Thursday, April 17, 2008

Intellectual Charity and a Memory

Today I heard some words that reminded me of my undergrad professors:

How might Christian educators respond? [...]

[With] what we might call "intellectual charity". This aspect of charity calls the educator to recognize that the profound responsibility to lead the young to truth is nothing less than an act of love. Indeed, the dignity of education lies in fostering the true perfection and happiness of those to be educ ated. In practice "intellectual charity" upholds the essential unity of knowledge against the fragmentation which ensues when reason is detached from the pursuit of truth. It guides the young towards the deep satisfaction of exercising freedom in relation to truth, and it strives to articulate the relationship between faith and all aspects of family and civic life. Once their passion for the fullness and unity of truth has been awakened, young people will surely relish the discovery that the question of what they can know opens up the vast adventure of what they ought to do. Here they will experience "in what" and "in whom" it is possible to hope, and be inspired to contribute to society in a way that engenders hope in others.

Seeing as how one of my professors was a student of Pope Benedict's, another was one of the translators of his works, and a few others--along with our curriculum--reflected aspects of his thought and works, I should not be surprised that his words recalled their influence.

3 comments:

Christine said...

These bits immediately made me think of what I read a few days ago in a biography of theologian Adolf Schlatter... he writes, after sitting through a semester of lectures by Friedrich Nietzsche:

"The chief impression that I internalized from his lectures arose from his offensive haughtiness. He treated his listeners like despicable peons. He convinced me of the principle that to throw out love is to despoil the business of teaching - only genuine love can really educate."

I wrote in the margin: "Leiva".

By contrast, a few years later he studied under a passionate biblicist (unfortunately limited in his agreement theologically), but one which left this impression:

'For the first time Schlatter encountered a theology professor whose spiritual existence and scientific work he sensed to be an uncontrived unity: "In the lecture hall he was confessor and researcher simultaneously...he spoke therefore of God not as an absentee; he rather resembled Paul in speaking as one who was subject to Christ before God. For me as for many others it was a tremendous experience to find myself in a classroom where what was honored was not godlessness as the precondition for being scientific. We rather found ourselves being addressed by a man moved by God."

Takes you back, doesn't it?

W. said...

Leiva, indeed.

It sure does take me back, but with a better understanding of "memory" these days, I do not need to just go back in my mind; he is with me--has a presence in my life--each and every day. A true memory.

You know, if you haven't yet, you should start reading Giussani. There is a lot in his way of expressing things, of expressing an approach, a method, of living life that I think would resonate strongly with you. I will put together some links for you. For starters, go here and then here: "Encounter is the substance of the Event."

Christine said...

That's good stuff... you're right, it does resonate with my understanding of a lot of things about the Christian life - what freedom is, what community and Christian unity are, how everything in life gets affected by Jesus and how He changes us.

Thanks!