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Philaret of Moscow: “Nothing is more opposed to God than pride”

22 July 2017

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“Nothing is more opposed to God than pride, for self-deification is concealed in it, its own nothingness or sin. Thus more than anything humility is acceptable to God, which considers itself nothing, and attributes all goodness, honor, and glory to God alone. Pride does not accept grace, because it is full of itself, while humility easily accepts grace, because it is free from itself, and from all that is created. God creates out of nothing. As long as we think that we can offer something of ourselves, He does not begin His work in us. Humility is the salt of virtue. As salt gives flavor to food, so humility gives perfection to virtue. Without salt, food goes bad easily, and without humility, virtue is easily spoiled by pride, vainglory, impatience – and it perishes. There is a humility which a man gains by his own struggles: knowing his own insufficiency, accusing himself for his failings, not allowing himself to judge others. And there is a humility into which God leads a man through the things that happen to him: allowing him 
to experience afflictions, humiliations, and deprivations.” 


St. Philaret of Moscow, The Glory of the Mother of God

Isaac the Syrian: “A cruel and merciless heart is never purified”

21 July 2017

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“Let there always be a preponderance of mercy with you, even though you don’t feel such mercy in yourself, as God has for the world … A cruel and merciless heart is never purified. A merciful man is the doctor of his own soul, because as it were a by a strong wind from his heart he drives out the darkness of the passions.”

St. Isaac the Syrian, Homilies

Ephraim the Syrian: “Who is far from love”

20 July 2017

Ephraim the Syrian

 

“Who is far from love is a bad state, and to be pitied. He passes his days in a delirious dream, far from God, deprived of light, and he lives in darkness … Whoever does not have the love of Christ is an enemy of Christ. He walks in darkness and is easily lead into any sin.”
St. Ephraim the Syrian, Homily on Virtues and Vices

Jean Daniélou: “History is not conceived as an indefinite progress”

19 July 2017

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“History is not conceived as an indefinite progress, but as finite in scope; it is a determinate, circumscribed design, called by the Fathers of the Church the cosmic week, which is to be followed by the eighth day, representing the life of the world to come.”

Fr. Jean Daniélou

Jacques Ellul: “current events”

18 July 2017

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“To the extent that propaganda is based on current news, it cannot permit time for thought or reflection. A man caught up in the news must remain on the surface of the event; be is carried along in the current, and can at no time take a respite to judge and appreciate; he can never stop to reflect. There is never any awareness — of himself, of his condition, of his society — for the man who lives by current events. Such a man never stops to investigate any one point, any more than he will tie together a series of news events. We already have mentioned man’s inability to consider several facts or events simultaneously and to make a synthesis of them in order to face or to oppose them. One thought drives away another; old facts are chased by new ones. Under these conditions there can be no thought. And, in fact, modern man does not think about current problems; he feels them. He reacts, but be does not understand them any more than he takes responsibility for them. He is even less capable of spotting any inconsistency between successive facts; man’s capacity to forget is unlimited. This is one of the most important and useful points for the propagandist, who can always be sure that a particular propaganda theme, statement, or event will be forgotten within a few weeks. Moreover, there is a spontaneous defensive reaction in the individual against an excess of information and — to the extent that he clings (unconsciously) to the unity of his own person — against inconsistencies. The best defense here is to forget the preceding event. In so doing, man denies his own continuity; to the same extent that he lives on the surface of events and makes today’s events his life by obliterating yesterday’s news, he refuses to see the contradictions in his own life and condemns himself to a life of successive moments, discontinuous and fragmented.

This situation makes the “current-events man” a ready target for propaganda. Indeed, such a man is highly sensitive to the influence of present-day currents; lacking landmarks, he follows all currents. He is unstable because he runs after what happened today; he relates to the event, and therefore cannot resist any impulse coming from that event. Because he is immersed in current affairs, this man has a psychological weakness that puts him at the mercy of the propagandist. No confrontation ever occurs between the event and the truth; no relationship ever exists between the event and the person. Real information never concerns such a person. What could be more striking, more distressing, more decisive than the splitting of the atom, apart from the bomb itself? And yet this great development is kept in the background, behind the fleeting and spectacular result of some catastrophe or sports event because that is the superficial news the average man wants. Propaganda addresses itself to that man; like him, it can relate only to the most superficial aspect of a spectacular event, which alone can interest man and lead him to make a certain decision or adopt a certain attitude.

But here we must make an important qualification. The news event may be a real fact, existing objectively, or it may be only an item of information, the dissemination of a supposed fact. What makes it news is its dissemination, not its objective reality.”

 

Jacques Ellul, The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

Jacques Ellul: “a world of closed minds”

17 July 2017

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“Those who read the press of their group and listen to the radio of their group are constantly reinforced in their allegiance. They learn more and more that their group is right, that its actions are justified; thus their beliefs are strengthened. At the same time, such propaganda contains elements of criticism and refutation of other groups, which will never be read or heard by a member of another group…Thus we see before our eyes how a world of closed minds establishes itself, a world in which everybody talks to himself, everybody constantly views his own certainty about himself and the wrongs done him by the Others – a world in which nobody listens to anybody else.”

Jacques Ellul, The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

Benedict XVI: “the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing,”

15 July 2017

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“What moved me all the more was that, in this last period of his life, he learned to let go and to live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing”

Pope (emeritus) Benedict XVI, speaking at the funeral of Cardinal Joachim Meisner, who was one of the four cardinals who sent Pope Francis a dubia asking if Amoris Laetitia is aligned with Catholic morality. No reply has as yet been given.

 

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