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Father Gregory Pine on the Fruits of the Thomistic Tradition


Friend of the show, Father Gregory Pine, O.P., discusses the Thomistic Institute,“Godsplaining” podcast, and discernment.

Father Greogry describes the Thomistic Institute. “It’s a research Institute of the Dominican house of studies, the place where Dominicans of my province come to study theology. And we have this research institute to deepen thought within the Thomistic tradition, the tradition of theological learning that follows in the footsteps of St. Thomas Aquinas. A few years ago, we had conferences and people left enlightened and edified. So we thought, ‘What if we were to take this to university campuses and make it more broadly available to the academic public?’ So we started these campus chapters, and now we’re in about 60 schools.”

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Father Gregory chats about a recent episode of “Godsplaining,” a weekly podcast hosted by the Dominican friars. “We did an episode on Flannery O’Connor and her literary genius. She was a Southern American author from Atlanta. She’s best known for her short stories, and most famous for writing in a way that communicates how grace is conveyed in violent fashion. So often at the end of her stories you’ll have some really grotesque or wacky image or wacky conclusion to the story. But it’s used as a way to show how we often need to be shocked to be returned to our senses. So she says ‘To the hard of hearing you shout, and to the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures.’ Her literary theory or style is informed very much by that notion. She was a Catholic herself and read St. Thomas every day. That’s some of what you’ll hear on the “Godsplaining” podcast.”

Father Gregory shares that the Thomistic Institute is hosting quarantine lectures online, “An excellent one was called ‘Grace and Anxiety.’ I think a lot of us have in our mind that anxiety is a thing, but we don’t really know how to describe it. We talked about it in terms of fear, uncertainty and pending doom, etc, and talk about how the Lord speaks specifically to that. Another one was about biblical perspective on plagues. Why is it that the Lord permits plagues to happen? Or in what sense can the Lord be said to be the cause of plagues? Because we had a lot of people at the beginning of this pandemic saying that this is a punishment for, fill in whatever kind of catastrophic cataclysmic, cultural sin. This particular professor was saying we know some things, but we also don’t know other things. So let’s just take a biblical perspective. I thought those were really both really good.”

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Father Gregory touches on discerning a religious vocation. “I’m not a big proponent of the ‘just do it’ mentality because I think a big part of the discernment is suffering God’s timing. I think that we need to be cognizant of the fact that it’s the Lord who initiates and we’re responding to that. So we’re consenting to and cooperating with the grace that he gives. It’s not our vocation to seize from his hand. If it’s truly ours, then we’ll love it. I think when people enter religious life or when they start to discern the priesthood, they come to discover that their hearts don’t necessarily conspire towards this end. It’s clarifying and then they leave. And that’s good because they have a greater hold on what it is that they are made for. But I think that when you get this  ‘just do it,’ mentality you can add further confusion because you’re white-knuckling the very approach before you kind of relax and let it come to you. That can often prove difficult for some people working through that in the fallout.”