Fr. James Schall on Books and Teaching

Crisis Magazine | 4/19/2019 | Roland Millare
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Nothing is more disconcerting, it seems to me, than to enter a home or apartment in which there are no books and no place for books, no sign a book had ever been there. It always seems like a kind of desecration to me, even though I am perfectly aware that bookless people can also save their souls and can have much practical wisdom, something Aristotle himself recognized. I know there are libraries about from which we can borrow for a time a book we may not own. We are blessed to live in a time of relatively cheap books. Ultimately, no doubt, the important thing is what is in our head, not what is on a printed page. Nor do we have to replicate the New York City Public Library in our own homes. I have long run out of space in my own room for more books. But we need a basis, at least a couple of hundred books, probably more, that surround us. I am sure that by judicious use of sales and used-book stores, anyone can gather together a very respectable basic library, probably for less than a thousand dollars. When stretched out over time and compared say, to the price of smoking, or a vacation flight to Paris, this price is not really very much. ∼ Fr. James V. Schall, S.J., “Books and the Intellectual Life.”

God does not become more divine when we push him away from us in a sheer, impenetrable voluntarism; rather, the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf. Certainly, love, as Saint Paul says, “transcends” knowledge and is thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone (cf. Eph. 3:19); nonetheless it continues to...
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