August 11, 2015

(Mostly) Inspirational Aspirations

    
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Nice meditation on Gospel the other day:
This quotation from Isaiah comes in today’s reading, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Its context is the personal relationship of each believer to the Lord. The Lord will sow in our hearts individually the knowledge of himself, so that each of us has a personal, secret link, to be cultivated by prayer. If we listen to the Father and learn from him, we come to Jesus, who has seen the Father.
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I also liked this concerning local artist Elijah Pierce and his work “Obey God and Live”:
Pierce often referred to “Obey God and Live", which recalled his boyhood neglect of the bible one night and how he was punished by the Almighty for his transgression. In what curator Hall calls “his most moving polemic on authority and disobedience…“
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I like the Knox version of John 6: “Nobody can come to me without being attracted towards me by the Father who sent me, so that I can raise him up on the last day.”

On the Sunday reading from Ephesians he has it: “…your business is to give thanks to God.

Also love the Brazos commentary on the first reading from Deuteronomy:
Can love be commanded? Modern emotivism treats moral authenticity as outward expression of independent inner consciousness. Commanded love seems to violate the “inside out” direction of true love. But in fact love is fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22; →30:6–10). It is brought into the human heart. The commandment to love is then a promise to receive in faith, and with it our full identity as moral agents in God’s image. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts..“.
And elsewhere a catch-22:

    'If Israel fails to keep the Torah it will lose its capacity to love, identify with, and obey the Torah. “

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Oh my but the world and it's people are stranger than I know. I came across a couple books about Eric Gill on the Chesterton Society site. Who is Eric Gill? (Say like, "Who is John Galt?”).

I'd never heard of him before but could quickly see the attraction for Chestertonians: Catholic artist of the 1930s-era who warned of the excesses of technology and who saw the value of small handiwork and makers of things not mass produced. Flirted with socialism, sculpted beautiful works of art for churches and such, even created his own typeface (Perpetua).

Also created a lot of erotic art. Hmmm… very interesting. I'm always impressed by artists who can celebrate the beauty of the nude without lust. But then, er, something happened along the way to his canonization. Turns out he was a serial adulterer. And engaged in incestuous relationships with sisters and daughters. Even experimented with bestiality. Oh. my.

As a biographer put it, “There remains the mystery of how the avowed man of religion, Tertiary of the Third Order of St Dominic, habitual wearer of the girdle of chastity, could be by conventional standards so unchaste.” Uh, ya think? I guess the noble desire to embrace the body as not shameful but “very dear” and “redeemed by Christ” as Gill put it, ran into a snag somewhere along the way to redemption. No matter how much we might imagine Original Sin has been cured, it still exists and it trips us.

But in his autobiography he writes truly:
It is thus: we human beings are all in the same difficulty. We are all torn asunder, all of us, by this disintegration of our flesh and spirit. And so if in this book I am appearing more spiritual than credible to some of those I have loved, let them examine their own consciences. I think they will discover, as I have done, that they also are torn asunder and that they also have desired to be made whole.
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Electric to read the following gospel yesterday after reading how Jesus died in order to marry us (in Brad Pitre's book):

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. ”

Emphasis mine….Which Jesus proved in his own death, after which he was no longer alone but was furnished a bride by God from his pierced side, the Church, via the sacrament of his blood and water.

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Oh how much fun to read a lyrical book set right where I'm sitting, specifically Pat Conroy's book on a “South Carolina sea island” ("The Prince of Tides"):
“…Have them open you an oyster with a pocketknife and feed it to you from the shell and say, “There. That taste. That’s the taste of my childhood.” I would say, “Breathe deeply,” and you would breathe and remember that smell for the rest of your life, the bold, fecund aroma of the tidal marsh, exquisite and sensual, the smell of the South in heat, a smell like new milk, semen, and spilled wine, all perfumed with seawater. My soul grazes like a lamb on the beauty of indrawn tides.”
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“…their ages and size and beauty always startled me; I could measure my own diminishment with their sunny ripening. You could believe in the birth of goddesses by watching the wind catch their hair and their small brown hands make sweet simultaneous gestures to brush the hair out of their eyes…”
Unfortunately that kind of Conroy-writing tails off into crap dialogue, characters verbally sniping at each other. It's like two different books.

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