Winners & Losers…

cPéguy“There is a secret gnawing certainty that tells us that in success there is always a residue of impurity, in victory always a residue of coarseness … that there is and can be complete purity only in misfortune, and that therefore historically the great and secret honor and glory are always the lot of the fallen.” …

Clio [the muse of history] does not concern herself with the vanquished, and if they appeal to history for vindication – as to HUvB1the juster judgment of later generations – these naïve folk do not realize how powerless Clio is. She is concerned with results; and so she can “never do more than bring to light the suns that have set.”

— Hans Urs von Balthasar, quoting the French poet and essayist Charles Péguy

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Adam & the Tree: Dante’s Paradiso Canto XXVI

The first human, Adam, tells Dante that the tree in the Garden of Eden from which he and Eve ate was not a bad tree. It was good, as all creation is. The Fall resulted from violating God’s decree to not eat. A limit, only one, was placed for Adam and Eve to obey. And they, like we, could not abide it.

Happiness requires not getting everything you want.

Wholeness requires sacrifice.

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Faith & Reliance: Dante’s Paradiso Canto XXIV

Dante’s Paradiso Canto 24 lines 83-85

….You have assayed this coinage,
its weight and metal content, accurately;
now tell me if you have it in your (purse) possession.

Dante is being interrogated by St. Peter on the topic of faith. He has acquited himself well with words. Now St. Peter wants to know if Dante’s words mean anything, does he actually have faith himself.

But, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8

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Destiny…Man’s and God’s Kingdom

GBernanosWhere others saw only superficial politics, Bernanos saw man’s eternal destiny and, indeed, the destiny of God’s Kingdom at stake. Just as an individual sins, plunges into the abyss, undergoes conversion, and confesses his wrongdoing, so too a country in a given epoch of its history.

Bernanos trembled for his dear France, and, like Péguy, he feared lest it fall into the state of mortal sin; but this danger is just as great for all other countries that have entered into a dimension where they risk the enormous danger of modernity: the peril of losing the sense of man.

HUvB1– Hans Urs von Balthasar

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Our hidden faults…

GBernanosThe great misfortune is that the justice of men always comes too late. It represses or stigmatizes certain acts, without ever tracing these either higher or farther back than the person who has committed them. But our hidden faults poison the air others breathe, and what results in a specific crime was first a germ carried about by some unsuspecting wretch; without this principle of corruption, the full fruit of the crime would never have ripened.

– George Bernanos, from The Diary of a Country Priest: A Novel

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The Good Shepherd

The fourth Sunday of Easter is designated Good Shepherd Sunday and the readings reflect this theme. This past Sunday at Mass I was reminded of a short book, a pamphlet really, that I was given many years ago by a friend entitled, “The Song of Our Syrian Guest” first published in 1904. The story involves the recounting of a visit paid to an American family by a Syrian friend who tells of his people’s long experience tending sheep in the Near East while reflecting on the 23rd Psalm. I discovered that this text is now available as a public domain electronic edition which I offer for your edification here:

(Note: If you click on the hyperlinked text “The Song of Our Syrian Guest” in the lower left-hand part of the book display frame you will be taken to a full screen readable version of the text.)

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“Joy is in the gift of the Church”

GBernanosThe shabbiest tuppeny doll will rejoice a baby’s heart for half the year, but your mature gentleman’ll go yawning his head off at a five-hundred franc gadget. And why? Because he has lost the soul of childhood. Well, God has entrusted the Church to keep that soul alive … Joy is in the gift of the Church, whatever joy is possible for this sad world to share. Whatever you did against the Church, has been done against joy.

the Curé de Torcy from George Bernanos’ The Diary of a Country Priest: A Novel

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Dialogue

Let’s be honest: Crusaders for doctor-assisted suicide and gay rights are not interested in dialogue. Secular progressives demand unconditional surrender. ‘Dialogue’ has become one of their many tactics for neutralizing opposition.

“In my years as a theology professor, as a rare conservative in higher education, I became accustomed to calls for dialogue on this or that issue. In almost every instance, it was a set-up for mandatory public capitulation. If someone regards abortion as a moral evil and same-sex marriage as an oxymoron, as I do, he cannot say so in a public forum, for it amounts to a sin against dialogue. It ‘shuts down conversation,’ I was told on many occasions. As I learned over the years, there’s dialogue—until there isn’t. Once homosexuality is affirmed on a Catholic university campus, there’s no more ‘dialogue.’ Can you imagine ‘dialogue’ on global climate change? The movement from dialogue to censure and then denunciation is often a smooth one.

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A view of multiculturalism from 1925

gkchestertonThe theory was that a Christian and a Mahometan might learn the same lessons in the same class, on ninety-nine subjects out of a hundred, so long as nobody mentioned Mahomet or mentioned Christ, It seems strange that nobody noticed the limitations of such a view. Men do not, indeed, talk incessantly at every dance or dinner-party on the subject of Mahomet. But men do occasionally talk about wine. Men do even in their wilder moments talk about wives. And the Moslem and the Christian must either be taught separately about wine and wives or they must be taught together at the expense of one religion or the other; or they must never be taught about wine or wives at all. The latter is what ought logically to follow from unsectarian education, though it seems a little defective as a detailed scheme of instruction about life

  • G K Chesteron
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Pointing Beyond…

HUvB1Christ’s Cross is indeed not one historical fact among others to which a natural process can more or less arbitrarily be related: it is the fundamental, ontological presupposition of all natural processes that all, knowingly or not, intrinsically signify or intend by pointing beyond themselves.

– Hans Urs Von Balthasar

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