Theology Update for the Week of June 17

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Out of Egypt: Reading Exodus Theologically

On June 17, the Sunday class continues its study of the book of Exodus in the Old Testament, picking up with the seventh plague: the storm of hail and fire. In addition to being a record of the central event in Jewish history – the exodus from Egypt and journey towards the Promised Land – the book also provides a prime case study of the benefits of a utilization of the traditional “four senses” of scripture: the literal, the typological, the moral, and the mystical. The class meets on the fifth floor at 10 a.m.

Saint Thomas Book Group: June 20

The next meeting is on Wednesday, June 20 at 6:30 p.m. in Andrew Hall. They will discuss Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. The only requirement to attend the discussion is that you have read the book. Other books to be discussed in coming months are listed here.

The Virtue of Tenderness

I have had occasion in this email to recommend the Church Life Journal from the University of Notre Dame; I have also had occasion to recommend the work of the late novelist David Foster Wallace. For the first time, however, I can recommend both at the same time. “The Virtue of Tenderness: David Foster Wallace and the Practice of Love” was written by Medi Ann Volpe and reflects on Wallace’s oft-cited speech-turned-essay, “This is Water,” in light of the resurrection of Christ and Pope Francis’s encyclical Evangelii Gaudium. Wallace is expert at diagnosing the ills of modern life; where he falls short is in finding the cure. “In the real world, there are no atheists. Everybody worships,” he writes, and that is both true and good to be reminded of. Without a language that names sin, however, he then lacks a language of redemption, and thus salvation – all of which is a language of grace. And it is grace – the free gift of God – that provides salve to despair, a despair that Wallace felt deeply, fatally. “Faith, hope, and charity,” wrote St. Paul, are the things that abide. Faith in Christ’s resurrection, in the past, gives us hope for resurrection in the future, and thus the space for charity, for love, in the present. Thus a true representation of holiness, the fruit of the tree of virtue, is the Christian who tries a little tenderness, and by such fruits we will be known.

Yours in Christ,
Joel