For the coming year, I would like to share a prayer that is a bit of a meditation on the "Fruit of the Spirit."
Happy New Year.
"The beauty of the world cannot be attributed to matter itself. It is a relationship of the world to our senses—those senses that come from the structure of our bodies and our souls. The ‘Micromegas’ of Voltaire—a thinking infusorian organism [an alien], could never access that beauty with which we feed ourselves in the universe. In a case where such beings did exist, we would need to have faith that the world would also be beautiful for them, but it would be a different beauty. Anyway, one must have faith that the universe is beautiful on every scale; and more generally, that there is a plenitude of beauty relative to the physical and psychic structure of every thinking being that exists—and in fact, of all possible thinking beings. It is this same concordance (agreement) of an infinity of perfect beauties that give the beauty of the world a transcendent character. Nevertheless, what we experience of this beauty was destined for our human senses.The beauty of the world is the cooperation of divine wisdom and creation. ‘Zeus made all things,’ said the Delphic oracle, ‘and Baccus perfected them.’ This perfecting is the creation of beauty. God created the universe and his Son, our First-born brother, created beauty for us. The beauty of the world is the tender smile of Christ to us through matter. He is really present in universal beauty. Love of this beauty proceeds from God and descends into our souls and goes out to God present in the universe. It too is something like a sacrament.Such is the only universal beauty. Aside from God, only the whole universe in its entirety can properly be called beautiful. All that is in the universe and less than the universe can be called beautiful only by extending this word beyond its strict significance to those things that are indirectly part of beauty, that are imitations."(p 67)
"If we look into our hearts, we shall be filled with confusion when we see there the mean, mercenary ideas that form the bond of our intercourse with God.
Are we not of the number of those who, like the Jews [ read biblical Pharisees] have no object in their prayers but temporal benefits, those who pray earnestly for the fatness of the earth but never ask for the dew of heaven? Are not our churches full [ca. 1795] whenever public calamities overtake us, and quite deserted in times of prosperity? When our domestic affairs are disturbed, or we are involved in a vexatious lawsuit, or are in danger of some serious loss we become very devout, we resort to prayer, and ask our priest and pious friends to help us. When our life, or the life of our husband or a beloved child is in danger, we have Masses said, we begin Novenas and invoke the Saints. Events and circumstances awaken our religion, as though there were no need to pray to God except in illness and sorrow. As soon as affairs take a turn for the better and the danger is past, our devotion vanishes; the most we think of doing is to thank God for the successful end of our troubles; after a short act of gratitude we forget Him, and think of nothing but our pleasures. Speaking generally, it is true to say that the necessities and accidents of life form the main subject and the actuating motive of the prayers of the ordinary Christian."
Do you blame us, they may ask, for thus appealing to God in times of temporal need? I am very far from doing so, since it is God’s own intention to call us back to Himself by such needs, and we can do nothing better than appeal to Him on these occasions. What I blame is that He is never invoked except for these needs, as though there were no other blessing and no other evils than those of the present life. What I blame is that God is forgotten as soon as these needs are supplied, as soon as these evils are averted and these blessings secured. Truly it is altogether too material, too carnal, to make piety a matter of such aims and events as these."
|From the blog "Nature and Life Notes|