QOTD: the proper life for a child (and the rest of us, for that matter!)

Related image

“It is no accident that the Swiss have such beautiful children’s stories: they do not inhabit large towns. A metropolitan child doesn’t even know what it means to be a child. To be a child means to play in the fields, amidst grass and trees and birds and butterflies, under the endless canopy of a blue sky, in a great silence in which the crowing of the neighbor’s cock is an event, as is the Angelus bell or the creaking of a wheel. To be a child means to live with the seasons, the first snow and the first colt’s-foot, the cherry blossom and the cherry harvest, the scent of flowering crops and dry grass, the tickling of the stubble on one’s bare feet, the early lighting of the lamp. The other thing is a surrogate, shabby, cramped, musty, an adult’s life in miniature.”

— Joseph Hofmiller (1872-1933)

 

Advertisements

T.S. Eliot on Christianity and Culture

Image result for T.S. Eliot

“I am talking about the common tradition of Christianity which has made Europe what it is, and about the common cultural elements which this common Christianity has brought with it. If Asia were converted to Christianity tomorrow, it would not thereby become apart of Europe. It is in Christianity that our arts have developed; it is in Christianity that the laws of Europe have—until recently—been rooted. It is against a background of Christianity that all our thought has significance.

“An individual European may not believe that the Christian Faith is true, and yet what he says, and makes, and does, will all spring out of his heritage of Christian culture and depend upon that culture for its meaning. Only a Christian culture could have produced a Voltaire or a Nietzsche. I do not believe that the culture of Europe could survive the complete disappearance of the Christian Faith. And I am convinced of that, not merely because I am a Christian myself, but as a student of social biology.

If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes. Then you must start painfully again, and you cannot put on a new culture ready made. You must wait for the grass to grow to feed the sheep to give the wool out of which your new coat will be made. You must pass through many centuries of barbarism. We should not live to see the new culture, nor would our great-great-great-grandchildren: and if we did, not one of us would be happy in it.”

— T.S. Eliot, Christianity And Culture.

We must defend.

The future of our culture and civilization is not negotiable.

 

QOTD: What is truly progressive?

Martin Thornton

“It is sometimes more progressive to look back a thousand years than to look forward three weeks.”

— Martin Thornton, English Spirituality

Who is Martin Thornton? Here is a brief introduction (click here for the more substantive one from which this is excerpted) that might be helpful:

“A farmer, Anglican priest and spiritual director who lived primarily in the UK yet also taught in the US (and almost became a professor at Nashotah House), Thornton’s voice in his 13 books remains remarkably sober, pastoral, and witty—yet rigorously theological and erudite.

His purpose was simple: he wanted to equip priests and lay catechists with the appropriate tools to teach prayer—liturgically, biblically, doctrinally, devotionally—that cultivates Anglican parish health within the Catholic Church toward our eventual union with the Holy Trinity at the Second Coming of Christ. His value to us today is that he wrote in prophetic anticipation of the then-nascent reconfiguration of Christian life to post-Christendom. That is, he wrote not to ‘keep the boat afloat’ but rather to ‘pick up after the party.’

“Anglicans have got themselves into quite a predicament, to put it mildly. For Thornton, the recovery of Anglican strength and genius lies not in recreating past glory but rather ressourcement: creative re-application through prayer of what formed us in the first place. It should then come as no surprise that his theological outlook is anchored in the Book of Common Prayer seen as Regula, that is, as a corporate system or Rule of ‘ascetic’ in the tradition of the Rule of Saint Benedict.”

 

QOTD: Severed from our roots

“A plant severed from its roots is more likely to attract parasites than to bear fruit. There is no substitute for direct connections with the past.”

— David Kucharsky

Indeed.

Or as I tend to phrase it, a tree severed from its roots is more likely to wither and die than to bring forth fruit. Two ways of expressing the same idea…

QOTD: On adoring Christ our Lord

https://www.pictorem.com/collection/900_12284623HighRes.jpg

All those things that orthodox Catholics desire for themselves and their children, namely, a persevering faith, a willingness to make heroic sacrifice, a sense of belonging within the flow of history, a scriptural mindset and an awareness of judgment, all flow from the sense of wonder at the Person of the God-Man. Prior to any great renewal of the Church, the faithful must be taught to stand adoring and incensing in the interior temple.

— an anonymous Roman Catholic student (link to source here)

As I have commented elsewhere, on other issues, what is here said about (Roman) Catholics can also be said about Anglicans, and indeed about Christians in general. We sometimes – and I am certainly guilty of this myself – confuse the outward manifestations with the inward realities.

Those manifestations are not unimportant: we live in “the real world,” the world of physicality and sensory impressions, the world of human emotions, needs, and relationships. We are not living in some sort of sterile, theoretical, pseudo-gnostic world of spirit and imagination, or the world of Platonic Forms. The desires described above are not for material items, but they are certainly for human needs, and are not to be despised.

But if we focus on them too closely, we can lose sight of their Source and Sustainer: the Incarnate Logos (Word) of God, who became Man – Incarnated – in Jesus of Nazareth, who we call the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One of God, the only-begotten Son of the Father; and thus, One Who is in fact God Himself, the Second Person of the Trinity.

And Him should we indeed stand incensing (“Welcome as incense-smoke let my prayer rise up before thee [O Lord],” Psalm 141:2) and adoring, in the inward Temple of our hearts, our minds, our spirits. By Him alone can we obtain those other things, worthy though they are, that we desire; for through Him alone all things were made, and have their being (John 1:3, Nicene Creed)

Thanks be to God, for the gift of Himself, in the Person of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

QOTD: “Believe it or not, tradition works…”

“Believe it or not, tradition works. So-called ‘old ways’ are quite popular among younger Catholics. Smells, bells, classic hymns, chant, prolonged silence, and, hold on for this one, LATIN are all largely embraced by the younger generations of the Church. Furthermore, when younger non-Catholics experience these traditions they are struck by how different they are from everything else they experience in a noisy, secular culture. These ‘old ways’ are beautiful to them, and beauty is a great place to introduce young folks to Jesus Christ.”

Fr. Edwin C. Dwyer, Our Lady of Peace Parish (Roman Catholic), Bay City, Michigan

Now, I am an Anglican, so while I personally like Latin in the liturgy (and a Latin form of the Prayer Book liturgy was, in fact, used in Chapels Royal as late as the time of Queen Elizabeth I), I’m not going to be pushing for it at St. Bede’s!

But otherwise, I am in complete agreement. What Fr. Dwyer says about younger Catholics I believe to be just as true for younger Anglicans; in fact, it seems to be the case across the spectrum of sacramental, liturgical Churches: the churches that are growing, that are attracting young people, are the traditional ones.

And traditional liturgy seems to be drawing more young people who have grown up in contemporary, non-denominational, evangelical, and “community” churches toward those Churches that are in fact rooted in historic, ancient liturgies, in the sacraments, and in traditional, orthodox understandings of the Christian faith.

As Fr. Dwyer puts it,

“we are going to make [our worship] more beautiful with tradition. We are going to look, and sound, and smell vastly different from the rest of the world on Sundays. It will be a religious experience that, at the very least, will be memorable to the young who encounter it.”

As the old saying has it, “what is old, is new again.” Thanks be to God!