By Rebecca Terhune ’15
Wendell Berry in A Place on Earth describes the character Jayber Crow as one who was “vastly more inclined to learn than to be to be taught.”
This week’s Lectionary we are in Maccabees. Nothing like a war with Rome to get one’s blood going in the morning. As we are continually before the face of God, our community becomes our fellowship, what are we then to be taught?
James V. Schall, S.J., writes, “There are two basic points in intellectual curiosity. First, we need to have a desire to learn, to learn ‘with gusto.’ Without this, no one can do much for us. GK Chesterton once remarked there is no such thing as a boring subject; there are only bored people. Second, we need to be taught. Just as our inclination to learn is innate, our need to be taught is intrinsic to our nature and something that needs to be understood more clearly.”
It can take some time in getting where we need to go. In 1919, Dwight D. Eisenhower was sent by the War Department from Washington, DC to San Francisco. It took him sixty-two days by train, averaging fifty-eight miles a day at a speed of six miles per hour. It can also take some time in learning what we need to learn.
It is tempting to lurch towards Advent, but let’s not. Instead, let us approach as to the garden gate with our intellectual curiosity, our ‘harvest’ from Pentecost with the words of John of Damascus (650-754), “Let us knock at its gate with diligence and with perseverance. Let us not be discouraged from knocking. The latch will be opened.”
Schall, James V. On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs: Teaching, Writing, Playing, Believing, Lecturing, Philosophizing, Singing, Dancing. Wilmington, Del.: ISI Books, 2001.
John of Damascus, An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith [Kindle Edition]