I THINK IT IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF IGNORANCE WHEN ONE THINKS ONE KNOWS WHAT ONE IS IN FACT IGNORANT OF

Eugene’s two reflections on studies, to the young scholastics, were an echo of his own attitude to studies when he had been a seminarian 20 years before:

If I want to be of some use in the ministry, I still have a lot of studying to do, and it is quite clear that I could not undertake anything in my present state and keep a perfectly clear conscience.
I am well aware that there are priests who are less prepared than myself perhaps and who nevertheless press on, but it is a very great evil. And I think it is the highest form of ignorance when one thinks one knows what one is in fact ignorant of or knows only in a sketchy way.

Letter to his mother, 14 October 1811, EO XIV n 93

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One Response to I THINK IT IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF IGNORANCE WHEN ONE THINKS ONE KNOWS WHAT ONE IS IN FACT IGNORANT OF

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “I am a part of all that I have met;
    Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
    Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
    For ever and forever when I move.
    How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
    To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
    As tho’ to breathe were life!” (from Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson)

    Always it would seem that there is so much more to life, to living than I have experienced or even dreamed of and each time I begin to know something, I find that there is always a growing ‘more’ that I do not know or experience, that I have not even imagined.

    I think of Eugene and how I have come to know him; how in coming to know him and the Oblates – and so many of all who make up this dear Mazenodian Family that I am quite literally learning, realising about myself and God. How with each small thing that I learn I become aware of and recognise how much more there is to learn. When I eat, when I feed myself, I become sated and am no longer hungry. Yet it seems that when I learn, when I study and begin to learn I find my appetite actually growing and I realise that I will not be satisfied with just a little bit or with ‘enough’.

    I am a part of the 1st group taking the new “Oblate Studies” course. Learning – it’s hard work, it requires a commitment of my time and energy, of openness to the idea that my own margins will be stretched and then fade as I allow new margins to appear. The image is that of the ocean and her tides and they flow in and out and with those movements everything remaining the same even as it all changes. And rather than fading into the obscurity that is sometimes experienced as we grow older and are not able to ‘produce’ as we once did, my being and senses are becoming renewed – rekindled. My days are being recoloured as they explode with points of light – my oceans are shining as they reflect the light of life above and below. How could I possibly ask for more?

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