Joel and I have a lot of Catholic books in our home, and I confess I’ve only read portions of most. Not because they aren’t good; most are passionately well written. Let’s just say I have some work to do on my follow-through! One of my goals this year is to finish a few of these books before I purchase (or start) more. That self-imposed goal is so hard right now (so very hard!) as the temptation is great to buy a couple books that appear rather intriguing . . . . Did I mention I’m not good at follow-through?
Having the book Quotable Saints by Ronda De Sola Chervin on my shelf makes me feel oh-so-very-good about my inability to finish books. It’s one of my go-to books when I’m in need of a kick-start to prepare for meetings, presentations, and writings or when I’m struggling with something and seek advice from the saints. I’ve never read the book from front to back, but it often comes in handy. Chervin has collected thousands of writings from the saints and in pithy fashion arranged them thematically by chapter. It’s a simple book that keeps the focus where it belongs: on the wisdom of the saints. Struggling with wrath? There’s a chapter filled with quotes to help move you from an angry to peaceful state. Having some “woe is me” moments? Read the one focused on transferring feelings of despair into hope. One of my favorites: disorder to self-control (no surprise, eh?). I often thumb through the book with lack of purpose and more often than not end up on a page where something profound speaks to me.
Yesterday the Church celebrated the feast of a Church Doctor Saint Thomas Aquinas. His writings are an amazing gift to the Church that have been past down through the generations and are still being unwrapped. In good and right order, Chervin includes a ton of Aquinas’ wisdom in her book. As I reflected on Saint Thomas Aquinas throughout the day, I found one passage in the book that particularly gave me a great chuckle. Ms. Chervin introduces the story by explaining that Aquinas was often ridiculed by his Dominican colleagues for being too scholarly and one night they play a practical joke on him. The story goes:
“Thomas, Thomas,” one cried out, “Come, look out the window. A cow is jumping over the moon!” The portly theologian left his work and rushed to see the prodigy. When the assembled friars laughed at him, he replied, “I would rather believe that a cow was jumping over the moon than that a Dominican would tell a lie!”
I really needed that chuckle yesterday! Thank you, Saint Thomas Aquinas, for allowing yourself to be humbled in that moment and sharing your humor with us. May I be so quick-witted the next time I find myself in a similar situation!