“I teach without noise of words, without confusion of opinions, without ambition of honor, without strife of arguments. (IC 3,43,3)” | “[M]y thoughts are not your thoughts…As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are…my thoughts above your thoughts.” (Is 55:8a,9a,9c)

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XLIII: “Against Futile and Worldly Learning” (first entry)

Kempis often comes down strongly against book learning thus coming across as anti-intellectual. But I see it as more of a cautionary tale to not become so involved in study and reading that God and others are set aside in pursuit of personal ambitions, even if ostensibly noble ones. Also, there is a danger of pride here. The short quote above leads the student back to the One whose teaching is concise, clear, inarguable, and presented with not ulterior motives.

|Today’s first reading: Is 55:6-9

Isaiah 55 is the epilogue to the second part of the prophet’s book. An invitation to the banquet of the Lord’s covenant. It is a call to repentance and conversion from a God who will not judge as we do for His thoughts and ways are far above our thoughts and ways.

|Reflection

We look to the Church, established by Christ, and entrusted with the keys of the Kingdom, for calm, clarity, and peace, with the sole ambition to pass on the Deposit of Faith faithfully. When those who hold a teaching office in the Church (the bishops) fail in one or more of these areas, trouble ensues. The Church is indefectibly holy but its members are not. We are grateful to the Holy Spirit Who ensures that all official teaching on faith and morals in the Church has His guarantee. Should we learn these teachings well for our personal benefit and to bolster us in our catechetical and evangelical efforts? Of course! But let us never forget to have recourse to the Lord first, last, and always as He clarifies and acts in ways far beyond our poor efforts to do so.

God the Father by Cima da Conegliano, painted 1510-17. Over a third of UK Christians believe God is male
God the Father (c. 1510-17) by Cima da Conegliano

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