Running To and Fro

Be still and see that I am God. Psalm 45:11 The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds. Wisdom 3:7 We have it on the best authority that eternal life consists in knowing “the only true God” (Jn 17:3). The vision of God, whose goodness is infinite andContinue reading “Running To and Fro”

Questioning Authority

They found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. Luke 2:46 One of the many prejudices masquerading as enlightenment in modern times is the notion that reason and religion are antithetical modes of confronting reality. How many voices call for “dialogue,” when they really meanContinue reading “Questioning Authority”

A Reasonable Revolution

According to Oliver Wendell Holmes, truth is defined as shared perception. If I think that I am sitting at a table, I find that the other persons present agree with me; so if I say that the sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles. If I am in aContinue reading “A Reasonable Revolution”

Show us Thy Face!

St. Thomas summarizes perennial wisdom when he defines evil as the absence of good. But what defines the good whose absence constitutes evil? In its broadest sense, “good is everything appetible,” or worth desiring. “Since every nature desires its own being and perfection,” it follows that, according to the objective order of things, “the beingContinue reading “Show us Thy Face!”

To Be, or Not to Be, a “Conservative”?

A friend recently referred me to this essay by the inimitable G. K. Chesterton. Reviewing a book called Conservatism, Chesterton explores the question: “What is a conservative?” He begins by questioning conservatism’s very existence. G. K.’s doubts stem from recognizing “one of the great mistakes of modern controversy: the duty of writing round a wordContinue reading “To Be, or Not to Be, a “Conservative”?”

Finding the Peace of God

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 Peace, according to Augustine, is the tranquility of order: for the disturbance of order is the destruction of peace. This tranquility of order is considered from three aspects: first, insofar as it exists in the principleContinue reading “Finding the Peace of God”

Talking about Tyranny

In the 19th chapter of his Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes dismisses tyranny from the lexicon of modern political science. To speak of a ruler as tyrannical is nothing but name-calling. Enlightened persons cannot believe “that the government is of one kind when they like it, and another when they mislike it.” Hobbes’s intention in emotionalizing theContinue reading “Talking about Tyranny”

Teaching Wonder

All knowledge of any depth . . . begins with amazement. Everything depends upon leading the learner to recognize the amazing qualities, the mirandum, the “novelty” of the subject under discussion. If the teacher succeeds in doing this, he has done something more important than and quite different from making knowledge entertaining and interesting. HeContinue reading “Teaching Wonder”

How to Read St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas composed his 3,000 page tome, Summa Theologiae, in order to “instruct beginners.” The saint had an encyclopedic memory, and was able to sift through a veritable mental library to identify the best arguments pertaining to each of the thousands of questions human reason confronts regarding God and nature. Though reading Aquinas is stillContinue reading “How to Read St. Thomas Aquinas”

Praiseworthy by Nature

If sanctity consists in doing our duty and leaving the rest to God, how are we to know our duty? Though divine law instructs us in this matter, its counsels and injunctions are addressed to men already blessed with the light of reason. At their best, St. Paul tells us, “The Gentiles, who have notContinue reading “Praiseworthy by Nature”