Saturday, January 26, 2008

When she appeared in any place

it seemed to me, by the hope of her excellent salutation, that there was no man mine enemy any longer; and such warmth of charity came upon me that most certainly in that moment I would have pardoned whosoever had done me an injury; and if one should then have questioned me concerning any matter, I could only have said unto him "Love," with a countenance clothed in humbleness. And what time she made ready to salute me, the spirit of Love, destroying all other perceptions, thrust forth the feeble spirits of mine eyes, saying, "Do homage unto your mistress," and putting itself in their place to obey: so that he who would, might then have beheld Love, beholding the lids of mine eyes shake. And when this most gentle lady gave her salutation, Love, so far from being a medium beclouding mine intolerable beatitude, then bred in me such an overpowering sweetness that my body, being all subjected thereto, remained many times helpless and passive. Whereby it is made manifest that in her salutation alone was there any beatitude for me, which then very often went beyond my endurance.

Dante Alighieri, La Vita Nuova, from section 11, trans. Dante Gabriel Rossetti
My lady carries love within her eyes;
All that she looks on is made pleasanter;
Upon her path men turn to gaze at her;
He whom she greeteth feels his heart to rise,
And droops his troubled visage full of sighs,
And of his evil heart is then aware:
Hate loves, and pride becomes a worshipper.
O women, help to praise her in somewise.

Humbleness, and the hope that hopeth well,
By speech of hers into the mind are brought,
And who beholds is blessèd oftenwhiles.
The look she hath when she a little smiles
Cannot be said, nor holden in the thought;
'Tis such a new and gracious miracle.

sonnet in section XXI of Dante Alighieri's La Vita Nuova, trans. Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Book Meme Rules
I was tagged by Oblique House

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Harry and Teddy: The Turbulent Friendship of Press Lord Henry R. Luce and His Favorite Reporter, Theodore H. White by Thomas Griffith

Luce once said that the role of Time was to make enemies, of Life to make friends. Time was Teddy's first home; he wanted to appear there regularly, rather than intermittently in Life.

So long as Whittaker Chambers had Luce's ear, Time's views on China were Whit's.

Five people? How about Steven, Meredith, Scipio, Eve and anyone else who wants to do it ...

BTW, I doubt I'll read the book that I used for this meme; it just happened to be the nearest book at hand.
Ego mater pulchrae dilectionis et timoris et agnitionis et sanctae spei.

In me gratia omnis viae et veritatis, in me omnis spes vitae et virtutis.

Transite ad me, omnes qui concupiscitis me, et a generationibus meis implemini.

Spiritus enim meus super mel dulcis, et hereditas mea super mel et favum.

Memoria mea in generationes saeculorum.

Qui edunt me adhuc esurient, et qui bibunt me adhuc sitient.

Qui audit me non confundetur, et qui operantur in me non peccabunt.

Qui elucidant me vitam aeternum habebunt.

Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), chapter 24:24-31

I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits. For my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb. My memory is unto everlasting generations. They that eat me, shall yet hunger, and they that drink me, shall yet thirst. He that hearkeneth to me, shall not be confounded, and they that work by me, shall not sin. They that explain me, shall have life everlasting.
The only cure for sagging or fainting faith is Communion. Though always itself, perfect and complete and inviolate, the Blessed Sacrament does not operate completely and once for all in any of us. Like the act of faith it must be continuous and grow by exercise. Frequency is of the highest effect. Seven times a week is more nourishing than seven times at intervals. Also I can recommend this as an exercise: make your Communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children -- from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn -- open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to Communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same as a Mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. (It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand -- after which our Lord propounded the feeding that was to come.

J. R. R. Tolkien, from one of his letters; found in the August 2002 Magnificat
Flash, and the plumes crack,
And a black cap of jack-
Daws Sir John's just hill dons

[ ... ]

Where the elegiac fisherbird stabs and paddles
In the pebbly dab-filled
Shallow and sedge

Dylan Thomas, from "Over Sir John's Hill"

The whole poem.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

He who claims enlightenment, and all the while hates his brother, is in darkness still.

1 John 2:9 (trans. Msgr. Ronald Knox)
Who is this, whose coming shews like the dawn of day? No moon so fair, no sun so majestic, no embattled array so awes men's hearts.

Song of Songs 6:9 (trans. Msgr. Ronald Knox)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

From the archives

William Law on divine wrath and the wrath of man.

love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky

Monday, January 21, 2008

In Christ there is neither communist nor capitalist.

-- Martin Luther King, Jr., "A Christmas Sermon on Peace"

During the [Spanish] Civil War the communist and anarchist Republicans carried out horrific atrocities against priests, monks and nuns. Priests had their ears cut off, monks had their eardrums perforated by rosary beads being forced into them and the elderly mother of two Jesuits had a rosary forced down her throat.

-- Joseph Pearce, C. S. Lewis and the Catholic Church (Ignatius, 2003), p. 73

Bush spiritual adviser endorses Obama.

Hat tip: Teófilo at Vivificat!, who comments:
It always riles me how Protestant ministers can get away with "personal endorsements" and inviting candidates to their churches and no one question their tax status. But have a Catholic bishop, priest, or minister state some general remarks in favor of the Culture of Life and the obligation for Catholic politicians to conform their consciences to Church teaching and all hell breaks loose. Pundits and critics will hand Pastor Caldwell a free pass, but Catholic pastors will not get the same privilege - unless, of course, they dissent from Church teaching in this matter. These go on to become media darlings.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

More than a Fool's Song
by Countee Cullen (1903-46)

Go look for beauty where you least
Expect to hear her hive;
Regale your belly with a feast
Of hunger till you thrive.

For honest treatment seek the thief;
For truth consult the liar;
Court pleasure in the halls of grief;
Find smoothness on a briar.

The worth impearled in chastity
Is known best of the harlot,
And courage throws her panoply
On many a native varlet.

In Christian practice those who move
By symbols strange to us
May reckon clearer of His love
Than we who own His cross.

The world's a curious riddle thrown
Water-wise from heaven's cup;
The souls we think are hurtling down
Perhaps are climbing up.