Saturday, February 7, 2015

"are the beliefs themselves 'honest'"?

“It is easy enough to be sincere on the surface, that is, to act honestly according to one’s beliefs; the question is, however, are the beliefs themselves ‘honest,’ that is, can they lead to a consonant outcome.  Any contradiction between outcome and intention should lead us, not to throw the blame on outward reality, but to investigate the objective conditions and sources of the beliefs themselves, and to excise from them what is inherently deceitful or illusory.”

     Roy Pascal, reviewing Here I stand, by Roland Bainton, Past and present no. 2 (November 1952):  62 (60-62).  The sentences immediately preceding are the following:
As long as he remained within the sphere of his Order, he did not have to face up to the social implications of his beliefs; when he was forced to consider their impact on the secular, institutional world, he was often pained at the results, and yet he was only discovering their implications.  He remained confused, even resentful, about they way in which the world interpreted his efforts; but it is the duty of the biographer to see more deeply. . . .  
And from p. 60:
A historical personality is such not because of his intentions, but because of his achievement; what is important is not the idea that moved him, but the objective outcome.  Our earliest historical philosophers, Adam Smith, Turgot, Herder, were struck above all by the contradiction between human intention and result, and one might say that this observation is at the very base of historical thought altogether, since it distinguishes social change, the main object of historical study, from the illusions that have accompanied it.  These ‘illusions’ are not meaningless, for they provide, in the mind of the individual, his driving force.  But they too have to be seen as socially produced, as the product of a particular objective situation; and if an outcome seems to contradict an intention, we cannot consider this to be an accident or misfortune, but, by analyzing the origin of the intention and its relation to the objective world, we can go further to understand the deeper unity between the intention and the outcome, their deeper mutual dependence.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sext, Wednesday, 1971

God of mercy,
this midday moment of rest
is your welcome gift.
Bless the work we have begun,
make good its defects,
and let us finish it in a way that pleases you.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.

     Midday prayer for Wednesday, Liturgy of the hours (1975).  Cf. the Universalis translation here (English) and here (Latin and English).
     This has been taken up in various Protestant "breviaries" as well, e.g. the 1993 Book of common worship (PCUSA), no. 502, p. 548 (but before that Daily Prayer:  the worship of God, Supplemental liturgical resource 5 (The Westminster Press, 1987)), and the 1992 United Methodist book of worship, which miscredits "The Westminster Press/John Knox Press, U.S.A., 20th cent.").
     But now why would the ICEL leave out "Omnipotens" (below)?  Wouldn't the ability to "sana... quae" and "fac eos" depend upon the power to do so?

Omnípotens et miséricors Deus, qui nos die média respiráre concédis, quos cœpimus propítius intuére labóres, et, sanans quæ delíquimus, fac eos ad finem tibi plácitum perveníre. Per Christum.

Almighty and merciful God, who allow us at midday to catch [our] breath, attend graciously to the works [(masc)] we have begun, and, making good [the failings for] which [(neut)] we have been responsible [(deliquimus, we have failed, been lacking; have committed)], cause them [(masc)] to attain to an end pleasing to you.  Through Christ.

     Oratio Ad Sextam, Day IV, Liturgia horarum (1971).  This one does not appear in Corpus orationem.  I therefore conclude that it was composed anew for Liturgia horarum.

     My thanks to Joe Chambers for bringing this one to my attention.

"the problem with Milton's poetry" is that "it is 'more Miltonic than Christian'".

     David Quint, in Inside Paradise lost:  reading the designs of Milton's epic (Princeton, NJ:  Princeton University Press, 2014), as quoted by Jessica Hooten Wilson, in "Of the Devil's party?", Books and culture 21, no. 1 (January/February 2015), 38.

"This well-supported investigation recovers a great deal of evidence that the church rejected the service of women, but only a few instances where women seem to have been leaders."

     Amy L. B. Peeler on Women in pastoral ministry:  the story of Santa Praxede, Rome, by Mary M. Schaefer (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2013), in "Praxede's story and the church in Rome she inspired," Books and culture 21, no. 1 (January/February 2015):  22 (21-22).

Sunday, February 1, 2015

"'I am not supposed to catch Joe. It's Joe's task to catch me.'"

     "The Flying Rodleighs are trapeze artists who perform in the German circus Simoneit-Barum. When the circus came to Freiburg two years ago, my friends Franz and Reny invited me and my father to see the show. I will never forget how enraptured I became when I first saw the Rodleighs move through the air, flying and catching as elegant dancers. The next day, I returned to the circus to see them again and introduced myself to them as one of their great fans. They invited me to attend their practice sessions, gave me free tickets, asked me to dinner, and suggested I travel with them for a week in the near future. I did, and we became good friends.
     "One day, I was sitting with Rodleigh, the leader of the troupe, in his caravan, talking about flying. He said, 'As a flyer, I must have complete trust in my catcher. The public might think that I am the great star of the trapeze, but the real star is Joe, my catcher. He has to be there for me with split-second precision and grab me out of the air as I come to him in the long jump.'  'How does it work?' I asked.  'The secret,' Rodleigh said, 'is that the flyer does nothing and the catcher does everything. When I fly to Joe, I have simply to stretch out my arms and hands and wait for him to catch me and pull me safely over the apron behind the catchbar.'
     "'You do nothing!' I said, surprised.  'Nothing,' Rodleigh repeated. 'The worst thing the flyer can do is to try to catch the catcher. I am not supposed to catch Joe. It's Joe's task to catch me. If I grabbed Joe's wrists, I might break them, or he might break mine, and that would be the end of both of us. A flyer must fly, and a catcher must catch, and the flyer must trust, with outstretched arms, that his catcher will be there for him.'
     "When Rodleigh said this with so much conviction, the words of Jesus flashed through my mind: 'Father into your hands I commend my Spirit.' Dying is trusting in the catcher. To care for the dying is to say, 'Don't be afraid. Remember that you are the beloved child of God. He will be there when you make your long jump. Don't try to grab him; he will grab you. Just stretch out your arms and hands and trust, trust, trust.'"

     Henri Nouwen, Our greatest gift:  a meditation on dying and caring (San Francisco:  HarperCollins, 1994), 66-67.

"Dura, perservera, tolera, porta dilationem, et tulisti crucem."

"in this world of the Church, which completely follows Christ [(in hoc . . . mundo, hoc est Ecclesia, quae tota sequitur Christum, alternatively:  which whole follows Christ)], he has said to everyone [(universaliter)]:  If anyone wishes to follow me, let him deny himself.
     "This is not a command for virgins to obey and brides to ignore, for widows and not for married women, for monks and not for married men, or for the clergy and not for the laity.  No, the whole [(universa)] Church, the entire [(universum)] body, all the members in their distinct and varied functions, must follow Christ.  She who is totally unique [(tota . . . ipsa unica)], the dove, the spouse who was redeemed and dowered by the blood of her bridegroom, is to follow him.  There is a place in the Church for the chastity of the virgin, for the continence of the widow, and for the modesty of the married.  Indeed, all her members have their place, and this is where they are to follow Christ, in their function and in their way of life.  They must deny themselves, that is, they must not presume on their own strength.  They must take up their cross by enduring in the world for Christ's sake whatever pain the world brings.
     "Let them love him who alone can neither deceive nor be deceived, who alone will not fail them.  Let them love him because his promises are true.  Faith sometimes falters because he does not reward us immediately.  But hold out, be steadfast, endure, bear the delay, and you have carried the cross."

     St. Augustine, Sermo 96.9 (PL 38, col. 588) (AD 416/17), as translated in the Liturgy of the hours (Office of readings, Common of holy men, vol. 3, pp. 1813-1815).