Christian Life/Personal Holiness: December 2004 Archives

In Preparation for New Year's

| | Comments (2)

and making resolutions that matter and prayers that are worthwhile, I present once again from the writings of St. Josemaria Escriva:

The Seventeen Evidences of a Lack of Humility

1. To think that what one says or does is better than what others say or do

2. To always to want to get your own way

3. To argue with stubbornness and bad manners whether you are right or wrong

4. To give your opinion when it has not been requested or when charity does not demand it

5. To look down on another's point of view

6. Not to look on your gifts and abilities as lent

7. Not to recognize that you are unworthy of all honors and esteem, not even of the earth you walk on and things you possess

8. To use yourself as an example in conversations

9. To speak badly of yourself so that others will think well of you or contradict you

10. To excuse yourself when you are corrected

11. To hide humiliating faults from your spiritual director, so that he will not change the impression he has of you

12. To take pleasure in praise and compliments

13. To be saddened because others are held in higher esteem

14. To refuse to perform inferior tasks

15. To seek to stand out

16. To refer in conversation to your honesty, genius, dexterity, or professional prestige

17. To be ashamed because you lack certain goods

Lord. grant me eyes to see my own faults and to desire to make them good. Let me see how I fail in humility and give me the strength and the courage to make it right. Lord, let me be what you would have me be--nothing more, nothing less. And let me not pretend to anything more than my identity in Christ. And grant me the willingness to abandon myself in the pursuit of that Pearl of Great Price, the One who matters. Amen

Bookmark and Share

Heaven and Hell

| | Comments (2)

I liked this quotation from Peter Kreeft:

"Jesus says the way to hell is broad and many find it and that the way to heaven is narrow and few find it. And he means it: you don't get to heaven simply by being born, by being nice, or by oozing into an eternal growth experience. But "few" here does not mean that less than half of mankind will be saved. For God speaks as our Father, not our statistician. Even one child lost is too many, and the rest saved are too few. The good shepherd who left his ninety-nine sheep safe at home to rescue his one lost sheep found even 99 percent salvation too "few". "

And this may be the beginning of many pointless maunderings on the subject. They were started by reading at Christifideles (see below). I asked myself, what do I believe about Heaven and Hell.

For one, I believe they exist. What one or the other is, I really don't know, because it occurred to me that while I accept their existence as an article of faith, they don't occupy a large portion of my thought-world. In fact, they occupy practically nothing at all. Except to acknowledge that they exist and either is a possible destination for me personally, they have no real presence in my devotional life. I guess that is because even if they did not exist, I would have no excuse for a lack of loving God. The existence or nonexistence or heaven or hell is not instrumental in my belief structure. That is, I believe them, but my belief is not compelled by either of them. My belief is compelled by communication with God through His revelations and prayer.

That isn't to say that they are unimportant or inconsequential. But it has never occurred to me to spend a lot of time thinking about them. I think that this is one of those places where the empirical "facts" of the matter are so limited and so few that spending a lot of time conjuring up images seems counter-productive. I've said the same before about speculating about angels (and have been chastised for it), but I stand by it. There is so little solid material to go on with regard to what constitutes these realms of being that, for me, they would prove unsatisfactory means for loving God more. And that's really what any sort of meditation and prayer should be about, isn't it? If an action detracts from that end, I would do well either to never take it up or to desist at the earliest possible moment.

Nevertheless, I am interested in the informed speculations of people better placed (intellectually and spiritually) about these realms. I do believe because Jesus believed and taught their existence and the Church upholds that same teaching and reinforces it. And I shall continue to read about them from time to time; nevertheless, they might never constitute a center for my faith or my prayer for all the reasons I listed above. And I wonder if they were ever meant to or if they ever did for anyone in an protracted way. It little matters--and I suppose it is one of the reasons that Jesus told us, "My Father's house has many mansions." That mansion allotted for me is all I need be concerned about.

Bookmark and Share

Marriage in the Resurrection

| | Comments (1)

Go here to read an interesting speculation about the life of the world to come. I don't know quite what to make of it, but it is intriguing and thought-provoking. Don't remember where I found this link, but I think it was through Catholic Light.

Bookmark and Share

A Spirituality of Reading

| | Comments (8)

This link thanks to Neil, gives some insight to the thought about the spirituality of reading. I think there is much here that may inspire hope for those who feel hopelessly left out of the contemplative world. Perhaps more later.

Reading with New Eyes
Nancy Malone, OSU (Ursuline Sisters)

I suspect that lots of people who love reading have a sense there is something spiritual about it. That was my hunch when I started thinking about "a spirituality of reading." The hunch was based on two simple observations. One, that the acts of reading and of contemplation share many of the same characteristics: Both are usually done alone, in silence and physical stillness, our attention focused, our whole selves - body, mind, and hearts - engaged. And two, that reading scripture and the lives of the saints played a significant part in the conversions of St. Augustine and St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. I wanted to explore the spiritual value to be found not so much in reading "holy books," however, but in good books of all kinds - novels, poetry, biography, history, short stories.

Bookmark and Share

Thomas Merton on Suffering

| | Comments (5)

By the way, much of the recent quotation is derived secondarily from Dwight Longenecker's beautiful study St. Benedict and St. Thérèse

from The Seven Storey Mountain
Thomas Merton

The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you . . . the one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most: and his suffering comes to him from things so little and so trivial that one can say that it is no longer objective at all; it is his own existence which is the source of his pain.

And this extremely powerful note from Longenecker follows:

from St. Benedict and St. Thérèse
Dwight Longenecker

If the vow of stability forces me to stay in one place and face the grim reallitiles of llife, then I am also confronted by the glorious realities. Indeed, if we embrace ther grim reality, then the good reality is more vibrantly alive than we could ever have imagined. The climax of Thérèse's deathbed experience was an excrutiating participation in the suffering of Christ, but it was also an exhilirating participation in the love of Christ. On the afternoon of her death she cries, "Newver would I have believed it was possible to suffer so much!" but her last words are, "Oh! I love HIm! . . . My God . . . I love you!"

The everyday realities of being married, of loving who and where we are--these are the places where we are called to grow in sanctity, in the pain of feeling not appreciated, and in the warm embrace of family.

I go on, but I think you would all do yourselves a favor to acquire and read this wonderful book. It has blessed me over and over again.

Bookmark and Share

Hearts and Minds III

| | Comments (5)

This is my third attempt to make clear something that has long been on my mind. I wrote at length about the problems besetting the two mindsets of the church, those "heart" oriented and those "head" oriented. I went into detail about how exactly each of these might be fixed to bring everything into proper balance.

That done and the previous drafts set aside, I gave myself a moment to think about it and reached a new conclusions about the problems besetting the Church. The reality is that there are so many people in the Church who insist on seeing things differently than I do. This is a serious problem. But it isn't the Church's problem. It's mine. I have all sorts of solutions to suggest to bring the Church and its various members into exact accord with me. Somehow, I find myself questioning the wisdom of that particular direction.

So, the solution to the problems in the Church is this: I need to bring myself into accord with the mind of the Church and not busy myself nearly so much with fixing up everything I see as wrong. Wrong or right, my view is not the wisdom of the ages, the wisdom of the age, or even (very likely) wisdom at all. So rather than tell you all how you can fix your broken church, I think I'll make my way to confession and fix my broken self (at least until the next major goof-up.)

Perhaps someday I will learn that not everything should circulate around me. I pray that that day is sooner rather than later.

Bookmark and Share

A Tale of Acedie

| | Comments (2)

or, What Acedie Looks Like When It Gets Dressed Up and Goes Out on the Town

In some ways, this advent season is a perfect time to talk about acedie because one of the central traditions of Christmas storytelling is a marvelous illustration of its effects. The Fathers have said variously that Pride is the source of all the deadly sins, or that when one of the deadly sins is present all are present. I think another well-spring of deadly sin is very important and pervasive.

If we were to look at the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge, we would conclude that the operative sin was avarice. And I suppose to some extent that might be true. But if we look to the roots of the story, we will find haunting (pardon the pun) suggestions of the cause of this avarice. That is, avarice was not the first cause, but the result. In the story of Christmas past we encounter Isabelle who tells scrooge that he is "too afraid of the world." (At least this happens in some of the cinematic versions of the tale.) It is this fear of the world and closing in on oneself that is the core of acedie. And it shows itself in how one conducts one's life. One is more closed in--one may collect and own things (as does Scrooge) but, famously these things are neither cared-for nor valued. They simply are. Scrooge's house is in disrepair, his belongings substandard. This is in part the avarice of not wanting to spend the money, but it is also a sure sign of the despair, the loss of joy that did not happen all at once. That is part of the insidiousness of this deadly sin. That loss of joy can take years and years and years, until one arrives in the dark, bleak wilderness of the end of Acedie.

Famously also, Scrooge is awakened from the slumber of despair. And while the proximal cause is three spirits representing Christmas, outside of our secular culture we can assume the greater cause is the cause of Christmas Himself. That is that grace breaks in. Grace in this case takes the form of visitation from four spirits--one who testifies and three who demonstrate. Now we know from the gospels that the rich man was not released from Hell to go in spirit to warn his brothers and sisters, and yet, we have that story that warns us, and other works through the ages. We cannot expect the visitation of spirits. We must like Dante come to ourselves in midlife and awaken to what has happened to us. We must seek to recover joy and Jesus has promised, "He who seeks finds."

If we are subject to this terrible deadly sin, let us uncover it in the light of day. Let it be confessed and done away with and let us avidly seek "surcease of sorrow" in the presence of God. The only way to do away with Sloth is to recognize it and apply one's will to doing away with it.

And so I end my discussion of Acedie--one of the most insidious of the seven deadlies. All are deadly, and all can go unrecognized. The danger of Acedie is that it builds through a series of seemingly unimportant choices to ultimately rob us of joy.

Bookmark and Share

On Acedie or Sloth

| | Comments (5)

The modern usurpation of terms has left us with the deadly sin of sloth as something akin to laziness. Earlier in the essay by Robertson Davies that I quoted below he notes that the person in thrall to acedie might be extraordinarily busy indeed. So much Martha that Mary hasn't a single moment to be with the Lord.

Acedie is akin to world-weariness. As Davies rightly noted it is the complete death of Joy. The Good News is no longer good, and it is just barely news. It merely is. The world is drained of color and meaning.

Here is an excerpt from an article that gives a clearer view:

from "Spiritual Acedie, Torpor, and Depression" in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, August Sept 1999
John Navone

The term in classical Christian spirituality for life-robbing dreariness or sadness is “acedia.” St. Gregory the Great (c. 540-604) included this term among the seven deadly sins (Moralia xxxi, 87, where it is called “tristia” or sadness). This form of ennui or apathy is linked to our greatest possibility. To be oppressed by weariness and boredom is to despair of the glory to which God calls us. The inability to delight in God is the inability to glorify God. If faith is the “eye of love” that “sees” and delights in the beauty of God’s love in all things, acedia implies the absence of the love which both “sees” and delights in the all-encompassing splendor of God’s love.

Acedia shrivels our vision of God’s goodness and love. It is born from a loss of hope in ever achieving what God’s love wants for us: our eternal happiness under the sovereignty of God’s love. It is spiritually fatal because it means that we do not want what God—Happiness Itself—wants for us: we do not want Happiness Itself.

Now, I think we need to be very, very careful equating acedie, which is something remedied by grace with clinical depression, which also might be healed by grace, but which is not of the same substance. Acedie develops from a lack of spiritual discipline, a failure to make use of the sacraments, a gradual abandonment of prayer because of a lack of hope--things around us seem so desperate and so sad that there is little or nothing to hope for.

As Davies said, this can easily creep up on one. You find that nothing whatsoever holds any interest. You flit from spiritual thing to spiritual thing looking for something to fill the time but not the emptiness that you acknowledge but have come to see as unfillable. The most remarkable thing about acedie is that the person in thrall to it will not even recognize it. This person is likely to be wry, witty, sarcastic, intelligent, sophisticated, above the fray and toil of the ordinary, in possession as it were of the real secret to life.

The desert fathers warned constantly of acedie, and its real danger becomes more intense as one approaches or enters the various dark nights. It is possible for one to lose track without a good spiritual advisor and to slip off into hopelessness--at least so we are warned by the spiritual masters.

With this description, it seems as though few would be subject to such a condition. But read the article linked to above and you will see how very easy it is to slip into the condition. And the worst part of all is that you hardly know that you have done so--one might view it is a natural concomitant of aging. But it is not necessarily so. We all can think of older people who are still vibrate, alive, and aware--Mother Teresa of Calcutta comes to mind.

The great bulwarks against acedie are an established spiritual discipline that includes constant recourse to the graces present in the sacraments. I should also think that service would help one to be sufficiently exteriorly directed that one would not normally have time for the self-focus necessary for despair and sadness. We might still go through a terrifying dark night, as it is said of Mother Teresa, but her constant recourse to contemplation and to adoration and receiving the Lord helped her to stay the course.

As a society, I sometimes feel that the general mood is one of acedie--individuals see things differently, but the group mind seems to be endlessly preoccupied with entertaining itself and relieving itself of hardship, pain, and suffering to an unhealthy degree. And yet in our reality television and even in the popular shows such as CSI, we dwell constantly on the suffering and hardship of others because it momentarily takes our minds off our own. The only cure for acedie is a motion of will toward grace--the desire as it were to wake from this waking nightmare.

And lastly, my apologies to all. I thought acedie was well known to all. It has a prominent place in the spirituality of the desert fathers and the subsequent early Christians. Hope this helps somewhat.

Bookmark and Share


| | Comments (7)

In common terms, sloth.

from "The Deadliest of the Sins" in One Half of Robertson Davies
Robertson Davies

I have never been able to make up my mind which it is that people fear to feel most--pain or joy. Life will bring you both. You will not be able to escape the pain completely, thouogh Acedia will dull it a little. But unfortunately it lies in your power to reject the joy utterly. Because we are afraid that great exultation may betray us into some actions, some words, which may make us look a little foolish to people who are not sharing our experience, we very often stifle our moments of joy, thinking that we will give them their outlet later. But alas, after a few years of that kind of thing, joy ceases to visit us. . . There is an old saying of medieval teachers which I recommend to your special notice:

Time Jesum transeuntem et non revertentem.

I shall translate it thus: 'Dread the passing of Jesus, for He does not return.' And thus it is with all great revelations, be they relgious or not. Seize them, embrace them, let them engulf you, draw from them the uttermost of what they have to give, for if you rebuff them, they will not come again. We live a world where too many people are pititfully afraid of joy.

Acedie is one of the most dreadful of the deadly sins because it sneaks up on you. It slowly grows until it has a complete grip and suddenly you can't find the way out (if you even recognize your predicament.) Not so lust or gluttony, which while persausive and powerful, are generally of a moment and recognizable. Most people can recognize when they commit these sins--but most are ignorant of any signs of Acedie. In a time of waiting, look inside and see what is there--look for signs of joylessness of being above the fray, sophisticated, and too advanced for those emotions that drive hoi polloi.

Bookmark and Share

A Vow of Partial Silence

| | Comments (4)

In a comment, Mama T brought up an interesting and, in my experience, largely true psychological insight. When we control our tongues, we go a long way to controlling how we feel and react to things.

This from James:

James 3:6-12

And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell.

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no human being can tame the tongue -- a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening fresh water and brackish? Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

(An aside: I love the book of James, precisely because Luther so despised it. In order for Luther's theology to work, he needed to divest himself of James and Hebrews--compelling evidence that his system had flaws, if one were only to heed the evidence.)

In the Gospels, Our Lord tells us that it is not what goes into a man that makes him unclean, but rather what comes out of him. For what comes out of him comes out of the fullness of his heart. Think of your instinctive reactions to comments made around you/about you. Is it the reaction of the saints who say, "Thank you Lord for this humiliation, for this reminder of my lowliness in the scheme of things." Or is it (as in my case) more, "Who the heck does that bozo think he is?"

I think we start with an act of will--a vow of partial silence. With Mama T's friend it was, "No complaint shall pass my lips." By not complaining, her view of the world changed--there became less in the world to complain about. I would do well to start here. But I know that I need to go beyond. I need to promise myself never to speak about another person outside of that person's presence. And I'm not referring to gossip, which I have long abhorred, but even the truth in small negative things. Speaking these truths colors my perceptions of the persons about whom I am speaking. And as James says above, may I bless God and curse humanity that is made in his image? May the stream of my speech flow from both sweet and brackish water?

Bridling the tongue is the first step on the path to extending grace in our lives. God will work with us however we are, but when we make this promise of obedience, even though we do not initially feel it, I do believe that grace flows in so that soon we are feeling.

I look around the blogosphere and so much unpleasantness, so many dark things are the result of people "talking" to people they never meet. What flows out of the comment boxes can be vitriol and hell-fire. Not everywhere, not all the time--but it is so much easier to say ill of people we have never met.

Speech is more than what comes out of my mouth. In a very real way what I write each day is speech. It has the power to comfort or to confront, to wound or to heal, to offer a glimpse of grace or a glimpse of hell. Satan would have us believe that what we say is of little consequence. But both our Lord and St. James tell us otherwise.

So perhaps I should consider this vow of partial silence--simply to refrain from saying what need not be said. It sounds like the easiest, most reasonable, most logical thing in the world--and yet it is fraught with such enormous difficulties one wonders if it is even possible. But with grace and through Christ, I can do all things. He will assist if I am firm in my conviction that for love of Him I will offer no harm to any of His brothers, to any of God's children. Let my speech be always edifying, converting the sinner, changing hearts, offering comfort and a place to rest. That is my prayer as I wait for the coming of Our Lord. With joy and expectation, in hope that His time is soon, I wait and I thank God for this season to remind me of what it is I wait for and wait upon.

Bookmark and Share


| | Comments (6)

An insight that startled me:

from St. Benedict and St. Thérèse
Dwight Longenecker

Church-shopping is one of the spiritual diseases of our age. Constantly on the lookout for an excellent preacher, good music, fine liturgy, or pleasing architecture, we become liturgical tasters and our taste becomes so refined that, like the connoisseur who has spoiled his appreciation through snobbery, we can never find a church exquisite enough for us.

These lines were written right at me. One of the problems I have espoused with my present parish is the awful decoration and certain anomalies in practice. What I should have been doing is working quietly and relentlessly within the parish to bring it into line with Church teaching.

Apparently some good souls have been doing so. The expansion of Eucharistic adoration, the suggestion of building a special chapel for exactly this purpose, and the request to alter the configuration of the Church to result in a eucharistic centrality, is evidence of a core of faithfulness that has worked relentlessly to effect the changes necessary to bring the entire parish into line with the Church at large. I should be ashamed of myself for my laxity and my own appetite for comfort, by which I deprived the parish of one more supporter--a supporter who might have made shorter work of the long waiting the people have experienced. I pray that God forgive me my own self-indulgence.

Bookmark and Share

On Suffering

| | Comments (2)

All of the great saints seem to desire to suffer. Well, perhaps not all, but a great many make a point of desiring to suffer for Jesus. This has long been disconcerting and nearly incomprehensible to me.

But yesterday, as I continued to think about this matter, it seemed a light slowly began to dawn. I'll start with the straightforward ideas before I launch into the theological speculation which may have no validity at all.

Just as any good parent would take upon themselves any of the suffering that faces their children--from physical, suffering a cold or broken bone, to mental, making incorrect decisions--so we desire to shield those we love from suffering. Desiring to share in Christ's suffering is an expression of the desire to offer some comfort, to take away part of the agony of the Passion.

Now, I speculate. God honors that intention. The suffering of the saints may, in some odd way, help to alleviate the suffering on the cross. That is not to say that it makes it more pleasant, but rather that the offering of suffering throughout all of time even made it possible. We all know the story--the scourging, the crowning with thorns, carrying the Cross to Golgotha, and three hours upon the Cross. Christ was fully human and fully divine. Being fully human, it is unlikely that he could have survived even the scourging much less the rest of the ordeal on mere human strength. That goes without saying. He was strengthened by supernatural grace. But perhaps the channels of that grace were tapped into the suffering of Saints throughout the ages and this served in some way to be allied to the sufferings on the cross and allow Jesus to run the entire course.

I've always been a little mystified by Paul's declaration that he made up in his own body what was lacking in the sacrifices of Christ. What could possibly be lacking in that sacrifice. Perhaps what was "lacking" was not atonement or redemption, but rather the human strength to endure the whole ordeal. Perhaps the sufferings of his own body in some way made Christ's own sufferings possible.

Mere speculation, I hope not blasphemous, and I renounce them if against some teaching of the church I do not know. But mysteriously, they provide for me the key to understanding suffering. If I can really believe that my sufferings, little and big are truly united with those of Jesus on the Cross, that they express not just some strange notion of an almost Manichean nature, but rather true and passionate love; then, perhaps I can grow to be like the Saints. Perhaps I can come to understand the necessity of suffering and the beauty of suffering united with Christ. God will undoubtedly continue to work on me, but I humbly offer these speculations and respectfully request correction from those who know better than I do.

Bookmark and Share

What I write below I do in the first person for several reasons. For one, it occurs to me that it is true and I do well by saying so. For another, I suspect there may be others who have a similar problem, and yet it is presumptuous of me to include those who see no problem in my indictment of it. The Holy Spirit has been speaking through a megaphone to me recently. I guess I just need to adjust my own ear-trumpet and try to start listening.

Flannery O'Connor wrote in Wise Blood of Hazel Mote who wanted to found "The Church of God Without Christ." His goal was to undo some of the "damage" done by religion and by the "Christ-haunted" South.

I think too often that I want to belong to the Church of Jesus Without the Cross. That is I really do love Jesus, I accept all that I understand of what the Church teaches about Him, and the rest I agree to by faith even though my understanding is weak. I love the Eucharist and the rich treasury of the Church and I believe what she teaches. I even believe in the necessity of personal sacrifice.

Sort of. I believe in the abstract principle. But when it comes right down to it, I don't really want the cross. Every time its shadow looms, I run for cover. I turn to the gospels and spend time in the Garden with Jesus. I pray with Him, up to a point, and then I say, "Nevertheless Father, my will not thy will." I want protection. I want the "Be Happy" prosperity gospel of Robert Schuller and his ilk. I want to be transformed into the likeness of Christ, but if it involves even so much pain as a leg-waxing, I could do without it, thank you. Change me, but do it gently. Batter my heart three-personed God, but use nerf projectiles.

The shadow of the cross looms and I run from it. Or perhaps eventually I take it up, with long face and long sighs and much lamenting. Take this recent spate at work, where I will need to put in more hours for an extended period in order to accomplish our goals. I do this, but I make sure that the entire world knows how much I suffer and how meaningful that suffering is.

I take up my cross, but I do not embrace it. The sad fact of the matter is that there is no genuine love of Jesus Christ without willingly embracing everything that comes to me from His hand. Jesus did not reluctantly take up the cross, but as memorably portrayed in Gibson's film version, out of love, He embraced it for us all.

St Thèrése of Lisieux told us that the sacrifices need not be monumental. Bearing with the unbearable with a smile, sitting on a hard bench to talk to a friend in desperate need. Listening one more time to what you thought would drive you crazy a moment ago ("Jingle bells, Batman smells. . . " you get the picture). In the words of Don Quixote, "to bear with unbearable sorrow, to fight, the unbeatable foe."

I do not embrace the cross. I run from it. And until my cooperation with graces causes enough change in me to make embracing the cross a reality, my love for Jesus is incomplete. I must love Him as He loved me, even to the death of the Old Man and the resurrection of the new. And if that does not happen in this life, I have wasted my life. There is no love without sacrifice, personal, meaningful sacrifice of what I would rather.

So now I return to my overlong work week with a different perspective, one granted by this meditation. Perhaps I can make a worthy offering of this admittedly minor sacrifice. Perhaps I can start on my way today and embrace the cross as I wait for the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bookmark and Share

Two Varieties of Saints

| | Comments (27)

Although he might all-unknowingly be playing his cards right into Nietzsche's hands, TSO has a very interesting post regarding Two Kinds of Saints. What is of interest here is the ring of something substantive just beneath the surface. I looked at the list he compiled and found myself squarely in the "Mercy" camp of things. With the exception of St. Francis, with whom I have enormous difficulty relating--the list TSO compiles accurately represents the Saints who are "accessible" to me. More revealilngly the saints on the "Justice" side of the scales are and always have been either inaccessible (St. Thomas Aquinas) or distasteful (St. Jerome).

The placement of Pascal is an interesting dilemma, for while he was an acute Mathematician, his Pensées seem to fall more directly into the "Mercy literature" than into the more apologetic literature of the many others on the Justice side of the camp. However, that is something worthy of closer inspection and more thought.

At any rate, give yourself a treat and go and see what TSO has thought out. Then e-mail him your thoughts on the matter. This is one of those cases in which I wish he had comments--I would love to see the discussion that would evolve around this very interesting speculation.

And in this line, truer words were never spoken (regardless of my statements above about affinities):

"What of those who have a foot in both camps, who have both right-brain and left-brain tendencies? I think it makes for some unpredictability and a lot of fence-sitting. Steven Riddle maybe? "

Fence-sitting R US! And I sure hope that there is some measure of unpredicatablility--otherwise I might get bored. (TSO, didn't even read that lilne until my third time through!)

Bookmark and Share



About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Christian Life/Personal Holiness category from December 2004.

Christian Life/Personal Holiness: November 2004 is the previous archive.

Christian Life/Personal Holiness: January 2005 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll