“One must constantly be asking himself – ‘What do I mean by this? Am I saying what I mean? Have I understood what this implies? Have I some notion of the consequences of what I am saying?’ I am particularly bad on the last question because usually I think on paper, that is, I often do not really know what I think until it is set out before me in black and white: then I can agree or disagree.” Thomas Merton
I’ve set out a project for the next year that boils down to answering the questions Merton asks in the above quote. It’s the kind of thing a novice seeking to enter a Benedictine monastery is asked, “What do you seek?” I think it’s an extremely important question and should always be on one’s mind. To help me remember the answers, I hope to read just a few books over the next year, between now and next Easter, April 20, 2014 say. There are two lists representing different categories of source material; the first covers the basics of the Christian faith and the teachings of the Catholic Church. The first list covers some very basic background material:
1) Jesus of Nazareth trilogy, Benedict XVI
2) The Spirit of Catholicism, Karl Adam
3) The Assurance of Things Hoped For, Avery Cardinal Dulles
I also hope to read some of the great spiritual texts in the Tradition,
1) True Devotion to Mary, Louis de Montfort
2) Introduction to the Devout Life, Francis de Sales
3) Confessions, St Augustine
I’m also going to study, and possibly comment on, the Camaldolese Oblate Rule and write some about Benedictine topics, most likely, these will appear on a new blog I’ll call An Oblate Journal, but some things may fit here as well.
Also, for the next two or three months, lectio will be on the Gospel of John, for the simple reason that it demands we answer these same questions; after all, “The Jews” oft repeated question to Jesus was, who are you, where did you come from?