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Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin
January 25, 2002 Issue

Capturing mystery of God

Act immediately, principal advises

By Tony Staley
Compass Editor

Next Allouez

What: Claude Allouez Forum, sponsored by the Green Bay Diocese and the St. Norbert College Theological Institute; it is open to the public.

When: 7:15 a.m. Feb. 8.

Where: Bemis International Center, St. Norbert College.

Who: Sara Reichert, Green Bay author and spiritual director.

Topic: So Many Books, So Little Time: "Friends of God and Prophets" by Elizabeth Johnson.

Cost: $8, includes breakfast.

Reservations: (920)437-7531 or (toll-free) 1-877-500-3580, ext. 8173.

DE PERE -- Pulitzer Prize winning author Annie Dillard captured the essence of a mysterious and loving God and our need to immediately begin doing God's work in her book, For the Time Being, Tim Schumacher told the January Claude Allouez Forum.

In the stream of consciousness book, "you will find her musings at various times, confusing, unsettling, disheartening and humbling," said the principal of Notre Dame de la Baie Academy in Green Bay.

"At other times, you will find them equally enlightening, touching, stimulating and amusing," Schumacher said at the monthly breakfast lecture sponsored by the Green Bay Diocese and the St. Norbert College Theological Institute.

Schumacher, a Green Bay native and Notre Dame's first lay principal, used the book "as a daily meditation -- reading only so far as I needed before drifting into prayer and reflection."

The book crosses centuries, continents, cultures, customs and beliefs and "finds a God who reveals himself in the intricacies of creation," Schumacher said.

Schumacher warned that the book opens with an unsettling reference to a manual of birth defects that Dillard said she used "to get rid of the readers who think of her as a mystic nature writer."

Dillard believes "God needs man to disclose him, complete him, fulfill him," Schumacher said. "Matter becomes spirit as we lift the fallen, free the imprisoned. It is in such work that we allow the holy to accomplish itself in that section of creation in which we belong. God entrusts and allots to everyone an area to redeem. God's being immanent depends on us."

In her book, Schumacher said, Dillard writes: "'There were no formerly heroic times, and there was no formerly pure generation.... It is a weakening and discoloring idea that rustic people knew God once upon a time, but that it is too late for us. In fact, the absolute is available to everyone in every age. There never was a more holy age than ours, and never a less.'"

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