Simone Weil on her birthday. First, from Gravity and Grace (1947): Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating. …We have to try to cure our faults by attention and not by will. The will only controls a fewContinue reading “attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity”
Whenever you are in trouble, in some scrape, on the verge of despair or in despair, remember: that’s life speaking to you in the only language it knows well. In other words, try to be a little masochistic: without a touch of masochism, the meaning of life is not complete. If this is of anyContinue reading “by considering yourself a victim you but enlarge the vacuum of irresponsibility that demons or demagogues love so much to fill”
I dream of a quiet man who explains nothing and defends nothing, but only knows where the rarest wild flowers are blooming, and who goes, and finds that he is smiling not by his own will. Wendell Berry, from Given: Poems.
Fr. Thomas Hopko speaking in a ten-part lecture series about the Lord’s Prayer. Here he speaks of praying “thy will be done” as a commitment to love like Christ loved: Therefore the most terrifying part all this has to be accomplished when you are in fact abandoned by God himself. …The ultimate act of loveContinue reading “accomplished when you are in fact abandoned by God”
Speaking of God’s relation to humans, Lewis writes: Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; theContinue reading “he can only woo”
For some time now, I have been growing in my understanding of how many cultural disorders are related to hatred of limits. The aspiration to limitlessness was embedded in the first temptation and the original sin, it informed the earliest docetic and Gnostic heresies, and it inspired the founding intellects of modernity. Many sincere ChristiansContinue reading “the implied restraints of faithfulness”
I need to read Gregory the Great and Maximus the Confessor directly, but these passages from Robert Louis Wilken’s study of Early Christian Thought illuminated human nature for me in some fresh, clear and simple ways. Yesterday’s post reminded me of these passages. Gregory speaks of human freedom as moral freedom, the freedom to becomeContinue reading “freedom is as much a matter of seeing”
This is a passage that I have been coming back to over and over during the past year. (I first heard it referenced in a sermon at our church.) It speaks primarily to kingship and mentions the issue of judging rightly (pursuit of the good), allowing me to categorize it under that heading, although itContinue reading “his will was in harmony with God’s will”