October 10th, 2012Brother Wine and Sister Laughterby Joseph Pearce
This week I am in New Hampshire, teaching at Thomas More College and Mount Royal Academy.
I left home at an ungodly hour, long before the crack of dawn, last Saturday. The advantage of such an early start was that I had time upon my arrival in New Hampshire to enjoy the 65th annual Fall and Foliage Festival in Warner before proceeding to New London to speak at Our Lady of Fatima parish. The subject of the talk was my own conversion, which was very warmly received, in spite of the shocking revelations about prison sentences and terrorism with which it was spiced.
On Sunday I led a book discussion group with parents, teachers and students at Mount Royal Academy. The text under consideration was C. S. Lewis' The Great Divorce. I was greatly impressed by the quality of the students and the extent of their knowledge of Lewis' excursion into the cleansing light of purgatory.
On Monday I made my way to Thomas More College to be part of the Open House for prospective students and their parents. It was the largest Open House in TMC's history, which bodes well for the size of next year's incoming Freshman class. I enjoyed speaking to the assembled highschoolers and their parents and was pleased to be able to share my enthusiasm about the merits of the Liberal Arts education offered at the College.
Yesterday and today the sophomore class that I'm teaching are discussing the Rule of St. Benedict and also the lives of St. Benedict and St. Francis by St. Gregory the Great and St. Bonaventure respectively. Immersed in the wisdom of four illustrious saints we have been discussing the pillars of the religious life, rooted in the inexorable connection between humility and love. More controversially we have mulled over the role of wine and laughter in the spiritual life, comparing the strictures of the Rule of Benedict with the joy of St. Francis and the jollity of Chesterton. This led to a fruitful debate on the connection between wine, laughter, temperance and prudence. What a great way to spend the day!