Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Friends

I put up for hearing and reading Mary’s story New Friends.

Have I noticed another smile from Romano Amerio?

Since . . . the modernizing school of thought often admits in words what it denies in practice, and since it is an historical and psychological fact that the more some good is undermined in practice the more lip service there is paid to it, it is not surprising that the centenary of Aeterni Patris in 1979 was marked by statements praising and honoring the encyclical; empty praise indeed, for words cannot summon to existence things that are not. The conference on St. Thomas held in Rome in the centenary year of Aeterni Patris admitted the change that had occurred: With Vatican II, despite its reference to St. Thomas, the period of theological pluralism in which we are now living opened. . . . In short, the centenary celebration of Aeterni Patris was little more than a ceremonial, or even theatrical performance,25 gone through partly for form’s sake in order to demonstrate continuity, and partly the product of that dulling of logical thought, which stems from losing a sense of the difference between the natures of things, and which leads to a confusing of one thing with another.

25 Reading the Acts of the congress reminds one of books published in times past, under religious or political censorship. A book with a titlepage bearing the words Life of the Blessed Virgin would contain a collection of anti-religious prints, and Description of the Journey of Sir John Chasterly in China would turn out to contain the ideas of the Young Italy movement.

— Romano Amerio, Iota Unum, Paragraphs 240 and 242.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Signs and Wonders

Give new signs and work new wonders; show forth the splendor of your right hand and arm.
— Sirach 36:5

I want this during the day. But at night I thank you it did not happen. How little ready I am for heaven.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Leaving All

Am reading Guardini again. Will I then leave all and follow you?

But perhaps Romano Amerio should be my companion on your way:

The height of perfection lies not in the conquest of the universe, nor in Bacon’s prolatio ad omne possibile, nor in any thing which can be put to either good or evil use by technology, but in moral heroism and in that alone, because through it alone man conforms to the divine image in which he is created, and express the life of the Incarnation and of the Holy Trinity.
— Romano Amerio, Iota Unum, Paragraph 212

In Paragraphs 202–203, Romano Amerio writes about the importance of every present moment:

The respect man owes to the law is owed and payable at every moment in time independently of every other. Past and future moments in life are absent here and now, but man’s relation to his ultimate end, namely God, is always present, and it dominates what the whole of man is, and leaves no part of himself that he can give to finite things as subtracted from God. This is what gives moral life its seriousness. Not one instant of a man’s life is free for him to devote to sin; this is a truth that has been preached in every age of Christian history. Every moment of wasted time has to be redeemed, that is, put into relation with the transcendent, apart from which there is nothing but non-being, whether metaphysical or moral. . . . A present intention to do evil is incompatible with an intention to repent and make reparation.

I die to myself when I make every act my last act.

The Christian religion teaches that a man should deny himself, not realize himself. This renunciation, it should be noted, is brought about by conforming oneself to the law, that is, to the will of God, and is not a self-annihilation, but the cutting off of egoism and self-love.
— Romano Amerio, Iota Unum, Paragraph 215

In one of the few, perhaps the only, humorous moments of Iota Unum, Romano Amerio quotes Lech Walesa: As I worker I would like to work as little as possible. Paragraph 211, Footnote 4.

This footnote I hope is true, even if it contradicts both Jacques Barzun and James Agate:

Mediaeval artists, who were often anonymous, would create beautiful objects not for the service of man, but so that they could proclaim the glory of God. Thus it was that they often placed their statues in the vaults of cathedrals, away from the light, though they were thus invisible to men, for whose benefit they had not been made.
— Roman Amerio, Iota Unum, Paragraph 216, Footnote 33.

Amerio comes back to this later:

An over-emphasis on the merely functional aspects of a church building diminishes one’s sense of the sacred. A church is indeed a place where the faithful meet to pray and to take part in the liturgy, but it has a sacred character even when such functions are not being exercised within it; a sacred building like every other artistic creation of a religious sort, exists in itself as distinct from the use which may subsequently be made of it. Si hi tacuerint, lapides clamabunt [Luke, 19:40 If these (people kept silent, the stones would cry out.] is a saying applicable to sacred architecture; or as Rouault said, churches ought to be maisons priantes [Houses that pray], not merely places that people use for prayer, but places which themselves pray. This is true of those mediaeval churches in which an artist has hidden some beautiful carving or painting high up in a remote corner, away from the light where nobody sees it, but where all by itself it still sings the glory of God for whom it was made; made by an artist content that his own name too should be similarly forgotten, that the name of God alone might be glorified.
— Roman Amerio, Iota Unum, Paragraph 292.

This, too, has to do with leaving.

Monday, May 28, 2007


You are the Word before creation. You are the Son before Jesus. You said, Before Abraham was, I am.

Your servant Romano Amerio wrote in Iota Unum:

The denial of the primacy of knowledge over life has penetrated the Church. . . . The supernatural virtues of hope and charity are thus deprived of their foundation and become mere manisfestations of vitality. . . . It is characteristic of modernism to base beliefs on a feeling and an experience of the divine. . . . This is the mentality that Lessing expressed so well in the parable in Eine Duplik. “If the infinite and omnipotent God were to give me the option between the gift in his right hand, which is the possessing of the truth, and the gift in his left, which is searching for the truth, I would humbly pray: O Lord, grant that I may search for the truth, for possessing it belongs only to you.”

The mistake in this position lies in regarding as humble an attitude that is really an intense form of pride. What is someone really preferring when he prefers searching for the truth to truth itself? He is preferring his own subjective movement and the activity of the Ego more than the good that his powers of acting are given him to attain. In short the Object is being valued less than the subject and an anthropocentric view is being adopted that is irreconcilable to religion, which seeks the creature’s subjection to the Creator and teaches that in being thus subjected the creature finds its own satisfaction and perfection. . . . “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall be satisfied (with justice).” The subjective quest for beatitude must take second place to the triumph of God, its Object. . . .

Faith is  . . . the thing that substantiates hope, not something substantiated by hope. [Faith is the definition of things hoped for, the testimony of things not seen. —Hebrews 1:1]. One hopes for heaven because one believes it is there; one does not believe it is there because one hopes for it . . .

In conclusion, the priority of faith over hope belongs to the basis of Catholic religion, which is rationality. All the theological virtues have a motive, and what is a motive if not a reason? Their character as motivated acts was clear in the now disused formulas of acts of faith, hope and charity, and in the act of sorrow, all of which were taught in catechisms and used daily in Christian life. You believe in revelation because God exists and is truthful. You hope for eternal salvation and the forgiveness of sins because Jesus Christ merited them and strengthens our wills. You love God because he is infinite Good and infinitely lovable, and you love your neighbor, who is not infinitely lovable, because you love God who has made him. Lastly, you are sorry for and repent of your sins because you have offended God and because you have lost him as your happiness. Reasonableness or rationality thus dominated all the doings of the Catholic religion, which never takes the dependent creature man as its foundation, but the all sufficient God. . . .


Sunday, May 27, 2007

You and Me

I have closed Memorare, so now it is you and me.

Monday, May 21, 2007


You have overcome the world.

But the world does not know you. Come, Lord Jesus!

Friday, May 18, 2007


You want to live in me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


You are the one who doesn’t want me to get on with my life.

Monday, May 14, 2007


You are the One who commanded us: Love one another.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

You in Others

We think we are dealing with men, but we are dealing with God.

You Rose from the Dead

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

— 1 Corinthians 15: 12–20

So: you have risen from the dead, and we shall rise from the dead. Our end is not this life.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Praying to You

What I must always remember when I pray to you or the Father is that you and He are already listening.

The action of God who comes to meet us . . . precedes our decisions and our ideas.
— Pope Benedict XVI, quoted in Sandro Magister, The Fathers of the Church in Installments, Every Wednesday from the Vatican


Sunday, May 6, 2007

By Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI

Intimate friendship with Jesus, on which everything depends, threatens to become a groping around in the void.
— Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI, quoted in Sandro Magister, The Next Battle For and Against Jesus Will Be Fought by the Book

Read also Sandro Magister, And He Appeared in Their Midst: “Jesus of Nazareth” at the Bookstore.

Shall I recognize you in the Pope’s book?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

A Great Man?

In your lifetime I might have said you were a great man, but not now, not after Easter.