January 24th, 2021

Odds and Ends

1) No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, it would be a good thing to keep our new President and Vice-President in your pray- ers. (Prayer, thankfully, is bipartisan.) There are some huge issues that we need to tackle as a na- tion, most critically, the distribution of vaccines. (Another bipartisan issue.)

2) Last week we remembered the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court Decision that legalized abortion in the Unit- ed States. You all know where the Church stands on the subject. A couple of years ago, some pro-choice supporters became much more upfront and unapologetic about the issue. Their new motto was: Abortion, without apology. It never quite caught on primarily because, when you thought it through, it was self-defeating. It implied that there was a problem, a big problem. It suggested that there were a lot of people who, even if they were technically pro-choice, found this procedure disturbing and sad. It is almost as if the pro-abortion group (a group which has shunned that title for many years, preferring “pro-choice”) was trying to convince our society and, tragically and ironically, themselves, that abortion is just fine and we should rejoice in it and cele- brate it, instead of regretting it as a necessary evil or just evil. The issue was you cannot convince yourself, no matter what mental gymnastics you do, that a life is not snuffed out. We can all do better trying to find a better way.

3) One of the saints we get to celebrate this week is St. Thomas Aquinas. It is amazing to think that a man born in 1225 could still influence the Church in the 21st Thomas’ scholar- ship was amazing. He meticulously melded Greek Philosophy and Church Doctrine (a controversial issue back in the day) andworked through who we are as humans and our relationship with the created world and God. He died at the youngish age of 49, but the reverberations of his thinking still echo in our cul- ture. Here is a small sample of my favorite Thomistic quotes.

“Wonder is the desire for knowledge.” Thomas realized that there was something in human nature which thirsted for knowing, which desired to learn. I like to think I dedicated my life to inspiring that in my students and in my pa- rishioners.

“It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.” St. Thomas was amazingly human. He reminds us that it is in play that we find rest and relaxation, but also the breathing space to make cognitive leaps. Modern educa- tional theory would agree.

“The things that we love tell us what we are.” You could reflect on that little line over a weeklong retreat and still not scratch the surface.

“Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.” A not-so-subtle reminder that, although we can fig- ure a lot of things out, we won’t get it ALL fig- ured out in this life. That’s when we need to simply love.

Fr. Kevin

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