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Monday 24 June 2013

Nadal Is Out!

Waiting for God and Waiting on God vs. the Self-Hug of Indulgence: Weil and Jones

As a very young person, I discovered Simone Weil. Remember, last year, I had a photo of her grave on this blog.

I also attended, over thirty years ago, a superb conference on her at Notre Dame. I had already read her books but the conference presenters were top-drawer. Sadly, it was not well attended.

Already, the need to listen to spirituality of love and suffering was becoming too tedious for most young people.

Suffering is part of the journey to God and cannot and should not be avoided. Weil has a few points I would like to highlight today.

The first is that she says that Christianity is the religion of slaves. What she means is that only those who are humbled in this world can appreciate this religion. She couples this with the extreme poverty of St. Francis. Her desire to be a vagabond was born of the ideal of purity, separating herself out from the world, and being totally dependent on God.

A slave is totally dependent on his or her master. Louis de Montfort uses this imagery in his consecration to Mary. We are repealed by the idea of slavery, as we identify ourselves as sons and daughters of God.

However, those of us who have had the good fortune of being in love understand the ideal of waiting on a person's every need or desire. Indeed, in the Scriptures, we have this phrase from Psalm 132:2 DR:

Behold as the eyes of the servants are on the hands of their masters, As the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress: so are our eyes unto the Lord our God, until he have mercy on us.

The second idea I want to note is that Weil experienced a personal love relationship with God, which even in the midst of great suffering, sustained her. The mystery of His Presence was given to her, and she notes that His Presence of Love was there even in suffering. I understand this. One can be suffering intensely and know all the time that Christ is with one. This Presence is Love, but He is not the Comforter at this point.

The third point is key. Weil notes that Christ wants us to prefer Truth to Him. What she means it that if we seek Truth, and Christ is Truth, we shall find Him. But, if we stray from Truth, we lose Him.

Those who seek consolations are not seeking Truth. These people kid themselves that they are seeking God, but in reality, they are seeking only themselves, in a self-hug of indulgence.

Another point to highlight for today, and I shall come back to her another day, is that one can meditate and contemplate using the Our Father alone. For years, Weil contemplated the Our Father daily, and from that prayer came great graces for her. We do not have to be complicated in our prayers. Christ Himself gave us the Our Father, and in that prayer is all we need for Love to blossom.

I read Weil over and over as a young woman, and her love for and in Christ is ever new. The greatest sadness to me is that she could not bring herself to be baptized, although Christ met her again and again. She decided for the sake of her Jewish brothers and sisters, to stay outside in the vestibule of the Church.

One more last point is key. Weil states that God uses rejects, castaways, wastes. I can identify with that for many reasons. God shines forth most clearly in those who are low and lowly. But, the world does not see this. Neither do some Catholics, who are so bent on middle-class spirituality, that they miss God, who is waiting for them. They miss Him, as David Jones writes, "For it is easy to miss him, at the turn of a civilisation."

(If and when I eventually get to heaven, after seeing Christ, Mary and Bernard of Clairvaux, I want to see David Jones. I am sad I never met him, but he died in 1974, six years before I came to England.)

Thanks to Wiki for Photo


I said, Ah! what shall I write?
I enquired up and down.
(He’s tricked me before
with his manifold lurking-places.)
I looked for His symbol at the door.
I have looked for a long while
at the textures and contours.
I have run a hand over the trivial intersections.
I have journeyed among the dead forms
causation projects from pillar to pylon.
I have tired the eyes of the mind
regarding the colours and lights.
I have felt for His wounds
in nozzles and containers.
I have wondered for the automatic devices.
I have tested the inane patterns
without prejudice.
I have been on my guard
not to condemn the unfamiliar.
For it is easy to miss Him
at the turn of a civilisation.
I have watched the wheels go round in case I might see the
living creatures like the appearance of lamps, in case I might see
the Living God projected from the Machine. I have said to the
perfected steel, be my sister and for the glassy towers I thought I
felt some beginnings of His creature, but A,a,a, Domine Deus,
my hands found the glazed work unrefined and the terrible
crystal a stage-paste . . . Eia, Domine Deus.
David Jones, in The Sleeping Lord and Other Fragments (1974)
The 70th anniversary of Simone Weil's death is on August 24th. 
to be continued....

The sad tale of leadership crises in Europe

Interesting-petition meets requirements for consideration of pardon

Catholic Priest Killed in Syria by Rebels

Were they armed by the United States?

Another Great from BartBuzz

Thomas Aquinas Series Continued on Virtues and Perfection

from 1:2;61

Reply to Objection 1. The Philosopher (Aristotle-supert) is speaking of these virtues according as they relate to human affairs; for instance,justice, about buying and selling; fortitude, about fear; temperance, about desires; for in this sense it is absurd to attribute them to God.
Reply to Objection 2. Human virtues, that is to say, virtues of men living together in this world, are about the passions. But the virtues of those who have attained to perfect bliss are without passions. Hence Plotinus says (Cf. Macrobius, Super Somn. Scip. 1) that "the social virtues check the passions," i.e. they bring them to the relative mean; "the second kind," viz. the perfecting virtues, "uproot them"; "the third kind," viz. the perfect virtues, "forget them; while it is impious to mention them in connection with virtues of the fourth kind," viz. the exemplar virtues. It may also be said that here he is speaking of passions as denoting inordinate emotions.

One must be moving into the perfecting virtues, as the true flowering of the virtues happens at the Illuminative State; before that state, there is too much "me" and not enough Christ.

Reply to Objection 3. To neglect human affairs when necessity forbids is wicked; otherwise it is virtuous. Hence Cicero says a little earlier: "Perhaps one should make allowances for those who by reason of their exceptional talents have devoted themselves to learning; as also to those who have retired from public life on account of failing health, or for some other yet weightier motive; when such men yielded to others the power and renown of authority." This agrees with what Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xix, 19): "The love of truth demands a hollowed leisure; charity necessitates good works. If no one lays this burden on us we may devote ourselves to the study and contemplation of truth; but if the burden is laid on us it is to be taken up unde r the pressure of charity."

I smile, because sometimes this "hallowed leisure" is unemployment, serious illness, such as cancer, or alienation from family. God has his ways of perfecting our intellect if we let him do this.

Charity demands that I write this blog, not my own desires, although the two can coincide. Charity demands that to whom something is given it must be given back freely, even in the face of poverty, which is the Face of Christ on the road to Calvary, as Veronica knew.

Reply to Objection 4. Legal justice alone regards the common weal directly: but by commanding the other virtues it draws them all into the service of the common weal, as the Philosopher declares (Ethic. v, 1). For we must take note that it concerns the human virtues, as we understand them here, to do well not only towards the community, but also towards the parts of the community, viz. towards the household, or even towards one individual.

Without sounding like Star Trek, the good of the one is the good of the many. Abortion is the opposite of this ideal, as we see to our sorrow. Catholics understand the value of one individual, one, because of the Incarnation, because of the Son of God Who died for all of us.

The socialist and communist agendas deny the good of the one. But, the virtues never forget the community, the household, the one.

To be continued...

To be baptized means this....and how to spot spiritual charlatans

Some preach, some fight, some do both....but none preach but Christ Jesus and His Resurrection and His Church...

For we preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ our Lord; and ourselves your servants through Jesus. 2 Cor:4:5. DR
From Edmund Campion:

My charge is, of free cost to preach the Gospel, to minister the Sacraments, to instruct the simple, to reforme sinners, to confute errors– in brief, to crie alarme spiritual against foul vice and proud ignorance wherewith many my dear Countrymen are abused.

How to spot spiritual charlatans:

1) If they charge for spiritual direction or spiritual counseling or spiritual healing;

2) If they work outside the Sacramental Life of the Church;

3) If they are not interested in instruction in the doctrines of the Church;

4) If they do not demand personal responsibility,  reformation; and if they do not talk of sin as a reality, and instead dwell on victimization;

4) If they permit any vice, any;

5) If they do not address, as Campion notes, proud ignorance, which is another phrase for the stubborn refusal to learn the teaching of the Catholic Church. And, to benefit from that refusal, as did those who benefited in the Protestant Revolt in England with money and status.

And the great Archbishop Chaput has something to say concerning this theme.

Thomas Aquinas Series--

Questions have come to me on the perfection series regarding the flowering of the virtues.

Thomas Aquinas clarifies this issue, and of course, Garrigou-Lagrange is a great Thomist.

Here is one section to chew on today. Unpacking follows in blue. More to come later....

As Augustine says (De Moribus Eccl. vi), "the soul needs to follow something in order to give birth to virtue: this something is God: if we follow Him we shall live aright." Consequently the exemplar of human virtue must needs pre-exist in God, just as in Him pre-exist the types of all things. Accordingly virtue may be considered as existing originally in God, and thus we speak of "exemplar" virtues: so that in God the Divine Mind itself may be called prudence; while temperance is the turning of
God's gaze on Himself, even as in us it is that which conforms the appetite to reasonGod's fortitude is His unchangeableness; His justice is the observance of the Eternal Law in His works, as Plotinus states (Cf. Macrobius, Super Somn. Scip. 1).

How extraordinarily beautiful this above section is. God's Divine Mind is Prudence and Temperance is His Looking on Himself. God's Fortitude is His Absolute Unchangeableness (in contradistinction from Islam, where Allah does change), and His Justice is His Eternal Law, and may I add, His Order for the Universe.

Again, since man by his nature is a social [See above note on Chrysostom] animal, these virtues, in so far as they are in him according to the condition of his nature, are called "social" virtues; since it is by reason of them that man behaves himself well in the conduct of human affairs. It is in this sense that we have been speaking of these virtues until now.

Without social virtues, we sink either into tyranny or into anarchy, which both we see coming in greater strength as the Catholic Church weakens from within owing to a lack of holiness.

But since it behooves a man to do his utmost to strive onward even to Divine things, as even the Philosopher declares in Ethic. x, 7, and as Scripture often admonishes us--for instance: "Be ye . . . perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48), we must needs place some virtues between the social or human virtues, and the exemplar virtues which are Divine. Now these virtues differ by reason of a difference of movement and term: so that some are virtues of men who are on their way and tending towards the Divine similitude; and these are called "perfecting" virtues

I cannot emphasize enough that these are given in baptism for our individual perfection, which in turn, if acquired, strengthens the Church. I think Fortitude is what is lacking in many Catholics or fallen-away Catholics who state Catholicism is "just too hard". Sadly, some priests give into lowering the bar on holiness and accepting the status quo for so-called "pastoral reasons."

Thus prudence, by contemplating the things of God, counts as nothing all things of the world, and directs all the thoughts of the soul to God alone: temperance, so far as nature allows, neglects the needs of the body; fortitude prevents the soul from being afraid of neglecting the body and rising to heavenly things; and justice consists in the soul giving a whole-hearted consent to follow the way thus proposed. Besides these there are the virtues of those who have already attained to the Divine similitude: these are called the "perfect virtues." Thus prudence sees nought else but the things of Godtemperance knows no earthly desires; fortitude has no knowledge of passion; and justice, by imitating the Divine Mind, is united thereto by an everlasting covenant. Such as the virtues attributed to the Blessed, or, in this life, to some who are at the summit of perfection. I:2;61

The beauty of the words challenge us today to pursue perfection, cooperating with the myriad graces God gives us daily. To me, the imitation of the Divine Mind, the process and the goal, is paramount. What is not known cannot be loved.

To be continued...

Article from Fr. Stephen Wang Worth Reading

Super Moon Photos

I saw the moon this morning early, as it was cloudy when I went to bed. It was not large at that time, but very, very bright.

Is Money God in America?

The Birthday of St. John the Baptist-Two Readings

Acts 13:22-26

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
22 And when he had removed him, he raised them up David to be king: to whom giving testimony, he said: I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to my own heart, who shall do all my wills.
23 Of this man's seed God according to his promise, hath raised up to Israel a Saviour, Jesus:
24 John first preaching, before his coming, the baptism of penance to all the people of Israel.
25 And when John was fulfilling his course, he said: I am not he, whom you think me to be: but behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.
26 Men, brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you fear God, to you the word of this salvation is sent.

Thanks to Wiki and Caravaggio

Luke 1:57-80

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
57 Now Elizabeth's full time of being delivered was come, and she brought forth a son.
58 And her neighbours and kinsfolks heard that the Lord had shewed his great mercy towards her, and they congratulated with her.
59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they called him by his father's name Zachary.
60 And his mother answering, said: Not so; but he shall be called John.
61 And they said to her: There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.
62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.
63 And demanding a writing table, he wrote, saying: John is his name. And they all wondered.
64 And immediately his mouth was opened, and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.
65 And fear came upon all their neighbours; and all these things were noised abroad over all the hill country of Judea.
66 And all they that had heard them laid them up in their heart, saying: What an one, think ye, shall this child be? For the hand of the Lord was with him.
67 And Zachary his father was filled with the Holy Ghost; and he prophesied, saying:
68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; because he hath visited and wrought the redemption of his people:
69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation to us, in the house of David his servant:
70 As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, who are from the beginning:
71 Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us:
72 To perform mercy to our fathers, and to remember his holy testament,
73 The oath, which he swore to Abraham our father, that he would grant to us,
74 That being delivered from the hand of our enemies, we may serve him without fear,
75 In holiness and justice before him, all our days.
76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways:
77 To give knowledge of salvation to his people, unto the remission of their sins:
78 Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us:
79 To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: to direct our feet into the way of peace.
80 And the child grew, and was strengthened in spirit; and was in the deserts until the day of his manifestation to Israel.
Thanks to Wiki and Caravaggio

Continuing the discussion of sloth and industry

An excellent article on Sloth...and our lady above is studying, training the mind against laziness and cupidity...

UPDATE: see Michael Voris' video on the Angel of Death, who is Gabriel, according to the Judaic tradition. His video overlaps on these posts on sloth and greed (that one to come). When I hear priests say they do not like the Latin Mass, I know there is a serious problem of heresy, sloth, greed.

You may have missed this terrible article on the kidnapping of Coptic girls...

From Prudentius on Heresy

I am known as Discord and sometimes men call me Heresy. I see God in various ways: now smaller and now greater, now in a twofold manner, now in a single. When I desire, he lacks- substance and is a ghost, or he is my soul when I decide to mock him. Belial is my teacher, the world is my home.'
Faith will tolerate no more of such blasphemy. In a single thrust the queen of the virtues pins with a spear the tongue of Discord and stops her breath. Countless hands tear the deadly body of Discord and each of the virtues throws a bit of her flesh into the breeze or to the dogs or to the crows; pieces of her body are dropped in the sewers and flushed out to sea to be devoured by monsters. At last the entire corpse is fed to unclean beasts. Dreadful Heresy, torn limb from limb, has perished. With this last skirmish all men become free to live in the peace that has been given to all mankind.

And the opposite of Heresy is................Concord, which encompasses all the virtues and brings Peace. And, without rational discourse and reflection, heresy becomes rife.