Saturday, July 27, 2013

"Age . . . has done more for my morals than Methodism ever did."

     River Bill Thacker, in Wendell Berry's Jayber Crow, chap. 23 (Washington, DC:  Counterpoint, 2000), 256).

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"remember the Church in Syria"

"Remember me in your prayers, that I may attain to God, and remember the Church in Syria, of which I am not worthy to be called a member.  For I need your united prayer in God and your love, that the Church which is in Syria may be granted refreshment from the dew of your Church."

μνημονεύτέ μου ἐν ταῖς προσευχαῖς ὑμῶν, ἵνα θεοῦ ἐπιτύχω, καὶ τῆς ἐν Συρίᾳ ἐκκλεσίας, ὅθεν οὐκ ἄγιός εἰμι καλεῖσθαι·  ἐπιδέομαι γὰρ τῆς ἡνωμένης ὑμῶν ἐν Θεῷ προσευχῆς καὶ ἀγάπης, εἰς τὸ ἀξιωθῆναι τὴν ἐν Συρίᾳ ἐκκλησίαν διὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ὑμῶν δροσισθῆναι.

     St. Ignatius (d. c. 107), Magnesians 14, trans. Kirsopp Lake.  Cf., as elsewhere.

Monday, July 22, 2013

"faith 'sees' to the extent that it journeys, to the extent that it chooses to enter into the horizons opened up by God’s word."

"The word spoken to Abraham. . . . is a call to leave his own land, a summons to a new life, the beginning of an exodus which points him towards an unforeseen future. The sight which faith would give to Abraham would always be linked to the need to take this step forward: faith 'sees' to the extent that it journeys, to the extent that it chooses to enter into the horizons opened up by God’s word."

     Pope Francis, Lumen fidei 9.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tocqueville on the origin of the Sublime

     "When skepticism [(le doute)] had depopulated heaven, and the progress of equality had reduced each individual to smaller and better-known proportions, the poets, not yet aware of what they could substitute for the great themes that were departing together with the aristocracy, turned their eyes to inanimate nature.  As they lost sight of gods and heroes, they set themselves to describe streams and mountains."

     Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America II (1840).I.xvii ("Of some sources of poetry among democratic nations"), trans. Henry Reeve, with revisions by Francis Bowen and Phillips Bradley ((New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997), vol. 2, p. 73);  =II.I.xvii in Œuvres, ed. André Jardin (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade), II (De la démocratie en Amérique), ed. Jean-Claude Lamberti and James T. Schleifer (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1992), 585.
     Yet this "belongs only to a period of transition."  For
in the end democracy diverts the imagination from all that is external to man and fixes it on man alone.  Democratic nations may amuse themselves for a while with considering the productions of nature, but they are excited in reality only by a survey of themselves. . . .In Europe people talk a great deal of the wilds of America, but the Americans themselves never think about them; they are insensible to the wonders of inanimate nature and they may be said not to perceive the mighty forests that surround them till they fall beneath the hatchet.  Their eyes are fixed upon on another sight:  the American people views its own march across these wilds, draining swamps, turning the course of rivers, peopling solitudes, and subduing nature [(pp. 73 and 74)].
     How then to account for the resurgence of interest in the Sublime at the turn of the last century? 

"in crowning their merits, you crown your own gifts."

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

For you are praised in the company of your Saints

and, in crowning their merits, you crown your own gifts
     [(et eorum coronando merita tua dona coronas)]....

And so, with the Angels and Archangels, and with the great multitude of the Saints,

we sing the hymn of your praise,
as without end we acclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy. . . .

     Preface I of Saints, all italics mine.  This Preface and the sentence that I have italicized derive from prayer no. 1258 in (on p. 289 of) the Missale Parisiene of 1789 (also a Preface of Saints), where the sentence in question appears in a slightly different word-order:  "et eorum coronando merita, coronas dona tua."  I don't know how far back this prayer goes in the Parisian tradition, but according to pp. 445-450 of The Prefaces of the Roman Missal, by Ward and Johnson, where it is Preface no. 69, the sentence in question derives from De gratia and libero arbitrio 15 (PL 44, 890-891) and Tract. in Ioannem 3.10 (PL 35, 1401) of St. Augustine, where the wording is very similar.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church cites (at the head of the section on Merit, i.e. just before #2006, on p. 541n59) also En. in Ps. 102.7 (PL 37, 1321-1322).
     Here the new translation certainly did improve things.  For the old one read more ambiguously, "You are glorified in your saints, for their glory is the crowning of your gifts."