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The Power of Memory
Memories are powerful — a place, a picture, or even a smell can take us back to a time long forgotten.
When this happens, we’re reminded of the amazing intricacies and mysteries of the human mind, especially our memory.
Some students are very successful academically because of their memory. They can ‘memorize’ information (usually to cram last minute) and do well on a test, but then they forget the information because they took the time to memorize it, not learn it.
The grade became the desired end result, but it’s not a testament to the students’ actual knowledge of the subject matter.
This idea can be applied to matters of faith and virtue. Saint Albert the Great, a Dominican Saint of the 1200s, considered memory to be the most important part of the virtue of prudence.
“Whence we say that among all those things which point toward ethical wisdom, the most necessary is trained memory, because from past events we are guided in the present and the future, and not from the converse.” —Saint Albert the Great
To act virtuously in the future, in the present we must not only remember but understand events from our past. That is how we can learn and grow. That is how we can expect a different outcome when we face a familiar problem or temptation.
Our memory is a powerful tool, but what are we using it for?