Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - September 3

A Visit from My Good Teacher

Mark and Dorothy Van Doren were here yesterday on their way back to Illinois--long enough to walk to the cow barn and back and for me to show Mark the novitiate.

I was happy to have him stand in these rooms, so wise a person, and lean against the bookshelf in the scriptorium and talk about some things that had come up when he was at the Hampton Institute the day before. The English professor there complained that his students had no preparation to read Shakespeare, and Mark said that everyone is prepared to read Shakespeare by the time they are eighteen. They have been born, they have had fathers, mothers, they have been loved, feared, hated, been jealous, etc.

At the cow barn we looked at brushfires being lit along the hillside of St. Bernard's field, and Mark talked about his love for fires and I talked of mine. We decided that everybody loves fires and that those who admit it are not pyromaniacs but just love fires reasonably.

When I talked a moment about Bulgakov, Mark quoted the wonderful lines at the end of Dante where he sees in Christ the face of man and the Face of God and they are one face. "But to explain it as hard as to square the circle," Mark said.

They were pleased that both their sons had married Jews this summer, and I too.

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