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Jesu, Juva

Archive for the ‘Quotations’ Category

Singing and slaying

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The Rohirrim sing oft in battle:

Merry and Pippin heard, clear in the cold air, the neighing of war–horses, and the sudden singing of many men. The Sun’s limb was lifted, an arc of fire, above the margin of the world. Then with a great cry the Riders charged from the East; the red light gleamed on mail and spear.

And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of the battle was on them, and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City.

See also: Worship is warfare, Treebeard, Worship is warfare (2)

Written by Scott Moonen

December 9, 2018 at 7:31 pm

Resurrection

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Gentlemen, you and I cannot live naturally. . . You must die to your adolescence and just become men. And you have died already to your boyhood and now you are a student. And you have been a baby and you became a boy. And you will have to die to your manhood and become a father. And you will have to die to your fatherhood and become an ancestor. . . And you can’t help it. You have just the choice, to die or to live. That is, time overtakes you all the time, and makes you old. But you can . . . grow old with honor and you can grow old without honor. And you have all the idea that old age has just to be shunned and postponed and you want even to live 150 years, gentlemen. If you can live 70 years spiritually, thank your maker. That’s enough, because in 70 years you have to die perhaps five or six times. And anybody who can conquer death that often, you see, will then die like King David, satisfied with life, as you know. The Bible says that when King David died, he was satiated with life, and had no interest to live another 70 years. And you see how irreligious, how naturalistic modern man is that he actually thinks doctors should be allowed to prolong life to 150 years, old as Methuselah. . . .

Life cannot be arbitrarily shortened. It cannot be arbitrarily prolonged. But it can be mastered, and the mastery of life consists in conquering the deaths that occur in the meantime, in between. (Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Comparative Religion, 1954)

Written by Scott Moonen

November 27, 2018 at 5:48 pm

Posted in Quotations

The secret of religion

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Protestants are inclined to leave [education] more to the public school. It should be the other way around, because the living religious attitude is that part of our growth, or spiritual growth, is that we are becoming more and more the authority for our children, the more we are real fathers and mothers. . . .

The secret of religion [is] that it is a relation between two generations. . . .

Religion begins, gentlemen, with the point of contact between two lives separated by a death. . . And all religion is a victory over death. (Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Comparative Religion, 1954)

Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. (Malachi 2:15 ESV)

Written by Scott Moonen

November 27, 2018 at 5:41 pm

Posted in Parenting, Quotations

Joyful

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Naw, I don’t think life is a tragedy. Tragedy is something that can be explained by the professors. Life is the will of God and this cannot be defined by the professors; for which all thanksgiving. I think it is impossible to live and not to grieve but I am always suspicious of my own grief lest it be self-pity in sheeps [sic] clothing. And the worst thing is to grieve for the wrong reason, for the wrong loss. Altogether it is better to pray than to grieve; and it is greater to be joyful than to grieve. But it takes more grace to be joyful than any but the greatest have. (Flannery O’Connor, Collected Works, quoted in Ralph Wood, Flannery O’Connor and the Christ–Haunted South, 214-215)

Written by Scott Moonen

November 17, 2018 at 4:29 pm

Manners

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Manners have the power to preserve [a] salutary distance between the public and the private by enabling us to recognize the distinctive and legitimate claims that others make on us. The codes of charitable behavior require lessons in wearing the right kinds of masks. Against the contemporary urge to dispense with masks and to “let it all hang out,” as the crude metaphor has it, W. H. Auden insists:

Only animals who are below civilization and the angels who are beyond it can be sincere. Human beings are, necessarily, actors who cannot become something before they have first pretended to be it; and they can be divided, not into the hypocritical and the sincere, but into the sane who know they are acting and the insane who do not.

The ancient Greeks understood this necessity of wearing a face, the requirement to project a certain image of oneself in order to exist as any self at all. We become the things we perform, as the outward life largely shapes the inward, despite modern notions to the contrary. In fact, the Greek word persona means “mask.” The question is never whether we shall wear masks, therefore, but what kind of masks we shall wear.

Auden further elaborates the nature of manners: “To be well–bred means to have respect for the solitude of others, whether they be mere acquaintances or, and this is much more difficult, persons we love; to be ill–bred is to importune attention and intimacy, to come too close, to ask indiscreet questions and make indiscreet revelations, to lecture, to bore.” Good breeding and gracious manners cannot serve, of course, as a surrogate for grace itself. Yet in a culture at least nominally Christian—as O’Connor’s Christ–haunted South most surely was—the two orders of grace should not be wholly alien. There is something profoundly courteous in the call of the gospel to count others better than oneself: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). O’Connor believed that the social manners of the South, despite their many deceptions and hypocrisies, could sometimes serve as a far–off reflection of God’s own incarnate love.

. . .

In a speech given at the outbreak of World War I, John Fletcher Moulton dealt with what O’Connor calls the social discipline that must be rooted in manners by distinguishing between the obligatory and the voluntary spheres of human life. He argued that the domain of “Positive Law” prescribes the things we are required to do and to refrain from doing in order for society to exist at all. Here our masks are effaced, as it were, in the act of becoming public citizens. At its opposite extreme lies the domain of “Absolute Choice”: there we are at liberty to follow the bent of our own wills, without prohibitions or commands of any kind—thus wearing whatever masks we choose. In that realm of utter freedom are born all “spontaneity, originality, and energy.” But between these two rather restricted realms lies the vast uncharted region that Lord Moulton calls “manners.” Here we impose limits on ourselves; here we do what we ought to do even though we are not obliged to do it; here we refuse to turn our liberty into license, honoring instead “the sway of duty, fairness, sympathy, taste.” The task of manners, therefore, is to find the right mask, the projected image that enables uncoerced charity. Hence Moulton’s description of manners as “Obedience to the Unenforceable”:

To my mind the real greatness of a nation, its true civilization, is measured by the extent of this land of Obedience to the Unenforceable. It measures the extent to which the nation trusts its citizens, and its existence and area testify to the way they behave in response to that trust. Mere obedience to Law does not measure the greatness of a Nation. It can easily be obtained by a strong executive, and most easily of all from a timorous people. Nor is the license of behavior which so often accompanies the absence of Law, and which is miscalled Liberty, a proof of greatness. The true test is the extent to which individuals composing the nation can be trusted to obey self–imposed law.

(Ralph Wood, Flannery O’Connor and the Christ–Haunted South, 128–129, 132)

See also: Nowhere

Written by Scott Moonen

October 27, 2018 at 4:11 pm

Posted in Books, Quotations

Interruption

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The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination. — C. S. Lewis

HT: Mark Horne

See also: Christ is Lord of our time

Written by Scott Moonen

September 29, 2018 at 3:18 pm

Half full

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There is a certain kind of fascination, a strictly artistic fascination, which arises from a matter being hinted at in such a way as to leave a certain tormenting uncertainty even at the end. It is well sometimes to half understand a poem in the same manner that we half understand the world. One of the deepest and strangest of all human moods is the mood which will suddenly strike us perhaps in a garden at night, or deep in sloping meadows, the feeling that every flower and leaf has just uttered something stupendously direct and important, and that we have by a prodigy of imbecility not heard or understood it. There is a certain poetic value, and that a genuine one, in this sense of having missed the full meaning of things. There is beauty, not only in wisdom, but in this dazed and dramatic ignorance. (G. K. Chesterton, Robert Browning, chapter 6)

It is good to delight in the glory of something great even if you have barely begun to understood its greatness. It is good to read out of your league.

HT: John Barach

Written by Scott Moonen

September 1, 2018 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Poetry, Quotations