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Basil the Great: “Note the dignity befitting you”

24 June 2019

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“‘Let Us make man according to Our image and likeness’ (Gen. 1:26). From this, begin to know yourself. These words had not yet been applied to any of the creations. Light appeared, and the commandment was simple. God said, ‘Let there be light.’ The firmament came into being and there was no deliberation concerning its coming to be. The luminaries came to be without any previous deliberation regarding them. The sea and the boundless ocean: a command and they were brought into being. The wild beasts: one word and they came to be. At this point, man does not yet exist, and there is deliberation regarding man. God did not say as He did for others, ‘Let there be man!’ Note the dignity befitting you. He has not initiated your origin by a command, but there has been counsel in God to determine how to introduce into life this living being worthy of honor. ‘Let us make man,’ the wise One deliberates, the artisan ponders. Do you not fall short of His art, and does not He, with care offer to His masterpiece its intended achievement: perfection and exactitude?”

St. Basil the GreatBasil of Caesarea.jpg

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Edward Bernays: “the true ruling power of our country”

24 June 2019

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“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

Edward L. Bernays (the father of modern advertising), 1928.

Gregory the Theologian: “King of all upon earth, but subject to the King above”

23 June 2019

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“The Creator-Word, determining to produce a single living being out of both the visible and the invisible creations, fashions Man; and taking a body from already existing matter, and placing in it a Breath taken from Himself (cf. Gen 2:7) which the Word knew to be an intelligent soul and the image of God, as a sort of second world. He placed him, great in littleness on the earth; a new Angel, a mingled worshipper, fully initiated into the visible creation, but only partially into the intellectual; King of all upon earth, but subject to the King above; earthly and heavenly; temporal and yet immortal; visible and yet intellectual; halfway between greatness and lowliness; in one person combining flesh and spirit; spirit, because of the favor bestowed on him; flesh, because of the height to which he had been raised; the one that he might continue to live and praise his Benefactor, the other that he might suffer, and by suffering be put in remembrance, and corrected if he became proud of his greatness. A living creature trained here, and then moved elsewhere; and, to complete the mystery, deified by its inclination to God.”

St. Gregory the TheologianGregory of Nazianzus.jpg

 

Robinson Jeffers: Contemplation Of The Sword

22 June 2019

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Reason will not decide at last; the sword will decide.
The sword: an obsolete instrument of bronze or steel,
formerly used to kill men, but here
In the sense of a symbol. The sword: that is: the storms
and counter-storms of general destruction; killing
of men,
Destruction of all goods and materials; massacre, more or
less intentional, of children and women;
Destruction poured down from wings, the air made accomplice,
the innocent air
Perverted into assasin and poisoner.

The sword: that is: treachery and cowardice, incredible
baseness, incredible courage, loyalties, insanities.
The sword: weeping and despair, mass-enslavement,
mass-tourture, frustration of all hopes
That starred man’s forhead. Tyranny for freedom, horror for
happiness, famine for bread, carrion for children.
Reason will not decide at last, the sword will decide.

Dear God, who are the whole splendor of things and the sacred
stars, but also the cruelty and greed, the treacheries
And vileness, insanities and filth and anguish: now that this
thing comes near us again I am finding it hard
To praise you with a whole heart.
I know what pain is, but pain can shine. I know what death is,
I have sometimes
Longed for it. But cruelty and slavery and degredation,
pestilence, filth, the pitifulness
Of men like hurt little birds and animals . . . if you were
only
Waves beating rock, the wind and the iron-cored earth,
With what a heart I could praise your beauty.
You will not repent, nor cancel life, nor free man from anguish
For many ages to come. You are the one that tortures himself to
discover himself: I am
One that watches you and discovers you, and praises you in little
parables, idyl or tragedy, beautiful
Intolerable God.
The sword: that is:
I have two sons whom I love. They are twins, they were born
in nineteen sixteen, which seemed to us a dark year
Of a great war, and they are now of the age
That war prefers. The first-born is like his mother, he is so
beautiful
That persons I hardly know have stopped me on the street to
speak of the grave beauty of the boy’s face.
The second-born has strength for his beauty; when he strips
for swimming the hero shoulders and wrestler loins
Make him seem clothed. The sword: that is: loathsome disfigurements,
blindness, mutilation, locked lips of boys
Too proud to scream.
Reason will not decide at last: the sword will decide.

 

 

Robinson Jeffers

Peter of Damaskos: “he who receives a gift”

22 June 2019

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“Approval and gratitude are due not to the man who receives gifts but to Him Who bestows them. Yet by grace he who receives a gift may deserve approval because by his own choice he accepted what he did not have or, rather, because he is grateful to his Benefactor. And if he is not grateful, not only does he forfeit all approval, but he is self-condemned for his ingratitude as well.”

St. Peter of Damaskos

William Faulkner: “The best fiction”

21 June 2019

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“The best fiction is far more true than any journalism.”

William Faulkner

Aloysius Gonzaga: “no more evident sign that anyone is a saint”

21 June 2019

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“There is no more evident sign that anyone is a saint and of the number of the elect, than to see him leading a good life and at the same time a prey to desolation, suffering, and trials.”

St. Aloysius Gonzaga