Three years ago I sent my first email to Fr. Barron’s office requesting him to do an event at our store. Tonight I see the fulfillment of that initial request (followed by numerous others). His topic tonight is “To See According to the Icon of Jesus Christ: Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.” We will live stream the event so you can watch it. See the link here. It will be recorded so you can watch later if you like. But there is yet another way you can benefit from the lecture. It is chapter 5 in his new book Exploring Catholic Theology (Baker Academic).
He explains the premise of his talk. He notes that up to the year 1300 “the most important spiritual writers were precisely the theologians: Paul, Origen, Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, Irenaeus, Augustine, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas. If you had asked Aquinas, for example, to name the difference between his systematic theology and his spirituality, he wouldn’t have understood the question. But after 1300, theology evolved into a more strictly academic university discipline, and what we have come to call spirituality branched off into a distinctive form of thought. It is extremely instructive that, after this watershed year, the people we consider the most important ‘spiritual’ writers–Meister Eckhart, Johannes Tauler, Jan Ruysbroek, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Blaise Pascal, Thérèse of Lisieux, Thomas Merton–were not academic theologians. The sad consequence of this division is that we do not tend to appreciate the transformative, salvific dimension of our theology. We tend not to see that the dogmas of faith are a primary means by which we become grafted onto Christ and through which we properly see the world. I would share with Balthasar and Henri de Lubac the conviction that the repairing of the division between theology and spirituality is a pressing concern of our moment in church history. It is this healing, especially in regard to the Catholic intellectual life, that I would like to explore.” (pp. 63-64)
Our event is full so I would discourage coming to the store. But Aquinas College will also live stream the event there. Fr. Barron will be at Aquinas tomorrow at 10:00. We will be hosting a book table there. I hope to see you tonight or tomorrow.