The Road Between Here and There

For it was to Him no lowering to put on what He Himself had made. Let that handiwork be forever glorified, which became the cloak of its own Creator. For as in the first creation of flesh, man could not be made before the clay had come into His hand, so neither could this corruptible body be glorified, until it had first become the garment of its Maker.

—St. John Chrysostom, On the Nativity

In general, it is extremely foolish … to suppose it should really be such an easy affair with faith and wisdom that they just arrive over the years as a matter of course, like teeth, a beard and that sort of thing. No, whatever a human being comes to as a matter of course, and whatever things come to him as a matter of course, it is definitely not faith and wisdom.

—Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death (via ayjay)

Pray for me earnestly, my dear, my best friend, that he would give me his grace, that I may not be altogether unworthy of the sacred office on which I am, rashly I fear, even now entering; but that some souls hereafter may have cause to bless me. Pray that I may be free from vanity, from envy, from discontent, from impure imaginations; that I may not grow weary, nor wander in heart from God’s service; that I may not be judging others uncharitably, nor vainly dreaming how they will judge me, at the very moment that I seem most religiously and most charitably employed.’

—John Keble in a letter to Coleridge on the occasion of his ordination

His Tomb Is With Us To This Day

sethwieck:

Once again, the fine folks @curatormagazine have posted one of my essays. I have a few more scheduled over the next several weeks, so I’ll keep you informed.

My nephew Jude was stillborn. The diagnosis came early in the pregnancy: an extra chromosome written into the genetic language would lead to, among other maladies, a terminal heart condition. A period on a sentence still being thought. Yet. Inside the womb, Jude was vibrant. Strong even. I felt him kick my hand through my sister-in-law’s stomach. The reality of that touch was difficult to reconcile with the doctors’ predictions. The doctors had narratives built from a battery of tests and data, but I had flesh upon flesh.

The revelation of the Wholly Other occurs precisely in God’s being willing to become other, to concede to the conditions of human knowing…Thus, while critical of the ascending movement of the analogia entis, Barth recognizes the condescending movement of an incarnational analogy is the condition of possibility of theology, that is, talk about God. Our further claim is that such is the condition of possibility of language in general.

As a matter of fact, my world did end at the window those ten days that I was in the hospital, because I was supremely happy. If I had written the greatest book, composed the greatest symphony, painted the most beautiful painting or carved the most exquisite figure, I could not have felt more the exalted creator than I did when they placed my child in my arms. To think that this thing of beauty, sighing gently in my arms, reaching her little mouth for my breast, clutching at me with her tiny beautiful hands, had come from my flesh, was my own child! Such a great feeling of happiness and joy filled me that I was hungry for Someone to thank, to love, even to worship, for so great a good that had been bestowed upon me. That tiny child was not enough to contain my love, nor could the father, though my heart was warm with love for both.

—Dorothy Day on childbirth 

There are as many kinds of essays as there are human attitudes or poses, as many essay flavors as there are Howard Johnson ice creams. The essayist arises in the morning and, if he has work to do, selects his garb from an unusually extensive wardrobe:he can pull on any sort of shirt, be any sort of person, according to his mood or his subject matter – philosopher, scold, jester, raconteur, confidant, pundit, devil’s advocate, enthusiast. I like the essay, have always liked it, and even as a child was at work, attempting to inflict my young thoughts and experiences on others by putting them on paper.

—E.B. White on essayists

Meta is Murder: Free Will and the Fallibility of Science

mills:

One of the most significant intellectual errors educated persons make is in underestimating the fallibility of science. The very best scientific theories containing our soundest, most reliable knowledge are certain to be superseded, recategorized from “right” to “wrong”; they are, as physicist

Few people ask from books what books can give us. Most commonly we come to books with blurred and divided minds, asking of fiction that it shall be true, of poetry that it shall be false, of biography that it shall be flattering, of history that it shall enforce our own prejudices. If we could banish all such preconceptions when we read, that would be an admirable beginning. Do not dictate to your author; try to become him. Be his fellow-worker and accomplice. If you hang back, and reserve and criticize at first, you are preventing yourself from getting the fullest possible value from what you read. But if you open your mind as widely as possible, then signs and hints of almost imperceptible fineness, from the twist and turn of the first sentences, will bring you into the presence of a human being unlike any other. Steep yourself in this, acquaint yourself with this and soon you will find that your author is giving you, or attempting to give you, something far more definite.

—Virginia Woolf, on reading

For the cross destroyed the enmity of God towards man, brought about the reconciliation, made the earth Heaven, associated men with angels, pulled down the citadel of death, unstrung the force of the devil, extinguished the power of sin, delivered the world from error, brought back the truth, expelled the Demons, destroyed temples, overturned altars, suppressed the sacrificial offering, implanted virtue, founded the Churches. The cross is the will of the Father, the glory of the Son, the rejoicing of the Spirit, the boast of Paul, “for,” he says, “God forbid that I should boast save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” [Gal 6:14]. The cross is that which is brighter than the sun, more brilliant than the sunbeam: for when the sun is darkened then the cross shines brightly: and the sun is darkened not because it is extinguished, but because it is overpowered by the brilliancy of the cross. The cross has broken our bond, it has made the prison of death ineffectual, it is the demonstration of the love of God.

—John Chrysostom