“La Douceur de Vivre”, by Michael Pakaluk

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By Michael Pakaluk, The Catholic Thing, Sept. 15, 2021

Michael Pakaluk, an Aristotle scholar and Ordinarius of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, is a professor in the Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America. …

Note: The Papal Posse rides again on Thursday night on EWTN’s “The World Over” (as always at 8 P.M. Eastern).  Host Raymond Arroyo, Fr. Gerald Murray, and TCT Editor-in-Chief Robert Royal will discuss key issues in the Church from the last several weeks.

Michael PakalukThere were a handful of jokes that Michael Novak told regularly.  One went:  “The pessimist says, ‘Things can’t get any worse.’  The optimist says, ‘Oh yes they can!’” Another was: “In a well-functioning marriage, the husband always has the last word.  And it’s ‘Yes, dear.’”  I learned from Novak, or at least I learned to admire, a certain equanimity and balance. Yes, which included a sense of humor, ready-to-hand, that would put even serious problems in perspective.

I have been thinking about him recently, while re-reading St. Thérèse of Lisieux’s Story of a Soul.  Novak was convinced that the astonishingly rapid spread of devotion to St. Thérèse throughout Europe prepared the way for the great “Catholic Renaissance” in thought and letters of the first part of the century.  (If you want to know more about this, your best guide will be Robert Royal’s A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century.)  Novak saw the 20thcentury with its crises as a bounded by an arc within the Church, between the teaching of the Little Flower at the start and that of Pope John Paul II at the end. …

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