Love is Worth More Than Intelligence

A 7 Quick Takes on Friday post, hosted by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary


“Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. There may be legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not… with regard to abortion and euthanasia.” Pope Benedict XVI

This quote highlights one of the surprises I had in store for me coming into the Church. My misconception centers around an idea common to most Protestants, that the Catholic Church defines, in detail, everything a Catholic must mindlessly believe. The surprise was how relatively little the Church holds as infallible dogma; there are a great many areas where Catholics are free, with a well formed conscience, to make up their own minds.


“Christianity taught men that love is worth more than intelligence.” Jacques Maritain

Some times a person can be too smart for their own good, and the good of those around them. We’re seeing amble evidence of it in the newspapers and TV news shows this week, for sure.


Got the first clarinet lesson in this week, and boy, do I have a lot of work to do. I’m having to relearn everything from putting the horn together to preparing the reed before playing and a whole host of other good stuff. My main problem, and I’m not sure why it is so, is keeping good time, as the music is written. Another surprise this week, I’m not squeaking and squealing as much as I expected. My instructor plays in a couple of local symphony orchestras and teaches classical clarinet, so it’s not surprising he’ BIG on details. I’m going to be doing a lot of exercises, but I’m using the very same book I used when I first started playing.

image“Life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans.” John Lennon

Another thing my clarinet instructor insists on is 45 minutes per day of practice, at least. I thought that wouldn’t be any problem at all. Turns out, that’s hard work! Also, I’m practicing during the time I used to do writing, so I’m having to rearrange my routine. One of the nice things about Benedictine spirituality is that it’s built for situations like this; if you have something planned you needn’t get upset when your nicely conceived plans fall down around your ears. John Lennon would have been a very good Benedictine.


“One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.” Gilbert K. Chesterton


“Be proud that you are helping God to bear the cross, and don’t grasp at comforts. It is only mercenaries who expect to be paid by the day. Serve Him without pay.” — St. Teresa of Ávila


imageToday is the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings during World War II.  These landings were crucial to the defeat of Nazi Germany and I ask you all to take a moment today to remember the incredible heroism of those American, British and allied soldiers who took part in those landings.  We owe our freedom to them.


4 thoughts on “Love is Worth More Than Intelligence

  1. Much good in this blog today. Glad you mentioned the 70th anniversary of the unparalleled landing at Omaha Beach. The skies over my town are shaking today, as the local airport begins its 24th Annual World War II Weekend, “A Gathering of Warbirds.” It’s amazing to see these planes still flying, and as they pass overhead I feel more than my usual sense of patriotism. Sometimes it’s hard to feel that in recent times, and a day like today is probably good for all of us.

    You should feel proud of your musical pursuit, as I am in my own hapless but determined study of classical guitar. How well it’s suited to our lives as Catholics! For those of us who read or recite the Psalms on a daily basis, it is inspiring to see the constant theme running throughout the psalter, praising the Lord through song and myriad musical instruments. The daily practices feel less of a burden somehow when I look at them as another form of my daily prayer.

    1. Jeff

      Thank you for your comment. I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Normandy beaches about 15 years ago. We drove back on a nearly non-existent road and come out to an abandoned German pill box. The walls of the thing were maybe 5′ thick and you could see where the 5 inch naval shells had just bounced off it. It had a commanding view of all of the landing beaches, including the cliffs the Rangers had to scale. I can’t imagine how those guys made that landing and got over those cliffs. I’ll never forget that view, and my admiration for their heroism is unbounded.

      I sure wish I could see the war birds; I’ve always wanted to fly one but never will. I did get a ride in a B-17 once, and that’s another thing I can’t imagine doing on a day in, day out basis, flying as high and as far as they did on bombing missions. The noise from those engines is incredible and there’s nothing between you and the outside except the aluminum of the skin of the plane, so it must have been incredibly cold. Anyway, warbirds are great fun to see in the air, that’s for sure.

      I’m afraid my practices on the clarinet are more reminiscent of penance than prayer at the moment, especially for the cats, but I hope that will change soon. I have made a lot of progress in just over a week, but have a ways to go. That said, my instructor focuses on classical clarinet and I would love to be able to use this somehow in the Lord’s service. Don’t know what that would be yet, but I’ll keep plugging away.

      We’re having almost cold weather today, and rainy, hope it’s warmer where you are.

      Sent from my iPad


  2. I found this link from I’m new to Catholicism and reading everything I can. I love Maritain’s quote. I’m extremely analytical and intellectual. The deacon and his wife who lead my Inquiry class are very loving, emotional and relational. They make me crazy even while I keep reminding myself that I need to work on developing those traits in myself. This quote will be a good one for me to memorize and repeat silently to myself each time I see them.

    1. Thank you for your comment. One thing I learned in my conversion journey was to consult as many sources as I could. The deacon at your parish, if I understand properly, is taking the more emotional approach, and that’s not for everyone. Maritain was, first and foremost, a philosopher; if the Spirit is drawing you to the Church through a more intellectual means, don’t ignore that.

      Might I suggest contacting the Coming Home Network, a great resource for those on the Journey Home. Mary Clare Piecynski is a good contact @ Feel free to tell her I recommended them. Also, if I can help at all as time goes on, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


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