Wednesday, December 30, 2015

"God deliver me from sour-faced saints".

François Gérard (1827)
"Dios me libre de santos encapotados".

     Letters of Saint Teresa:  a complete edition translated from the Spanish and annotated by the Benedictines of Stanbrook; with an introd. by Cardinal Gasquet, vol. 3 (London:  T. Baker, 1922), 295n2.

     More critically, "Virtudes de nuestra Madre Santa Teresa segun una relacion de su prima La Venerable Madre Maria de San Jeronimo," Appendix LV in Obras de Sta. Teresa de Jesus, ed. P. Silverio de Santa Teresa, C.D., Biblioteca Mistica Carmelitana, vol. 2, Relaciones espirituales (Burgos:  El Monte Carmelo, 1915)), 301 (291-302).
     Moreover, the plural occurs in the Introduccion to vol. 5:  "Dios nos libre de santos encapotados" ("God deliver us from sour-faced saints"; Obras de Sta. Teresa de Jesus, ed. P. Silverio de Santa Teresa, C.D., Biblioteca Mistica Carmelitana, vol. 5, Las Fundaciones (Burgos:  El Monte Carmelo, 1918)), x).
     According to Dr. Eric W. Vogt, Professor of Spanish at Seattle Pacific University and translator of The complete poetry of St. Teresa of Avila:  a bilingual edition, 1st ed. (New Orleans:  University Press of the South, 1996), 2nd ed. (2015), "This is a hallmark sentiment of hers. She expresses it frequently, consistently and many ways in her writings, including in her poetry" (note to me dated 31 December 2015).
     encapotados:  scowling, frowning, cloudy, lowering (and presumably sullen).  (But I haven't checked a period-specific dictionary such as one of those included in the Nuevo Tesoro Lexicográfico de la Lengua Española.)

Monday, December 28, 2015

"Christ is really the Son of the Virgin Mother through the real relation of her motherhood to [Him]."

Bouguereau, Virgin and child (1888).
"each opinion is true to a certain extent. For if we consider the adequate causes of filiation, we must needs say that there are two filiations in respect of the twofold nativity. But if we consider the subject of filiation, which can only be the eternal suppositum, then no other than the eternal filiation in Christ is a real relation. Nevertheless, He has the relation of Son in regard to His Mother, because it is implied in the relation of motherhood to Christ. Thus God is called Lord by a relation which is implied in the real relation by which the creature is subject to God. And although lordship is not a real relation in God, yet is He really Lord through the real subjection of the creature to Him. In the same way Christ is really the Son of the Virgin Mother through the real relation of her motherhood to Christ."

"quantum ad aliquid utraque opinio verum dicit. Nam si attendamus ad perfectas rationes filiationis, oportet dicere duas filiationes, secundum dualitatem nativitatum. Si autem attendamus ad subiectum filiationis, quod non potest esse nisi suppositum aeternum, non potest in Christo esse realiter nisi filiatio aeterna. Dicitur tamen relative filius ad matrem relatione quae cointelligitur relationi maternitatis ad Christum. Sicut Deus dicitur dominus relatione quae cointelligitur reali relationi qua creatura subiicitur Deo. Et quamvis relatio dominii non sit realis in Deo, tamen realiter est dominus, ex reali subiectione creaturae ad ipsum. Et similiter Christus dicitur realiter filius virginis matris ex relatione reali maternitatis ad Christum."

     St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae III.35.5.Resp., trans. FEDP.  I was put on to this by John Saward, Cradle of redeeming love:  the theology of the Christmas mystery (San Francisco:  Ignatius Press, 2002), 126.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

"[Jesus] importunes for us by exhibiting before the Paternal conspection the humanity [he] assumed for us and the mysteries [he] celebrated in it."

"interpellat pro nobis humanitatem pro nobis assumptam et mysteria in ea celebrata conspectui paterno repraesentando."

     I was put on to this by John Saward, Cradle of redeeming love:  the theology of the Christmas mystery (San Francisco:  Ignatius Press, 2002), 93:  "As St Thomas says, our Lord 'makes intercession' for us in Heaven, not by offering up petitions, but 'by making present (repraesentando) in the sight of the Father the humanity assumed for us and the mysteries celebrated in that humanity'."
     Aquinas goes on to cite Heb 9:24.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

"Clear thinking about God purifies the soul!"

     Fr. Bernhard Blankenhorn, O.P., on the importance of a steady diet of Aquinas.  Note to me dated 15 December 2015.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


Rejoice in the Lord always;
again I say, rejoice.
Indeed, the Lord is near.

Gaudete in Domino semper:
iterum dico, gaudete.
Dominus enim prope est.

     Entrance antiphon, Third Sunday of Advent ("Gaudete Sunday").  Image from one of the two earliest antiphonaries in which it still appears, the 8th/9th-century (c. 800) Antiphonary of Mont-Blandin.  Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale 10127-10144fol. 90v (=image no. 187 in the digitization), ll. 11-14, where the text, according to Hesbert (Antiphonale missarum sextuplex (Brussels:  Vromant & Co., 1935), no. 4, p. 6), reads as follows:
AN[T]. Gaudete in D[omi]no semp[er] iterum dico gaudete modestia v[est]ra nota sit omnibus hominibus D[omi]n[u]s p[ro]pe e[st] nihil solliciti sitis sed in omni oratione petitiones v[est]re innotescant apud D[eu]m.  PSAL[M]. Benedixisti D[omi]ne.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

"Be strong for us in the flesh!"

Streite, siege, starker Held!
Sei vor uns sim Fleische kräftig!
Sei geschäftig,
Das Vermögen in uns Schwachen
Stark zu machen!

Contend, conquer,
     mighty champion!
Be strong for us in the flesh!
To strengthen the power
In us who are weak!

     "Streite, siege, starker Held!", a paraphrase of stanza 6 of "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland," by Martin Luther (1523), who was translating "Veni Redemptor gentium," by St. Ambrose.   According to the liner notes to the Gardiner recording above, "Streite, siege starker Held!" was composed by an unknown librettist for J. S. Bach's Cantata for the First Sunday in Advent BWV 62 (Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland).  Luther's sixth stanza, as reproduced in The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology (I haven't checked this against Jenny), ran as follows:

Der du bist dem vater gleich, 
fur hynnaus den syeg ym fleisch,
das dein ewig gots gewalt
ynn unns das kranck fleysch enthallt.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

"a god who had sacrificed himself to men"

"'One can only imagine the astonishment of the hundreds and thousands of Indians who asked for baptism as they came to realize that they were being asked to adore a god who sacrificed himself for men instead of asking men to sacrifice themselves to gods, as the Aztec religion demanded.'"

     Carlos Fuentes, as quoted by Robert Royal in
  • 2014 January 11 (no citation)
  • 2006:  The God that did not fail (New York:  Encounter Books, 2006), 158 and 288n13, citing "The buried mirror:  reflections on Spain and the New World ([Boston and] New York:  Mariner, [Houghton Mifflin Company,] 1999)" (no page number).  There I have have found only this so far, on p. 146 (pp. 156-157 in the Spanish edition of 1992).  It's comparable, but note that it comes up (in this book) readily in a Google search, while the Royal wording (above) returns only publications by Royal:
In a universe accustomed to seeing men sacrificed to the gods, nothing amazed the Indians more than the sight of a god who had sacrificed himself to men.  It was the redemption of humankind by Christ that fascinated and really defeated the Indians of the New World.  The true return of the gods was the arrival of Christ.  Christ was the recovered memory that in the beginning it was the gods who sacrificed themselves for the benefit of humankind.  This misty memory, engulfed by the somber human sacrifices ordained by Aztec power, was now rescued by the Christian church.  The result was flagrant syncretism, the blending of Christian and aboriginal faiths, one of the cultural foundations of the Spanish American world.
     In actual fact, it comes from near the end of the second episode of the documentary The buried mirror:  reflections on Spain and the New World (the episode entitled The conflict of the gods), where it follows some comments on the adoption of the Blessed Virgin as mother (cf. "The conquered people now had a mother.  They also found a father" (p. 146)), and is worded somewhat differently:
This new world wanted a father.  It did not find him in the figure of the conquistador, but in that of Christ.  One can only imagine the astonishment of the hundreds and thousands of Indians who asked for baptism as they came to realize that they were now to adore a god who sacrificed himself for men instead of asking men to sacrifice themselves to the gods, as the Aztec religion had demanded.  It is surely no accident that on this statue it is the heart, the ultimate gift of sacrifice, that is so prominently displayed.
In the book this is anticipated by the opening pages of chapter five ("The rise and fall of the Indian world"):  "Because the gods had sacrificed themselves so that the world and humanity might exist, humanity was obligated to plunge, if needed, into the great, permanent bonfire of life and death", such that "The need for sacrifice was an undoubted thing in Indian society, not subject to discussion or skepticism of any sort" (p. 94).  Whether it is anticipated in quite this way in the documentary, I have not yet determined.

"The strangely conservative French"

"the French have never gotten over killing God during the Enlightenment, and cope with it in one of two ways:  by ritually reenacting the murder through radical atheism, or by searching for something to fill the now empty tabernacle."

     Mark Lilla, "The strangely conservative  French," The New York review of books 62, no. 16 (October 22, 2015):  51 (50-52).

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Faith, hope, and charity, but not without patience

     "Dear brethren, we must endure and persevere if we are to attain the truth and freedom we have been allowed to hope for; faith and hope are the very meaning of our being Christians, but if faith and hope are to bear their fruit, patience is necessary."

And "charity can be steadfast and persevering because it has learned how to endure all things."

     St. Cyprian, On the value of patience 13 and 15, as translated in Liturgy of the hours 1, pp. 192-193 (Office of readings, Saturday, First week of Advent).  Cf. Thornton, LF 3 (139), pp. 257 and 259 (250-265); Wallis, ANL 5, 484-491/ANF 5, 484-491; Conway, FC 36 (1958), pp. 275 and 278 (263-287); etc.  Wallis:

"We must endure and persevere, beloved brethren, in order that, being admitted to the hope of truth and liberty, we may attain to the truth and liberty itself; for that very fact that we are Christians is the substance of faith and hope. But that hope and faith may attain to their result, there is need of patience."

"it [(charity)] can tenaciously persevere, because it knows how to endure all things."


"We must endure and persevere, beloved brethren, so that, having been admitted to the hope of truth and liberty, we can finally attain that same truth and liberty, because the very fact that we are Christians is a source of faith and hope.  However, in order that hope and faith may reach their fruition, there is need of patience."

"charity can persevere steadfastly because it has learned how to endure all things."

"tolerandum est et perseuerandum, fratres dilectissimi, ut ad spem ueritatis et libertatis admissi ad ueritatem et libertatem ipsam peruenire possimus, quia hoc ipsum quod christiani sumus fidei et spei res est.  ut autem peruenire spes et fides ad fructum possint sui patientia opus est."

"ostendit inde illam [(caritas)] perseuerare tenaciter posse, quod nouerit omnia sustinere."

     St. Cyprian, De bono patientiae 13 and 15 (CSEL 3.1, pp. 406 and 408).

Passive euthanasia

Euthanasiecentrum Hadamar
"Stargardt describes how one German doctor in 1939 tipped off the families of mentally handicapped patients in his sanatorium that their loved ones were destined for extermination, and urged their removal.  Few took advantage of his warning.  Are we sure, absolutely sure, that in the same circumstances American or British people would have displayed greater compassion?"

     Max Hastings, "How the Germans closed ranks around Hitler," a review of The German war:  a nation under arms, 1939-1945, by Nicholas Stargardt (New York:  Basic Books, 2015), among other titles.  The New York review of books 62, no. 16 (October 22, 2015):  30 (28-31).

Why we name our children

"These two words, 'Faith,' and 'Elijah,' they point to all my husband had to say to this world: 'Put your faith in the Lord.'"

     Rachel Swasey, at a memorial service for her husband Garrett Swasey in Colorado Springs, 4 December 2015.  Rachel got only one thing wrong:  Elijah means not just "The Lord is God," but rather "The Lord is my God."

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"absolute pacifism is unsustainable"

Wikimedia Commons
"We give thanks at this hour that that indeed happened, and it is not only the countries that were occupied by the German troops and delivered from Nazi terror that give thanks.  We Germans, too, give thanks that liberty and law were restored to us through that military operation.  If ever in history there was a just war, this was it:  the Allied intervention ultimately benefited also those against whose country the war was waged.  Such an observation, it seems to me, is important, because it demonstrates on the basis of a historical event that absolute pacifism is unsustainable.  This, of course, in no way diminishes the duty to ask very carefully whether and under what conditions something like a 'just war' is still possible today:  that is to say, a military intervention conducted in the interests of peace and according to moral criteria against unjust regimes."

     Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, "A conference given by Cardinal Ratzinger at the Church of Saint-Étienne in Caen, June 5, 2004" ("confé
rence intitulée «À la recherche de la paix», donnée à Saint Etienne de Caen, le 5 juin 2004"), in Europe today and tomorrow;  addressing the fundamental issues, 2nd ed., trans. Michael J. Miller (San Francisco:  Ignatius Press, 2007), 86 (85-100).  Communio:  revue catholique internationale 29, no. 4 =no. 174 (juillet-août 2004): 108 (107-118). I was put onto this by Timothy George, "After dinner, a beheading," First things, 30 November 2015:
The fact that the Normandy landings "also served the good of those against whose country war was waged. . . . shows, based on a historical event, the unsustainable character of an absolute pacifism."
"Une telle constatation me paraît importante, car elle montre, sur la base d'un événement historique, le caractère insoutenable d'un pacifisme absolu." 
p. 91 (111-112 in Communio):
"in defending the law against a force [(force)] that aims to destroy law, one can and in certain circumstances must make use of proportionate force [(force)] in order to protect it.  An absolute pacifism that denies the law any and all coercive [(coercitif)] measures would be a capitulation to injustice, would sanction its seizure of power, and would abandon the world to the dictates of violence [(violence)]. . . .  But in order to prevent the force of law itself from becoming injustice, it must be subjected to strict criteria that should be acknowledged as such by all.  It must inquire into the causes of terrorism, which very often is rooted in injustices that are not countered by effective measures.  Therefore it must strive by all means to remove the preexisting injustices.  Above all, it is important to offer forgiveness again and again in order to break the vicious circle of violence [(violence)]. . . .  In all these cases it is important that there not be just one political power that maintains law and order.  Particular interests then become too easily mixed up in the intervention and obscure the clear vision of justice.  A genuine ius gentium [international law] is urgently necessary, without hegemonic dominion and its accompanying interventions:  only in this way can it be evident that it is a matter of protecting the rights common to all, even those who find themselves, so to speak, on the opposite side."
Cf. An unprincipled pacifism

Monday, November 23, 2015

"Visit this place, O Lord"

St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek 391, 11.
Visit this place, O Lord, and drive far from it all snares of the enemy; let your holy angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace; and let your blessing be upon us always; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

     Compline/Daily devotions at the close of day, 1979 Book of common prayer.

Lord, we beg you to visit this house and banish from it all the deadly power of the enemy.  May your holy angels dwell here to keep us in peace, and may your blessing be upon us always.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.

     Night prayer after Evening prayer on Sundays and solemnities, Liturgy of the hours.

Visita, quaesumus, Domine, habitationem istam et omnes insidias inimici ab ea longe repelle; angeli tui sancti habitent in ea, qui nos in pace custodiant, et benedíctio tua sit super nos semper. Per Christum.

     Completorium, Post II vesperas dominicae et solemnitatum, Liturgia horarum.

     This is not, of course, present in either Bruylants or Corpus orationum, nor have I yet tried to push it back behind the "980+" given in CANTUS (e.g. St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek 391, 11 (above, initial 4 ("V")), where it is associated with the dedication of a church), though Rubén M. Leikem, cited below, finds it "outside of the Divine Office" in the context of an "Order for the visitation of the sick" as no. 1029 of the mid 9th-century sacramentary of Monza (in Monza, Kapitelsbibliothek cod. F1/101), albeit, according to the 1957 critical edition ed. Dold and Gamber, as a later interpolation ("The following [three prayers] stands (in place of a prayer 'In hospitale'?) on a many-lined erasure in a clumsy later script with many errors:") (258n42).  (Not that, given the interpolation, it matters, but the sacramentary of Monza is said to belong to the second group of "Gelasians of the 8th-century" that includes St. Gall (above?), Triplex, Rheinau, Phillips, Angoulême, and Monza, and that derives from a systematic revision of the first, namely the Gelasian and Gregorian-Paduan (257n40).)
     Nikolaus Gihr (whose theological commentary may be worth a look) says of the date of composition only that "The wording shows clearly that this oration stems from a time when Compline was still prayed not in the church but in the cloister or the dormitory immediately before going to bed" (Prim und Komplet des römischen Breviers, liturgisch und aszetisch erklärt (Freiburg im Breisgau:  Herder, 1907), 333).

     This, I'm assuming, is nothing more than a translation:

Ἐπισκέψαι ἱκετεύομεν κύριε τήνδε οἴκησὶν, καὶ πάσας τὰς τοῦ ἐχθροῦ ἐνέδρας αὐτῆς ἄπωσον·  οἱ ἄγγελοί σου οἰκῶσιν ἐν αὐτῇ ἐν εἰρήνῃ φυλάττοντες ἡμᾶς.  Καὶ ἡ εὐλογία σου ἀεὶ ἐφ' ἡμᾶς εἴη.  Διὰ Χριστοῦ.

Bibliography (as noticed only; I have not conducted a proper search):

Saturday, November 21, 2015

"reading unimportant books about the important books that I haven't had time to read"
"academic knowledge is as much a distraction from the life of the mind as an application of it."

     "In twenty years of university teaching, poring over footnotes in journals devoted to the study of footnotes, attending conferences in which small increments of knowledge are swamped by large swathes of ignorance, and reading unimportant books about the important books that I haven't had time to read, I retained a longing for the ideal of the collegiate life.  I envisaged a society of friends for whom ideas are captured from the world of real experience, and brought to the place of dialogue, there to be the source and object of our shared interest.  But I came to see that it is far easier to create this society for yourself than to find it in institutions of higher learning."

     Roger Scruton, "Living with a mind," First things no. 258 (December 2015):  45 (43-48).

Religion in the making

"Professor Whitehead. . . . has not spent as many years in America as I have, but he has been very quickly adopted into the fraternity of the American Godhead.  America is said to be 'on the make'; Professor Whitehead's religion must be 'in the making.'  Even in America, a motor-car 'in the making' is not so much prized as a motor-car which is made and will run; but apparently luxury articles like religion are more valuable 'in the making' than when they are made.  It is the hopeless belief of a person who knows that when his religion is made, it won't run; but he enjoys making it."

     T. S. Eliot on Science and the modern world (1925) and Religion in the making (1926) in "'The return of Foxy Grandpa'" (1927), as published for the very first time in New York review of books 62, no. 15 (October 8, 2015):  31 (31-32), in advance of its appearance in "volume 3 of the forthcoming eight-volume edition of The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot:  The Critical Edition," ed. Frances Dickey, Jennifer Formichelli, and Ronald Schuchard.  In response to an inquiry from Edmund Wilson as to why the essay had not appeared as promised in Wyndham Lewis' The enemy, Eliot said, "'On the whole I think I should prefer not to publish this note elsewhere.  I am not satisfied with it and if I had time I should already have revised it'" (32).

Thursday, November 19, 2015

"la bouille pour les chats"

     "I still recall the stupefaction with which, reading, a very long time ago now, the otherwise very estimable Gospel commentaries of the late Father [Marie-Joseph] Lagrange, I stumbled upon his explication of the 'manifold more' [('surcroît')] promised by Christ, in this world, to those who abandon [(auraient . . . abandonné)] everything for him [(Lk 18:30; cf. Mt 19:29, Mk 10:30)].  The fact is (said this very edifying [(édifiant)] and even more observant [(observants)] religious to us) that when one has pledged oneself to a great order, one finds oneself suddenly provided with all of the comforts one could ever want, without having to do anything to acquire or retain them [(presumably Évangile selon saint Luc, 7th ed., Etudes bibliques (Paris:  J. Gabalda, 1948))]. . . .  It is difficult, in the face of an avowal so simple-minded, not to think of the sarcastic reference to the lilies of the field that Gibbon directed against those he called 'the monks of Magdalen' [(Edward Gibbon, Memoirs; in Miscellaneous works of Edward Gibbon, Esquire, vol. 1 (Dublin, 1796), p. 38)], 'who neither toil nor spin. . . .'
     "But I was still naïve myself at this time.  I was only completely smartened up on this subject about twenty years [later (il y a vingt ans environ)] by my participation in a 'seminar' on 'religious poverty' in conjunction with which I had been assigned the task of setting forth the biblical doctrine on the subject, on the supposition that there was one.  I developed the idea that, according to the whole Bible, poverty 'in spirit' presupposes evidently a real [(effective)] disposition to deprive oneself of the obviously [(bien entendu)] superfluous, and even of a good part of what we all tend to consider the necessary.
     "I had hardly finished speaking when a venerable Jesuit, the most famous specialist in moral theology at that time, rose to address me:  'Father, that biblical poverty about which you have just spoken is a matter of some interest [(c’est très intéressant)], but [surely] you know that this has nothing to do with religious poverty.  [Religious poverty] is defined exhaustively by the renunciation of the ownership of what one utilizes.  According to this [understanding], whether one is in fact more or less provided with the goods that those who have not taken such a vow are able to enjoy, or not, changes nothing. . . .'
     "As if in order to prevent me from assuming that this was only a question of one of those opinions of the schools that one can, in [the context of a commitment to] Holy Church, take or leave at will, a Dominican, just as venerable and scarcely less illustrious, at once finished me off [(paracheva sur-le-champ ma déconfiture)].  'What you have just said is perfectly exact, not only from a canonical point of view, . . . but according to the most strict theology, in truth the only [theology] worthy of the name.  Indeed, the Summa theologiae establishes irrefutably that the vow of poverty, just as that of chastity or that of obedience, does more honor to God, by itself and by it alone, than the practice of that virtue when it is not consecrated by the vow [(ST II-II.88.6?)]. . . .'
     "I can say that after this I [finally] understood that no reform of [(dans)] the Catholic Church that does not begin with a reform of this ascesis in particular, in order that it might have an impact on the ethical and theological levels as well, will ever amount to anything more than [(ne serait jamais de)] a great deal of effort for nothing [(la bouille pour les chats, the [preparation of] gruel for cats, an 18th-century expression whose significance remains somewhat obscure)].  This, at least, had the advantage of immunizing me in advance against all possible deception when the shipwreck of the greatest reform [ever] called conciliar [(la grandissime réforme dite conciliaire)] followed almost instantaneously upon its launch."

     Louis Bouyer, Religieux et clercs contre Dieu (Paris:  Aubier Montaigne, 1975), 119-121.  On those same three purifications, see also here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Blame the careless 'religious' above all

". . . There is no univocal application to God that we can make of any of the concepts that furnish us [with] our rational exploration of the world. Yet we are not for this reason reduced to silence.  For the very fact that we, [as] Christians, believe that God has spoken to us; that all, in one sense, proceeds from his Word, attests [to] a native kinship of the world, and of ourselves in particular, with him.  Yet this, which authorizes for us an analogical employment of notions drawn from the rationalization of our cosmic experience in order to speak of him as he has himself spoken of them to us, requires that the cataphasis by which we transpose onto him the givens of our experience be constantly corrected by the apophasis that refuses every literal application that we would be tempted to make of them.
     "Even this, however, is not possible without contradiction, except in virtue of a divine condescension that guides us, according to the 'analogy of faith', towards a usage of the fundamental analogy of being that entails an [(l’)] abandonment in the darkness of our whole being to the God who dwells in a light inaccessible.  This is why there is no valid theology except in faith, and [no] authentic faith except that which tends to go beyond itself into mysticism, or, more precisely, that mysticism of 'the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. . . .'
     "One cannot attain to this [(en arriver là)] without a purification of our religion that is not only intellectual, but first moral.  Hence the impossibility of an authentic religion that is only intellectual, or would like to be only such.  Yet this is what the Christian theologians, following the Jewish rabbis, have never ceased to attempt, more or less underhandedly or naively.  One does not apprehend (as one must) the truth of God, in the measure in which he has rendered it accessible to us, except by surrendering oneself to what he wishes to make of us; except by giving oneself up to his agape; except by submitting to that life which he wills to be ours.  Without this, we will never accede to that connaturality of grace for the lack of which our knowledge is unable to come to terms with [(s’accorder avec)] the meaning of his Word.
     "This supposes above all that God ceases to be for us a tribal divinity, however infinitely enlarged, for one would thus enlarge [(agrandirait)] into a monstrosity only our own deformity.  In order that we might think rightly of God, in other words, it is necessary that we learn to consent to his requirements, in place of continuing to strain to capture and exploit him for our own purposes [(dans notre proper intérêt)].
     "But this, again, implies [yet] another catharsis, more radical still.  After the intellectual purification of our theology; after the moral purification of our religion, it is necessary to procede [(en venir)] to th[at] ascetic purification for the lack of which no mysticism can remain worthy of the name.  Or, to put it more accurately, this here is the first purification that the others necessarily presuppose, [and] without which they cannot even be successfully undertaken.  It is a question of a drastic purification, not only of our representation of the world; not only of our activity in the world, but of the sources of our action as well as of our thought, on the most profound, the most intimate, the most unfathomable level of what we might call our sensibility.  Without this properly radical correction of all of our instincts, beginning with the [(notre)] imagination (in the sense that Coleridge, among others, gave to this word; and which concerns the whole prospective of our action and all possible prospection of our universe), it is perfectly vain to hope to act—or, rather, to be acted [upon]—in accordance with agape; [perfectly vain] to (with stronger reason) hope to recognize the divine signification of it [(en)].  And this is precisely why the malefactors ultimately [(premiers)] responsible for the current crisis in the Church, ahead of the irreligious priests and the unworthy theologians, are the 'religious'; i.e. the so-called witnesses to evangelical ascesis [who so] obviously [merely] counterfeit it [(devenus ses contrefacteurs patentés)]."

     Louis Bouyer, Religieux et clercs contre Dieu (Paris:  Aubier Montaigne, 1975), 99-101.  Bouyer hammers away at those same three purifications here.

"'I kn[o]w that you always hear me. . . .'"

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"'I knew that you always hear me. . . .'"

ἐγὼ δὲ ᾔδειν ὅτι πάντοτέ μου ἀκούεις. . . .

     Jesus, just before raising Lazarus, John 11:42, NSRV.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

"When he died on the cross, he did that, in the wild weather of his outlying provinces, in the torture of the body of his revelation, which he had done at home in glory and gladness."

     I was put onto this by Aidan Nichols, Chalice of God:  a systematic theology in outline (Collegeville, MN:  Liturgical Press, 2012), 49.
     Cf. the comment by Austin Farrer.

"Though God transcends all signs, he has rendered himself Sign in the Incarnate One."

     Aidan Nichols, The chalice of God:  a systematic theology in outline (Collegeville, MN:  Liturgical Press, 2012), 39.
     Thus, there is no transcending the Sign God has himself become, the Sign who is God.

"the moment of the fathers is the moment of the constitutive reception of biblical revelation, which the later Church only excogitates and applies."

     Aidan Nichols, The chalice of God:  a systematic theology in outline (Collegeville, MN:  Liturgical Press, 2012), 34, citing J. Ratzinger, "Importance of the Fathers for the structure of the faith," Principles of Catholic theology:  building stones for a fundamental theology (San Francisco:  Ignatius Press, 1987), 133-52.

From Torah to, in Christian interpretation, Christ (or "the outpouring of his Spirit on all flesh")

This is our God;
     no other can be compared to him!
He found the whole way to knowledge,
     and gave her to Jacob his servant
     and to Israel whom he loved.
Afterward she appeared on earth
     and lived among men.

οὗτος ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν, οὐ λογισθήσεται ἕτερος πρὸς αὐτόν. 
ἐξεῦρεν πᾶσαν ὁδὸν ἐπιστήμης καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτὴν Ιακωβ τῷ παιδὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ Ισραηλ τῷ ἠγαπημένῳ ὑπ᾽ αὐτοῦ· 
μετὰ τοῦτο ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ὤφθη καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις συνανεστράφη.

     Baruch 3:35-37, RSV (36-38, LXX).  "She is the book of the commandments of God, and the law that endures for ever [(αὕτη ἡ βίβλος τῶν προσταγμάτων τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ὁ νόμος ὁ ὑπάρχων εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα)]" (4:1).  So the "she" (πᾶσαν ὁδὸν) comes from the context and 4:1 (αὕτη) explicitly.
     I was put onto this by Aidan Nichols, The chalice of God:  a systematic theology in outline (Collegeville, MN:  Liturgical Press, 2012), 34.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sir Martin Rees on creatio ex nihilo and the Thomistic distinction between essence (essentia) and existence (esse)

     "Cosmologists sometimes claim that the universe can arise 'from nothing'.  But they should watch their language, especially when addressing philosophers.  We've realized ever since Einstein that empty space can have a structure such that it can be warped and distorted.  Even if shrunk to a 'point', it is latent with particles and forces  still a far richer construct than the philosopher's 'nothing'.  Theorists may, some day, be able to write down fundamental equations governing physical reality.  But physics can never explain what 'breathes fire' into the equations, and actualizes them in a real cosmos.  The fundamental question of 'Why is there something rather than nothing?' remains the province of philosophers.  And even they may be wiser to respond, with Ludwig Wittgenstein, that 'whereof one cannot speak, one must be silent'."

     Martin Rees, Just six numbers:  the deep forces that shape the universe (New York:  Basic Books, 2000 [1999]), 131.  I was put onto this by Aidan Nichols, Chalice of God:  a systematic theology in outline (Collegeville, MN:  Liturgical Press, 2012), 20-21, and have not actually read the book by Rees.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

sana doctrina

"Though, in the wake of the classical German philosophers, I am committed to a high estimate of rationality (Vernunft), I do not consider the charge of 'dogmatism' an insult; I hold doctrine to be an intellectual intuition of the mind that anticipates the banquet of the Kingdom in the vision of God, and thus it is 'aretegenic,' or excellence promoting, since all such anticipation effects human transformation in the direction of salvation, which is enjoyment of the supreme Good."

     Aidan Nichols, Chalice of God:  a systematic theology in outline (Collegeville, MN:  Liturgical Press, 2012), 4.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

     Hillary Clinton shaking hands with Shubhashish Mukherjee, Washington, D.C., 20 May 2004.

     Hillary Clinton supposedly shaking hands with Osama Bin Laden (the photoshopped version).

     I first consulted on 24 October 2015.  By that point, Snopes had not found (or, at least, not posted) the original (assuming that it is the original).  Not only that, but in the process of looking for it, I ran across a number of persons on the Web who were complaining of having been unable to find it.  So I cropped the photoshopped version down to the right third, and dropped that into Google Images.  Needlesss to say, I have not positively confirmed the authenticity of the first.

religious, but only artificially so

"There was once a time when the terms 'Christian,' 'atheist' and 'agnostic' meant something definite. If they are to continue to mean anything definite, then a fourth term must be invented for that large class of persons which includes Professor Whitehead. They are 'religious,' without holding to any religion; they are also 'scientific,' in that they believe devoutly in the latest theory of any and every particular science; and they must be cast out by any congregation of Christians, Buddhists, Brahmins, Jews, Mohammedans or Atheists."

     T. S. Eliot, "The return of Foxy Grandpa" [1927], The New York Review of books 62, no. 15 (October 8, 2015), 31-32.  From The complete prose of T. S. Eliot:  the critical edition, vol. 3:  Literature, politics, belief, 1927-1929, ed. Frances Dickey & Jennifer Formichelli (Faber & Faber; Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015).  Eliot was probably right to consider this little review unsatisfactory.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

"Collect, for grace"

Mid 8th-century Gelasian sacramentary (no. 1576):
Gratias tibi agimus, domine, sanctae pater, omnipotens aeternae deus, qui nos transacto noctis spatio ad matutinis horas perducere dignatus es; quaesumus, ut dones nobis diem hunc sine peccato transire, quatenus ad uesperum gratias referamus: per.

Late 8th- or early 9th-century Gregorian sacramentary (no. 1491):
Gratias tibi agimus domine sanctę pater omnipotens aeternę deus . qui nos de transacto noctis spatio ad matutinas horas perducere dignatus es . quaesumus ut dones nobis diem hunc sine peccato transire . quatenus ad uesperum et semper tibi deo gratias referamus . per dominum.

The 9th- or 10th-century Durham ritual, no. 241 (Rituale Ecclesiæ Dunelmensis or Durham Collectar, Durham Cathedral Library MS A.IV.19, fol. 18r).  The Durham collectar, ed. Alicia Corrêa, Henry Bradshaw Society 105 (London:  Boydell Press, 1992), 165 (no. 241), with abbreviations spelled out:
Gratias agamus Domine sancte pater omnipotens aeterne Deus qui nos de transacto noctis spatio ad matutinas horas perducere dignatus es, quaesumus ut dones nobis diem hunc sine peccato transire, quatenus ad uesperum tibi Deo gratias referamus.  Per dominum.

The above three (but especially the second), i.e. "the prayer from which this collect [(the one below, the Anglican "Collect for grace")] developed", as translated by Hatchett (p. 126):
We give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty everlasting God, who have brought us through the period of night to the morning hours.  We beseech you that you grant that we pass through this day without sin, so that at vespers we may return thanks to you.

After this point it loses, somewhere along the way, the intra-horal anticipation of evening prayer.  Or is the following, contra Hatchett, not at all the same prayer?  The vocabulary is quite different.  Yet it is this vocabulary, rather than that above, that I find in the Roman Breviary and what Hatchett flags as "the Sarum little office of Prime" (col. 54 of Procter and Wordsworth):

Roman Breviary:  Domine Deus omnipotens, qui ad principium huius diei nos pervenire fecisti:  tua nos hodie salva virtute; ut in hac die ad nullum declinemus peccatum, sed semper ad tuam iustitiam faciendam nostra procedant eloquia, dirigantur cogitationes et opera.  Per.

Sarum "Preces ad Primum" (column 54 of Procter and Wordsworth):  Domine Sancte Pater omnipotens æterne Deus : qui nos ad principium hujus diei pervenire fecisti : tua nos hodie salva virtute, et concede : ut in hac die ad nullum declinemus peccatum nec ullum incurramus periculum : sed semper ad tuam justitiam faciendam omnis nostra actio tuo moderamine dirigatur.  Per.

I've struck out in both Bruylants and Corpus orationum.  But there is lots of relevance on this prayer in Google.  This specimen of 19th-century scholarship takes the line taken later by Hatchett.  In any case, the BCP:

1549 BCP (ed. Cummings):
O Lorde oure heavenly father, almightye and everlivyng God, whiche haste safelye brought us to the beginning of this day:  Defend us in the same with thy mighty power, and graunt that this daye wee fall into no synne, neyther runne into any kinde of daunger, but that al our doinges may be ordred by thy governaunce, to do alwaies that is righteous in thy sight:  through Jesus Christe our lorde.  Amen.

1662 BCP (ed. Cummings):
O Lord our heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day;  defend us in the same with thy mighty power, and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all our doings may be ordered by thy governance, to do always that is righteous in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

1928 BCP:
O Lord, our heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day:  Defend us in the same with thy mighty power; and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all our doings, being ordered by thy governance, may be righteous in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

1979 BCP, Morning Prayer I:
O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day:  Defend us in the same with thy mighty power; and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that we, being ordered by thy governance, may do always what is righteous in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

1979 BCP, Morning Prayer II:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father you have brought us in safety to this new day:  Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

No love without judgment; no judgment more searing than that of love

"Only that love which pronounces judgment on all that is not love is in the deepest sense a restoring and saving love.  At the same time, no judgment pierces so deep as the judgment of love; and whatever refuses to be won by the reckless self-giving of love cannot be won at all."

     Anders Nygren, Agape and eros, trans. Philip S. Watson (Philadelphia:  The Westminster Press, 1938), 104.
     I was reminded of this by Louis Bouyer, who, despite his predictably heavy criticism of Nygren (in which I concur), agrees with him on this point:
It is the very grandeur of agape to will that love not transcend judgment except by accomplishing it.  More precisely, where love reigns (says Nygren himself, here [for once] faithful to Saint John), those who open themselves up to it are beyond all judgment, but, for those who refuse it, no further recourse is possible.  As he is not afraid to say, there is, finally, no judgment more inexorable than that of love, and if love comes to condemn us, the condemnation is total and without recourse. 
     Louis Bouyer, Religieux et clercs contre Dieu (Paris:  Aubier Montaigne, 1975), 90, translation mine.  Bouyer does not provide a citation, but p. 104 (above) seems to fit the bill.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

"If you don't know the exact moment when the lights will go out, you might as well read until they do."

     Clive James in the Introduction to Latest readings (Yale University Press, 2015), as quoted by John Banville in "A quest for clarity," The New York review of books 52, no. 14 (September 24, 2015), 79 (77-79):
If there is such a thing as a reader of genius, then Clive James is it. . . . after being diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, he wondered if it was worth the effort of going on reading; the cure for this was an invigorating plunge into Boswell's Life of Johnson.  The great pleasure he derived from that great work, which he had not read in its entirety until then, showed him what he would be missing, in even the short span he believed was left to him, if he gave up on books.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

"a stale paleoparthenoidean odor"

"the Nietzschean Übermensch [(surhomme)] emits, whatever he does, a stale paleoparthenoidean odor [(un relent paléoparthénoïde)].  As had happened to so many others, from Walt Whitman to Henry de Montherlant, when the voice of Zarathustra rises to [its] maximum to affirm the Beyond [Good and] Evil [(le surmâle)], a fatal squawk gives away the old maid in drag [(la vieille fille en travesti)].  The pathetic great man was as capable as your average bourgeois of deceiving himself as to [(pouvait bien s'illusionner bourgeoisement sur)] the initiatory virtues of a noctural descent into the Venetian brothel.  For lack of a better proof of a problematic virility, he brought back from there only the 'French disease'."

     Louis Bouyer, Religieux et clercs contre Dieu, Présence et pensée (Paris:  Aubier Montaigne, 1975), 51.  paléoparthénoïde < παλαιο-παρθεν-οειδης, old maid-like.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


     "'Mag ich zur Hölle fahren, aber solch ein Gott wird niemals meine Achtung erzwingen'  war bekanntlich Miltons Urteil über die Lehre."

     Max Weber on "the doctrine of predestination in the form of the double decree [(die Prädestinationslehre in der Form des doppelten Dekrets)]", Die protestantische Ethik und der 'Geist' des Kapitalismus II.1, "Die religiösen Grundlagen der innerweltlichen Askese", or II.4.A in the English.  Max Weber Gesamtausgabe I.9, Asketischer Protestantismus und Kapitalismus:  Schriften und Reden, 1904-1911, hrsg. Wolfgang Schluchter, in Zusammenarbeit mit Ursula Bube (Tübingen:  J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 2014), p. 253, ll. 22-24.  p. 253, n. 58, underscoring mine:  "Als Zitat bei John Milton nicht nachgewiesen [(As [a] quotation by John Milton not established/proven)].  Zu Miltons sich wandelnder Einstellung zur Prädestinationslehre vgl. unten, S. 254, Anm. 63."  p. 254, n. 63:  "Milton entfernte sich mit seiner Deutung der Prädestinationslehre 'immer weiter vom Standpunkte der calvinistischen Orthodoxie', urteilt Alfred Stern, Milton [und seine Zeit] II/4 [(1877-1879)], S. 157.  In der 'Doctrina Christiana' heiß es:  'Gott beschloß in seiner Weisheit, Mensch und Engel als vernünftige Wesen zu schaffen, d.h. als solche, die frei handeln.  Aber er sah zugleich voraus, wohin sich in der Benutzung ihrer ungehemmten Freiheit der Antrieb ihres Willens neigen würde.  Wie also, werden wir sagen, daß diese Voraussicht oder dies Vorherwissen auf Seiten Gottes ihnen die Nothwendigkeit auferlegte, in irgend einer bestimmten Weise zu handeln?  Nicht mehr, als wenn der küntfige Erfolg von irgend einem menschlichen Wesen vorhergesehen wäre' (zitiert nach Stern, S. 158, der sich hier auf Milton, Doctrina Christiana IV, 38-41, bezieht).  Zum Kontext vgl. Stern, ebd.,S. 156-159; Eibach, Milton, S. 724."

     "'Though I may be sent to Hell for it, such a God will never command my respect', was Milton's well-known opinion of the doctrine."

     Trans. Talcott Parsons ((London and New York:  Routledge Classics, 2001 [1930]), 58 and 177n10).

     I was put onto this by Dr. David Harris Sacks, Richard F. Scholz Professor of History and Humanities, Emeritus, Reed College, raising the question of Weber's source over the listserv FICINO, on 7 September 2015.  No one on FICINO was able to track this to Milton (or even Eibach) either, myself included.  And though the question was forwarded on to MILTON-L, no response was returned.  At that point, it occurred to me to check the Max Weber Gesamtausgabe.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

"while in this body we not only experience the daily effects of your care, but even now possess the pledge of life eternal."

"atque in hoc corpore constituti non solum pietatis tuae cotidianos experimur effectus, sed aeternitatis etiam pignora iam tenemus."

     Preface VI of the Sundays in Ordinary Time, Missale Romanum, from the 8th century Prague sacramentary.  (According to Ward & Johnson, "tuae . . . pietatis effectus" appears also in the Gelasian sacramentary.)