I believe that was St Augustine, referring to his conversion later in life. Today I want to rant about this, Reader-land.
In a world where nothing has objective meaning, one man sought to rally the world to stop the madness… Another Don Quixote reference. The craziest person saw the world as it should be. Emphasis mine.
“Too much sanity may be madness and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be.”
I often refer to my seminary days. I will do so again here, because the seminary, outside of the normal Catholic high school, exposed me to thought processes and deeper concepts than yoots today are exposed to. The Society believes that young people are more capable of learning deep things than adults think. But even I missed out on stuff, either by indifference or because it wasn’t taught.
I blame the adults. At some point, we decided that kids aren’t capable of understanding these concepts, and we molly-coddle them with insipid, lukewarm books and teachings that most likely were written by Sr Mary Pantsuit, or Susan Boomer on the Parish council. Not real theology. Let me be quite clear, little children see with a clarity we cannot fathom and we have to stop trying to encase them in a squishy theological bubble that offends no one.
Why am I saying this? I will have to throw my friend Seminarian Peter St George under the bus for getting me started. He and I visited once this summer and he mentioned wanting to study the church fathers, knowing that Aquinas synthesized all of them. Well, that got me reading and seeing more and more, and I have come to Aquinas and Augustine. And late in my life, I am discovering it!
Circling back to Peter St George, he opened the gateway. But I have another friend, Fr Tim Danaher, who I have mentioned before, who has put out a series of classes on these topics, along with his brother priests at his parish. They are Dominicans, by the way. And I want to share the goodness with you. Is the content completely what you would consider all ages? No. But I would have my nieces, nephews, and my oldest son listen and learn. And late in my own life have I come to find them.
Consider this. Blessed, almost saint, Cardinal John Newman, Peter Kreeft, and Scott Hahn all went back to the church Fathers to attempt to disprove the Catholic Faith. But ALL of them converted. That should tell you about the richness of the church Fathers and we need to go back to them. This is what Aquinas did, except, “Yet a creative synthesis. Chesterton says that Aquinas gathered in all the ancient but scattered wisdom of the Fathers into one book, and in gathering them with his own explanations he also made them flower in new ways!”
Why are the church Fathers so important, you ask. Well, Reader-land, because they are closer to the God who walked the Earth. They learned at the knees of the apostles, or from those who learned from those who learned. Their FAITH is greater. And nowadays we don’t even think about them, as if they are too deep. If anything, they are more simple because their faith is guiding them, not a series of apologetics or kumbaya teachings.
Bite-size chunks are best. listen to these talks, open your minds to the Truth that the Fathers realized. Deprogram the drivel, and embark on a deep journey on a sea with no shore. I regret my indifference or negligence. I regret pushing off the learning of simple faith till I am almost dead.
I leave you with this.
“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you.”