The Spiritual Practice of Study

In my spiritual life, study is perhaps my most important practice.

I was in school for 30 years and sometimes wondered if there would ever be a time when I wouldn’t formally be a student. My first day of school in a rather strict Catholic elementary school in Detroit was so off-putting that I refused to go the next day, and my mother ordered me to stay in my room until I changed my mind. I also remember my last days of school doing doctoral studies in religion, when I was clicking away on my portable typewriter, using two sheets of carbon paper, to get my dissertation completed.I didn’t want to serve another year of my sentence. Still, between those two less-than-ideal moments, I loved the process of learning.In my teens and 20s I lived in a community of friars, a Catholic order dedicated to the monastic life, where study was a spiritual practice. At first, being a serious student didn’t come natural to me. I had grown up in a family of plumbers and was the first, as far as I know, to go to college. (I’m not slighting plumbers. My father taught plumbing like a college professor.)I can still feel the difference when I’m in the presence of a real intellectual who comes f …

About the Author

Thomas Moore is the New York Times best-selling author of Care of the Soul, as well as many other books on...

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