Speaking in Florida, October 29: “Marriage in Crisis”

I think of scholarship as a calling.  No, I’m not putting on airs.  A great many things are callings.  For example, even if you are not called to a particular profession over others, you may be called to be a husband and father.  If you care lovingly for your children and your wife, and you work hard at the work you can get, you are doing well.

Perhaps I am mistaken that scholarship is a calling.  But if it is, then several things follow.

One is positive:  If you are called to scholarship and you aren’t doing it, you ought to be.  I am not speaking of how you draw your salary; fortunate is the scholar who can make a living at his craft.  But you can practice studium even if you lay bricks for a living.

Another is negative:  If you aren't called to scholarship, you should probably get out of it.  Find out what you should really be doing.  Many of my students enter scholarship merely because they the life of an academic seems pleasant to them, or some teacher told them they had promise.  Things like that are well and good, and for another line of work – say, accountancy -- they may be enough.  But they do not add up to a calling.

The call is not just to be a scholar, but to be a particular scholar.  Put another way, the call has four notes, and one must listen for each one of them.  There is a callnote to scholarship as such; there is a callnote to a particular discipline; there is a callnote toward a particular task in that discipline; and there is even a callnote toward certain insights concerning that task.

The reason is that although there is only one truth, each of us is better at seeing certain fragments of it than others are.  The Maker may give you many insights.  He may give you several.  He may give you only one.

Never mind if that one insight is all you have.  For you -- just because it is His gift -- it is a facet of that gem of great price you should never let go.