Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Portiuncula in St. Mary of the Angels

Portiuncula Assisi
Portiuncula in St. Mary of the Angels
Attain the plenary indulgence of the forgiveness of Assisi in honour of Our Lady of the Angels anytime during the 24 hours between Vespers on August 1 through August 2. This indulgence was obtained by St. Francis of Assisi himself from Jesus and approved by Pope Honorius III in the 13th century.
In his 1967 release “Indulgentiarum Doctrina,”Pope Paul VI completely reformed the norms and grants of indulgences, and the Portiuncula Indulgence was again confirmed at that time. The requirements for this indulgence include a devout visit to any Catholic church, chapel, or oratory; recitation of the Apostles Creed, an Our Father, Hail Mary, & Glory Be for the Holy Father's intentions; reception of Holy Communion; and the Sacrament of Reconciliation within 8 days.
Interior of thePortiuncula Chapel.

Monday, 30 July 2012

COMMENT Eckhart 'Paradox versus Dialectics'

The sheep that belong to me
listen to my voice,
there will be only one flock
and one shepherd.

Shepherd House Lammermuir Hills -
a drive for family visitors.
Dear William,
A great challenge, thank you!
You have primed hosing down library shelves. I am thrilled to find the massive resources on Meister Eckhart - not least half a dozen Issues of the Oxford Eckhart Review 1999-2004.
But we do not have @The Rhineland Mystics' and so delighted by your enlightening Email, so Posted on Blog.  
fr. Donald   
PS. COMMENT of further "Paradox versus Dialectics" refernces. D.  
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: William W- - -
To: Donald - - -
Sent: Sunday, 29 July 2012, 0:10
Subject: Re: [Blog] Meister Eckhart's 'paradox style'

Dear Father Donald,
 Thank you! ....
 You know my fascination with seeking to 'uncover' Eckhart's mysticism for myself! Just very recently I have been reading a book 'The Rhineland Mystics', by Oliver Davies, and in his introduction, he summarises the 'style' of Eckhart so very succinctly - it seems rather long as I type it out in order to delight in sharing it with you, but it is gripping stuff:
Meister Eckhart's entire system ... can be summed up as the attempt to expound in terms of an advanced metaphysics the profoundly God-centred experience of the highest mystical union. Eckhart is, and never ceases to be, a mystical theologian... Whereas other famous mystics proclaim their 'nothingness' in the face of the Creator, Meister Eckhart constucts an entire ontology, or philosophy of Being, around the principle that all that exists lacks substantial essence: 'God alone truly exists' and the creature is 'pure nothingness'. A second element emerges at this stage, which is also a result of his experiential grounding: the dynamic character of his thinking.This leads to apparent inconsistencies which, in reality, are simply the deepening of his thought, its gathering momentum, as Eckhart's mind penetrates further into the realities he is exploring.
Oliver Davies continues with a fine analysis:
Thus the original starting point for his ontology was the view that we possess Being whereas God is Being. From this, as we have seen, he progressed to the view that only God truly exists, and the final stage is reached when Eckhart defines God as puritas essendi, the 'purity' or 'essence' of Being. If God is the cause of Being, Eckhart argues, then he cannot be Being itself; rather he must transcend Being. And so the true nature of God finally becomes intelligere ('to think', 'to know', or 'to understand'), for understanding or knowledge, with the unity that this implies, is the ultimate primacy.The nature of God then for Eckhart is rationality in the sense of self-understanding and self-knowing...
His analysis then becomes an explanation:
 But what of man, made in God's image? If the nature of God is rationality, then rationality, too, is our own essential nature, since we were created in his image. And this is what Eckhart believes. Our rational nature is not only God-given; it is an immediate reflection of the Divine Nature itself. It participates mysteriously and essentially in the self-reflexive activity of the Godhead. Of course, when Eckhart speaks of 'intellect', he does not mean that faculty which allows us to work out sums or read difficult books; he means rather our own self-reflexive nature as conscious beings, our capacity to understand, to be aware: consciousness itself.
Oliver Davies takes us further into Eckhart's system:
The root, or source, of that consciousness Eckhart calls the 'ground of the soul', and it is to that innermost space that we must retreat from the world and its images. There human consciousness transcends itself and participates directly in the activity of the Divine Intellect, a unitive process which Eckhart calls the 'the birth of God in the soul'. This potentiality for self-transcendence and union with the Divine Mind which resides within human consciousness Eckhart calls the 'spark of the soul', and it becomes the point of orientation for the spiritual journey which is both a journey within, into our innermost essence, and a journey into the Other, who is God.The manner of this journey in terms of our daily living is 'detachment'. By this Eckhart means a self-freeing from all that is created, not only from the appetites which bind us to created things, but also from the images of created things, as we approach the point of our own self-transcendence where the world, our created and temporal selves fall away to reveal our own bare essence, united to and unified with the Divine essence to the point of its virtual extinction.
Oliver Davies hints at the difficulties such a system might have created: "While Eckhart's belief in the immediacy of our union with God is one of his most attractive features as a mystical theologian, the immense weight which he lays upon the absorption of the self into God in the unitive experience was one major reason for the difficulties he experienced with the Church authorities, Christian orthodoxy requiring that a distinction always be preserved between the Creator and the created, even within the context of mystical union".

When I first read this sleep-dispelling explanation, I could only nod at my reflection in the dark window pane but as dawn broke, I began very gadually to be able to see through the glass, albeit darkly! This synopsis is helping me to draw a circle of understanding with the two points of paradox of Eckhart's compass.
With my love in Our Lord,

 COMMENT from Donald     

Excerpt from: http://www.reviewsinculture.com/index.php

The Meaning of Christ and the Meaning of Hegel: Slavoj Žižek and John Milbank’s (A)symmetrical Response to Capitalist Nihilism
 November 15, 2011

... John Milbank’s response to Žižek, “The Double Glory, or Paradox Versus Dialectics: On Not Quite Agreeing with Slavoj Žižek,” directly addresses what he determines to be one of the key components (and flaws) of Žižek’s materialist theology. “My case is that there is a different, latent Žižek,” he argues, “a Žižek who does not see Chesterton as sub-Hegel, but Hegel as sub-Chesterton. A Žižek therefore who has remained with paradox, or rather moved back into paradox from dialectic” (113). Such a Žižek, he claims, would be “able fully to endorse a transcendent God” (113). In order to make this case, however, Milbank necessarily must reject the metanarrative that Žižek embraces regarding the inevitable and undeniable movement of Christianity from Orthodoxy to Catholicism to (ultimately) Protestantism. In rejecting this metanarrative, Milbank realizes the possibility of another modernity that would “persist with the alternative dynamism of paradox and not pass over into the hypocritical sterility of dialectics” (116). ...

. . . For example, at one point, Milbank suggests that Kierkegaard, like Meister Eckhart and G. K. Chesterton (the theologians Žižek most frequently cites in the first chapter), was “radically orthodox” in that he tended to highlight the “aporetic features” of the overall logic of Christian belief “and come to terms with” those features “by suggesting that this overall logic is a paradoxical logic” (177). While the line of reasoning is intelligible in its own right, there can be no doubt that comparing Kierkegaard to Eckhart and Chesterton would give pause even to some of the most conservative theologians and philosophers who, like Milbank, would openly reject altogether Žižek’s metanarrative that sees Hegel as the telos of the Orthodox-Catholic-Protestant trajectory. In short, it is hard to believe that Kierkegaard finds equal company amongst Eckhart and Chesterton. Moreover, Milbank’s reading of Eckhart pushes Western Catholicism to its farthest ends. Yes, one can claim that in Eckhart one finds something that is characteristically Thomistic in nature, but the consistent apologies Milbank must make in aligning Eckhart with Aquinas seems to reveal a special sort of pleading that draws attention to itself.
Despite these criticisms of Milbank’s efforts to call Žižek back to the land of paradox, it is undeniable that Milbank probes, challenges, and provokes Žižek’s “materialist theology” in ways that have not been accomplished before. This is to say that in Milbank, Žižek has clearly met his intellectual match. Nowhere is this more discernable than in Žižek’s response to Milbank, “Dialectical Clarity Versus the Misty Conceit of Paradox.” Here one must note the asymmetry of the collection: Žižek is given the benefit of the last word. And one is tempted to suggest that the asymmetry is unfair. Žižek is given ample opportunity to rebut Milbank, but, here, the asymmetry breaks down. Despite the opportunity for rebuttal, we realize that Žižek is merely shadowboxing, which, in a way, proves Davis’s point that the Žižek/Milbank debate might just be the only debate truly capable of moving beyond the deadlock that prevents the discursive intercourse of rationalism and fideism (7). For after Žižek outlines his points of rebuttal, he quickly leaves them behind, turning instead to a matter “more dark and awful,” quoting Chesterton. Here, Žižek reveals that his philosophical and theological opponent(s) is not Milbank, but rather figures like Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas, John Caputo, and Gianni Vattimo. Perhaps no statement is more telling of this true opposition than one he makes while discussing Caputo’s On Religion. “Caputo professes his love for Kierkegaard—but where here,” he asks, “is the central insight of Kierkegaard’s Philosophical Fragments, his insistence on the central paradox of Christianity: eternity is accessible only through time, through the belief in Christ’s Incarnation as a temporal event?” (258; my emphasis). ...
If you pray ONE 'Holy Mary' in the true spirit,
you may say a hundred Psalters to little avail.
Meister Eckhart - remember from Browse

Sunday, 29 July 2012

The multiplication of the loaves. Homily: Fr. Raymond

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ of Saint John 6:1-15.
The multiplication of the loaves. 

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Raymond - - -
Sent: Sunday, 29 July 2012  

Sun 17 b
When Jesus came to reveal himself to his chosen people he knew that he had to do much more than just perform miracles for them.  The Jews were the people of the Word of God, people of the Book, the people who were the guardians of Gods revelation to the world.  He had to prove to them his links with their sacred traditions. He had to prove to them that he was the one who was spoken of so often in their Scriptures;  He had to prove that he was the very one they had been looking for and longing for for so many centuries.  It would take more than miracles to do that.  We can understand this if we recall St Paul's warning that if even an angel of God were to preach a doctrine different to his he must be ignored.  So the Jews knew instinctively that the Messiah would be confirm by searching their holy books.

Jesus himself says this explicitly in his conversation with the two disciples he met on their way to Emmaus after his resurrection. We read that he explained to them all that was written about himself in the Books of Moses and the Prophets.  Today’s Gospel gives us a typical example of this linking between the events of the Old Testament and the words and deeds of Jesus in the New.

In the Old Testament reading we hear of the prophet Elijah multiplying 20 loaves to feed 100 people whereas in the Gospel we read of Jesus working a similar, but much greater miracle by multiplying 5 loaves to feed five thousand people.

Likewise in the Old Testament we read of the same prophet raising the dead by restoring to a widow her dead son whereas in the Gospels we read of Jesus likewise restoring a dead son to his widowed mother.  But again the miracle of Jesus is so much more powerful because it is accomplished by a mere word and in an instant, whereas Elijah has to go through a great performance of laying himself seven times on the boy’s body, face to face, mouth to mouth.

Again we have the story of the innocent Susannah being saved from death by the prophet Daniel because she was so innocent, whereas, in the Gospels we have the woman who really was caught in adultery, being saved by Jesus even though she was so guilty.  “Does no one condemn thee? Then neither do I”.  Go and sin no more.” 

Finally we must note that both today’s old testament reading and the new testament one are both foreshadowings of the new bread of life that would be shared not only by hundreds or even by thousands but by countless millions from then on to the end of time: The Eucharist.

Poem: Soteriologised and Soteriologising. Fr. Edward OP

Venus in Crescent  Moon

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: edward ...
To: Donald ....
Sent: Saturday, 28 July 2012, 14:48
Subject: Some more lines
Dear Father Donald, Here are some more lines. Perhaps you could give a copy t o Heather.
 Blessings from
fr Edward O.P.
Soteriologised and Soteriologising
The generalised scope of human life
is glorious and unwavering.
It is resumed in a dynamic godlikeness
in which the model's the human life
of the Incarnated Word,
providing the deifying substance throughout,
ending with an ascension into glory.
So with the bodies of Enoch [v. Gn 5,24, Sirach 44,16, Jude 1,14-15] and Elias,
whose lives like those of Jesus and Mary
ended with their Ascensions.
Of Enoch, little is known, except his justice.
Elias is given a sainted status,
especially by the Carmelites.
Called to view the passage of God at Horeb
he confronted him , after the passage
of storm, earthquake and fire.
So was his full scope of spiritualisation
made present in his being,
a rising theme starting at Carmel,
sharpened at Horeb, where,
from a cave he became aware of God
in the whispering of a gentle breeze.
The life of Elias bridged the gap
between heaven and earth;
Moses  was a designated leader and legislator.
When at Tabor they appeared in converse with the Son
who was Word and son of Mary,
Elias had been assumed
in what seemed a fiery chariot,
but Moses not.
Here Christ was the great disposer
soteriologised and soteriologising in himself.
Mary's Assumption is spread out
in scale and quality by these precedents.
No narrow experience her's but comprehending
all humanity.
How could she be Queen of Heaven without a body
which assures a true transcendence also in depth,
a body never to be lost but used?
How else  could religion be incarnational
not only in its ultimate ending
but in its beginnings as foundational,
as stepwise with great leaps?
Elias's  rise was through great labours
but Mary's easeful rise was from those initial steps
of Immaculate Conceiving and Assumption.
He still displays signs of his origin
in his complaints that he was alone,
the final faithful prophet.
Mary would not complain
of her aloneness:
she would share it at her Visitation;
share it at her wordless Cross vigil;
no comment offered but lasting through
rhe last breath-drawing
of her Son:
his consummation for mankind.
Michelangelo's pietà
with its virginal calmness:
deepest love lasting through physical death;
virginal, god-like compassion which we,
forgetful of the context, expect of her,
as we count on her sustaining prayer
at the death-hour of us each!
The Assumption of Mary passes
from completion to completion,
penetrative and comprehensive,
takes us already to the passing limits
in the death of her Son.
The maximum divine achieving
in the triumph of the
mothering of Zion's daughter,
vigorously penetrative of all human hearts;
our foyer-hearth
empowered by her Son
who is the eternal God !
27 July 2012 

Saturday, 28 July 2012

COMMENT Meister Eckhart 'paradox style'

Chesterton is full of puzzlement of the paradoxes of Christianity.
This Reading raises up the glorious encounter with Eckhart's paradoxes. It is an immense pasture waiting for harvesting.
There are several translations but fortunately the editing of this Reading seems the clearest.

Biographical Sketch 

Meister Eckhart ‘Divine Comfort’

A Word in Season, Readings for the Liturgy of the Hours,
Augustine Press 1999

Meister Eckhart (c.1260-c.1327), the Dominican master of theology, used daring paradox to make people aware of the limitations of the human mind, and thus receptive to a higher kind of knowledge without sense impressions, images, or ideas. Though misunderstanding resulted in his dying under a cloud, Eckhart's reputation was saved by Tauler and Suso. Scholarly opinion now vindicates his orthodoxy, and Pope John Paul II has quoted him approvingly. His mystical insights appeal to members of other faiths. Eckhart acquired his mystical knowledge while living a busy, practical life during a period of unrest and violence: he can speak to our age.

Google; paradoxes of Meister About 34.200.000 results.

In one of his German sermons we hear Meister Eckhart telling his listeners: If .....heretical, not always realising that they were abstracting halves of paradoxes.
Excerpt (from Attachment)
The Meister Eckhart portal of the Erfurt Church OP

    Now, this will not be the last time today that we will be coming across this feature of Eckhart’s thinking, the fact that it is full of paradox, but I’m mentioning it now because it’s woven through his thought, woven through his language. His language is full of paradox, it is (to use the jargon) ‘dialectical’. It is this that bewildered the inquisitors who tried him at the end of his life. They abstracted statements from his writings, statements which on their own sounded heretical, not always realising that they were abstracting halves of paradoxes. And, for precisely the same reason, modem readers get bewildered by some of the things they read in Eckhart’s sermons. All the time we read Eckhart we have to be on the watch for what he’s really setting out to convey – for the meaning behind the seemingly conflicting meanings, for the meaning generated through the tension between what is said and what is unsaid (Ibid., p. 12).
    I said that I would try to clarify one thing which can on first acquaintance seem very strange to us – ‘Eckhart’s own special way of putting over ideas to people’.
You may feel that my clarification has only deepened your bewilderment, but as the day goes on I hope the bewilderment will steadily dwindle.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Abbot Malachy Brasil Memorial


July 28
Dom Malachy Brasil - born 2 February 1883, entered 15 August 1905, professed 28 December 1910, ordained 23 June 1911, Abbot Mount Saint Bernard 1933 –1959, died, Nunraw, 28 July 1965.

PRESS NOTICE found at back of an old table drawer.
Leicestershire Local Newspaper, 1959
Dom Malachi Brasil
Abbot of Mount St. Bernard Resigns

The RIGHT REVEREND DOM MALACHI BRASIL, Abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Mount St. Bernard, Charn­wood Forest, has resigned his charge after more than 25 years in office.

   Owing to his age - he is 76 - he feels this step is called for.  
Born in County Limerick, in 1883, and educated at Mount Melleray. He joined the Cistercians at Mount St. Joseph Abbey, Roscrea, in 1907.
   After teaching in the College, there he was made father master of novices. , then Sub-Prior and Prior.
   In 1933, the monks of Mount St. Bernard Abbey chose him as their abbot.
   Dom Malachi brought to completion the magnificent abbey church in the heart of Charnwood Forest.
   In August 1945, the church was consecrated.
   The community now number 83, including 43 priests.
                   Election Procedure
   For the past three weeks' Dom Malachi has been in St. Francis "Nursing Home, London Road, Leicester, suffering from bron­chial trouble and although his
condition is now somewhat improved, he is still far from. Well.
   The, abbey is now considered to be "widowed", following the resignation' of the abbot. Crosiers, in the church and in the chapter house have been removed and will not be put back until a new abbot is 'Blessed’.
   During the next six or seven weeks the professed monks will elect a new abbot and the procedure, will be similar to that carried out in the election of a pope.
   A member of the Mount St. Bernard community at the abbey will be chosen as the next abbot, although any member of the Cistercian Order could be elected.

Meister Eckhart ‘Divine Comfort’

Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Night Office
Meister Eckhart Second Reading has riveting words of ‘Divine Comfort’:
1. “The eye
is free of all colour, it perceives all colours”...
2. “Poor in spirit means: as the eye is "poor" and bare of colour yet receptive of all colours, so is he poor in spirit who is receptive of all spirit, and the spirit of all spirits is God. 
3. “When nothing can comfort you but God, then God will comfort you, and with him and in him all that is bliss,..

First Reading  Job 22:1-30
Responsory          1 Cor 1:30-31; Jn 1:16
God has given us Christ Jesus to be our wisdom, our strength, our holiness and our redemption; + this is why Scripture tells us: Let him who would boast, boast in the Lord.
V. Of his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. + This is why ....
Second Reading
From the writings of Meister Eckhart
(Book of Divine Comfort
Part II)
Learn not to love that you may learn to love
No vessel can hold two separate kinds of drink. If it is to contain wine, we must pour out the water; the vessel must be bare and empty. And so, if you would receive divine joy and God, you must pour away creatures. Saint Augustine says: "Pour out, that you may be filled. Learn not to love that you may learn to love. Turn away that you may be turned toward." In short, to take in, to be receptive, a thing must be empty. The masters say that if the eye had any colour in it in perceiving, it would perceive neither the colour it had nor those it had not. But since it is free of all colour, it perceives all colours. The wall has colour in it, and so perceives neither its own colour nor any other; it cares naught for colour, no more for gold and azure than for coal-black. The eye has no colour, and yet truly has it, for it rejoices in colour with pleasure and delight. And the more perfect and pure the powers of the soul are, the more perfectly and extensively they take in what they perceive, and receive the more widely and have the greater delight in, and become the more one with what they receive, so much so that the highest power of the soul, which is bare of all things and has nothing in common with things, receives nothing less than God himself in the extent and fullness of his being. And the masters show that nothing can equal this union, this fusion and bliss for joy and delight. Therefore our Lord says in striking words: Blessed are the poor in spirit. He is poor who has nothing. Poor in spirit means: as the eye is "poor" and bare of colour yet receptive of all colours, so is he poor in spirit who is receptive of all spirit, and the spirit of all spirits is God. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy and peace. Bareness, and poverty, having nothing and being empty transforms nature; emptiness makes water run upwards and performs many other miracles of which it is not the place to speak now.

So, if you would seek and find perfect joy and comfort in God, see to it that you are free of all creatures and of all comfort from creatures; for assuredly, as long as you are or can be comforted by creatures, you will never find true comfort. But when nothing can comfort you but God, then God will comfort you, and with him and in him all that is bliss, while what is not God comforts you, you will have no comfort here or hereafter, but when creatures give you no comfort and you have no taste for them, then you will find comfort both here and hereafter.