September 14, 2011

The Cloud of Witnesses

From an interview by Kathryn Lopez of Father George Rutler, Priest Walks among the Dead

Lopez: Is there a literal cloud of witnesses?

FATHER RUTLER: I do not know how people see in Heaven, without biological eyes, but their vision is better than 20/20. They see the essence of each other. Whatever that essence is, we can only surmise that it is akin to what was seen by Jesus when he looked into the hearts of men. In that sense, the “cloud of witnesses” consists of people who have become with inexpressible vividness what they were meant to be in this world.
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Lopez: “It is an indictment of our time that [saints] are largely ignored, almost self-consciously so by our schools”?

FATHER RUTLER: No explanation, sociological or psychological or anthropological, can adequately explain how saints get to be saints. They are the evidence of divine grace, and to acknowledge their existence is to acknowledge that grace. So most of our schools prefer to destroy the evidence. Thus the greatest people who ever lived are treated nervously or ignored altogether. This is the biggest and most blatant lacuna in our curricula. For instance, how many Ph.D’s have ever heard of St. Lawrence of Brindisi? Yet, a good case may be made for saying that there would be no Doctors of Philosophy today, and no civilization at all as we know it, had it not been for him.
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Lopez: What’s the most important lesson these people all helped impress upon you?

FATHER RUTLER: They only proved to me the doctrine of the greatest doctors of souls from Basil to Augustine to Newman: Each human soul is worth more than the entire universe.

Lopez: Is the main point of your book to love one another?

FATHER RUTLER: Yes, of course. But it is much easier to love one another than to like one another. I am happy that we are not commanded to do the latter.
Posted by Jill Fallon at September 14, 2011 4:27 PM | Permalink