Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Gradually finding my way home [Catholicism]

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
—T.S. Eliot

By degrees, I feel that I am finding my way home. It started with my return to Roman Catholicism during my university years. Catholicism—that ancient faith, the faith of my childhood, and the religion of Dante and Tolkien, Raphael and Michelangelo, Cauchy, Mendel and Lemaître, Haydn and Mozart. And Colbert.

Intellectually, this past year I’ve been finding my way home in the philosophy of Aquinas and Aristotle. This is a sphere of knowledge that I'm just starting to get into. Aristotle concludes in Physics ii.8 that “action for an end is present in things which come to be and are by nature.” It’s an interesting view, coming from philosophy. I wonder why high schools don’t teach ancient philosophy—it seems to have much useful food for thought.

Which brings me to the present. I’m exploring the possibility of becoming a lay member of an 800-year-old Catholic group called the Dominicans. There are a number of reasons for this. I love their focus on study and prayer. Famous Dominicans include St. Thomas Aquinas, one of my heroes, and St. Catherine of Siena, whose Dialogue I am looking forward to studying. There is unfortunately no Dominican group in Victoria, but there is a group in Vancouver, so I'm going to take the ferry there on a weekend in February to see what their meetings are like. I have a feeling that this could be a good place for me.

I saw this on the Lay Dominicans website, and I thought, yes, that’s me:
To discern if you are called to become a Dominican, consider whether the following things describe you: you love to study and are a motivated learner; you long to read more and know more about the life of Christ and the Church, and you cannot contain your desire to share the fruits of your study with others; you prefer good literature that contains universal truths; you appreciate the many avenues through which truth can be taught, whether it be literature, science, theater, or visual art.


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