Often, when my wife and I reach a mountain summit after a good three- or four-hour climb, I’m so elated over the accomplishment — and so awestruck by the view — that I want to start singing that line from the Latin Sanctus: Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua! “Heaven and earth are full of your glory!”
Father Joseph Classen would understand.
While not primarily a hiker or mountain climber, this young priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis spends a lot of time in the wilderness and appreciates its beauty as the work of the Creator. Here he takes us along on his expeditions in the various hunting and fishing seasons of the year: stalking deer with a bow and arrow, casting his line into trout streams and chasing elusive wild turkey. The trips are leavened with self-effacing humor as he lets us see how God uses nature to check his pride.
And from the Catholic News Service:
His spirituality developed when he was a boy spending time in the outdoors and he thought about the priesthood, but later those thoughts faded. Just as many others do, he went through a period of questioning his faith. In college, he returned to the church, he said.
Hunting and fishing, he said, is hands-on stewardship and a way of taking an active role in the food chain. People who hunt and fish have a deep respect for food, he added.
In a message on a Web site promoting the book Father Classen said he doesn't consider hunting or fishing a sport but a way to sustain life and feed others, as it was intended. He quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing