Saturday, July 8, 2017

"a sword will pierce through your own soul also"

"God wills that Mary be in time the Mother of his Son; [and] this on the condition that the extremely exalted bond of affinity by which Jesus belongs to her will be the foundation of a grace that will separate her from him all the more.  She will be his Mother not in order that she might revel ecstatically in the sweets of his presence while he is afflicted with exhaustion [(ennui)] and consumed by sorrows; it is rather in order that he might be in her womb a bouquet of extremely bitter myrrh, and that she might be for him, in the flesh that she supplies and the nourishment that she provides him with, a living source of displeasures [(dèplaisirs)]. . . . Her motherhood [(qualité de mère)] detaches her from her Son, and her extremely exalted affinity with the incarnate Word is a cross that crucifies [both] God and Mary."

     Louis Chardon, La croix de Jésus (Paris:  Cerf, 2004 [1647]) 1.28.369, as quoted by Aaron Riches, Ecco homo:  on the divine unity of Christ, Interventions (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 2016), 242n28 (translation mine, though I see that a translation by Murphy & Thornton was published in 1957-1959).  Apparently Chardon goes on to sketch out the "pilgrimage of faith" by which Mary is led to embrace ever more concretely this ever more wrenching separation (242-246):
The whole 'weight' of Jesus' life leading to the Cross is the weight of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit who drove Jesus into the wilderness (cf. Mark 1:12) now drives him to the Cross where he offers himself without blemish 'through the Spirit' (cf. Heb 9:14).  The Spirit is the 'crucifier,' the unio that joins Son to Father in his being and in his abandonment.  The vinculum amoris pours forth in the moment of total sui exinanitio [(self-emptying)] in order to realize the living death and dying life that is the Christian vocation perfectly revealed and lived by Mary in the moment of the Sacrifice of Calvary [(245-246, underscoring mine)].

Small on the "fruits of modernity"

     "So yes, liberalism didn't happen, peace and prosperity didn't materialize.  But because Bellaigue's value system is backwards binary—modernity equals good, bad equals not modernity—he's ultimately unable to make coherent sense of the history he's telling.  Secret police, genocides, one-party states, revolutionary utopianism, consumerism, radical terrorism, rentier economies, huge sovereign debts:  all these dispiriting twentieth-century phenomena are fruits of modernity.  Indeed, they happened because of, not despite, the Enlightenment, reaching their modern forms, so repugnant to any truly enlightened sensibility, thanks not to religious 'bigots' and 'stick-in-the-muds', but to the modern cast of mind Bellaigue champions so uncritically:  literate and ideological, obsessed with science and technology, and fixated on the future, never on the past, on new and final solutions, never on traditional wisdom."

    Thomas Small, "Truly modern Muslims:  the thorny question of what it means to be Islamic," a review of, among others, Christopher de Bellaigue, The Islamic enlightenment:  the modern struggle between faith and reason:  1798 to modern times, Times literary supplement no. 5958 (June 9, 2017):  8-9 (7-9).  I have not read the book.
     Commenting on Tariq Ramadan's Islam:  the essentials, Small says
Ramadan does not ignore jihadbut I almost wish he had.  Again, it's all smoke and mirrors, beginning with his claim that it is only in an echo of 'the Christian crusades' that Westerners present jihad as 'holy war', which is getting it precisely backwards.  By the time of the Crusades, Christendom in both East and West had endured centuries of aggression at the hands of the Caliphate, and Christian knighthood took on a sacralized dimension only in emulation of the ghazis of Islam.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Luther on the Divine office

"in the wake of the Leipzig Debate, Luther's attitude to his monastic vocation began to alter.  From his early years as a monk, he had been obliged to attend services and perform the 'hours,' the repetition of prayers that took such a prominent place in a monk's daily routine and consumed much of his time.  Even after the Augsburg discussions, when Staupitz had released Luther from his vows, he still found it hard to give up this duty, as if it were a burden he could not put down.  At some point in 1520, however, he stopped altogether.  He recalled in 1531, 'Our Lord God pulled me by force away from the canonical hours in 1520, when I was already writing a great deal, and I often saved up my hours for a whole week, and then on Saturday I would do them one after another so that I neither ate nor drank anything for the whole day, and I was so weakened that I couldn't sleep, so that I had to be given Dr. Esch's sleeping draught, the effects of which I still feel in my head.'  In the end, a 'whole quarter-year' of hours had mounted up:  'This was too much for me, and I dropped it altogether.'  The resulting liberation—and the amount of time it freed up—may have played a part in the burst of creativity he experienced in 1520:  Now he could devote himself to writing and thinking without interruption or guilt."

     Lyndal Roper, Martin Luther:  renegade and prophet (New York:  Random House, 2017), 134 and 446nn1-3, citing WA Tischreden 2, p. 11 (no. 1253), and 5, p. 137 (133 ff., no. 5428).  See also (says Roper) 3, no. 3651; 4, nos. 4082, 4919, and 5094; 5, no. 6077; and WA 17.1, 112ff. (a sermon of 1525).