Friday, August 08, 2008

Eight Eight Eight

Today, the feast of St. Dominic, the founder of the great order of the Dominicans, we might think about how he fought the heretics of his age, and how he inspired so many others to do great things for God - men of almost unimaginable brilliance and power - like St. Albert the Great or St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Pius V (the Pope of Lepanto!) or St. Catherine of Siena who humbly ordered another Pope to get back to Roma where he belonged...

And today on such a mystic anniversary I think of these, and others, not only Dominicans, some not yet even saints, but all who followed the great light toward the One Light...

One phrase I shall now quote, and let it stand for all the summary that I might quarry from the rich vast lodes of these great Hounds of the Lord.... and no, it is not from a Dominican. We call that a paradox. (Not, it is not even from Chesterton!) But it is something mystical, and a great principle in itself, and urges us on towards a most Dominican goal:
Liberal education, viewed in itself, is simply the cultivation of the intellect, as such, and its object is nothing more or less than intellectual excellence.
John Henry Cardinal Newman, The Idea of a University.
And please OH PLEASE remember - for Newman, the liberal education included the sciences and what we would now call engineering. He, after all, knew enough Greek to grasp how a catholic university must encompass ALL subjects. (The word "catholic" is Greek, as the word "universal" is Latin, for "all-encompassing".)

Recall, too, that four of the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are said to pertain to the intellect as such: wisdom, understanding counsel, knowledge. We need to know, not simply for its own sake (though that is good), but for the sake of being thus enabled to do good.

Therefore, let us follow on, each in his own way, according to his state in life, and as the gifts God has bestowed on him may enable...

St. Dominic and all ye holy Dominicans, pray for us!

--Dr. Thursday


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