I am blessed to have had Dr. Thomas Carruth as a professor when I was in seminary. I never imagined (in my wildest dreams) that I would come some years later to succeed him as Professor of Prayer and Spiritual Life at Asbury Theological Seminary. But so it has been since 1980.
At the time, I did not realize that “Dr. Tom” was leading us into the heart of biblical and classical spirituality with his unrelenting emphasis on Love. Sometimes it seemed like it was the only thing that mattered to him, and as a young (immature) seminarian, I sometimes wanted him to “get on to other things” as he taught us.
But now…..I realize that Tom Carruth was a true mystic—a true interpreter of the classical Christian tradition. I can only imagine that now, in heaven, Benedict and Tom are having wonderful conversations about Love—“high fiving” one another for having caught the essence of the Christian faith and passed it on to the likes of us!
In our day, Henri Nouwen wrote he had concluded the only question that ultimately matters is this, “Have the years of my life moved me to love God more and more?” That’s what Tom Carruth was trying to get through to us more than 40 years ago. It’s what Benedict was trying to say in the Rule he wrote nearly 1500 years ago.
You can say many other good words after you have said, “Love.” But there’s no finer word to be spoken before you’ve said, “Love.” The Rule of Benedict is instruction in the life of Love.
Thanks, “Dr. Tom” for putting enough spiritual velcro on my soul, so that Benedict could stick to it when I finally met him.