Saturday, February 12, 2011

Giving light to the Lutherans

"By the earnest desire that I have to be of some use in helping you to serve this my God and Lord, I beg you, in my own name, whenever you read this, to give great praise to His Majesty and beg Him to multiply His Church and to give light to the Lutherans. . . ."

St. Teresa of Avila, Interior castle, Seventh mansions, chap. 4 (Complete works of St. Teresa of Jesus, translated and edited by E. Allison Peers, vol. 2 (London: Sheed & Ward, 1946), 351).

Resting content with having merely desired the impossible

"the devil sometimes puts ambitious desires into our hearts, so that, instead of setting our hand to the work which lies nearest to us, and thus serving Our Lord in ways within our power, we may rest content with having desired the impossible."

St. Teresa of Avila, Interior castle, Seventh mansions, chap. 4 (Complete works of St. Teresa of Jesus, translated and edited by E. Allison Peers, vol. 2 (London: Sheed & Ward, 1946), 349).

A hard saying

"If His Majesty revealed His love to us by doing and suffering such amazing things, how can you expect to please Him by words alone?  Do you know when people really become spiritual?  It is when they become the slaves of God and are branded with His sign, which is the sign of the cross, in token that they have given Him their freedom."

St. Teresa of Avila, Interior castle, Seventh mansions, chap. 4 (Complete works of St. Teresa of Jesus, translated and edited by E. Allison Peers, vol. 2 (London: Sheed & Ward, 1946), 346).  "the profit [of prayer and contemplation] is small by comparison with the far greater profit which comes from conformity between our deeds on the one hand and our resolutions and the words we use on the other" (346).  "you must not build upon foundations of prayer and contemplation alone, for, unless you strive after the virtues and practise them, you will never grow to be more than dwarfs" (347).

Mt 6:33

"she must take care of His business and He will take care of hers."

St. Teresa of Avila, Interior castle, Seventh mansions, chap. 3 (Complete works of St. Teresa of Jesus, translated and edited by E. Allison Peers, vol. 2 (London: Sheed & Ward, 1946), 339).

"We must base our judgments on the virtues."

"And let none of you imagine that, because a sister has had such experiences, she is any better than the rest; the Lord leads each of us as He sees we have need.  Such experiences, if we use them aright, prepare us to be better servants of God; but sometimes it is the weakest whom God leads by this road; and so there is no ground here either for approval or for condemnation.  We must base our judgments on the virtues.  The saintliest will be she who serves Our Lord with the greatest mortification and humility and purity of conscience.  Little, however, can be known with any certainty about this on earth, nor until the true Judge gives each his deserts.  Then we shall be amazed to see how different His judgment is from the ideas which we have formed on earth."

St. Teresa of Avila, Interior castle, Sixth mansions, chap. 8 (Complete works of St. Teresa of Jesus, translated and edited by E. Allison Peers, vol. 2 (London: Sheed & Ward, 1946), 314).

Weeping for God

"again and again they will think they are weeping for God but this will not be so in reality."

St. Teresa of Avila, Interior castle, Sixth mansions, chap. 6 (Complete works of St. Teresa of Jesus, translated and edited by E. Allison Peers, vol. 2 (London: Sheed & Ward, 1946), 300).  "Do not let us suppose that if we weep a great deal we have done everything that matters; let us also set to and work hard, and practise the virtues. . . ."

Pray less

"The real solution is to see that such people have less time for prayer. . . ."

St. Teresa of Avila, Interior castle, Sixth mansions, chap. 3 (Complete works of St. Teresa of Jesus, translated and edited by E. Allison Peers, vol. 2 (London: Sheed & Ward, 1946), 280).  The context is, of course, crucial here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"All the air things wear"

"The air without is impregnated with raindew moisture, life essence celestial, glistening on Dublin stone there under starshiny coelum.  God's air, the Allfather's air, scintillant circumambient cessile air."

James Joyce, Ulysses, Episode 14 (Ulysses:  the corrected text, ed. Hans Walter Gabler with Wolfhard Steppe and Claus Melchior (New York, NY:  Random House, 1986), 345, ll. 1407-1409).

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe," as sung by Israeli novelist David Grossman

"Ora tells Avram she will probably never know what really went on behind Adam and Ofer's closed door during that whole period.  Because what, in fact, did happen?  Two kids, one almost thirteen, the other just over nine, spent every day together, usually just the two of them, for three or four weeks during summer vacation.  They played computer games and foosball, chattered for hours, made up characters, and every so often they cooked shakshuka or pasta together.  'And while they did all thatdon't ask me exactly how it happenedone of them saved the other.'"

David Grossman, To the end of the land, trans. Jessica Cohen (New York, NY:  Alfred A. Knopf, 2010), 411.  The story of how nine-year-old Ofer delivered his twelve-year-old half-brother Adam from his descent into hell begins on p. 406 (a passage too long to quote), and the descent into hell itself, on p. 386.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What's the harm?

"It's about a society on its way down, and as it falls, it keeps telling itself, 'So far so good... so far so good... so far so good.' It's not how you fall that matters. It's how you land."
 
La Haine (1995), dir. Mathieu Kassovitz. English from the subtitles. French: "C'est l'histoire d'une société qui tombe et qui au fur et à mesure de sa chute se répète sans cesse pour se rassurer: 'Jusqu'ici tout va bien, jusqu'ici tout va bien, jusqu'ici tout va bien...' L'important c'est pas la chute, c'est l'atterrissage."
     Cf. the population-bomb doomsday-er Paul Ehrlich, on the conservative Julian Simon, who won the famous bet between the two of them:  "Julian Simon is like the guy who jumps off the Empire State Building and says how great things are going so far as he passes the 10th floor" (Cass R. Sunstein, reviewing The bet:  Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and our gamble over earth's future, by Paul Sabin (New Haven:  Yale University Press, 2013), in "The battle of two hedgehogs," New York review of books 60, no. 19 (December 5, 2013):  22).