A Message from Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. | IPNovels.com
Do You Ever Read Novels?
That’s a Yes or No question. Here are some thoughts on each possible answer:
No? Well, you should. Or if that sounds too moralistic: reading good novels can make you a better, happier person, a “new self and nobler me” (Hopkins).
Really? Why? The reasons are many and space is too short so I’ll give just one. You can call it an argument from authority. (I’ll omit bad reasons for reading even good novels.)
Who was the world’s greatest teacher? How did he teach? He sometimes held outdoor conferences, gave sermons—even an occasional homily—and he did use the method of the world’s second greatest teacher (Greek; name begins with “S”). But he taught “with authority” which means, among other things, that he was an “author” And mainly, he told stories.
God’s eternal Word became Incarnate in Jesus Christ. And Jesus incarnated his teaching in stories we call parables. He knew that was the best way for us to learn, to grasp the non-successive (eternal truth) in the successive (temporal plot).
Every good story is an incarnation of truth, beauty, and goodness—a participation in the Incarnate Word’s incarnate words.
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