This year’s Acton U has me teaching for the first time. I’m doing two classes, one on the Fathers of the Church on Usury (which I didn’t really know much about, but seemed like an interesting topic – I go in as a student with the others) and on Augustine’s “City of God” (and – of Augustine – everyone remains but a student).
There are so many good people teaching for Acton (including famous teachers such as Peter Kreeft) that it is a little intimidating. The participants themselves are pretty high test. So, I’ll ask my Angel Guardian to help me out, especially on a day when I am distracted by this new encyclical.
This morning, at Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form, on the Feast of Ephrem the Syrian, Doctor of the Church, I reminded people to pray for Christians suffering in Syria… that God will protect them from temporal and spiritual harm… or at least spiritual harm, if it is not God’s will to save them from the rabid animal packs of murders that are killing them.
St. Pauls Epistle reading, common for doctors, was striking today:
Lesson from the secons letter of St Paul the Apostle to Timotheus
2 Tim. 4:1-8
Beloved: I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus, Who will judge the living and the dead by His coming and by His kingdom, preach the word, be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, entreat, rebuke with all patience and teaching. For there will come a time when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but having itching ears, will heap up to themselves teachers according to their own lusts, and they will turn away their hearing from the truth and turn aside rather to fables. But be watchful in all things, bear with tribulation patiently, work as a preacher of the Gospel, fulfill your ministry. Be sober. [Sobrius esto! Keep your head in the game!] As for me, I am already being poured out in sacrifice, and the time of my deliverance is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. For the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord, the just Judge, will give to me in that day; yet not to me only, but also to those who love His coming.
After Mass I went to a breakfast for some invitees held to discuss the new encyclical.
It was stimulating. There was some strong and sober talk this morning, as well as some good-natured (though anxious) kidding around about Laudato si‘. One comment by an Argentinian scholar stuck with me: it was amazing to him that an Argentinian could go one for 44K words without using the phrase “social justice” a single time!
The other day I posted the old fashioned mail chute. Here’s the other end!
We used to make classy things, to last.
As supper started we were shown the trailer for the new film Poverty, Inc.
In the evening we had a talk from Joel Salatin… an edgy choice for an Acton U speaker. He was engaging and entertaining and he provided food for thought. However, I thought he went to the zoo on a few points.
A couple ironic moments from the day:
As we were having the breakfast discussion about the Pope’s new encyclical, which comes down hard against air-conditioning, there was a maintenance guy in the room… fixing the air conditioning.
In the evening, we were told about an iPad giveaway for those who would promote the Acton’s resource page about the Pope’s encyclical using social media. See what Francis says about stuff like that! You’ve gotta smile.