At Christmas time, when our thoughts are preoccupied with the presents we plan to give and the presents we hope to receive, it would not be amiss to reflect upon, and express gratitude for, those gifts that have been bestowed upon mankind over the centuries and of which we are but the most current beneficiaries. — “Wise Men Bearing Gifts,” F.R. Duplantier, 1986
This is an abridged version of an article I wrote late in 1986, just after I got married and returned to the Church (it all happened at the same time, and so fast). I was feeling philosophical, and grateful, and decided to write an extended thank-you note for the wisdom of the ages. My wife and I spent our first Thanksgiving together (and enjoyed a belated honeymoon) at a friend’s cottage on Cape Cod. It was just the two of us, and a bunch of dead white men: Plato, Aristotle, Jesus, Augustine, Aquinas, John Locke, et al. They ate very little, respected our privacy, and helped tidy up. We had a great time together. Nevertheless, my wife made me promise: on our second honeymoon, I’ll leave the old guys at home.