During the pandemic I have frequently looked through my bookcase. Finding Cooke’s book, which I had not looked at from the time I first read it, probably 40 years ago, seemed like a special grace. It was like meeting an old friend.
As I was reflecting on how to end this series of columns in which I have tried to use the novels and essays of Walker Percy (1916-1990) to provoke thought about the mystery of the human person, I spotted in my bookcase a book that I had read and enjoyed many years ago. It was Ralph McInerny’s “Some Catholic Writers” (St. Augustine’s Press, 2007).
Writing this series of columns, using insights from Catholic, existentialist novelist Walker Percy (1916-1990), has been an exceptionally pleasing experience for me.
Besides scientism, another subject, perhaps the subject that Percy deals with more than any other is the mystery of the human person. In his six novels and his books of essays, Percy focuses on what it means to be a human person, what it means to be an image of God. Right now I cannot think of a more important topic.
The experience of the pandemic is an experience that we should never forget and pray that we never have again. Probably for each of us, the experience has been in some way a learning experience. It probably forced all of us to reflect deeply on our lives and our relationships. I have come to believe that all of us are a product of our relationships — our relationships with God and with others.
I wonder if I could find a text that would reveal more powerfully the unique importance of every person. Each of us is called by God to cooperate with God’s creative act and providential presence by contributing our own unique free choices. Every single one of us has a place in God’s plan. To refuse to freely choose when choice is called for in God’s plan is to fail to fulfill our role in God’s providence.
Dear Editor: Congratulations to Father Lauder on his recent column, “Temptation to Relativism.”
Dear Editor: I write to thank The Tablet for publishing, and Father Robert Lauder for writing, his recent series of insightful and delightful columns about David Brooks’ important book, “The Road to Character.” I enjoyed reading that book and learned a lot from Father Lauder’s illuminating essays.
Elia Kazan’s “Pinky” (1949), starring Jeanne Crain, Ethel Waters and William Lundigan, is this week’s featured film in Father Robert Lauder’s 52nd Friday Film Festival at the Immaculate Conception Center, Douglaston. The diocesan Office of Faith Formation, School of Evangelization co-sponsors the festival.
Dear Editor: For those of us who have enjoyed Father Robert Lauder’s column in The Tablet over the years, there is a special treat on YouTube under the heading “Robert Lauder, the Mystery of Love.”