Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How I first met Father Jaki

One of my earliest memories is being in my father's bookstore, and hearing him recite Chesterton's great poem "Lepanto" - indeed, the bookstore where my mother went to buy a book and met my father. It was she who gave me the gift of reading.

It took some time - perhaps 25 years, when I was doing my M.S. and bored - for me to begin serious reading of Chesterton.

And then came a momentous day in the mid 1980s....

"Dad... what's this book - Science and Creation - is this new?"
"Yes, I thought you'd find that interesting..."

I got it and read it... it was amazing - I learned names of great wonder: Duhem! Buridan! Oresme! Strange to say, I did not find Chesterton mentioned there.

But not all that long afterwards:

"Dad... what's this book - Chesterton a Seer of Science - is this new?"
"Yes, I thought you'd find that interesting..."

I opened it and I read this:
That around 1973 Chesterton started acting on me as an irresistible magnet has to do with my spotting somewhere a statement of his about the divine strategy that based the Church's superhuman strength on Peter's miserable human weakness. Eager to use that statement in a book I was then writing on the biblical background of Peter's primacy, I had to trace the statement to Heretics and study its entire context. From the first chapter it was all too clear to me that Chesterton must be a gold mine for a philosopher and historian of science.
[Jaki, Chesterton a Seer of Science, introduction]
How true that is, Father. And so, through my father's books and my mother's love of reading, I have felt two irresistible magnets - GKC and SLJ - who pull me towards a greater love and knowledge of the Everlasting Man.

Written as a memorial to my father, who died this day five years ago, and as a memorial to Father Jaki, who was buried today.

Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them.
May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

1 comment:

Love2Learn Mom said...

Beautiful!

Looks like *I* still have a lot of reading to do! :)