Friday, March 14, 2014

Why study St. Thomas in Norcia?

Perhaps this is a question that you have been thinking - "an academic program is great, but why should I study for two weeks in Norcia?" We believe firmly that the academic study of theology is an endeavor that is first done on one's knees. Theology is unique among all of the sciences because it has God as its object (Cf. ST Iq1a7). While one may be able to demonstrate conclusions from principles in any science, the principles of theology are received through revelation and accepted by faith (Cf. ST II-IIq2). For this reason, it is imperative that those engaged in theological pursuits first immerse themselves in a life of prayer. St. Thomas himself received his first education in Monte Cassino, the monastery founded by St. Benedict. Perhaps it was there that St. Thomas first began to be formed in the school of prayer and contemplative life that would foster his theological endeavors later in life.

Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict, is a small fortified town in the heart of the Sibilline mountains of Italy, known for its wild boar and black truffles found in the surrounding area. From nearly anywhere in the town, you are a mere 5 minutes walk to the gate of the town, which opens up to walks in the countryside and surrounding mountains. The heat of the summer is restrained by the mild mountain nights, and the fresh spring water is available from any of the many fountains located around town.

The monastery of St. Benedict is in the heart of the town, providing a liturgical rhythm to daily life that elevates the experience of the natural beauty in the area to become the perfect atmosphere for contemplating the higher truths of God. (Cf. ST II-IIq180a4)

Just as St. Thomas  was first educated in a Benedictine school of prayer, consider joining us in Norcia this summer in an atmosphere perfectly disposed to contemplating the divine truths.

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