Thursday, December 1, 2016

I shall expect the Lord my Savior, and stand at the ready for him when he is near.

Exspectabo Dominum salvatorem meum, et praestolabor eum dum prope est.  Alleluia.

(Judges 6:18 ((the angel of) the Lord to Gideon):  . . . qui respondit ego praestolabor adventum tuum, And he answered:  I will await thy coming.)
Isaiah 8:17:  et expectabo Dominum qui abscondit faciem suam a domo Iacob et praestolabor eum, And I will wait for the Lord, who hath hid his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.
Isaiah 55:6:  quaerite Dominum dum inveniri potest invocate eum dum prope est, Seek ye the Lord while he may be found:  call upon him, while he is near.
Micah 7:7:  ego autem ad Dominum aspiciam expectabo Deum salvatorem meum audiet me Deus meus, But I will look towards the Lord, I will wait for God my Saviour:  my God will hear me.

I shall wait (etymologically, look out) for the Lord my Savior, and stand ready for him when he is near.  Alleluia.

     Antiphon to the Benedictus, Morning Prayer, Thursday of the First Week of Advent, Liturgy of the hours:

I shall wait for my Lord and Saviour and point him out when he is near, alleluia.

Image from Sankt Gallen,Stiftsbibliothek, 390, p. 21 (c. 980 or later), the fourth oldest occurrence of this antiphon in the database CANTUS (the oldest being Albi, Bibliothèque municipale Rochegude, 44 (c. 890)).

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Gregory of Nazianzus: the Word has approached and assumed "his own [defaced] image"

"What is the wealth of his goodness?  What is this mystery concerning me?  I participated in the [divine] image, and I did not keep it; he participates in my flesh both to save the image and to make the flesh immortal.  He shares with us a second communion, much more paradoxical than the first; then he gave us a share in what is superior, now he shares in what is inferior.  This is more godlike than the first; this, to those who can understand, is more exalted."

Τίς ὁ πλοῦτος τῆς ἀγαθότητος;  τί τὸ περὶ ἐμὲ τοῦτο μυστήριον;  Μετέλαβον τῆς εἰκόνος, καὶ οὐκ ἐφύλαξα·  μεταλαμβάνει τῆς ἐμῆς σαρκὸς, ἵνα καὶ τὴν εἰκόνα σώσῃ, καὶ τὴν σάρκα ἀθανατίσῃ.  Δευτέραν κοινωνεῖ κοινωνίαν, πολὺ τῆς προτέρας παραδοξοτέραν·  ὅσῳ τότε μὲν τοῦ κρείττονος μετέδωκε, νῦν δὲ μεταλαμβάνει τοῦ χείρονος.  Τοῦτο τοῦ προτέρου θεοειδέστερον·  τοῦτο τοῖς νοῦν ἔχουσιν ὑψηλότερον.

     St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration 45.9, On Holy Pascha, trans. Nonna Verna Harrison (Festal orations:  Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, Popular patristics series 36 (Crestwood, NY:  St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2008), 169).  PG 36, col. 633.  Office of readings, Tuesday of the First Week of Advent, Liturgy of the hours:  "What is this wealth of goodness? What is this mystery that surrounds me? I received the likeness of God, but failed to keep it. He takes on my flesh, to bring salvation to the image, immortality to the flesh. He enters into a second union with us, a union far more wonderful than the first. . . ."

Monday, November 28, 2016

"Access to the knowledge that he is a sinner is lacking to man because he is a sinner."

"That man is evil, that he is at odds with God and his neighbour, and therefore with himself, is something which he cannot know of himself, by communing with himself, or by conversation with his fellow-men, any more than he can know in this way that he is justified and comforted by God. . . . Access to the knowledge that he is a sinner is lacking to man because he is a sinner. . . .
". . . He sees and thinks and knows crookedly even in relation to his crookedness."

"Daß der Mensch böse ist, d. h. daß er sich im Widerspruch zu Gott und zu seinem Nächsten und darum und von daher auch zu sich selbst befindet, das kann er nicht aus sich selbst wissen, das kann er also aus keinem Selbstgespräch, das kann er aber auch aus keinem Gespräch mit seinem Mitmenschen erfahren: das so wenig, wie daß er von Gott gerechtfertigt und getröstet ist. . . . Der Zugang zu der Erkenntnis, daß er ein Sünder ist, fehlt ihm gerade deshalb, weil er ein Sünder ist. . . .
". . . Er sieht und denkt und erkennt eben verkehrt auch in Sachen seiner Verkehrtheit."

     Karl Barth, CD IV/1, 359-361 =KD IV/1, 397-398.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Conviction and love as "motives of Faith"

"That Divine Revelation is infallible, is an acknowledg'd Principle by all Men: for natural Reason dictates that unerring Wisdom, and infinite Goodness, are essential perfections of God; so that he cannot be deceived, nor deceive those that trust in his Word.  The proofs of the truth of Christian Religion are of a moral nature; and though not of equal clearness with the testimonies of Sense, or a Mathematical Demonstration, yet are so pregnant and convincing, that the considering dispassionate spirit fully acquiesces in them.  A Mathematical Demonstration brings so strong a Light that the Mind cannot suspend its assent, but is presently overcome by the naked propounding of the Object:  And hence it is that in Mathematical matters, there are neither Infidels nor Hereticks.  But the motives of Faith are such, that although the Object be most certain, yet the Evidence is not so clear and irresistible, as that which flows from Sense, or a Demonstration.  And 'tis the excellent observation of Grotius, God has wisely appointed this way of perswading Men the truth of the Gospel, that Faith might be accepted as an act of Obedience from the reasonable Creature.  For the Arguments to induce belief, though of sufficient certainty, yet do not so constrain the mind to give its assent, but there is prudence and choice in it.  Not that the Will can make a direct impression upon the Mind, that it should comply with its desire, and see what it does not see. It cannot make an obscure Object to be clear to its perception, no more than it can change the colour of visible things, and make what appears green to the Eye to seem red. But the mind enlightned by sufficient Reasons that the Christian Religion is from God, represents it so to the Will, and the Will, if sincere and unbiast by carnal affections, commands the Mind not to disguise the Truth, to make it less credible, nor to palliate with specions colours the pretences of Infidelity. And thus the belief of it results from conviction and love."

     William Bates, The divinity of the Christian religion (London:  JD, 1677), 41-43, as quoted by David Wootton, The invention of science:  a new history of the scientific revolution (New York:  HarperCollins Publishers, 2015), 422, and supplemented on both ends by the TCP, above.

Intellectual vice

"There are some men, who have sufficient abilities to discern betwixt the true difference of things; but what through their vicious affections and voluntary prejudices, making them unwilling that some things should be true; what through their inadvertency or neglect to consider and compare things together, they are not to be convinced by plain Arguments; not through any insufficiency in the evidence, but by reason of some defect or corruption in the faculty that should judg of it.  Now the neglect of keeping our minds in such an equal frame, the not applying of our thoughts to consider of such matters of moment, as do highly concern a man to be rightly informed in, must needs be a vice."

     John Wilkins, Of the principles and duties of natural religion (London:  T. Basset, 1675), 35-36 (5th ed., 1704), as quoted by David Wootton, The invention of science:  a new history of the scientific revolution (New York:  HarperCollins Publishers, 2015), 423.

Caught in the act

     "Freedwoman Martha Hendricks found herself in a similar situation when she fled her husband's attackers, baby in arms, to take shelter in the home of her white neighbors, the Grogans.  Mrs. Grogan at first discouraged Hendricks from entering, but when Hendricks plead that it was cold and there was nowhere else to go, Mrs. Grogan begrudgingly offered hospitality.  Hendricks and her baby sat in a room with Mrs. Grogan and her toddler son to await news.  The cause of Mrs. Grogan's reluctance to admit Hendricks became apparent when her son inadvertently revealed to Hendricks that Mr. Grogan was among her husband's attackers.  Both women pretended not to have noticed the slip and continued to spend what must have been an unimaginably painful evening.  When Grogan returned, after a hushed conversation with his wife, he assumed a casual and protective role to Hendricks, assuring her that he had heard that her husband had escaped his pursuers (as indeed he had).  Perhaps Mrs. Grogan and Jeter's attacker's wife acted more kindly than their husbands would have wanted.  Perhaps the white men had joined the attacks reluctantly, or even intervened to spare Hendricks's and Jeter's lives.  It seems most likely, however, that the white men were attempting, through their use of disguise, to have two parallel relationships with Hendricks and Jeter."

     Elaine Frantz Parsons, Ku-Klux:  the birth of the Klan during Reconstruction (Chapel Hll:  The University of North Carolina Press, 2015), 98.  "The Ku-Klux's performance enabled southern men to shed the antebellum manhood they had come to idealize for a more starkly, explicitly violent postbellum version.  The Ku-Klux's brief reign marked a transition space between distinct regimes of violence:  the threshold between the patriarchal violence of the antebellum years and the chivalric violence of the war, on the one hand, and the public lynchings of the Progressive Era.  If performance is a way of figuring loss, representing that which is passing away and may be forgotten, the Ku-Klux's histrionics marked and mourned the fall of antebellum white southern manhood and erected a new modern southern manhood in its place" (100-101).

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Rusty Reno on public theology

"We should speak boldly in the prophetic mode, trenchantly in the critic mode, but tentatively in the political.  And we should speak with generosity to those who draw different conclusions about what course of action, here and now, in our always compromised circumstances, best serve God's purposes in public life."

     Rusty Reno, "Public theology," First things no. 268 (December 2016): 6 (4-6).