Theology Update for the Week of June 29

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Dear friends in Christ

As June 29 is Father Mead’s final Sunday with us, I want to begin by giving a woefully inadequate voice to my deep thanks for his trust in me and his vision for Saint Thomas that led him to call me as our parish’s “theologian-in-residence.” Who would have thought that we’d have so many classes on topics like Aquinas on angels or on books like the Iliad and stories by O’Connor and Sayers (and so much more)! Dear Father Mead, I am very glad that you think of yourself as a teacher and catechist, and that you have shared this ministry with me.

This week, the 2 Corinthians study will start at 9:6 where Paul gives some general teaching on generosity. I offer this Bible study twice: on Sunday at 10am on the 5th floor of the Parish House, and again on Thursday at 12:40pm on the 2nd floor.

In just a few weeks we will finally arrive at the first seminar on the Divine Comedy. On Monday, July 21, I will lead a discussion of cantos 1-17 of the Inferno. The main preparation is to do the reading of the text. It is not necessary to read any commentaries, and it is necessary to avoid getting bogged down in notes. Notes can be helpful, but they need to stay in their place. The main object of our attention will be the words that Dante wrote.

Feel free to read any translation. I have learned that the Hollander translation is available on-line (a separate webpage for each canto) at Princeton’s Dante Project. You can poke around on that website and find a lot of other neat stuff. But remember: the most important words are those of the poet.
(Which reminds me of one of the Purnellisms that Father Mead likes to quote, with reference to the Bible: It’s amazing what light the text sheds on the commentaries!)

The Dante seminar schedule has been slightly changed. We will meet on the 3rd Monday of each month from July through December except for October, when we will meet on the first Monday, October 6. If you have noted all the dates in your calendar already, please make a note of this change.

June 26 was the 29th anniversary of my ordination as a deacon, an event that occurred at St. John’s Cathedral in Albuquerque in 1985. I’m glad to be a deacon, which of course I remain even though I have been also ordained a priest. Deacons are servants, and they remind the whole body of Christ that we all are to be God’s servants. And deacons are also proclaimers of the Gospel. This is a good opportunity for me, once again, to ask for your prayers.