Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Sudden Flash of Light

Ever look at evidence for such a long time, and not see what it indicates? How can you look at a thing and not see it for what it is? We do it all the time. More of life is like that "Do you see a young woman or an old woman" picture than we realize.

This is Raphael's striking, almost alluring,
 painting of St. Catherine.
This is a good post for a Happy Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria, patronness of teachers, students, as well as a million other things - see here.

What I am talking about is realizing that what we do here at Our Lady's College (OLSWA) actually works as it's suppose to. I am often pessimistic - and that pessimism kept me from seeing the Old Lady (I usually see the young woman. Freudian? Probably.)

Precisely, I mean that as they progress through their three years here, our students become better thinkers, and hence, better Catholics. I always marvel how rigid (defensive, uncreative, unproductive) the thinking of some of the more junior students is, and yet repeatedly surprised how dynamic are the minds of the more senior students. The class I teach that has the highest percentage of senior students is my apologetics course. It is surprising me how confident they are when they consider all the ramifications of navigating the Faith through the rocky shoals of modernity - not a confidence that belies the closed-minded, arrogance of narrow dogmatism, but confidence that the truth is out there somewhere and that the process of discovery itself is valuable since it more than anything else leads to greater understanding. That is having the mind of St. Thomas! (Hey, you ever realize he spent a great deal of time reading books written by pagans and heretics - and that he drew a great deal of value from them?)
This is the essence of having been educated. So I guess they have been educated. The ability to look at an issue, see its full complexity, to enjoy the process of reasoning, and to have confidence that the truth is greater than I, and, hence, that it can take care of itself: to be quite content with the fact that I know a part, and yet what I really want to know is more than a part.

There are a lot of people out there who think that there are only two epistemological categories: doubt and certainty. But, fortunately, such people cannot be found in my apologetics class.

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