True Goods

CoventryPatmore

“Enthusiasm is a foul mockery of pure zeal. True goods are peacefully desired, sought without eagerness, possessed without elation, and postponed without regret.”

Coventry Patmore

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Love’s Fire: Dante’s Paradiso Canto XXVIII

What’s bugging you?

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Beatrice & the Price of Truth: Dante’s Paradiso Canto XXVIII

When she whose powers imparadise my mind had so denounced and laid bare the whole truth of the present state of miserable mankind….

Dante pays the price for poetic truth.

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Adam & Language: Dante’s Paradiso Canto XXVI

Dante learns from Adam that there is no first true language that having recovered one could communicate without the need for interpretation. There were human problems before the Tower of Babel. Language is the bearer of consciousness and will need, in every generation, to renew its work of ‘calling everything by its right name’ – the work of poetry.

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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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