Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Concert for the New Year

Happy Feast of Saint Sylvester, the Seventy Day of Christmas!

θεοτόκος Defnintion

(Emperor Justitian) has pointed out, as you have learned from the contents of his letter, that disputes have arisen over the following three questions: Can one say that Christ our God is "one of the Trinity", that is one holy person among the three persons of the Holy Trinity? Did Christ our God who in His divinity is impassible suffer in the flesh? Must Mary, the ever Virgin Mother of our Lord and God Jesus Christ, be called truly and properly Mother of God and Mother of God the Word incarnate from her?...
Christ is one of the Holy Trinity, that is one holy person or subsistence (subsistentia)--one hypostasis as the Greeks say--one among the three persons of the Holy Trinity.

(There follow among other quotations: Gen. 3.22; 1 Cor. 8.6; the Nicene Symbol).

The fact that God did truly suffer in the flesh we confirm likewise by the following witnesses (Deut. 28.66; Jn 14.6; Mal. 3.8; Acts 3.15; 20.28; 1 Cor. 2.8; Cyril of Alexandria, Anathematism 12; Leo I, Tome to Falvian, etc.).
Constantinople 4th-13th Centuries

We teach that it is right for Catholics to confess that the glorious and holy Mary, ever Virgin, is truly and properly the Mother of God and Mother of God the Word incarnate from her. For it is He himself who truly and properly became incarnate in these latter days and deigned to be born of the holy and glorious Virgin mother. Hence, since the Son of God became incarnate and was born from her truly and properly, we confess her to be truly and properly the Mother of God incarnate and born from her. In proper terms, lest one should believe that the Lord Jesus Christ received the name of God as a title of honor or as a favor as Nestorius foolishly taught; truly, lest one should believe that from the Virgin he took on a mere appearance of flesh or in some other way a flesh which was not real, as Eutyches irreverently declared.

Pope John II, Letter to the Senate of Constantinople (534)
Dupuis, The Christian Faith, Alba House: New York, 1990, #617 (p. 167).

Jesu Redemptor Omnium (Christmas, Hymn)

Ave Maris Stella

There are a couple of other traditional Breviary hymns of this Feast of Mary's Maternity 
Cælo Redémptor prætulit
Te, Mater alma Núminis

Dante and Islam

Father Miguel Asín Palacios, S.J. is best remembered for his 1919 book, La Escatologia Musulmana en la Divina Comedia,[58][59][60] which sparked lively and extended discussions among Dante scholars. Asíin here suggests Islamic sources for the theological landscapes used by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) in his work La Divina Commedia,[61][62] written c.1308 to 1320.[63] Specifically, Asín compares the Muslim religious literature surrounding the night journey [al-'Isra wal-Mi'rag] of Muhammad (from Mecca to Jerusalem and thence up with the prophets through the sevenheavens),[64][65][66][67] with Dante's story describing his spiritual journey in which he meets various inhabitants of the afterlife and records their fate.[68]
Dante, detail from Luca Signorelli fresco at Duomo di Orvieto.

Accordingly, Asín (I) discusses in detail the above night journey in Muslim literature,[69] (II) compares it to episodes in the inferno,[70] the purgatorio,[71] and the paradiso[72] of La Divina Commedia, (III) investigates Muslim influence on corresponding Christian literature predating the poem,[73] and (IV) conjectures how Dante could have known directly of the Muslim literature in translation.[74]
Prior to Asín's La Escatologia it was assumed that Dante drew from the long poem the Aenead by the ancient Roman poet Virgil for the inspiration to create the memorable scenes of the afterlife.[75] In his Divina Comedia, Dante himself plays the leading role; he is guided by the deceased poet Virgil as they travel through the Inferno and thePurgatorio.[76][77][78] Asín remarks that the addition of the Muslim sources in no way detracts from Dante's achievement, and that Dante remains a luminous figure and his poem retains its exalted place in world literature.[79]
Asín's book inspired a wide and energetic reaction, both positive and negative, as well as further research and academic exchanges.[80][81][82] Eventually two scholars, an Italian and a Spaniard, independently uncovered an until-then buried Arabic source, the 11th-century Kitab al-Mi'raj[Book of the Ladder (or of the ascent)],[83][84] which describes Muhammad's night journey. This work was translated into Spanish as La Escala de Mahoma [The Ladder of Muhammad] by a scribe (Abrahim Alfaquim) of the Spanish king Alfonso X el Sabio in 1264.[85]
Information also surfaced about another translation of it into Latin, Liber Scalae Machometi, which has been traced to the Italian milieu of the poet, Dante Alighieri.[86][87] Evidently Dante's mentor Brunetto Latini met the Latin translator of the Kitab al-Mi'raj while both were staying at the court of king Alfonso X el Sabio in Castilla.[88][89][90] Although this missing link was not available to Asín, he had based his work on several similar accounts of Muhammad's ladder then circulating among the literary or pious Muslims of Al-Andalus.[91]

P.S. Here is an academic article with more details on the same.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Romano Guardini on the Personal Vocation

Last night, but probably it was the morning, when dreams come, one then came to me. What happened in it I no longer know, but something was said, either to me or by me, which also I no longer know.

So, it was said that when a man is born, a word is given with him, and it was important, what the meaning was: not just a predisposition, but a word. It is spoken unto him in his essence, and it is like the password of everything, what then will happen. It is at once the strength and the weakness. It is the commission and the promise. It is the guard and the dangers. Everything that will then happen through the course of the years is the effect of this word, it is the explanation and the fulfillment. And everything comes to pass for him to whom it was pronounced -- each man, to each to which one was spoken -- he understands it and it comes into agreement with him. And perhaps this word is to be the basis on which the Judge will at last speak with him.

1 August 1964 [written when he was 79, four years before his death]

Berichte über mein Leben, 20.
Plinthos translation

The above text is confusing with an ambiguity more typical of Pope Francis than of Pope Benedict. While it cannot be doubted that Ratzinger read Guardini, it is also clear that he had recommended him only with great discretion. What this dream revelation suggests is that man is made and determined by an anonymous force. Sounds very much like the ideas of the atheist agents of social engineering of the last century.

Guardini was an expert in Hölderin, that pioneer of German Idealism (historical atheistic dialectic), the same Hölderin Pope Francis says is (in the infamous Civiltá interview) one of his favorite thinkers!

Here are the relevant words of Pope Francis recommending philosopher Hölderin, the classmate and lifelong friend of Hegel and Schelling!

“I have really loved a diverse array of authors. I love very much Dostoevsky and Hölderlin. I remember Hölderlin for that poem written for the birthday of his grandmother that is very beautiful and was spiritually very enriching for me. The poem ends with the verse, ‘May the man hold fast to what the child has promised.’ I was also impressed because I loved my grandmother Rosa, and in that poem Hölderlin compares his grandmother to the Virgin Mary, who gave birth to Jesus, the friend of the earth who did not consider anybody a foreigner."

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Morning Offering

Direct and sanctify, rule and govern this day, O Lord God, King of heaven and earth, our hearts and bodies, our thoughts, words, and deeds, in your law, and in the works of your commandments; that now and ever we may, by your help, attain salvation and freedom, O Savior of the world, who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

Dirígere et sanctificáre, régere et gubernáre dignáre, Dómine Deus, Rex cæli et terræ, hódie corda et córpora nostra, sensus, sermónes et actus nostros in lege tua, et in opéribus mandatórum tuórum: ut hic et in ætérnum, te auxiliánte, salvi et líberi esse mereámur, Salvátor mundi: Qui vivis et regnas in sǽcula sæculórum. Amen.

The prayer after the Our Father for Prime in the 1960 Breviary.

Prayer for Kissing the Wedding Ring

Grant unto us, O Lord, that loving Thee we may love one another and live in accordance with Thy holy law.

Married spouses who kiss the wife's wedding ring, whether individually or together, and at the same time devoutly recite the above prayer at least with a contrite heart may receive an indulgence.
The Raccolta of Indulgences, 1962 supplement, 25.

The Wise Man Investigates!

N.B. Ratzinger on star of Bethlehem
Happy fifth day of Christmas!

Pope Francis' first encyclical responded eloquently to Nietzsche's disparaging attack on faith, in which that philosopher caricatured the attitude of faith as complacent indolence. Here, also in dialogue with Nietzsche, I offer a short passage from Saint Thomas Aquinas' treatise on the difference and necessary relationship between faith and reason.

Nietzsche's anti-faith argument.

"Faith...appear[s] to some as an illusory light, preventing mankind from boldly setting out in quest of knowledge. The young Nietzsche encouraged his sister Elisabeth to take risks, to tread 'new paths...with all the uncertainty of one who must find his own way,...this is where humanity's paths part: if you want peace of soul and happiness, then believe, but if you want to be a follower of truth, then seek.' Believe would be incompatible with seeking." Lumen Fidei, 2

"In this process faith came to be associated with darkness...a leap in the dark, to be taken in the absence of light, driven by blind emotion, or as a subjective light, capable perhaps of warming the heart and bringing personal consolation, but not something which could be proposed to others as an objective and shared light which points the way...[and] humanity [gradually came to renounce] the search for a great light, Truth itself, in order to be content with smaller lights which illumine the fleeting moment yet prove incapable of showing the way...everything becomes confused; it is the absence of tell good from evil or the road that leads to our destination from other roads that take us in endless circles, going nowhere." Ibid., 3

Saint Thomas Aquinas on human investigation of even the deepest truths.

There are two ways to treat the Trinity, as Augustine says in De Trinitate I: namely, by authority and by reasons (rationes). Augustine used both ways, as he himself says; other holy fathers like Ambrose and Hilary pursued only one way, namely, authority; Boethius indeed decided to pursue the other way, namely, by reasons (per rationes), assuming what had been pursued by others.

Thus the method of this work is indicated by saying "I shall investigate", meaning by rational inquiry (Sirach 39:1); the wise man researches the wisdom (i.e. that is the evidence for the Trinity) of the ancients, namely, what the ancients simply asserted on authority he investigates with reason.
Whence in the preface Boethius puts forward "A question investigated for a very long time."

The purpose of this work is that the "hidden things" (occulta) of the faith may be manifested as far possible along the way [this side of eternity], Sirach 24:31 "Those who enlighten me shall have eternal life"; and he says, Job 28:11 "the depths also of rivers he hath searched, and hidden things he hath brought forth to light."

Saint Thomas Aquinas Commentary on Boethius' De Trinitate, the last paragraph of Thomas' introduction.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Bataclan Sacrilege

Notice the satanic upside-down pentagram!

Only the foreign blogs seem to have caught the link of the Paris massacres: anti-blasphemy assassinations!

Note the lyrics of one of the songs at the blood-bath concert.

    Kiss the Devil
    Eagles of Death Metal
    Who'll love the Devil?
    Who'll song his song?
    Who will love the Devil and his song?
    I'll love the Devil
    I'll sing his song
    I will love the Devil and his song
    Who'll love the Devil?
    Who'll kiss his tongue?
    Who will kiss the Devil on his tongue?
    I'll love the Devil
    I'll kiss his tongue
    I will kiss the Devil on his tongue
    Who'll love the Devil?
    Who'll sing his song?
    I will love the Devil and his song
    Who'll love the Devil?
    Who'll kiss his tongue?
    I will kiss the Devil on his tongue
    Who'll love the Devil?
    Who'll sing his song?
    I will live the Devil and sing his song
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