Mind and soul
“Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,
But vaster.” — Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Several miles from the palaces of knowledge found at the Smithsonian Institution, the Washington National Cathedral stands in a quiet residential area seldom congested with the throngs that crowd the monuments and museums. Its lovely architecture, stained glass and surrounding gardens offer a setting conducive to quiet contemplation, set apart from the hectic schedules and political battles of our nation’s capital.
Reverence is a quality that often seems in short supply. In contemporary movies and on television, God’s name is spoken primarily as a conversational byword, an exclamation of surprise or emphasis. But this disregard of spiritual sanctity does not bode well for our world. While it’s true that many evils have been perpetrated under the banner of false or misguided religion, human progress throughout history has been inextricably and undeniably bound up with deeds of courage and compassion enacted by people who lived by faith in a God of wisdom, justice and love.
I believe it’s a mistake to see faith and reason as mutually exclusive. Indeed, many of the greatest minds in history have described how their knowledge served only to deepen their faith. I am grateful today for the knowledge and reverence of those whose sacrificial devotion has made the world a better place for all of us. May we have the wisdom to rejoice that truth lives, despite all efforts to silence or destroy it.