Clarificatio, Dialectica, et Rhetoricae

As I began these podcasts, I deleted the first one I did, for I said something I regretted, and thought, do I do this all over again? Re-takes take up a lot time, as the perusal of the biography of any actor will evince. Yet a visiting alumnus said to me, and I paraphrase – ‘just make the mistake part of your podcast’. And I thought, indeed. Something like a podcast has to be more spontaneous and free-flowing – fluens et incompleta, as we might say in theology of grace contained in the sacraments – and not a rigid, pre-programmed entity, an article read out verbatim. How boring might that be – and I’m not saying they’re exciting as it is. A work in progress. And, as Chesterton, quipped, if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly. Which holds for many things. Not brain surgery, I would imagine, except in a real pinch.

So, as I learn and plod along, I will have to offer clarifications. Perhaps I overemphasized the drinking aspect in that last one, as I anticipate some of the joys of Easter, after a long, long Lent. God did give us wine, ‘to cheer man’s heart’ (Ps 104:15). Saint Paul advised Timothy to take a little ‘for the sake of his stomach’ (1 Tim 5:23). Then there’s Belloc, who rhymed:

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, there’s always laughter and good red wine; at least I have always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!’

And, of course, Christ used wine as the means by which to give us His blood of the New Covenant, something we celebrate on Holy Thursday, in what meals we have – perhaps with smaller numbers this year, but with joy, nonetheless.

That all said, one does not need to drink anything distilled to be human, if that point need be made, and we should commiserate with those who struggle with such substances; and admire those who have ‘taken the pledge’, as they say in Ireland, as two of my grandparents did- fortunately, they were married to each other – each never touching a drop. My dear departed Granda Reilly scarcely knew what alcohol was, and, as the story goes, perhaps with some hyperbole, he would pour a tumbler full of Scotch for those who dropped by, thinking a finger-full miserly (we were Scotch-Irish). Needless to say, some jolly pledge-free neighbours stopped by quite often.

Granny and Granda Reilly went on to have fourteen children, so had plenty of other matters to take up their time.

One final philosophical thought:

As I reflect upon writing and podcasting, I seem them exemplifying Aristotle’s modes of expressing truth: The written word tends more towards the logical and dialectical, while the spoken, more to the rhetorical. But there is, and should be, a bit of both, in each.

Thank you for bearing with me, dear reader, as we journey together on the pilgrimage of this life, in truth, in hope, in charity.