04 February 2013

United States of Montparnasse

Is this the future of our country...our children? Will we raise useless Americans? Can we do no better?

"He was repaid for his conscientious anxiety in the character of a
spectator. He was able to catch on the wing a dialogue which borrowed
from the darkness an indescribably tragic accent. The goodman
questioned, Montparnasse replied.

"How old are you?"


"You are strong and healthy. Why do you not work?"

"It bores me."

"What is your trade?"

"An idler."

"Speak seriously. Can anything be done for you? What would you like to

"A thief."

A pause ensued. The old man seemed absorbed in profound thought. He
stood motionless, and did not relax his hold on Montparnasse.

Every moment the vigorous and agile young ruffian indulged in the
twitchings of a wild beast caught in a snare. He gave a jerk, tried a
crook of the knee, twisted his limbs desperately, and made efforts to

The old man did not appear to notice it, and held both his arms with one
hand, with the sovereign indifference of absolute force.

The old man's revery lasted for some time, then, looking steadily at
Montparnasse, he addressed to him in a gentle voice, in the midst of the
darkness where they stood, a solemn harangue, of which Gavroche did not
lose a single syllable:--

"My child, you are entering, through indolence, on one of the most
laborious of lives. Ah! You declare yourself to be an idler! prepare to
toil. There is a certain formidable machine, have you seen it? It is
the rolling-mill. You must be on your guard against it, it is crafty
and ferocious; if it catches hold of the skirt of your coat, you will be
drawn in bodily. That machine is laziness. Stop while there is yet time,
and save yourself! Otherwise, it is all over with you; in a short time
you will be among the gearing. Once entangled, hope for nothing more.
Toil, lazybones! there is no more repose for you! The iron hand of
implacable toil has seized you. You do not wish to earn your living, to
have a task, to fulfil a duty! It bores you to be like other men? Well!
You will be different. Labor is the law; he who rejects it will find
ennui his torment. You do not wish to be a workingman, you will be a
slave. Toil lets go of you on one side only to grasp you again on the
other. You do not desire to be its friend, you shall be its negro slave.
Ah! You would have none of the honest weariness of men, you shall have
the sweat of the damned. Where others sing, you will rattle in your
throat. You will see afar off, from below, other men at work; it will
seem to you that they are resting. The laborer, the harvester, the
sailor, the blacksmith, will appear to you in glory like the blessed
spirits in paradise. What radiance surrounds the forge! To guide the
plough, to bind the sheaves, is joy. The bark at liberty in the wind,
what delight! Do you, lazy idler, delve, drag on, roll, march! Drag your
halter. You are a beast of burden in the team of hell! Ah! To do nothing
is your object. Well, not a week, not a day, not an hour shall you have
free from oppression. You will be able to lift nothing without anguish.
Every minute that passes will make your muscles crack. What is a feather
to others will be a rock to you. The simplest things will become steep
acclivities. Life will become monstrous all about you. To go, to come,
to breathe, will be just so many terrible labors. Your lungs will
produce on you the effect of weighing a hundred pounds. Whether you
shall walk here rather than there, will become a problem that must be
solved. Any one who wants to go out simply gives his door a push, and
there he is in the open air. If you wish to go out, you will be obliged
to pierce your wall. What does every one who wants to step into the
street do? He goes down stairs; you will tear up your sheets, little
by little you will make of them a rope, then you will climb out of your
window, and you will suspend yourself by that thread over an abyss, and
it will be night, amid storm, rain, and the hurricane, and if the rope
is too short, but one way of descending will remain to you, to fall. To
drop hap-hazard into the gulf, from an unknown height, on what? On what
is beneath, on the unknown. Or you will crawl up a chimney-flue, at the
risk of burning; or you will creep through a sewer-pipe, at the risk of
drowning; I do not speak of the holes that you will be obliged to mask,
of the stones which you will have to take up and replace twenty times a
day, of the plaster that you will have to hide in your straw pallet. A
lock presents itself; the bourgeois has in his pocket a key made by a
locksmith. If you wish to pass out, you will be condemned to execute a
terrible work of art; you will take a large sou, you will cut it in
two plates; with what tools? You will have to invent them. That is your
business. Then you will hollow out the interior of these plates, taking
great care of the outside, and you will make on the edges a thread, so
that they can be adjusted one upon the other like a box and its cover.
The top and bottom thus screwed together, nothing will be suspected. To
the overseers it will be only a sou; to you it will be a box. What will
you put in this box? A small bit of steel. A watch-spring, in which you
will have cut teeth, and which will form a saw. With this saw, as long
as a pin, and concealed in a sou, you will cut the bolt of the lock, you
will sever bolts, the padlock of your chain, and the bar at your window,
and the fetter on your leg. This masterpiece finished, this prodigy
accomplished, all these miracles of art, address, skill, and patience
executed, what will be your recompense if it becomes known that you
are the author? The dungeon. There is your future. What precipices are
idleness and pleasure! Do you know that to do nothing is a melancholy
resolution? To live in idleness on the property of society! to be
useless, that is to say, pernicious! This leads straight to the depth
of wretchedness. Woe to the man who desires to be a parasite! He will
become vermin! Ah! So it does not please you to work? Ah! You have but
one thought, to drink well, to eat well, to sleep well. You will drink
water, you will eat black bread, you will sleep on a plank with a fetter
whose cold touch you will feel on your flesh all night long, riveted to
your limbs. You will break those fetters, you will flee. That is well.
You will crawl on your belly through the brushwood, and you will eat
grass like the beasts of the forest. And you will be recaptured. And
then you will pass years in a dungeon, riveted to a wall, groping for
your jug that you may drink, gnawing at a horrible loaf of darkness
which dogs would not touch, eating beans that the worms have eaten
before you. You will be a wood-louse in a cellar. Ah! Have pity on
yourself, you miserable young child, who were sucking at nurse less
than twenty years ago, and who have, no doubt, a mother still alive! I
conjure you, listen to me, I entreat you. You desire fine black cloth,
varnished shoes, to have your hair curled and sweet-smelling oils on
your locks, to please low women, to be handsome. You will be shaven
clean, and you will wear a red blouse and wooden shoes. You want rings
on your fingers, you will have an iron necklet on your neck. If you
glance at a woman, you will receive a blow. And you will enter there at
the age of twenty. And you will come out at fifty! You will enter young,
rosy, fresh, with brilliant eyes, and all your white teeth, and your
handsome, youthful hair; you will come out broken, bent, wrinkled,
toothless, horrible, with white locks! Ah! my poor child, you are on the
wrong road; idleness is counselling you badly; the hardest of all work
is thieving. Believe me, do not undertake that painful profession of
an idle man. It is not comfortable to become a rascal. It is less
disagreeable to be an honest man. Now go, and ponder on what I have said
to you. By the way, what did you want of me? My purse? Here it is."

Advice from an Old Man (Jean Valjean) to Montparnasse, a young thief from Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

12 February 2012

Anglican Church in North America

Via anglicanchurch.net

Anglican Church in North America

Archbishop Duncan Issues Statement Responding to Recent Attack on Religious LinkLiberty

Archbishop Robert Duncan released the following statement in support of the Catholic Church’s fight to maintain freedom of conscience in the midst of the U.S. federal government issuing a preventive care mandate in violation of its teaching.

“The Anglican Church in North America stands by our Catholic brothers and sisters as followers of Christ in a nation whose Constitution guarantees ‘the free exercise’ of religion. As Christians, our faith and doctrine are at the very heart of our service to others in our community. Therefore, it is extremely troubling to see our government mandate services contrary to Catholic Church teaching. I call on all members of the Anglican Church to stand by our Catholic brothers and sisters, and pray for our elected officials to have the courage to stand up for religious freedom and overturn this mandate,” said Archbishop Duncan.

Sign the Manhattan Declaration petition to defend religious liberty here.

01 August 2011

From tedium to Te Deum

Today I make a significant move in life. I put down the bookmark used to hold books open to their title pages. As of now I no longer work in the library at Dallas Theological Seminary. 12+ years is a goodly heritage. I don't know how I made it that long.

Today I pick up the pastoral mantle used to lead God's people at my local parish. Yes we will say the daily offices of Morning and Evening Prayer each weekday, including very often the Te Deum Laudamus. We use the Monk/Croft arrangement.

13 June 2011

Street Ball Cannot Bring Titles

GO MAVS! It's about time too!

Go here to read what happens to all those Heat championship T-shirts.
It's actually a Christian mission.

17 May 2011

[orthodoxbeacon.com] Religion of Peace

Coptic Christians Slaughtered in Egypt as World Looks Away

The Australian writes:

Twelve Christians were murdered in Egypt. Two hundred and thirty-two people wounded. The death toll will surely rise as victims succumb to their injuries. And that’s just in the past few days. In the same time period, more Christians were killed in Egypt at the hands of Muslims than people killed in Syria or in Libya as a result of protests, riots and resistance.

Two churches in Cairo were burned in recent days. Over the past few months church property has being gutted, vandalised and violated with graffiti. Churches have been blown up.

An entire community – the Christian community in the new Egypt – is under attack. And the world remains relatively silent. There has been no significant religious outcry, political redress or diplomatic pressure to stop the attacks. There has been almost no media coverage as Egypt’s Muslims systematically, over the past few months, set about massacring Egypt’s Christians.

Read the full article here.

06 May 2011

Justification connected to Charity

lovely quotes from McGrath's Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification

pg. 31
Augustine has an all-embracing understanding of justification, which includes both the event of justification (brought about by operative grace) and the process of justification (brought about by cooperative grace). Augustine himself does not, in fact, see any need to distinguish between these two aspects of justification; the distinction dates from the sixteenth century.

farther down pg.31
Man's righteousness, effected in justification, is regarded by Augustine as inherent rather than imputed, to use the vocabulary of the sixteenth century. A concept of ‘imputed righteousness’, in the later Protestant sense of the term, is quite redundant within Augustine’s doctrine of justification, in that humans are made righteous in justification. The righteousness which man thus receives, although originating from God, is nevertheless located within man, and can be said to be his, part of hsi being and intrinsic to his person. An element which underlies this understanding of the nature of justifying righteousness is the Greek concept of deification, which makes its appearance in the later Augustinian soteriology. By charity, the Trinity itself comes to inhabit the soul of the justified sinner, although it is not clear whether Augustine can be said to envisage a ‘state of grace’ in the strict sense of the term – that is, a habit of grace, created within the human soul. It is certainly true that Augustine speaks of the real interior renewal of the sinner by the action of the Holy Spirit, which he later expressed in terms of participation in the divine substance itself. However, it seems most prudent to state that Augustine’s theological vocabulary was not sufficiently developed to allow us to speak of his teaching ‘created grace’ in the later sense of the term.

later on p. 32
For Augustine, justification includes both the beginnings of man’s righteousness before God and its subsequent perfection, the event and the process, so that what later became the Reformation concept of ‘sanctification’ is effectively subsumed under the aegis of justification. Although Augustine is occasionally represented, on the basis of isolated passages, as understanding justification to comprise merely the remission of sins, it is clear that he also understands it to include the ethical and spiritual renewal of the sinner through the internal operation of the Holy Spirit. Justification, according to Augustine, is fundamentally concerned with ‘being made righteous’.

Paulus apostolus

I Corinthios 13:1-3
si linguis hominum loquar et angelorum caritatem autem non habeam factus sum velut aes sonans aut cymbalum tinniens
et si habuero prophetiam et noverim mysteria omnia et omnem scientiam et habuero omnem fidem ita ut montes transferam caritatem autem non habuero nihil sum
et si distribuero in cibos pauperum omnes facultates meas et si tradidero corpus meum ut ardeam caritatem autem non habuero nihil mihi prodest


Galatas 5:5-6
nos enim spiritu ex fide spem iustitiae expectamus
nam in Christo Iesu neque circumcisio aliquid valet neque praeputium sed fides quae per caritatem operatur

14 April 2011

Bernard of Clairvaux on Lent

Therefore I exhort you, my friends, to leave for
a season the painful and anxious remembrance of
your ways, to strike away into the softer paths of
memory, and dwell on the loving-kindness of God,
that you who are confounded in yourselves may re-
cover by gazing on him. I wish you to experience that
which the holy prophet advised, saying, ' Delight thou
in the Lord, and he shall give thee thy heart's desire.'
Now grief over sin is necessary, if it be not constant ;
it must be broken by the more joyful remembrance
of the divine goodness, lest the heart grow hardened
through sadness, and from despair perish more ex-
ceedingly. Let us mix honey with our wormwood,
in order that the wholesome bitter, tempered by the
added sweetness, may be swallowed, and give us
health. Listen how God softens the bitterness of a
contrite heart, how he recalls the faint-hearted from
the pit of despair, how through the honey of pleasant n the
and faithful promises he consoles the sorrowful and
establishes the weak. He says by the prophet, I will
bridle thy mouth with my praises, lest thou perish.
This means, lest by the sight of thy wickedness
thou be too much cast down, and even like an
unbridled horse thou rush headlong and perish
desperately. With the bridle, he says, of my in-
dulgence will I restrain thee, and will raise thee up
with my praises ; thou who art confounded with
thine own evil shalt breathe again in my good, and
shalt surely find my mercy is greater than thy sin.
If Cain had been so restrained, he would never
have said in despair, ' My sin is too great for me
to be forgiven.' l God forbid, God forbid ! for
his loving-kindness is greater than any iniquity.
Wherefore the just man, not throughout, but only in
the beginning of his discourse is a self-accuser, while
he is wont to close with the praises of God. See, thus
doeth the righteous man ( I thought/ he says, ( on
my ways, and I turned my feet to thy testimonies.'
That is, having found sorrow and misery in his own
ways, he took delight in the way of God's testi-
monies, as in all manner of riches. Follow ye the
example of the just ; if ye think of yourselves in
humility, think also of the Lord in his mercy and
goodness. Now this becomes easy to the mind, if
we preserve a frequent, nay, a constant, recollection
of the Divine kindness. Otherwise, how shall we
obey the saying of the apostle, " In everything
give thanks," if those things for which thanks are
due, vanish from the mind ? I would not have you
deserve the reproach earned by the Jews, of whom
the ifc is declared that they forgat his works, and the
canticles. wonders that he had showed them.

" But seeing that the good which the kind and
merciful Lord ceases not to shower on mortals
cannot all be remembered by man for who can
utter the mighty acts of the Lord ? who can show
forth all his praise ? let that which is chief and
greatest the work, namely, of our redemption never
fade from the memory of the redeemed. In this
work there are two points which in a special manner
I will offer to your attention, and this as briefly
as may be, being mindful of that saying, ' Give
instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser.'
These two things, then, are the manner, and the
fruit, or result of our redemption. Now the manner
is the emptying out or humbling of God ; the fruit
thereof is our being filled with him. To dwell on the
last is a seed-plot of holy hope ; to think of the
former an incentive to the highest love. Both are
necessary to our progress, that hope without love
should not grow sordid, nor love wax cold hoping for
no return.

"But indeed we expect such a return for our love as
He whom we love has promised us. ' Good measure,
pressed down, and shaken together, and running over,
shall men give into your bosom.' That measure I
hear will be without measure. But I would fain know
of what is that measure to consist, or rather that
immensity which is promised in return. Eye hath
not seen, God, besides Thee, the things that thou
hast prepared for them that love Thee. Tell us, then,
Thou who preparest, what thou preparest. We believe,
we trust it will be such as Thou dost promise. * We
shall be filled with the good things of thy house.'
But which good things, and of what kind ? Is it with the
corn, wine, and oil, with gold and silver, or precious Canticles -
stones? But these we see and know, we see and
despise them. That we seek which eye hath not seen,
nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart
of man to conceive. This pleases, this is sweet, this
delights us to inquire concerning it, whatever it may
be. And they all shall be taught of God ; and he will
be all in all. As I understand, the fulness which we
expect from God, will not be except of God.

" But who can grasp the magnitude of delight
comprehended in that short word ? God will be all
in all. Not to speak of the body, I perceive three
things in the soul reason, will, memory ; and these
three make up the soul. How much each of these in
this present world lacks of completion and perfect-
ness, is felt by every one who walketh in the Spirit.
Wherefore is this, except because God is not yet all
in all ? Therefore it is that our reason falters in
judgment, that our will is feeble and distracted,
that our memory confounds us by its forgetfulness.
We are subjected unwillingly to this threefold weak-
ness, but hope abides. For He who fills with good
things the desires of the soul, He himself, will be to
the reason the fulness of light; to the will the
abundance of peace ; to the memory, the unbroken
smoothness of eternity. truth! charity!
eternity! blessed and blessing Trinity! to thee my
miserable trinity miserably groans, while it is in exile
from thee. Departing from thee in what errors,
griefs, and fears is it involved ! Alas, for what a
trinity have we exchanged thee away. My heart is
disturbed, and hence my grief ; my strength has
forsaken me, and hence my fear;

'But why art thou cast down, my soul ! and
why art thou disquieted within me ? Hope thou in
God, for I shall yet praise him/ that is, when error
shall have left my mind, sorrow my will, fears my
memory ; and serenity, sweetness, and eternal peace
shall have come in their stead. The first of these
things will be done by the God of truth ; the second
by the God of charity ; the third by the God of
omnipotence, that God may be all in all : the reason
receiving light inextinguishable, the will peace im-
perturbable, the memory cleaving to a fountain which
shall never fail. You may judge for yourselves
whether you would rightly assign the first to the Son,
the second to the Holy Ghost, and the last to the
Father ; in such a manner, however, that you take
away nothing of any of them, either from the Father,
or the Son, or the Holy Ghost.

" As regards the manner of our redemption, which,
if you remember, we defined as the emptying out
or humbling of God, there are three points I com-
mend to your notice. It was not a simple or
moderate humbling, but he humbled himself even
to taking flesh, even to death to death on the
cross. Who can measure the humility, gentleness,
and condescension which moved the Lord of Majesty
to put on flesh, to be punished with death, to be
disgraced by the cross ? But some one may say,
could not the Creator repair his work without that
difficulty ? He could; but he chose to do it with his
own injury, rather than that the foulest and most
odious vice of ingratitude should again find its place
in man. He took upon him much fatigue, that he Son the
might hold man his debtor to much love, and that Canticles -
the difficulty of redemption might remind man of
thanksgiving, whom an easier condition had made
less devout. For what was created and ungrateful
man wont to say? 'I was made indeed free of
charge, but with no labour or effort to my Maker.'

He spake the word and I was made, as all things
were/ Nothing is great, if it only costs a word.
Thus human wickedness, attenuating the benefit of
creation, found food for ingratitude where it ought
to have discovered a source of love, and that to make
an excuse for sin. But the mouth of the evil speaker
is stopped. It is clearer than daylight now, man,
what an outlay He has made for you. From the
Lord He became a servant ; from rich He became
poor ; from the word, flesh ; from the Son of God,
the Son of man. Remember now, that though you
were made from nothing, you were not redeemed for
nothing. In six days He made all things, and you
among them; but for thirty whole years He wrought
at your salvation in the midst of the earth. What
did He not endure in His labours? Necessities of the
flesh, temptations of the enemy, did He not gather
and heap all these on Himself by the ignominy of
the cross, by the horror of His death ? Not without
necessity indeed. Thus, thus, Thou, Lord, shalt
save both man and beast. ' How excellent is thy
mercy, God.' Meditate on these things, dwell
upon them. Draw refreshment from these spices
for your inward parts, long tormented by the reek
of your sins, that you may abound also in these
ointments, not less sweet than salutary. Still, do not
suppose that you yet possess those best of all which
S-mon'on the are praised in the breasts of the Spouse. These
canticles. cannot be spoken of now, the sermon must be
finished. What has been said concerning the other
ointments, keep in your memory, try in your life ;
and concerning these which are to follow, help me with
your prayers, that it be given to me to speak some-
thing which shall be worthy of these delights of the
Spouse, and able to build up your souls to a love of
the Bridegroom, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen