The Joy of Memory!

Psalm 78:5-6

He established a testimony in Jacob,
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children;
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children.

Recently, there has been a fair amount of hubbub in American university history departments about the “dominance of western culture” and the need to hear from “voiceless peoples” (meaning those allegedly neglected cultures which have left virtually no record of themselves).  To this sort of rhetoric, Dr. David Curp, a historian at Ohio University replies, “The problem with Voiceless Peoples is: they don’t say anything.”  And because they don’t, ideology-driven modern academics often end up saying things for them that sound much more like the words of ideology-driven modern academics than they sound like the words of, say, an 8th century Mongol.  Moral: Give an academic a blank slate and he will write on it.  In contrast, one of the wonderful things that Christian civilization can be grateful for is that our Jewish spiritual ancestors were emphatically a people with a memory and that they took care to preserve that memory in both Scripture and Tradition, so that we, their children, could still have it without the “help” of ideologues.  In a culture that currently values the things of memory with all the retentiveness of the brain of a housefly, it is a joyous thing that we can still hear the words of God ringing down the ages.  Today, thank God that children yet unborn will hear and sing the praises of the Ever-Living God.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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