Saturday, June 9, 2007

Jesus of Nazareth : Faith, Hope, Love

M and I ate last night at Jeff and Sandy’s. Ariella very polite and mature. Elena up from Marco Island on her way to a Casa Italiana week at Nazareth College in Rochester. Sandy’s Hebrew teacher Nurit and her husband Ephy were also there, as well as Jeff’s parents Phil and Norma, who have moved into the Towers of Colonie after living many years in Long Island. Elena recommended to me Walter Isaacson’s biography of Einstein and Mark Steyn’s America Alone, but of course I have other things to read. Most of the discussion at the dinner table was about the Muslim’s taking over of Europe — Nurit and Ephy had just come back from Italy. Steyn apparently has a lot to say about this. I don’t know if he adds anything to Spengler. In the library the other day I noticed that Tom Bethell also likes the Isaacson book.

[The prophet does not] report on the events of tomorrow or the next day in order to satisfy human curiosity or the human need for security. He shows us the face of God, and in so doing he shows us the path that we have to take. . . .

[Moses] does not behold God’s face, even though he is permitted to enter into the cloud of God’s presence and to speak with God as a friend. The promise of a prophet like me thus implicitly contains an even greater expectation: that the last prophet, the new Moses, will be granted what was refused to the first one — a real immediate vision of the face of God. . . . This is the context in which we need to read the conclusion of the prologue to John’s Gospel: No one has ever seen God: it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart, who has made him known (Jn 1:18). It is in Jesus that the promise of the new prophet is fulfilled. What was true of Moses only in fragmentary form has now been fully realized in the person of Jesus.

— Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, pp. 4–6

The believer, in the proper [strict and full] sense of the word, has — first — to do not only with a given matter . . . but also with a given person: with the witness who affirms the matter and on whom the believer relies. Secondly (and this is the question we have been examining), belief in the proper sense really means unqualified assent and unconditional acceptance of the truth of something. . . .

To say, I believe you but I am not quite certain, is either to use the word believe in the improper sense or to be talking nonsense. . . .

The question then arises all the more pointedly: How is it meaningfully possible for someone to say unconditionally: It is thus and not different? How can this be justified when the believer admittedly does not know the subject to which he thus assents — does not know it either directly, by this own perceptions, or indirectly, on the basis of conclusive arguments [though he must understand what he is assenting to]?

— Josef Pieper, Faith, Hope, Love, pp. 27–28.

I hope that I am reading what you want me to read. M has just told me that O wants to go out to eat a burger. I quickly agreed and recommended a place near Mohawk Commons, where there is a Barnes and Noble — perhaps they have a copy of John Lukacs’ George Kennan that I’ll be able to peak into.