I Had Latin or Did Latin Have Me? Listen Up, Boys and Girls.*

I had Latin in high school. The teacher was glad 
I lost the election for student council president 
because I could devote more time to studying Latin. 

Well, veni, vidi, vici, not so much.  I just came 
across another Latin word: ob-audire, “to listen with 
great attentiveness.” That sounds good and it is what 

I should have done in Latin class. Wait a minute. That 
word translates as “obedience.” Bummer.  Who likes to 
be obedient?  That is what we expect of our pets. Oh, 

and then in the same meditation there is another Latin 
word: surdus — deaf and then ab-surdus, completely deaf. 
Absurd! Who wants that? And so, if we are obedient to 

what matters we won’t fall into absurdity. Does that 
mean that teacher is always right? We can only listen 
with great attentiveness and well, then veni, vedi, vici. 

*idea from a meditation by Henri Nouwen

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