Saturday, April 18, 2020

"Though sense suggests the contrary"

     "Do not then think of the elements as bare [(ψιλοῖς)] bread and wine; they are, according to the Lord’s declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ.  Though sense [(ἡ αἴσθησίς)] suggests the contrary, let faith be your stay [(ἀλλὰ ἡ πίστις σε βεβαιούτω)].  Instead of judging the matter by taste [(τὴς γεύσεως)], let faith give you an unwavering confidence that you have been privileged to receive the Body and Blood of Christ."

     Mystagogical catechesis/lecture 4.6 (late 4th-century), trans. McCauley & Stephenson, FC 64, 183 =PG 33, col. 1101 (no access to the modern critical editions at present).

Friday, April 17, 2020

Our common plague

Fragment 12, supposedly
"the majority of people suffer from a common disease, as in a plague, with their false notions about things, and their number is increasing (for in mutual emulation they catch the disease from one another, like sheep)".

     Diogenes of Oenoanda (2nd century A.D.), The philosophical inscription, fragment 3 IV, ed. & trans. M. F. Smith.  I was put onto this by Kyle Harper, "Epicurus today," First things no. 302 (April 2020):  49 (47-49), but have been prevented from procuring the latest critical edition by our current literal pandemic.

"whatever he suffered, we too suffered in him, and whatever we suffer, he too suffers in us."

"whatever he suffered, we too suffered in him, and whatever we suffer, he too suffers in us [(quidquid passus est, in illo et nos passi sumus; quia et nos quod patimur, in nobis et ipse patitur)]. Think of an analogy: if your head suffers some injury, can your hand be unaffected? Or if your hand is hurt, can your head be free from pain? Or if your foot is painful, can your head be unconcerned? When any one of our members suffers, all the other members hasten to help the one that is in pain. This solidarity meant that when Christ suffered, we suffered in him; and it follows that now that he has ascended into heaven, and is seated at the Father’s right hand, he still undergoes in the person of his Church whatever it may suffer amid the troubles of this world, whether temptations, or hardship, or oppression (for all these are the necessary means of our instruction, and through them the Church is purified, as gold is by fire) [(si ergo ille cum passus est, nos in illo passi sumus, et ille iam adscendit in caelum, et sedet ad dexteram patris; quidquid patitur ecclesia ipsius in tribulationibus huius saeculi, in tentationibus, in necessitatibus, in angustiis—quia sic illam oportet erudiri, ut igne tamquam aurum purgetur—, ipse patitur.)]."

     St. Augustine, In Ps. 62.2, trans. Maria Boulding, WSA III/17, 230-231.  Latin from CAG (Past Masters).  That Boulding rendition is a bit looser than I would like.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

"This clothing, once ours and now lost and the object of our search in any earthly clothing that we wear"

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
This stripping (Entkleidung) of the body, "This 'uncovering [(Aufdeckung)]' of the body that caused its 'naked corporeality' to become visible, this pitilessly savage exposure [(schonunglos Entblößung)] of the body with all of the marks of its sexuality—which, as a consequence of sin becomes visible to the 'eyes' now 'opened'—can only be comprehended on the assumption that before the Fall into sin [there] was 'covered [(bedecken)]' what is now 'uncovered [(aufgedeckt)]', that [there] was veiled and clothed [(verhüllt und bekleidet)] what is now exposed and stripped [(enthüllt und entkleidet)]."

     Erik Peterson, "Theologie des Kleides." Benediktinische Monatschrift 16, no. 9 (1934):  348 (347-346).  Note the date.  Here is the 1993 Dom Hugh Gilbert translation of this into English in Communio, onto which I was put by Sara Koenig:
     This uncovering of the body, manifesting its 'naked bodiliness,' this pitiless exposure of the body and of all the marks of its sexuality, now visible to the 'opened eyes' as a consequence of the first sin, can be understood only once it is accepted that what came to be 'uncovered' was 'covered' prior to the Fall, and that what was now revealed and undressed had previously been concealed and clothed.  The body was man’s in a different way before the Fall, because man was God’s in a different way.  The 'disturbance' of human nature through the Fall led to the 'uncovering' of the body and to the realization of its 'nakedness.'  Before the Fall man belonged to God in such a way that the body—albeit not dressed in any human clothes—was still not 'naked.'  This 'non-nakedness' of the body, along with its unclothedness, is explained by the fact that supernatural grace covered the human person like a garment.  Man did not simply stand in the light of the divine glory; he was actually clothed with it.  But through sin man lost this divine glory, and when we see him now, we see a body without divine glory:  naked in the sense of the purely physical, stripped down to what is merely functional; a body lacking nobility, now that the divine glory which had enveloped and ultimately dignified it was no more. . . .
. . . The forfeiture of the garment of divine glory exposes not his 'unclothed' nature, but his nature as 'stripped,' the 'nakedness' of which becomes apparent in 'shame.'
. . . It may seem grotesquely inappropriate that man should have reacted to the Fall simply by covering his physical shame.  But . . . in the apparent inappropriateness of a biblical account which connects a 'Fall' which had occurred in the very center of the human person with the covering up of physical shame, there is expressed the truth that just as grace presupposes nature, so too the loss of grace exposes a stripping of nature in the whole of man's being.  He who a little while before had been clothed like an angel in divine glory must now cover the nakedness of his body with fig leaves.
. . . the clothing worn by fallen man is a remembering of the lost clothing worn by man in Paradise.  So living a memory, indeed, is it that every new change in fashion—which we adopt so willingly because it promises a new beginning of self-understanding—is, in fact, merely a reviving of our hope for that lost clothing which alone can signify what we are and can make our 'dignity' visible.