The Corner

Religion

Keep Learning, Even While You’re Stuck at Home

A general view shows an empty church as a camera crew records a live broadcast of the Catholic mass at the Rubaga Cathedral amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kampala, Uganda, March 22, 2020. (Abubaker Lubowa/Reuters)

If your local church has been closed for mass or services because of the coronavirus outbreak, you might already be availing yourself of the options that technology has made available for at-home prayer. I’ve discovered in the last couple of weeks that already at least a handful of Catholic churches are live-streaming mass at different times on Sunday, and several are live-streaming daily mass as well. I’ve seen that plenty of Protestant churches are doing the same with Sunday worship services.

Of course, there really is no substitute for being at church in person (particularly for Catholics, given that mass is where we typically receive the Eucharist), but these options offer religious believers ways to worship even while staying home. I thought I’d share another resource that’s following a similar model, but for at-home learning: lectures from the Thomistic Institute.

The institute, named for St. Thomas Aquinas, is operated by Dominican priests and has chapters on more than 50 college campuses across the country, each of which usually organizes lectures, reading groups, and conferences throughout the academic year. With most college campuses closed to students for the rest of the spring semester, and classes shifted to online learning, the Thomistic Institute has shifted, too — and its online events aren’t just for students.

Last week, the group hosted its first free live-streamed “Quarantine Lecture,” featuring Fr. Dominic Legge, a Dominican priest, on the topic of “Grace and Anxiety: Spiritual Growth in a Time of Turmoil,” drawing heavily on the thought of Aquinas to pinpoint causes of anxiety and ways to grow and find peace in spite of it.

This week, on Tuesday and Thursday, there will be another two lectures given by Dominican priests, one on what we can learn about plagues from Scripture and the other on finding the presence of God in solitude. There are several more lectures planned over the course of the coming month.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve found yourself with some extra at-home hours during this strange time of social distancing. Maybe spending a little time learning from some of the best theological minds out there will help you like it has helped me.

And here’s the video recording of Fr. Legge’s talk, in case it’s of interest.

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