My companion this weekend, as I wait in the car for the children to emerge from this place or that, is Robert Louis Wilken’s Remembering the Christian Past, a collection of essays on the love of history and the desire for God. It’s a lovely book, highly recommended. Why? Because Wilken, better than anyone else alive, understands why we thrill to spend time with the Fathers. Here he invokes Matthew Arnold:
Commerce with the ancients appears to me to produce, in those who constantly practice it, a steadying and composing effect upon their judgment, not of literary works only, but of men and events in general. They are like persons who have had a very weighty and impressive experience; they are more truly than others under the empire of facts, and more independent of the language current among those with whom they live.
Wilken is one of my favorite contemporary authors. See also his more recent book The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God, which is the single bestselling non-Aquilina book bought through this site.