Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A nice definition of "study"

Sertillanges is big on the virtue of humility in the intellectual life. It is self-assertion and pride that inhibits true progress in the discovery of truth. He makes clear that the intellect is primarily a passive faculty. The most important attitude we can have in pursuing our studies is receptivity. We must refrain from premature judgment and from identifying our current understanding with the truth itself even about things that we are quite familiar with. This is because the primary actor in the pursuit of truth is God himself.
Study might be defined by saying that it is God becoming conscious in us of His work. Like every action, intellection passes from God to God, as it were, through us. God is the first cause; He is its last end; on the way, our too assertive self can deflect the movement. Let us rather open our eyes wisely so that our inspiring Spirit may see in us.
--A.G. Sertillanges, The Intellectual Life (Washington: CUA Pres, 1987), p. 131.

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