intellectually nourished, spiritually starved

Merton describes a Type that is found beyond the Catholics; indeed, I encountered quite a few during my own seminary journey (and likely have and still do fit this type myself much of the time):

How many there are in the same situation! They stand in the stacks of libraries and turn over the pages of St. Thomas’ Summa with a kind of curious reverence. They talk in their seminars about “Thomas” and “Scotus” and “Augustine” and “Bonaventure” and they are familiar with Maritain and Gilson, and they have read all the poems of Hopkins – and indeed they more about what is best in the Catholic literary and philosophical tradition than most Catholics ever do on this earth. They sometimes go to Mass, and wonder at the dignity and restraint of the old liturgy. They are impressed by the organization of a Church in which everywhere the priests, even the most un-gifted, are able to preach at least something of a tremendous, profound, unified doctrine, and to dispense mysteriously efficacious help to all who come to them with troubles and needs.

In a certain sense, these people have a better appreciation of the Church and of Catholicism than many Catholics have: an appreciation which is detached and intellectual and objective. But they never come into the Church. They stand and starve in the doors of the banquet – the banquet to which they surely realize they are invited – while those more poor, more stupid, less gifted, less educated, sometimes even less virtuous than they, enter in and are filled at those tremendous tables.

Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

Tell Me What You Think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s