Fr. Clooney, S.J., on “slow learning”

June 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

Fr. Francis Clooney, S.J., a Jesuit priest teaching at Harvard, has a beautiful meditation in America magazine on his personal and professional quest to understand Hinduism. His post advocates for what he calls “slow learning,” and he offers what strikes me as profound advice for those of us who are on a similar quest to make sense of the big questions, for those of us attempting to navigate through wondrous and perplexing plurality while nonetheless coming back, day after day, to the hope signified by the empty tomb.

Reading Fr. Clooney’s reflection, one gets the sense he has lived, as Stanely Kunitz would say, “in the layers.” An excerpt.

Beginning those days in Kathmandu, I found my way among the Hindu texts and practices, insights and emotions, visited the great temples, and created a space at the school where the boys could pray and praise God in their own language and by their own music — and I could watch and listen, drawn into the devotion and vision underlying their practice. I found myself as person, scholar-to-be, and Jesuit, in those two years. It was then and there, in July 1973, that I began my study of Hinduism, that field of expertise in which I have persisted and which I have deepened over these four decades as traveler, student, and professor. Without fully realizing what I was getting into, I was in fact laying the foundation for the entirety of my life: the American Catholic Jesuit priest and scholar who would study Hinduism for forty years and more, learning from Hindu traditions on every level of my being. What I do now began then.

Full post here.

Posted by Matt Emerson.

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