Saturday, January 15, 2011

"not to be served, but to serve"

"God, Who is the first agent of all things, does not act in such a way that something is attained by His action, but in such a way that something is enriched by His action.  For He is not in potency to the possibility of attaining something; rather, He is in perfect act simply, and as a result He is a source of enrichment.  So, things are not ordered to God as to an end for which something may be attained, but rather so that they may attain Himself from Himself, according to their measure [sed ut ab ipso ipsummet suo modo consequantur], since He is their end."

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra Gentiles III.18.5, as quoted in Reinhard Hütter, in his "Aquinas on the natural desire for the vision of God:  a relecture of Summa contra Gentiles III, c. 25, après Henri de Lubac," The Thomist 73, no. 4 (October 2009):  544 (523-591).

"like trees, walking"

"He left the Bristol feeling, as he would have said, a different man.  From now onwards till the moment of final decision should meet him, the different men in him appeared with startling rapidity and each seemed very complete while it lasted.  Thus, skidding violently from one side to the other, his youth approached the moment at which he would begin to be a person."

C. S. Lewis, That hideous strength:  a modern fairy-tale for grown-ups, chap. 10, sec. 2.

Soskice contra Rosenzweig on the Name

"To Rosenzweig's insistence that, 'in the narrative context . . . the only justifiable translation (of the Name) is one that makes prominent not God's being eternal but his being present, his being present for and with you now and in time to come', a Maimonidean might reply (and a Thomist certainly would reply) that this intimacy, this providence, is precisely what it means for Jews and Christians, but not for the philosophers, to say that God is Eternal.  'Eternity' is thus not another idea alongside and possibly in conflict with that of providence, but is in the Jewish and the Christian understanding part of the meaning of providence or, better, part of what it means for Jews and Christians to say that God is the Creator.  God's undivided presence to everything in particular is in sharp contrast with what 'divine eternity' meant for classical Greek philosophy."

Janet M. Soskice, "Creatio ex nihilo:  its Jewish and Christian foundations," in Creation and the God of Abraham, ed. David B. Burrell, Carlo Cogliati, Janet M. Soskice, and William Stoeger (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2010), 29-30 (24-39).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"'This is mine'"

"Lustiger was a rabbinical clone of Wojtyla, who gave him the red hat in 1983. This was clear from his first Mass as Bishop of Orléans. His predecessor, Guy-Marie Riobe, had genuflected before every trend of the day, leaving the diocese a material and spiritual shambles, and Lustiger did not mention his name. At the Mass, when all the people joined in the conclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer as they had been recently taught to do, Lustiger firmly placed his hand on the altar and said, 'This is mine.'"

     Fr. George Rutler, "Jean-Marie Lustiger."

"the beauty of heaven that can seem harsh on earth"

"An eloquent sadness in him was too ancient for any one race to claim; and when, in 1999, he read his own mother's name, Gisele, at a public remembrance of deported and dead French Jews and added "ma maman," he spoke with a voice older than Exodus, and as old as the first day outside Eden.
"His parents were non-practicing Ashkenazi Jews, emigrants to France from Bendzin in Poland in the First World War, and his father survived his mother in Auschwitz in 1943. On a visit to Germany in 1937, he stayed with an anti-Hitler family of Protestants and read the New Testament for the first time. In 1940, his sister joined him in converting to Christianity while under the protection of a Catholic family in Orléans whose bishop baptized Aaron, adding the names Jean-Marie. The pain of losing his mother in such a crucible of evil ached all the more from his father's sense of betrayal. Charles, who kept a hosiery business, was of radical political views and held the tradition of the generations his one vital link to moral cogency. When Jean-Marie was ordained a priest, Charles watched his son from the rear of the cathedral, and the beauty of heaven that can seem harsh on earth was there that hour."

Fr. George Rutler, "Jean-Marie Lustiger,"