Of the glory of the Blessed

And they have a special participation with those whom they closely loved with particular affection in the world, with which affection they grew in grace, increasing virtue, and the one was the occasion to the other of manifesting the glory and praise of My name, in themselves and in their neighbor; and, in the life everlasting, they have not lost their love, but have it still, participating closely, with more abundance, the one with the other, their love being added to the universal good, and I would not that you should think that they have this particular good, of which I have told you, for themselves alone, for it is not so, but it is shared by all the proved citizens, My beloved sons, and all the angels — for, when the soul arrives at eternal life, all participate in the good of that soul, and the soul in their good. Not that her vessel or theirs can increase, nor that there be need to fill it, because it is full, but they have an exultation, a mirthfulness, a jubilee, a joyousness in themselves, which is refreshed by the knowledge that they have found in that soul. They see that, by My mercy, she is raised from the earth with the plenitude of grace, and therefore they exult in Me in the good of that soul, which good she has received through My goodness.

And that soul rejoices in Me, and in the souls, and in the blessed spirits, seeing and tasting in them the beauty and the sweetness of My love. And their desires forever cry out to Me, for the salvation of the whole world. And because their life ended in the love of the neighbor, they have not left it behind, but, with it, they will pass through the Door, My only-begotten Son in the way that I will relate to you. So you see that in those bonds of love in which they finished their life, they go on and remain eternally.

The Dialogue, St. Catherine of Siena

On Metaphysics and Ethics

“Metaphysics is a necessary prerequisite of ethics. This truth is masked sometimes, since man, who carries within him the same realities – soul, freedom, the call of destiny – which metaphysics has to study and to know, and who thus lives the life of metaphysics before his mind has grasped its principles, man, I say, can afford the luxury of denying in theory the metaphysical truths of which in practice he makes considerable use. It is plain, however, that such a situation is not normal and that it is of supreme importance for man to take cognizance of all the things that are in him; and of the true dimensions of his being.”

Jacques Maritain, Freedom in the Modern World

The Transcendentals

Truth, goodness, and beauty are so fully transcendental properties of being that they can be grasped only in and through one another. In their communion, they furnish proof of the inexhaustible depth and overflowing richness of being. Finally, they show that in the end everything is comprehensible and unveiled only because it is grounded in an ultimate mystery, whose mysteriousness rests, not upon a lack of clarity, but rather upon a super abundance of light. For what is more incomprehensible than the fact that the core of being consists in love and that its emergence as essence and existence has no ground other than groundless grace?

Hans urs van Balthasar, Truth of the World

The Tunisian Option

From Oasis Magazine:

The creation of a moderate “European” Islam is an idea that is rapidly gaining ground following the events in Paris. The aim of such a project would be to counter the fascination that the bloodthirsty and radical version of Islam propagated by the Islamic State – and by al-Qaeda before it – exercises over the minds of young people, both in Europe and Arab and Islamic countries.

And yet, there’s no need to look so very far afield . . .

On blindness and true guides

“A blind man, if he be not quite blind, refuses to be led by a guide; and, since he sees a little, he thinks it better to go in whatever happens to be the direction which he can distinguish, because he sees none better; and thus he can lead astray a guide who sees more than he, for after all it is for him to say where he shall go rather than for the guide. In the same way a soul may lean upon any knowledge of its own, or any feeling or experience of God, yet, however great this may be, it is very little and far different from what God is; and, in going along this road, a soul is easily led astray, or brought to a standstill, because it will not remain in faith like one that is blind, and faith is its true guide.”

St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mt. Carmel

The liturgy: foremost and indispensable

An Irish monk explains some liturgical differences:

“Jesuits, as practical individuals, are wont to pray privately in whatever posture a man finds congenial; there is a certain distrust of ritual, corporate ceremony, and rubrics. Nec cantat, nec rubricat. This approach to private prayer even affects the way certain Jesuit priests celebrate Holy Mass. Benedictines, on the whole, are wont to submit to whatever rites, ceremonies, and rubrics have been passed on to them. Schooled by long hours in choir, day after day, they habitually engage their bodies in a kind of sacred choreography that affects their most intimate yearnings Godward. Just as the Jesuit’s approach to personal prayer colours his approach to the liturgy, so too do a Benedictine’s liturgical instincts colour his personal prayer.”

On Divine Likeness

“As man’s distinction consists in a property which no other creature on earth possesses, viz., intellectual perception, in the exercise of which he does not employ his senses, nor move his hand or his foot, this perception has been compared – though only apparently, not in truth – to the Divine perception, which requires no corporeal organ. On this account, i.e., on account of the Divine intellect with which man has been endowed, he is said to have been made in the form and likeness of the Almighty, but far from it be the notion that the Supreme Being is corporeal, having a material form.”

Maimonides, A Guide for the Perplexed

Merit of the Call to Prayer (Adhān/Azān)

“Said the Prophet, on him be peace: ‘On the Day of Resurrection, three people will find themselves on a ridge of black musk. They will have no reckoning to fear, nor any cause for alarm while human accounts are being settled. First, a man who recites the Quran to please God, Great and Glorious is He, and who leads the Prayer to people’s satisfaction. Second, a man who gives the Call to Prayer in a Mosque, inviting people to God, Great and Glorious is He, for the sake of His good pleasure. Third, a man who has a hard time making a living in this world, yet is not distracted from the work of the Hereafter.’

“According to other Traditions, the Prophet, on him be peace, said: ‘All that hear the Muezzin’s cry, be they jinn, human or whatever, will testify for him on the Day of Resurrection.’ And: ‘The hand of the All-merciful is on the Muezzin’s head until he completes his Call to Prayer.’

“Commentators say that God, Great and Glorious is He, was referring to Muezzins when He revealed the Quranic Verse: ‘Who speaks better than one who calls to God and acts righteously?’ (Fussilat, 41:33)”

al-Ghazali, Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship