Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Pierre Ceresole

"Pray the Eternal to keep your weather vane in good trim so that it readily responds to the true winds of the spirit and doesn’t get jammed by the rust of tradition in a position unrelated to the truth or to the true currents of the spirit."

     Pierre Ceresole (much less often in the catalogues, Cérésole), For peace and truth:  from the notebooks of Pierre Ceresole, ed. and trans. John H. Harvey and Christina Yates  (London:  Bannisdale Press, 1954), ___.  Friends journal 2, no. 11 (March 17, 1956):  cover (161):
Pray the Eternal to keep your weathervane in good trim so that it readily responds to the true winds of the spirit, and does not get jammed by the rust of tradition in a position unrelated to the truth or to the true currents of the spirit.
I was introduced to these words by my colleague Carrie Fry.  The original French runs as follows:

"Priez l’Eternel de graisser votre girouette afin qu’elle s’oriente bien au vrai vent de l’Esprit, et ne reste pas calée par la rouille des traditions dans une position sans rapport aucun avec la vérité, ou avec un courant spiritual reel."

     Pierre Ceresole (much less often, though not in this book, Cérésole), Vivre sa vérité:  carnets de route,  Deuxième edition corrigée et augmentée (Neuchatel:  Editions de la Baconnière, 1950), 146-147 (in the section dated 1919-1926; Ceresole joined the Society of Friends in 1937 or shortly thereafter).

Saturday, February 25, 2017

"what was visible in our Savior has passed over into his sacraments"

"Quod itaque Redemptoris nostri conspicuum fuit, in sacramenta transivit; et ut fides excellentior esset ac firmior, visioni doctrina successit, cujus auctoritatem supernis illuminata radiis credentium corda sequerentur."

     St. Leo the Great, Sermo 74.2 (Sermon no. 2 on the Ascension), as quoted at CCC 1115, but with "sacraments" substituted for "mysteries".  CCSL 138; PL 54, col. 398A.  NPNF, ser. 2, vol. 12, trans. Feltoe:
In order, therefore, dearly-beloved, that we may be capable of this blessedness [promised to those 'who have not seen and yet have believed'], when all things were fulfilled which concerned the Gospel preaching and the mysteries of the New Testament, our Lord Jesus Christ, on the fortieth day after the Resurrection in the presence of the disciples, was raised into heaven, and terminated His presence with us in the body, to abide on the Father’s right hand until the times Divinely fore-ordained for multiplying the sons of the Church are accomplished, and He comes to judge the living and the dead in the same flesh in which He ascended.  And so that which till then was visible of our Redeemer was changed into a sacramental presence, and that faith might be more excellent and stronger, sight gave way to doctrine, the authority of which was to be accepted by believing hearts enlightened with rays from above.

"What we need is not a depoliticized science but a more political science—that is, a science unembarrassed about the legitimate role of politics in resolving what we now call scientific disputes."

     Ari N. Schulman, "Science anxiety," The hedgehog review:  critical reflections on contemporary culture 18, no. 3 (Fall 2016):  74 (64-78).  "call" being the operative term, for it is an error "to expect science to adjudicate [what are often actually] normative questions" (71), given that even the various sciences disagree among themselves on many of those.  For "what are commonly regarded as scientific questions, resolvable by some singular methodology of science per se, in fact arise from conflicts among different scientific disciplines, with their rival methodologies, outlooks, and interests (70, citing Daniel Sarewitz), "their conflicting ethical priorities, political valences, and even metaphysics" (71).  So "If supposedly scientific disputes are in fact normative [rather than scientific] even when carried out among scientists, then surely the same will be true of debates in the public sphere" (72).

Love, even intermediated love, will carry you

     "Whence the power of love to conquer even the worst terrors?  In its purest form, it is the love of God.  But just as Dante could not look directly at God, imperfect mortals are hard pressed to love him directly, for which, presumably, having created the possibility of many forms of intermediation, he forgives us.  So one loves those made 'in his image,' image not to be taken literally but more deeply.  Thus, Dante says, 'Beatrice in suso, ed Io in lei guardava.'  'Beatrice gazed upward, and I gazed at her.'  As Beatrice looks upward, the light of God makes her face apprehensible, and in reflecting off her into Dante's eyes allows him to love God by loving her.
     "Love will carry you, if you know it, if you let it, through all tests, through suffering and death.  In suffering, it is as if an angel folds his wings to protect you.  I know this not because I am a philosopher—you can plainly see that I am not—but only because I have been there.  And I report back with no expectation except mockery from those who haven't, which is perfectly all right if one has learned in life to trust one's own eyes and listen to one's own heart."

     Mark Helprin, "Falling into eternity," First things no. 271 (March 2017):  24 (19-24).  "Beatrice in suso, e io in lei guardava" (Paradiso II.22) in the “Testo critico della Società Dantesca Italiana” dated 1921.

Friday, February 24, 2017

"Toleration . . . is required only for the intolerable."

     Bernard Williams, "Toleration:  an impossible virtue?" (1992), in Toleration:  an elusive virtue, ed. David Heyd (Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 1996), 18 (18-27).  I was put onto this by John Inazu, "Law, religion, and the purpose of the university" (February 2017), Legal studies research paper series paper no. 17-02-07, p. 5, scheduled for a forthcoming issue of the Washington University law review.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The falcon's sole chance of hearing (and honing in on) the falconer

"In the exitus of creatures from the First Principle one observes a sort of circulatio or regiratio [(= regyratio < re-gyro, -avi, to turn about again, to wheel round)] from the fact that all things return as to their end, to that from which they issued as from their principle.  And this is why it is necessary to attend to this, that their return to their end [(reditus in finem)] is accomplished by the same causes as their departure from the principle [(exitus a principio)]. . . . [Now] the procession of [the divine] Persons is the ratio [(explicative reason and model)] of the production of creatures by the First Principle, [so] that same procession [of the divine Persons] is therefore also the ratio of the[ir] return to their end, for just as we were created by the Son and by the Holy Spirit, so it is by [the Son and the Holy Spirit] that we are united to our ultimate end", i.e. the Father.

     St. Thomas Aquinas, 1 Sent. d.14 q.2 a.2 co., as translated into French by Jean-Pierre Torrell, "Thomas d’Aquin," Dictionnaire de spiritualité 15 (1991), col. 751 (718-773).  The original Latin as reproduced at Corpus Thomisticum:
in exitu creaturarum a primo principio attenditur quaedam circulatio vel regiratio, eo quod omnia revertuntur sicut in finem in id a quo sicut a principio prodierunt. Et ideo oportet ut per eadem quibus est exitus a principio, et reditus in finem attendatur. Sicut igitur dictum est, dist. 13, quaest. 1, art. 1, quod processio personarum est ratio productionis creaturarum a primo principio, ita etiam est eadem processio ratio redeundi in finem, quia per filium et spiritum sanctum sicut et conditi sumus, ita etiam et fini ultimo conjungimur. . . .

"some notions are so fatuous that only intellectuals could possibly believe them."

     Kyle Smith, "Immoral acts," The new criterion 35, no. 6 (February 2017):  41 (40-43).  Smith is referring to Bertrand Russell, whose commitment to open marriage took a serious (if only passing) hit "as he began to discover the strength of [his second wife Dora's] affair with a writer named Roy Randall.  Although Russell himself was having an affair with his children's Swiss governess, Alice Stücki, he suggested a truce and begged for mutual fidelity:  'It was all a folly,' Russell [(who, after a string of affairs with women in addition to Alice, had "bec[o]me impotent with Dora")] wrote.  'And here we are landed each with a lover, & no possibility of happiness till that state of affairs is over. . . . I should be infinitely happy if we could get back to having only each other."  Prior to Alice, Russell had enjoyed a long string of affairs with other women, too, and, as a consequence, had "bec[o]me impotent with Dora."  If memory serves, his first wife Alys Pearsall Smith suffered from his infidelities as well.  Nor did Russell ever "learn his lesson".  Indeed, he "continued to treat marriage with . . . boulevardier superficiality" (42).