Sunday, October 21, 2018

Hanby on the disastrous de-Hellenization of Christianity

"Christianity cannot be de-Hellenized . . . without being de-Christianized at the same time, and Christianity cannot be de-Christianized without an eclipse of the sense of God and man casting its dark shadow over the whole of our thought and life."

     Michael Hanby, "A false paradigm," First things no. 287 (November 2018):  24 (19-24).  And further on down that same page,
     At the head of the Cross of Christ, the Gospels tell us, was an inscription which read 'Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.'  According to St. John, it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.  What could this detail even mean to our de-Hellenized minds, except perhaps to indicate an early example of sociological 'inculturation'?  But for the traditional Christian, on whom the ends of the ages had come, and for whom the universe itself is a symbol crying out to us to recognize its Creator, it would have meant much more.  It would signify that the whole world was united in judgement under the Cross of Christ in the fullness of time, and that it was precisely in this Kairos—which unites the language of true worship, the language of power, and the language of the wise—that God chose to reveal himself.  The wisdom of the Greeks could not therefore be adventitious to the meaning of the gospel and to the articulation of Christian faith, as indeed they have never been up till now.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

"a gauzy mercy without justice or truth"

"the idea of a gauzy mercy without justice or truth appears suspiciously self-serving for a Church that has so much to confess."

     Michael Hanby, "A false paradigm," First things no. 287 (November 2018):  19 (19-24).  Does Hanby consider this "gauzy mercy" distinctively Francis-can, by chance?  Well, yes:
It would perhaps be unfair to burden [the] progressive proponents [of this false paradigm] with the full weight of its Kuhnian meaning, just as it would be unfair to charge the pope with full responsibility for bringing this change about [(21, italics mine)].

SALVE, FESTA DIES

A moonset at sunrise by Tracie Hall
"'Does not a good man consider every day a festival?'  And a very splendid one, to be sure, if we are virtuous.  For the world is the most sacred and divine of temples, and the one most fitting for the gods.  Man is introduced into it by birth to be a spectator:  not of artificial, immobile statues, but of the perceptible images of intelligible essences [that the divine mind, says Plato, has revealed, images which have innate within themselves the beginnings of life and motion:  images] such as the sun, the moon, the stars, the rivers whose water always flows afresh, and the earth, which sends forth food for plants and animals alike.  A life which is a perfect revelation, and an initiation into these mysteries, should be filled with tranquility and joy."

     Plutarch, On tranquility of mind 20, 477C, in response to Diogenes, as translated in Pierre Hadot in Philosophy as a way of life, ed. Arnold I. Davidson, trans. Michael Chase (Malden, MA:  Blackwell Publishing, 1995), 98.  The ellipsis in Hadot I have filled in with the old Loeb translation by W. C. Helmbold.
'Does not a good man consider every day a festival?'  And a very splendid one, to be sure, if we are virtuous.  For the world is the most sacred and divine of temples, and the one most fitting for the gods [(ἱερὸν μὲν γὰρ ἁγιώτατον ὁ κόσμος ἐστὶ καὶ θεοπρεπέστατον)].  Man is introduced into it by birth to be a spectator [(θεατής)]:  not of artificial, immobile statues, but of the perceptible images of intelligible essences [that the divine mind, says Plato, has revealed, images which have innate within themselves the beginnings of life and motion [(οὐ χειροκμήτων οὐδ' ἀκινήτων ἀγαλμάτων . . . , ἀλλ' οἷα νοῦς θεῖος αἰσθητὰ μιμήματα νοητῶν, . . . ἔμφυτον ἀρχὴν ζωῆς ἔχοντα καὶ κινήσεως ἔγηνεν)]:  images] such as the sun, the moon, the stars, the rivers whose water always flows afresh, and the earth, which sends forth food for plants and animals alike.  A life which is a perfect revelation, and an initiation into these mysteries, should be filled with tranquility and joy [(ὧν τὸν βίον μύησιν ὄντα καὶ τελετὴν τελειοτάτην εὐθυμίας δεῖ μεστὸν εἶναι καὶ γήθους)].

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The study of spirituality as spiritual discipline

Catholic Theological Union

"the [academic] study of spirituality is necessarily a self-implicating discipline.
     "In short, . . . the actual 'object' that spirituality studies [(namely, 'expressions of human meaning' 'constructed' by 'the human spirit fully in act', by 'human persons being, living, acting according to their fullest intrinsic potential', and 'thus, ultimately, in the fullness of interpersonal, communal, and mystical relationship')] cannot be approached except with the attitude like that of one who takes up a spiritual discipline. . . .  If the academic discipline of spirituality is to have any specificity, it must claim and clarify its character as [itself] a form of spiritual discipline.  Spirituality can be an academic discipline only insofar as it coheres with its deeper character as spiritual discipline.  Unless it is understood in clear relation to its real core, the academic study of spirituality will fragment across all other disciplines and lose any specificity."

     Mary Frohlich, “Spiritual discipline, discipline of spirituality:  revisiting questions of definition and method,” Spiritus:  a journal of Christian spirituality 1, no. 1 (Spring 2001):  75, 71 (65-78).  That focus on personal experience as mediated via human construction is suspect, but she does make an attempt to transcend this with those claims about other-directed relationship, including 'mystical relationship'.  Suspect, too, is that penultimate paragraph.  The study of spirituality as spiritual discipline sounds good, but this is unfortunately all too familiar (italics mine):
     Such a discipline of spirituality will, to be sure, be of a different character than the spiritual disciplines of former eras.  Rather than an obedient immersion in an institutional culture, it will require a high tolerance for aloneness, permanent quest, vulnerability, and 'things falling apart.'  It will presume a willingness to probe, experiment, and accept challenges to every element of one’s lived spirituality.  It will call for the repeated risk of dialogue with the sometimes unnerving range of interpretations applied to the phenomena of one’s own and others’ spiritual experiences.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

"there is one Jesus Christ our Lord, who came by means of the whole economy".

"there is one Jesus Christ our Lord, who came by means of the whole economy and who has recapitulated all things in himself."

"et unus Christus Jesus Dominus noster, veniens per universam dispositionem, et omnia in semetipsum recapitulans."

     Irenaeus, Adv. haer. III.17.6, as translated on p. 127 of Rodrigo Polanco, "Balthasar and Irenaeus:  the total glorification of God and of man in God," Communio:  international Catholic review 36, no. 1 (Spring 2009):  116-137.  Dispositio does translate οἰκονομία (as does dispensatio), though there is no Greek on this page.  Greek > Latin; Latin > Greek.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

"a work of Thine own hands, a sheep of Thine own fold, a lamb of Thine own flock, a sinner of Thine own redeeming"

"Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant N.  Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming.  Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light.  Amen."

     1979 BCP, p. 465, 483, and 499.

1928 BCP ("A Commendatory Prayer when the Soul is Departed"):
Into thy hands, O merciful Saviour, we commend the soul of thy servant, now departed from the body.  Acknowledge, we humbly beseech thee, a sheep of thine own fold, a lamb of thine own flock, a sinner of thine own redeeming.  Receive him into the arms of thy mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light.  Amen.
1883:  The book annexed to the report of the Joint Committee on the Book of Common Prayer as modified by the action of the General Convention of MDCCCLXXXIII (New York:  E. & J. B. Younge Co., 1885), 307:
Into thy merciful hands, O heavenly Father, we commend the soul of thy servant, now departing from the body.  Acknowledge, we meekly beseech thee, a sheep of thine own fold, a lamb of thine own flock, a sinner of thine own redeeming.  Receive him into the arms of thy mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, into the glorious estate of thy chosen saints in heaven.  O most merciful Jesus, that thing cannot perish which is committed to thy charge; Receive, we beseech thee, his spirit in peace.  Amen.
1627:  John Cosin, A collection of priuate deuotions, as reproduced in 1867:
Into Thy merciful hands, O Lord, we commend the soul of this Thy servant, now departing from the body:   acknowledge, we meekly beseech Thee, a work of Thine own hands, a sheep of Thine own fold, a lamb of Thine own flock, a sinner of Thine own redeeming.  Receive him into the blessed arms of Thy unspeakable mercy, into the sacred rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious estate of Thy chosen saints in heaven.

"In the Catholic tradition, it is the dignity of the human person—not its denial—that undergirds the legitimacy of capital punishment."

     Steven A. Long, "Magisterial irresponsibility," First things no. 286 (October 2018):  43 (41-45).  Great article.