De Magia

19 02 2009


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But why do we think that Love is a magician? Because the whole power of magic consists in love. The work of magic is the attraction of one thing by another because of a certain affinity of nature. But the parts of the world, like the parts of a single animal, all deriving from a single author, are joined to each other by the communion of a single nature. Therefore just as in us the brain, lungs, heart, liver, and the rest of the parts draw something from each other, and help each other, and sympathize with any one of them when it suffers, so the parts of the great animal, that is all the bodies of the world, similarily joined together, borrow and lend natures to and from each other. From this common relationship is born a common love; from love, a common attraction. And this is the true magic.

-Marsilio Ficino, Commentary on Plato’s Symposium on Love

On the Founder

19 02 2009


I just read John Zmirak’s latest on Inside Catholic on the scandal of Fr. Marcial Maciel and the Legionaries of Christ, among other things. The general sentiment behind it, as the opening lines explicitly say, is that it is not a great time to be Catholic. With a sex scandal in one of leading “conservative” religious orders in the Church, the hubbub over Bishop Williamson’s eccentric views, the almost open rumblings of the a rebellious episcopate in Europe, and the general malaise of the world in general, the Church in the world’s eye is in a bit of a funk. Gone are the years of “JPII, we luv u” and other ecclesiastical hype. We now have a church that is no longer led by a photogenic leader, weakened by scandals, and with many bishops giving a quiet “non serviam” to Benedict’s more reactionary measures. The “santo subito” cries are seldom heard, and the cults of personality seem to be slowly dying away.
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18 02 2009

The bhakti path winds in a delicate way.
On this path there is no asking and no not asking.
The ego simply disappears the moment you touch
The joy of looking for him is so immense that you
just dive in,
and coast around like a fish in the water.
If anyone needs a head, the lover leaps up to offer


The Hanging of Maximon

17 02 2009


About a month back, the Shrine of the Holy Whapping site wrote an interesting article on Maximon, or San Simon, of Guatemala. It is well-worth reading. I have actually encountered this “saint” in front of my baptismal church in Gilroy, Ca., in the form of multiple candles in front of the grotto of the Virgin of Guadalupe there. This was some years back now, and I thought little of it other than, “there go my people again with their Voodoo”. Recently, as you all know, I have been more and more fascinated with this stuff.
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Papal Coronation Oath

15 02 2009


I vow to change nothing of the received Tradition, and nothing thereof I have found before me guarded by my God-pleasing predecessors, to encroach upon, to alter, or to permit any innovation therein; To the contrary: with glowing affection as her truly faithful student and successor, to safeguard reverently the passed-on good, with my whole strength and utmost effort; To cleanse all that is in contradiction to the canonical order, should such appear; to guard the Holy Canons and Decrees of our Popes as if they were the divine ordinance of Heaven, because I am conscious of Thee, whose place I take through the Grace of God, whose Vicarship I possess with Thy support, being subject to severest accounting before Thy Divine Tribunal over all that I shall confess; I swear to God Almighty and the Savior Jesus Christ that I will keep whatever has been revealed through Christ and His Successors and whatever the first councils and my predecessors have defined and declared. I will keep without sacrifice to itself the discipline and the rite of the Church. I will put outside the Church whoever dares to go against this oath, may it be somebody else or I. If I should undertake to act in anything of contrary sense, or should permit that it will be executed, Thou willst not be merciful to me on the dreadful Day of Divine Justice. Accordingly, without exclusion, We subject to severest excommunication anyone — be it Ourselves or be it another — who would dare to undertake anything new in contradiction to this constituted evangelic Tradition and the purity of the orthodox Faith and the Christian religion, or would seek to change anything by his opposing efforts, or would agree with those who undertake such a blasphemous venture.

I post this not in order to further throw my hat into the ring of traditionalist conspiracy theorists who seem to think that the last two Popes were invalidly installed since they omitted this oath, but rather to show such an oath as evidence for a different and increasingly lost sense of the nature of authority in the Church. One cannot reduce the truth of Christianity to a mechanism of who can make an authoritative statement; authority lies in paradosis, the fact that the Church passes on wholly and integrally the Faith given to the Apostles. Neither is their a charism to “develop” or “expand upon” it, and even the Pope himself, supposedly not subject to anyone else on earth (prima sedes a nemine judicatur), puts himself under obedience to the decrees of his predecessors and holy Tradition. In other words, authority admits something above itself. The truth of the Gospel is the “being” of the Church, its foundational essence, and as the scholastic adage goes: operatio esse sequitur (act follows from being).
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13 02 2009



Cantan los pájaros, cantan
sin saber lo que cantan:
todo su entendimiento es su garganta.


La forma que se ajusta al movimiento
no es prisión sino piel del pensamiento.


La claridad del cristal transparente
no es claridad para mí suficiente:
el agua clara es el agua corriente.

-Octavio Paz

The birds sing, they sing
without knowing what they sing:
all of their understanding is their throat.

The form that adjusts to movement
is not a prison but the skin of thought.

The brightness of the transparent glass
is not a brightness that is sufficient for me:
clear water is water that runs.

Waiting for the Barbarians

12 02 2009


On the Iconoclasm of Louis Bouyer and the 20th Century Reform Movements in the Catholic Church

This post is not intended to be an extended essay on Bouyer or anything of that nature. I wish merely to post some quotes from his rather problematic work, Liturgical Piety, a pre-Vatican II work out of which one can discern much of the modernism in religion that we see now in Christianity. Here is the first passage:

For there was a time, – not so far from our own, and not yet entirely past,- when it was taken for granted by many Catholics that the liturgy was something to be performed, but that to understand it was, at best, optional, never necessary or highly desireable, and occasionally, considered even objectionable.

I wouldn’t want to emphasize the point too much, but for me this smacks a bit of rationalism. True enough, as I have written before, my family hated the all-Latin liturgy. But the opposite seems to have won the day. We are too comfortable with the Christian mystery, the workings of the Divine, and the hidden forces at the center of the cosmos. That is because we think we see or understand too much, which I would say is an erroneous impression. Often, the only way you can understand a mystery is to perform it.  At least that was the ancient understanding.
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The Dying Swan

11 02 2009

My article for the New Oxford Review

11 02 2009

See here. Unfortunately, you will have to buy the magazine to read it. Sorry.

The Indefinite Dyad

10 02 2009


According to Pythagorean doctrine, the Essence of Kronos is to Remain (or Abide), but Rhea has the Power to cause Him to Proceed beyond Himself. However, He must eventually Revert to His Essence to preserve His Identity… In this way the determining, form-imparting power of the Monad emanates outward to inform Matter, but it preserves its form by looking back toward its origin. For if this Procession were to continue without Limit, all Form would be lost in the dark abyss of indefinite chaotic Matter.

Kronos’ essence is to remain Himself, but Rhea has the power to create another, and so from Them Zeus is born. Thus the three phases, Remaining, Proceeding, Reverting, create the Tridynamos, the Threefold Power of the Triune Godhead – Kronos, Rhea, and Zeus – and we read in the Chaldean Oracles:

The World, which saw Thee, Threefold Monad, worshipped Thee.
This means that the Monad contains the Triad of Father, Mother, and Son.

-John Opsopaus, from the Summary of Pythagorean Theology