Saturday, October 09, 2004 +

Notes 42

These days it is the choir that needs preaching to.

Friday, October 08, 2004 +

Helen Eustis

From The Horizontal Man:

'Oh, she doesn't, she doesn't [care a great deal about painting]!' cried Molly eagerly. 'She pretends she does! She used to teach art appreciation in high school before she met my father. Art appreciation! How she can talk about brushwork and impasto and chiaroscuro! But just ask her what a painter is saying or what his work means! Just ask her! She looks as if you'd ask some question that was between obscenity and stupidity. . . .'

Notes 41

Not everything worth saying is worth hearing.

Thursday, October 07, 2004 +

Notes 40

Say something that will be worth hearing today and in eternity.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004 +

Notes 39

What did you do when you hardened Pharaoh's heart? Can we not even sin, unless you act in us?

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." The Romans and Jews did not know that they were killing the Son. And if they - if one - did know, what then? I know I sin. My only chance to be forgiven is to forgive.


Tuesday, October 05, 2004 +

Notes 38

I do not expect my prayers to be answered in the newspapers.

Monday, October 04, 2004 +

The Weight of Glory

From “The Weight of Glory”:

Nothing is so obvious in a child—not in a conceited child, but in a good child—as its great and undisguised pleasure in being praised. Not only in a child, either, but even in a dog or a horse.

Perfect humility dispenses with modesty.

We should hardly dare to ask that any notice be taken of ourselves. But we pine.

St Paul promises to those who love God not, as we should expect, that they will know Him, but that they will be known by Him (1 Cor. 8:3).

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.

Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat - the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

From “Transposition”:

. . . a poorer medium can respond to a richer. . . .

The attempt to discover by introspective analysis our own spiritual condition is to me a horrible thing which reveals, at best, not the secrets of God’s spirit and ours, but their transpositions in intellect, emotion, and imagination, and which at worst may be the quickest road to presumption or despair.

May we not . . . suppose . . . that there is no experience of the spirit so transcendent and supernatural, no vision of Diety Himself so close and so far beyond all images and emotions, that to it also there cannot be an appropriate correspondence on the sensory level?

From “The Inner Ring”:

When promiscuity is in fashion, the chaste are outsiders.

From “Membership”:

The value of each human soul considered simply in itself, out of relation to God, is zero.

It delights me that there should be moments in the services of my own Church when the priest stands and I kneel.

The Church will outlive the universe; in it the individual person will outlive the universe.

A rejection, or in Scripture’s strong language, a crucifixion of the natural self is the passport to everlasting life. Nothing that has not died will be resurrected.


Syracuse, N.Y.

Here briefly to see Murphys. Picked up Mark outside his apartment in Grant (or as we have called it ever since seeing a missing letter on the entrance sign, “rant”) Village, then up Teal to 117 Sunstruck Drive. Matt was on the doorstep waiting for his taxi to work. Louis was at home. Anne was “at the mall.” Martha drove up with her dog Rosie and chatted a bit. We’ll see her again tomorrow. After visiting for about half an hour, we went with Mark to pick up Michael on Shonnard Street, drove to Erie Boulevard to check in at the Econo Lodge, and then on to Green Lakes State Park. Walked around Green Lake (remarkable blues and greens starting a few feet from shore) and had a peek at Round Lake. After taking Michael back home, had an indifferent dinner at Dominick’s, took Mark home, and returned to our hotel.

At 4:30 a.m., I woke with the thought that I may have forgotten to pay our school tax. At home, I would have gone downstairs to check, but here I was faced with panic and no sleep the rest of the night. Fortunately, in the evening I had been rereading C. S. Lewis’s The Weight of Glory and Other Addreses, where in “Tranposition” he had written, among other things:

And I believe that if anyone watches carefully the relation between his emotions and his sensations he will discover the following facts: (1) that the nerves do respond, and in a sense most adequately and exquisitely, to the emotions; (2) that their resources are far more limited, the possible variations of sense far fewer, than those of emotion; and (3) that the senses compensate for this by using the same sensation to express more than one emotion—even, as we have seen, to express opposite emotions.

I tried praying that I might actually enjoy these sensations of panic. I didn’t succeed, but eventually I fell asleep again. This morning I don’t look forward to more discomfort, but when it comes, I hope to remember to try this experiment again.

Lewis's paper suggests to me why art initially sensed as ugly might eventually be perceived as beautiful.