reading books is good but possessing nothing is more than anything

Icon of St. Macarius the Great with a cherub. (The one written more recently is in higher resolution and from this blog.) Saint Macarius, commemorated today, has many sayings collected. Here is one that should be a warning to me: Theodore, surnamed Pherme, had three good books. He went to Macarius, and said, ‘I haveContinue reading “reading books is good but possessing nothing is more than anything”

this image of Jesus made a contribution to the formulation of the founding principals and secular values of modern political philosophy

From Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture (chapter 11) by Jaroslav Pelikan: This controversy over poverty [following the life of Saint Francis] had some unlooked-for political consequences. Nothing would seem to be more otherworldly and apocalyptical, indeed downright idealistic, than the doctrine that because Christ, Mary and the apostles had practicedContinue reading “this image of Jesus made a contribution to the formulation of the founding principals and secular values of modern political philosophy”

the goal of the cosmos

As the goal of the cosmos, the Logos represented the hope that even the devil could finally be restored to wholeness in the restitution of all things—apokatastasis ton panton. And with the reformation of the world, humanity also shall be changed from the transient and the earthly to the incorruptible and the eternal. …All ofContinue reading “the goal of the cosmos”

it is precisely and solely this full community of persons throughout time that God has elected as his image

From That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation by David Bentley Hart: In his great treatise On the Making of Humanity, Gregory reads Genesis 1:26–7—the first account of the creation of the race, where humanity is described as being made “in God’s image”—as referring not to the making of Adam as such,Continue reading “it is precisely and solely this full community of persons throughout time that God has elected as his image”

God our Savior, Who Desires all People to be Saved

The Crucifixion, tempera, Andreas Pavias (active in Crete during the second half of the 15th century). At a recent book club discussion (on The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies, to give only the subtitle), a gentle Christian lady seated to my left asked me if the author David Bentley Hart could still be consideredContinue reading “God our Savior, Who Desires all People to be Saved”

heirs of a culture that sprang from Peter’s tears

“The Face of the Faceless” (chapter 13 in Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies, Yale UP, 2009) by David Bentley Hart is a beautiful chapter in a profound book. Read it if you have not. Here’s an extended excerpt: All four of the canonical Gospels tell the tale of the apostle Peter’sContinue reading “heirs of a culture that sprang from Peter’s tears”

the Tree of Life blossoms forth from the virgin in the cave

Our homily in church this morning was on Jesus Christ as the tree of life as it is given back to us at Christmas. This idea that Jesus is the tree of life is among the most prominent images from the church’s oldest Nativity hymns and prayers. Here is one example: Prepare, O Bethlehem, ForContinue reading “the Tree of Life blossoms forth from the virgin in the cave”

who would love us more than he

This passage from The Belgic Confession (1561, in Article 26) brings to mind “the only lover of mankind” as a way of referencing Jesus within many old prayers: For neither in heaven nor among the creatures on earth is there anyone who loves us more than Jesus Christ does. Although he was “in the formContinue reading “who would love us more than he”

the books of their wisdom were multiplied as the leaves of the forest

Clearly a counterproductive multiplication of books: Hearing these things, despite the true knowledge which Nólemë had and spread abroad, there were many who hearkened with half their hearts to Melko, and restlessness grew amongst them, and Melko poured oil on their smouldering desires. From him they learnt many things it were not good for anyContinue reading “the books of their wisdom were multiplied as the leaves of the forest”