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Jesu, Juva

Archive for the ‘Quotations’ Category


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[T]he one thing you must know [as a leader] is that you have been exalted into a position, you see, of privilege, because of an historical chain of events, which dignifies you beyond your own merits. . . . [Y]ou know that you are not up to the occasion. You are less than the quality history bestows on you. . . .

Ceremonies warn all men that they are less than the office that has fallen upon [them]. . . . No man is self-made, because the fact that anybody who is willing to listen to you comes to you only as a gift, you see, of the historical process by which you happen to have something the other man needs, or the other man is asking for. The fact that he can speak to you is already something, you see, that is not of your own making. . . .

It is, however, true, gentlemen, that through ceremony . . . and title, and emblems, and symbols, and uniforms, and costumes, we are entering the halls of the past, as in great architecture. Architecture, you see, reflects, of course, this tremendous hall of antiquity out of which we come, and out of which we receive our meaning, our name, our status, our profession, our calling; everything we have: our property. . . .

Honor is reciprocal, gentlemen; love is reciprocal; work is reciprocal; and war is reciprocal. Life is not given you—to us—to individuals. If you analyze these four situations, . . . you will find the miracle of our existence is that it is each time a social birth. Society, the group, gives birth to us in our honor, in our love, in our work, and . . . in our struggles. (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Cross of Reality, 1953)

Written by Scott Moonen

May 11, 2017 at 7:58 pm

Posted in Quotations


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To live means to say, “Good–bye,” and to found on this good–bye a new beginning.

You are all too sentimental, and you hang back and you think that you at one time were wonderful. You should only have seen you when you were nine. Terrible brats. I hope you are nicer now. (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Cross of Reality, 1953)

Written by Scott Moonen

May 8, 2017 at 10:00 am

Posted in Quotations

The soul is my captain

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Nobody is captain of his soul, gentlemen, or he has no soul. Soul is your part in God. And how can you be the captain of your soul, the one thing with which you are not yourself, but better than yourself? It’s a fantastic notion. . . .

You can be a captain of a ship. You can be captain of a thing, you see, which you direct by your mind. But if the soul is anything, it is your captain. If . . . man has a soul, then certainly nothing else is your captain, but your soul. So if the sentence then makes any sense, it would have to read, “The soul is my captain.” That makes sense. But to say, “I am the captain of my soul” means the execution of this soul. It means exactly that . . . it can’t grow. It means exactly that I—I, with my will, my purpose, my aim, my plan, my master plan, my science— that I plan my soul. . . .

That’s what we have today. It is a fantastic sentence. When you begin to think of this, you don’t wonder why people are today all crazy, and lunatics. “I am the captain of my soul” condemns a man not only to . . . loneliness and isolation, but it condemns him even to supervise his only growing point, his soul, from the point of his . . . mind. . . . Mr. Freud tells [you] how to treat your soul. . . instead of allowing your soul to tell you off. Who is master in the house? The devil of your mind or the soul?

Now, gentlemen, you have to decide this . . . So what about it? My mind can never contain me. I’m more than my mind. Tomorrow I’ll have a different mind; I’ll have a change of mind. Gentlemen, the decision is whether the mind, which is fixed, shall govern growth, or whether it shall not. (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Circulation of Thought, 1949)

Written by Scott Moonen

May 8, 2017 at 9:41 am

Posted in Quotations

Religion and culture

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Peter Leithart opens his recent book, Delivered From the Elements of the World, with the following observation:

No purely secular society exists or has ever existed. Define religion how you will: As a matter of ultimate concern, as belief in something transcendent, as the organizing master narrative for history and human lives, as a set of practices. However religion is defined, all institutions, structures and patterns of behavior have religious features. All cultures are infused with values and actions that have religious dimensions and overtones. Whether they name the name of a known God or not, societies and cultures are always patterned by some ultimate inspiration and aspiration.

By the same token, all religions have social aspects; they are all embedded in and rely on patterns of interaction among persons. Even the retreat of a solitary ascetic into the desert is a social act, since it is a retreat from social relation. And all religions deal with artifacts, symbols and rituals that might as well be called “cultural.”

Religion is not the “soul” of culture, nor culture the “body” of religion. Religions have bodies, and cultures have souls. It is rather the case that in dealing with any group of human beings, we are always dealing with socio-religious or religio-cultural entities. The common contemporary rhetoric of conflicts between religion and politics obscures the reality. Conflicts are never between politics and religion. Conflicts are always between rivals that are both religious and both political.

Islamic terrorists kill themselves and innocent bystanders for overtly religious reasons. In response, the United States sends troops to the Middle East to make the world safe from terrorism, but also to sacrifice themselves to preserve and advance America’s values, freedom and democracy. To say that the terrorist and the Marine are both motivated by religious values is not to make a moral equivalence. But we misread the times unless we recognize that the war on terror is a religious war on both sides.

We think ourselves all secular, all grown-up, but we have our taboos, our pollution avoidances, our instincts of recoil and disgust. Not so long ago, many found homosexual sodomy disgusting. In a matter of decades, the disgust has turned inside out, and now those who consider homosexual conduct sinful and unnatural are outcasts, treated with contempt. The freedom to engage in any form of consensual sex is now considered a right, and a sacred one, as inviolable as the sacred precincts of an ancient temple. (Delivered From the Elements of the World, 11-12)

Written by Scott Moonen

August 1, 2016 at 6:49 am

Posted in Books, Quotations


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Chesterton writes of Utopia, romance, and oaths:

I could never conceive or tolerate any Utopia which did not leave to me the liberty for which I chiefly care, the liberty to bind myself. Complete anarchy would not merely make it impossible to have any discipline or fidelity; it would also make it impossible to have any fun. To take an obvious instance, it would not be worth while to bet if a bet were not binding. The dissolution of all contracts would not only ruin morality but spoil sport. Now betting and such sports are only the stunted and twisted shapes of the original instinct of man for adventure and romance, of which much has been said in these pages. And the perils, rewards, punishments, and fulfilments of an adventure must be real, or the adventure is only a shifting and heartless nightmare. If I bet I must be made to pay, or there is no poetry in betting. If I challenge I must be made to fight, or there is no poetry in challenging. If I vow to be faithful I must be cursed when I am unfaithful, or there is no fun in vowing. You could not even make a fairy tale from the experiences of a man who, when he was swallowed by a whale, might find himself at the top of the Eiffel Tower, or when he was turned into a frog might begin to behave like a flamingo. For the purpose even of the wildest romance results must be real; results must be irrevocable. Christian marriage is the great example of a real and irrevocable result; and that is why it is the chief subject and centre of all our romantic writing. And this is my last instance of the things that I should ask, and ask imperatively, of any social paradise; I should ask to be kept to my bargain, to have my oaths and engagements taken seriously; I should ask Utopia to avenge my honour on myself.

All my modern Utopian friends look at each other rather doubtfully, for their ultimate hope is the dissolution of all special ties. But again I seem to hear, like a kind of echo, an answer from beyond the world. “You will have real obligations, and therefore real adventures when you get to my Utopia. But the hardest obligation and the steepest adventure is to get there.” (Orthodoxy, ch. 7)

Written by Scott Moonen

June 20, 2016 at 8:42 pm

Posted in Quotations

Or screenwriters

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Chesterton writes:

though St. John the Evangelist saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators. (Orthodoxy, ch. 2)

Written by Scott Moonen

June 9, 2016 at 6:38 pm

Posted in Bible, Quotations


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In the performed story that is Christian worship, we are related to others as neighbors rather than as an “audience.” (James K. A. Smith, Imagining the Kingdom, 150)

Written by Scott Moonen

May 30, 2016 at 8:41 pm

Posted in Quotations, Worship