tradition, and the Church (CCC, 80–87):
“Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.” [Dei Verbum, 9] “and [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching.” [Dei Verbum, 9]
–Catechism of the Catholic Church, 81
Episode 5: Bound by the Holy Spirit
Br. Michael Mary Weibley, O.P., speaks about the library of Sacred Scripture (CCC, 105–114):
God is the author of Sacred Scripture. “The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” [Dei Verbum, 11] “For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.” [Dei Verbum, 11]
–Catechism of the Catholic Church, 105
Episode 6: The Proposal
Br. Peter Martyr Yungwirth, O.P., speaks about faith as man’s response to God (CCC, 153–165):
Faith makes us taste in advance the light of the beatific vision, the goal of our journey here below. Then we shall see God “face to face”, “as he is”. So faith is already the beginning of eternal life: “When we contemplate the blessings of faith even now, as if gazing at a reflection in a mirror, it is as if we already possessed the wonderful things which our faith assures us we shall one day enjoy.” [St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto]
-Catechism of the Catholic Church, 163
Episode 7: The Savior of the World
Br. Vincent Ferrer Bagan, O.P., speaks about believing in Jesus and belonging to the Church (CCC, 166–169):
Faith is a personal act – the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself. But faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone. You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life. the believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others. Our love for Jesus and for our neighbor impels us to speak to others about our faith. Each believer is thus a link in the great chain of believers. I cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith I help support others in the faith.
–Catechism of the Catholic Church, 166
Episode 8: Looking in the Mirror
Br. John Baptist Hoang, O.P., speaks about the God of truth and love (CCC, 214–221):
God, “HE WHO IS”, revealed himself to Israel as the one “abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”. [Ex 34:6] These two terms express summarily the riches of the divine name. In all his works God displays, not only his kindness, goodness, grace and steadfast love, but also his trustworthiness, constancy, faithfulness and truth. “I give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness.” [Ps 138:2] He is the Truth, for “God is light and in him there is no darkness”; “God is love”, as the apostle John teaches. [I Jn 1:5]
–Catechism of the Catholic Church, 214
Episode 9: The Quest Stands upon the Edge of a Knife
Recently ordained Fr. Ambrose Little, O.P., speaks about the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity (CCC, 232–237):
The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the “hierarchy of the truths of faith”. [General Catechetical Directory, 43] The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men “and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin”. [General Catechetical Directory, 47]
–Catechism of the Catholic Church, 234
Episode 10: Revealed by the Son
Br. Leo Camurati, O.P., speaks about the fatherhood of God (CCC, 238–242):
By calling God “Father”, the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God’s parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood, which emphasizes God’s immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: no one is father as God is Father.
–Catechism of the Catholic Church, 239
Episode 11: The Days Make a Claim on Us
Br. Gregory Pine, O.P., speaks about calendars and the Christian Mystery (CCC, 456–463):
Belief in the true Incarnation of the Son of God is the distinctive sign of Christian faith: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.” [Jn 4:2] Such is the joyous conviction of the Church from her beginning whenever she sings “the mystery of our religion”: “He was manifested in the flesh.” [1 Tim 3:16]
–Catechism of the Catholic Church, 463
Episode 12: Captured by the Image
Br. Luke Hoyt, O.P., speaks about being drawn toward the cross of Christ (CCC, 606–618):
The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men”. [1 Tim 2:5] But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men. [Gaudium et Spes, 22] He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow (him)”, [Mt 16:24] for “Christ also suffered for (us), leaving (us) an example so that (we) should follow in his steps.”[I Pt 2:21] In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering. Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven. [St. Rose of Lima]
–Catechism of the Catholic Church, 618
Episode 13: His Wounds Become Him
Br. Raymund Snyder, O.P., speaks about the resurrection of the body (CCC, 998–1017):
United with Christ by Baptism, believers already truly participate in the heavenly life of the risen Christ, but this life remains “hidden with Christ in God.”[Col 3:3] The Father has already “raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”[Eph 2:6] Nourished with his body in the Eucharist, we already belong to the Body of Christ. When we rise on the last day we “also will appear with him in glory.” [Col 3:4]
Episode 14: Now is the Time for Dessert
Br. Joseph-Anthony Kress, O.P., speaks about the age of the Holy Spirit (CCC, 683–747):
The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This joint mission henceforth brings Christ’s faithful to share in his communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit. the Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. the Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection. He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may “bear much fruit.”
–Catechism of the Catholic Church, 737
Episode 15: Evil Shall Not Prevail
Br. Pier Giorgio Dengler, O.P., speaks about the Church and the Holy Spirit (CCC, 683–747):
“The Church . . . will receive its perfection only in the glory of heaven,” [Lumen Gentium 48] at the time of Christ’s glorious return. Until that day, “the Church progresses on her pilgrimage amidst this world’s persecutions and God’s consolations.” [St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 18, 51] Here below she knows that she is in exile far from the Lord, and longs for the full coming of the Kingdom, when she will “be united in glory with her king.” [Lumen Gentium 5] The Church, and through her the world, will not be perfected in glory without great trials. Only then will “all the just from the time of Adam, ‘from Abel, the just one, to the last of the elect,’ . . . be gathered together in the universal Church in the Father’s presence.” [Lumen Gentium 2]
–Catechism of the Catholic Church, 769
Episode 16: In Consequence of the Incarnation
Br. Henry Stephan, O.P., speaks about devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary (CCC, 963–975):
“All generations will call me blessed” [Lk 1:48]: “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.” [Marialis Cultus 56] The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs…. This very special devotion … differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.” [Lumen Gentium 66] The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.
–Catechism of the Catholic Church, 971