In his unmatchable introduction to St. Athanasius’ De Incarnatione, C.S. Lewis comments that one cannot intelligently join a discussion at eleven o’clock that began at eight! The Christian story is the very essence of such an organic conversation and having cut my intellectual teeth on Classics and Patristic Theology at Marquette University, I am grateful for having been brought into this ever ancient conversation. My first guides here were some of today’s greats: Fr. Roland Teske, S.J. and Fr. Joseph Lienhard, S.J. introduced me to the beauty of the Church Fathers and to the power of St. Augustine in particular. From Marquette I went to Rome where I studied Augustine’s thought under Fr. George Lawless, OSA as well as his (and many others’) Latin with Fr. Reggie Foster, OCD (“the Pope’s Latinist”). In the writings of St. Augustine I met a friend who seemed to understand the human heart in a way that I had never encountered before; from the Great Bishop of Hippo I next backed up to St. Clement and Ignatius of Antioch and then traversed forward to Maximus the Confessor.
In 1992 I entered the Jesuit novitiate and my superiors saw it fit to plunge me even further into the classical Christian world. I was sent to Xavier University to teach Classics and Philosophy and then on to the University of Innsbruck to obtain the pontifical license in Patrology (and wrote a thesis on the apologetic nature of the Christian cento). From the Alps to the Thames: missioned to Oxford, I studied Augustine once again, under one of Henry Chadwick’s last students, the Rev. Dr. Oliver O’Donovan, and wrote a dissertation on Augustine’s use of deification and the Christian’s call to become Christ! These years solidified my interest in patristic soteriology and the Fathers’ very rich understanding of the Body of Christ as a continuation and extension of Christ himself—or as Augustine would say, the totus Christus.
Fr. Meconi’s books include:
101 Surprising Facts about Church History (Saint Benedict Press, 2016),
Sacred Scripture and Secular Struggles The Bible in Ancient Christianity Series, editor (Brill Press, 2015),
On Earth as it is in Heaven: Cultivating a Contemporary Theology of Creation in the Catholic Theological Formation Series, editor (Eerdmans Press, 2016), and
Called to be Children of God: The Catholic Theology of Human Deification, co-editor with Carl Olson (Ignatius Press, 2016).