|Richard Rolle in the Wild|
Rolle, the son of a prosperous farmer, was an especially promising student. The Archdeacon of Durham, Thomas de Neville, took Rolle with him to Oxford, where the boy enrolled. Many of the students embroiled themselves in the hot debates of the day, but Richard preferred translation and Bible study. At age nineteen, he left the place even though he had excelled academically. His explanation was that he had become too tempted by worldly pleasures and he feared further temptation would take him further astray.
|Chris McCandless in the Wild|
|Rolle's writings: Are you Ric-rolled?|
Rolle acknowledged the debate about those who contemplate God for their own spiritual perfection and those who are actively pursuing good works. About this, he said, "There are many active men better than some contemplatives," [though] "the best contemplatives are better than the best actives."
Maybe. Or maybe they're just different, without being better. Rolle hasn't cured me of my irritation with McCandless, but seeing an example of the hermetic impulse in the fourteenth century helps me to sympathize with it (a little) in the twentieth century.