November 16, 2005

Interesting... via Tom of Disputations:
Very often when people are thinking or speaking about the spirituality of the Dominican Order there is a tendency, with respect to a phrase such as "sober intoxication," for example, to give more weight to the adjective "sober" than to the noun "intoxication." It is an understandable tendency and, in respect of the work of many Dominican authors, often a wise one. The adjective "sober" sits particularly well with the work of someone like St Thomas Aquinas, or with that of his contemporary, Humbert of Romans, or with the work of the later scholastics. But if one is considering the life and work of other Dominicans, such as the exuberant and generous preacher, Blessed Jordan of Saxony, or the irrepressible Italian mystic, St Catherine of Siena, or the colourful and intensely devout German friar, Blessed Henry Suso, or the great and daring thinker and visionary, Meister Eckhart, then clearly the word "sober," for all its sane, and sharply qualifying wisdom, will need to have placed – and close beside it – the noun "intoxication."
Towards the end of his remarkable study, Enthusiasm, Ronald Knox writes : "Men [and women] will not live without vision; that moral we do well to carry away with us from contemplating, in so many strange forms, the record of the visionaries. If we are content with the humdrum, the second-best, the hand-over-hand, it will not be forgiven us."

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