Novak (novak) wrote,

Personal: General Letter, February 1994

After a semester here at Notre Dame, I really feel that I've become as comfortable and as enamoured of the place as I have anywhere else. DeKalb was perhaps a flat, plain midwestern town, but I came to love it, to smile at its familiar houses and walks, little nooks that I only stumbled upon on late-night walks that I'd somehow passed over during the days. Now this place is like that.

I have a cast of friends as solid as any I could hope for. My good friend and roommate Bob who brings to our friendship a seemingly identical understanding of the world, but with a completely different past behind him; my Canadian friend Kate, who constantly has me over for dinners at her apartment, often with the rest of the crew, and who delights me by teasing back just as awefully overmuch I tease her. Greg from Texas, who seems to be my counterpart, opposing me in just about everything I say and yet somehow finding the common ground of out different Christianities; and Tom, who I'm not sure how to describe, only in that we're a lot alike and a lot different. He'll be a medical student at Georgetown next year and is very much my brother. These seem to be my central four here. There are many more friends who I have yet to learn to be so close to and probably never will. I wrote an essay some years back about that, where I said, "I can't be intimate with everyone. I don't have the time ! And that would spoil those unique qualities of intimacy itself: the privacy, the tenderness, the understanding and the exclusivity of feeling." I guess that's still the case.

My work this semester consists of studying Preaching and Exegesis in the Early Church with a wonderful professor named John Cavadini with whom I shall do a PhD if I stay here for doctoral work, and the Mystery of God (which seems to be the euphemism in Catholicism for God as a subject, especially when studying the Trinity) with Catherine LaCugna, whom I adore and think is perhaps the greatest Christian woman I've met. Or maybe I just feel rather dumb around her. She's teaching us students a great deal theologically, but a theology that is in no way removed from our lived Christian lives, if that makes sense. Remarkable. I am also taking courses in Foundations of Moral Theology and Ecclesiology (the study of the church) which are fine, but not really up my alley.

At least that's what I'm assigned to do. I often am reading something completely unassigned (right now it's Sir Thomas Mallory's Le Motre D'Arthur) or playing bloody computer games on my Mac, Trevor. Or going to movies. I'm weak! I'm weak! I just spent a weekend with Rich Mullins and Beaker and did next to no homework, but had a grand time. The balance is the thing. I'm listening to Rich's latest album (with the actually quite defining or descriptive title of A Liturgy, A Legacy, And A Ragamuffin Band) as I type this. The album is definitely a must-buy. But, of course, Rich is my favorite composer, so I'm prejudiced. He came up to me at lunch the other day and introduced himself. Quite typically, I used the opportunity to start an argument with him. Nothing too foolish, just a debate over the merits of the soundtrack to the Zefferelli film (one of my favorites) Brother Sun, Sister Moon. Life.
Tags: books, francis of assisi, friends-notre dame era, movies/film/tv, notre dame, old stories, patristics, rich mullins, systematic theology, teachers

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