Monday, October 15, 2012

Spirituality and Literature

As we move through these early days of the Year of Faith it offers us a chance to look back not just at scripture but at other great writing of Christian history.

Today the Church celebrates St Teresa of Avila. While we think of her as a founder of the discalced Carmelites, a great mystic, and doctor of the Church, she was also by any measure a great writer.

No history of the Spanish Renaissance and its literature can be written without including her Interior Castle. 1492 was not only the year of Columbus but also the year when the first grammar of the Spanish Language was published replacing Latin as the language of the Kingdom and one cannot rightly study Spanish literature without this book from 1577.

In the late 20th century we took a principle of governance, separation of Church and State, and mistakenly attempted to extend it to every aspect of life obscuring the contribution of clergy and religious to worlds like science and literature. Do we teach our children that Gregor Mendel was a friar? Check out the list of Cleric-Scientists.

The Year of Faith offers us an opportunity to not only look forward but also to look back with pride on the contributions that our faith has made to every aspect of life.