Friday, August 31, 2018

The more of God, the more of me

"Today we glorify God by being humble; in heaven it is our glory that will be his praise, it is our glory that will glorify him."

"Aujourd’hui, nous glorifions Dieu en étant humbles; au ciel, c’est notre gloire que sera sa louange, c’est notre gloire qui le glorifiera."

     Pierre-Marie Hombert, Gloria gratiae:  se glorifier en Dieu, principe et fin de la théologie augustinienne de la grâce, Collection des études augustiniennes, série antiquité 148 (Paris:  Institut d'études augustiniennes, 1996), 552, as quoted by Augustine specialist Gerald Bonner, in his review (Journal of theological studies 49, no. 2 (October 1998):  857 (855-858)), emphasis mine.  The pattern here is, of course, Jesus himself,
who . . . did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but . . . humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him. . . .
"Our predestination [is] in the predestined Christ".  This is "the keystone of Augustinian theology as a whole" (Hombert, 448).  "the elect—and Augustine never ceased to regard any human being as being potentially one of the elect, so long as breath remained in the body—are glorified in Christ and so should glorify God, through whom, and only through whom, they are glorified" (Bonner, 857).
     The humility of God is the glory of man.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

No easy, "centering," candlelit, feel-good exercise

"the meditative reading of Scripture was understood by the first generations of monastic Christians to be an arduous physical activity, undertaken as penance and ascesis.  By the labor of reading [(lectio divina)], the struggling ascetic might learn to purify his troublesome will and fortify himself against the unwholesome distractions of an incessant mental chattering (the logismoi, interpreted as demonic promptings).
". . . Meditative reading was [only] the first step in a long pilgrimage from the 'region of unlikeness' towards the condition in which the divine image would shine forth fully restored."

     Carol Zaleski, "Attending to attention," in Faithful imagining:  essays in honor of Richard R. Niebuhr, ed. Sang Hyun Lee, Wayne Proudfoot, and Albert Blackwell (Atlanta:  Scholars Press, 1995), 140 (127-149).  Zaleski gives a handy list of her authorities.

Monday, August 27, 2018

"A table without a remembrance of God is indistinguishable from a feeding-trough."

Τράπεζα μὴ ἔχουσα μνήμην Θεοῦ, φάτνης ἀλόγων οὐδὲν διενήνοχεν.

     Leontius of Byzantium, Rerum sacrarum 2, On dinner (Περὶ δείπνου), PG 86, col. 2077B.  I was put onto this by Hermann Josef Sieben, "ΜΝΗΜΗ ΘΕΟΥ," Dictionnaire de spiritualité 10 (1980), 1412 (1407-1414).

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Which will it be? Down or up?

"It may be that the [seventeenth-century] Pascalian concept [of diversion (divertissement)] will [only] be fully appreciated [(prenne toute son ampleur)] when technological advances, [and] those in cybernetics in particular, free up for a universalized culture [various forms of] leisure [(des loisirs)], while multiplying the possibilities for human action.  A choice will at that time present itself [(Une option dès lors s'offrira)] between the descent [(pente)] of a world diverted and doomed to catastrophe, and a world recalled to itself, in which liberation from [the various forms of] servitude [(des servitudes)] will allow for a spiritual ascent [(montée)]."

     François Marty, "Divertissement," Dictionnaire de la spiritualité 3 (1957):  1370 (1364-1370).
One cannot be content to reduce the tendency to diversion [(divertissement)] to an evil penchant for sensible multiplicity. . . [E]nthusiasts of the absolute like Augustine and Pascal [(Sans doute, on comprend que des passionnés d'absolu, comme Augustin et Pascal)] (see the nuances of Pensées 140) placed the accent on this negative aspect.  But it is necessary to recognize a positive value in the sensible and manifold universe in which our activity unfolds; it is the way by which we return to God; it is also [a] creature of God to be redeemed and sanctified.  One sees how diversions (plural) [(les divertissements)] and every human activity can be something other than a means of diversion (singular) [(divertissement)]:  they are an element necessary to the Redemption of the Universe.
On the distinction between "les divertissements" and "le divertissement", see col. 1364:
Diversions [(les divertissements)] can be one of the manifestations of diversion [(du divertissement)].  See DS 2, cols. 2374-2375.
This is helpful, too:
Distraction . . . is a weakening [(fléchissement)] of attention; diversion, a weakening of intention.