love has ever in view the absolute loveliness of that which it beholds

Nothing is inexorable but love. Love which will yield to prayer is imperfect and poor. Nor is it then the love that yields, but its alloy. …For love loves unto purity. Love has ever in view the absolute loveliness of that which it beholds. Where loveliness is incomplete, and love cannot love its fill ofContinue reading “love has ever in view the absolute loveliness of that which it beholds”

things seen clearly …freed …from possessiveness

Recovery (which includes return and renewal of health) is a regaining—regaining of a clear view. I do not say “seeing things as they are” and involve myself with the philosophers, though I might venture to say “seeing things as we are (or were) meant to see them” —as things apart from ourselves. We need, inContinue reading “things seen clearly …freed …from possessiveness”

by the tune of the rustling of Thy leaves

On the last Sunday before Orthodox Great Lent, the church remembers the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. This hymn is sung at the vespers on Saturday evening that starts this liturgical day. In this hymn, Adam asks Eden itself to pray to God for Adam (by the music of Eden’s rustling leaves) thatContinue reading “by the tune of the rustling of Thy leaves”

for creation to become like the burning bush

Robert Wright (journalist and author of several books who has said that God is a figment of the human imagination but also that he is not an atheist) interviewed David Bentley Hart on his video blogging channel (The Wright Show, posted here on YouTube, Feb 26, 2020). Wright did an excellent job of keeping HartContinue reading “for creation to become like the burning bush”

then they will clearly see the nature of the stars one by one

C.S. Lewis has a retired star (Ramandu) become a human father, and J.R.R. Tolkien has a man (Eärendil, Half-elven) carry a star into the heavens aboard his ship. Here are initial excerpts from Origen and the Life of the Stars: A History of an Idea by Alan Scott (Oxford UP): The second-century apologist Tatian asks what goodContinue reading “then they will clearly see the nature of the stars one by one”

I find some versions of panpsychism quite attractive

David Bentley Hart said in this interview: You don’t need the morphology [of New Testament cosmology] to believe in a spiritually living creation that is full of spiritual life. You know, I’m something of a panpsychist myself. Not in the modern way, in which, you know, you’re supposed to believe that every atom has a kind ofContinue reading “I find some versions of panpsychism quite attractive”

a ruin—but an entire ruin

From my daughter Nessa this evening: “I just reread my, so far, favorite scene in Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë: Descending the laurel-walk, I faced the wreck of the chestnut tree…. The cloven halves were not broken from each other, for the firm base and strong roots kept them unsundered below…. They might be saidContinue reading “a ruin—but an entire ruin”

even as the day softens away into the sweet Twilight

This has been my Object, and this alone can be my Defence–and O! that with this my personal as well as my LITERARY LIFE might conclude!—the unquenched desire I mean, not without the consciousness of having earnestly endeavoured to kindle young minds, and to guard them against the temptations of Scorners, by showing that theContinue reading “even as the day softens away into the sweet Twilight”

our bodies think and know in ways that precede cognition

In Landmarks, Robert Macfarlane gives a gripping account of knowing with our bodies (in comparing the writings of French philosopher Merleau-Ponty and Scottish writer Nan Shepherd). [Merleau-Ponty] argued that knowledge is ‘felt’: that our bodies think and know in ways that precede cognition. Consciousness, the human body and the phenomenal world are therefore inextricably intertwined.Continue reading “our bodies think and know in ways that precede cognition”

this connection between the universal and the parochial

In Landmarks, Robert Macfarlane has much to offer regarding the connectedness of place and language. Patrick Kavanagh’s insight that the local parish is our only access point to Aristotelian universals is profound (see last excerpt in this post). To share a frustration, Macfarlane’s claims often exaggerate the powers of language alone to tie our heartsContinue reading “this connection between the universal and the parochial”