Ascendit Deus in jubilatione

Sancrucensis

The liturgy of Ascension Thursday puts a tremendous emphasis on joy: ‘Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God, and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving,’ as a collect puts it. The first reason for joy is the triumph of Our Lord: Ascendit Deus in jubilatione, et Dominus in voce tubae. ‘God has gone up with shouts of joy, the Lord with a trumpet-blast.’ As the members of His body and the subjects of Kingdom we rejoice that the Lord has gone into His glory. The Exodus of Christ from death to life is not complete until He has left this world of corruption, and returned in triumph to the glory that He had before the beginning. The second reason for joy is that exaltation of our Head gives hope to us the members that we will attain to glory: Christi … ascénsio est nostra provéctio, et quo procéssit glória cápitis, eo spes vocátur et…

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Julian Green in Klagenfurt

In a moving essay on the great American-French novelist Julien (Julian) Green, Rick Yoder quotes many passages from Green’s autobiographical writings and diaries expressing his deep longing for God, and the insight that it gives him into the beauty and sadness of human life.

German translation of Les Étoiles du Sud

I had only read a little Green up to now. A friend of mine (who has had a struggle similar to Green’s) gave me an autographed copy of a German translation of Green’s late novel Les Étoiles du Sud (The Stars of the South). I found it strange and entrancing; a story of the antebellum South, which Green knew from the stories of his Southern mother, full of nostalgia for a time that never was. But I never finished it— partly because I wanted to read the prequel first, and partly because it seemed to me that German translation is not the best medium for reading historical novels about the American South. And, until now, I had not followed through with my intention of beginning Green again.  But Yoder’s essay has given me a new stimulus. Continue reading

The Object of the Moral Act

The Josias

1. Acts are determined by their objects. The etymology of “object” suggests something thrown against. The object of an act is that against which or on which the act acts. The object of seeing is color. And color determines seeing; it makes seeing into the kind of act that it is. The object of hearing is sound, the object of eating is food, the object of nursing is a baby, the object of killing is a living thing. And in all these cases the object determines the act, makes it to be the kind of act that it is, gives it its nature.

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Political Authority in Homer’s Odyssey

A brilliant reflection by Jeffrey Bond on Homer’s political wisdom.

The Josias

The Symbolism of the Loom and the Mast

by Jeffrey Bond



Then, Glaucon, said I, when you meet encomiasts of Homer who tell us that this poet has been the educator of Hellas, and that for the conduct and refinement of human life he is worthy of our study and devotion, and that we should order our entire lives by the guidance of this poet, we must love and salute them as doing the best they can, and concede to them that Homer is the most poetic of poets and the first of tragedians, but we must know the truth, that we can admit no poetry into our city save only hymns to the gods and the praises of good men. For if you grant admission to the honeyed Muse in lyric or epic, pleasure and pain will be lords of your city instead of law and that which shall…

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Snow in Easter Week

After warm spring weather, the countryside here was confirming the words of the Easter processional “For indeed, after hellish sorrows, to the triumphing Christ: / grove with green and buds with flower, everywhere give laud.” (Namque triumphanti post tristia Tartara Christo / undique fronde nemus, gramina flore favent.) But now heavy snows have fallen, destroying flowers and breaking branches off flowering trees.

 

The Mirror of the Benedict Option

The Josias

Rod Dreher, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation (New York: Sentinel, 2017).

One of the great sorrows that I encounter as a priest is the sorrow of parents whose children have abandoned the Faith. Their sorrow can be more bitter even than the sorrows of those parents who suffer the fata aspera of having to bury their children. To have given the gift of life, only to see that gift taken too soon, and to be able to give only the “unavailing gift” of funeral flowers, is a bitter fate indeed. But for those who have come to believe that true life is the eternal life of Christ, it is still more bitter to have brought a child to the waters of Baptism, hoping for that child to receive a share in the inheritance of infinite bliss, only to see that child trade the infinite…

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IT WERE BETTER FOR HIM HAD HE NEVER BEEN BORN

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“The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24) These words, even applied though it is Judas to whom they are applied, are astonishingly harsh, and yet they are not only applicable to Judas. Jerome writes, “it is better not to be, than to be in evil.” And, as Guardini writes, this could apply to any of us:

Aren’t there many days in our lives on which we sell him, against our best knowledge, against our most sacred feeling, in spite of duty and love, for some vanity, or sensuality, or profit, or security, or some private hatred or vengeance? Are these more than thirty pieces of silver? We have little cause to speak of “the traitor”…

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Desire, Deicide, and Atonement: René Girard and St. Thomas Aquinas

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Before Easter I was invited to give a mini-course on soteriology as part of Duc in altuma series organized by the Loretto, an Austrian lay movement, and the Community of St. John. I had just been studying the beginning of the Prima Secundae, and I was struck by how important the teaching on the final end was for understanding the nature of sin, and therefore of salvation. A little earlier I had been arguing with Facebook Girardians on TNET about René Girard, and so I decided to write the following essay atonement, and desire, and Girard. A printable version can be found here.


Human action begins with the good. The good is the cause of all desiring, wanting, or willing without which there is no human action. The goodness or evil of human actions can only be understood in the light of the good that is their end. And so…

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Bonum Prolis II: Scheeben on the espousal of Our Lady to S. Joseph

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41virgin

One of the texts in which S. Thomas brings up the concept of “bonum prolis” discussed in my last post is in an article of the Commentary on the Sentences [lib. 4, d. 30, q. 2], in which he shows that the marriage between Our Lady and S. Joseph was a perfect marriage. Matthias Joseph Scheeben quotes this passage as part of his proof that not only is the Our Lady’s marriage to S. Joseph a valid marriage, but it is the most perfect marriage, lacking none of the essential goods of marriage, though of course its virginal nature meant that these goods were possessed in a unique way. Here is a rough translation of the key part of Scheeben’s proof:

It is clear […] that this marriage exceeds all other marriages not only in sanctity and dignity, but in its very perfection as marriage, namely in regard to the…

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