I love leading seminar discussions on great texts. Not only do I love helping others to see more deeply into works that have formed our faith, but I almost always come away seeing much more deeply into them myself. And nothing is more gratifying than discussing the Holy Scriptures.
This was very true yesterday, when I led the Institute’s first on-line seminar with a group of a dozen teachers and friends of Catholic education from around the country. We discussed the Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke, along with the opening of John and TS Eliot’s, “The Journey of the Magi”. We began by considering why Gabriel responds so differently to the similar sounding questions of Zechariah and Mary. This led us to look more closely at Zechariah’s righteousness as compared with Mary, and then with Simeon, and finally Joseph. Zechariah follows God’s revealed commandments but has renounced hope in His blessings and promises, while Simeon is righteous in “looking for the consolation of Israel”. Joseph is just in a way that looks to mercy, while Our Lady manifests perfect humility and a readiness to “believe that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Through all of this, we saw how the Gospel authors skillfully suggest questions that reward careful and prayerful comparison and reflection.
This was only a part of a fruitful hour and a half discussion, which ended by looking at the Wise Men through both Matthew and TS Eliot’s nostalgic poem. Thanks to the wonders of technology and the work of our new Programs Assistant, Chris Weir, you can enjoy listening to the conversation. Be careful, though — you might keep finding yourself wanting to jump in.