not of this world

Thursday, December 20, 2007

lighten up

Filed under: — Not of this World @

latest letter to the editor, just couldn’t resist…

I am offended by Peter Nichols offense (Letters, 12/20) at the Sentinel’s publication of the Al Gore editorial cartoon. No, actually, being an evil conservative I just disagree with his ideas and positions, without taking those disagreements as matter for personal offense, nor for attacking the integrity of the one with whom I disagree. I wonder what Mr. Nichols thinks about the fact that the Clinton-Gore administration never submitted the Kyoto protocol to the Senate for ratification, rather Gore did the same kind of grandstanding then as now when he symbolically signed the protocol in front of television cameras. Even that administration knew what a disaster ratification would have been for the American economy given the broad exemptions for developing competitor nations like China and India. Gore jetsets around the world with simplistic, and dare I say unscientific rhetoric about the earth “having a fever”, while leaders with real responsibilities for the well being of millions of people, and for protecting American sovereignty from the tyranny of unelected global bureaucracies, have to make decisions not so amenable to photo ops and savior accolades. America has a long history of harsh satire in her politics, and neither “side” is stranger to such satiric extremes expressed within the harmless medium of cartoons. You are free to express your intolerance of that point of view as the Sentinel is to publish it, and as I am to say that I enjoyed the mockery of a man I think is so irresponsible in his rhetoric.

thoughts on the ratio superior and Mother Teresa

Filed under: — Not of this World @

in last semester’s de Trinitate class we spent a lot of time talking about the ratio inferior and ratio superior of the human mind — the former being that with which man “deals with” the lower common aspects of his life, and the latter that with which his rational capacity is directed ultimately to what separates him from his fellow animals, contemplation of the divine. and in another class, my professor addressed the question my brother and i have had as long as we’ve discussed such issues, how is it that Christ’s suffering could really be true suffering if as God he knew that it would all be over soon, knew the ecstatic glory embedded in his very divine personhood, etc. — but as having taken on a true human nature, he took on the dual dimensions of a reason directed both to the common consciousness of sense and emotion as well as that of the higher submissive grasp of divine sonship through which consolation descends as dew, viz. the inferior and superior rationality of the human mind. but as God he had both power over his human rational powers to maintain an authentic “humanness” regarding the sufferings he underwent - the physical sufferings for sure but also those that pain deeper with the betrayal by loved ones, the abandonment of virtually all whom He knew, in addition to the agony of knowledge of all such future betrayals - as well as that to suspend the consolation that would have “naturally come” from a ratio superior which had perfect contemplative vision of the divine fullness.

This all comes to consideration for me as i’ve been reading Mother Teresa’s writings just recently published, acknowledging the deep darkness she’d experienced, as well all of the chatter regarding what such a situation means if she was “supposedly so holy”.

But the thing is, very early on she made a vow to God begging that he allow her to be bereft of all consolation, that she could enter into the dark night that mysteriously we all confess Christ truly entered into for our sake. so He allowed it, despite her great faith and saintly works - she was allowed that her ratio superior have no access to what was “rightfully” its own. she languished in darkness unimaginable to the most lukewarm or red hot of the faithful. in her words, actions and sacramental participation she was utterly united with God. and yet she felt none of it for most of her years, as she testifies to in her own words as a direct result of her desire and professed vow to lack all consolation and so to be more conformed to Christ “on behalf of all”.

All of this is just to point out that her lack, which so many i have read recently wonder at as if an argument against faith, actually is an even greater proof of the real and plausible possibility of Christ actually having accomplished what the faith preaches, making possible for others to follow in His steps and be fully incorporated into Him, as long as they have the received vision and will to so be incorporated. Mother Teresa is who she was because of who Christ was and because of His sacramentally diffused power to enter into where we find ourselves post-fall. without Him she could never have been as we know her to have been through her works. that it comes out now that she did all she did without any consolation does not undermine faith but rather grants us a more precious insight into what the humanity of Jesus accomplished and the grace that it pours down upon those who thirst for its transformative pouring out of the self in a charity beyond created capacity. we can become like God because God became like us. we can’t do it without begging for what He offers, and to refuse to bend the knee or open our mouths like little common birds deprives us of the food that can make us more than we ever could even dream to be on our own strength.

the way has been opened up, and witnessed to awesomely by a saint we are only beginning to grasp the intensity of. the only excuses are those that we make up and cling to to avoid what we really would be satiated with. we can’t all be as she was, but we can all realize that where she was was not a place that was absent of God, rather it was conformed to the God-man in such a way as to draw many to Him through the power which she was able to wield through her denial of what was rightfully hers.
this is not to say i’m there, obviously; only that i know where i’m not, but that it is an actual place, and that it is not a place that my reason is barred from recognizing.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Filed under: — Not of this World @
Where would you yet be struck,
you that rebel again and again?
The whole head is sick,
the whole heart faint.
From the sole of the foot to the head
there is no sound spot:
Wound and welt and gaping gash,
not drained, nor bandaged,
nor eased with salve.

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