Faith in the Flesh

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As Catholic theologian, social critic, and First Things editor R.R. Reno sat in the synagogue pews one Saturday morning, watching his daughter assume her place in the people of Israel as a bat mitzvah, he was provoked to scrutinize his own Christian faith in light of the Judaism of his wife and children. In this 2007 essay, Reno witnesses his children’s Jewish education in rituals and laws, external actions that formed their inner beliefs. Reno’s observations of Jewish life from a distinctly Christian point of view led him to honor the Jewish connection between commandments and belief, and to enrich his own Christian fidelity.
Their mother was training their hands not to mix milk with meat so that the will of the Lord might be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Hands so trained, I thought, would not so readily take up the sword to slay the innocent, even if their hearts burned with murderous desire. Their hands were being pierced with the nails of divine intention day after day. And my hands, what of them?

Read the whole essay in Commentary.

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