Hey, hate to break it to you, but…

27 07 2009

No. 1: Ryan from Athanasius Contra Mundum states the obvious: the Song of Songs isn’t about sex! That’s right, people, deal with it:

The reason is that human love as we know it exists only in this world, and as good as it is, is unfulfilling and lame in comparison to divine love. There is no sex in heaven, there is no marriage in heaven. Those things while good in themselves are also mundane when considered in that light, which is why the mystics viewed the human love as a mere beginning, and someone unable to break out of it as someone who could not advance in the spiritual life. West on the other hand would have you believe they are everything. The principle fallacy of such an approach is that marriage exists in the order of nature, primarily for the procreation and education of children, and secondly as a remedy for concupiscence. The husband has spiritual headship of the family because it is ordered to the family (not his) benefit, essentially the husband rules the family to get it to heaven. In heaven however, people do not rule in the order of nature, but in the order of grace, thus women may rule and have authority in heaven. Our Lady is queen of heaven, and rules over every man, except for her divine Son to Whom her will is always united. In heaven husbands and wives have no common life, because life in heaven exists by the order of grace. The two effects to which marriage is ordered no longer exist. A holy woman of a husband who barely makes it into purgatory will rule, while the husband will be at a lower order. Amidst such a reality, one has a difficult time finding the lofty conception of sex and marriage which West (and it would appear) the late Holy Father find.

No. 2: A friend of mine once told me that you know you are really in the soup when you find that the only purpose of your life may be to serve as a cautionary tale to others. Well, this is one of those moments in my life:

Once again, via the Conservative Blog for Peace, this quote from an Orthodox blogger:

That said, as an Eastern Catholic I reject the idea that Trent is truly ecumenical, and hold instead that its decrees espouse Latin (mainly Scholastic) theological theories, which no one outside the Latin Church is required to accept…

[Comment:] Clearly the concept of “cafeteria” Catholicism is not limited to the Latin Rite. I am slowly coming to the view that many of these people are neither Catholic nor Orthodox. They are Protestants dressed in Byzantine vestments. “I will believe whatever I want to believe.”

I don’t want to bore people with that story again, but I am entirely in agreement. I have to say, at least when it concerns Catholics, such talk is more a demonstration of personal boredom than anything, tinged a bit perhaps with intellectual sloth. They see the state of contemporary American Christianity, and particularly the childish gags of Catholic AmChurch, get discouraged, and start to look for real “ancient piety” elsewhere, all the while bringing their modern sensibilities with them. Carl Jung painted a pretty accurate picture of these people when he wrote:

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. They will practice Indian yoga and all its exercises, observe a strict regimen of diet, learn theosophy by heart, or mechanically repeat mystic texts from the literature of the whole world- all because they cannot get on with themselves… the soul has gradually been turned into a Nazareth from which nothing good can come. Therefore, let us fetch it from the four corners of the earth- the more far fetched and bizarre, the better!

Of course, Jung was speaking against the notion of absolute human depravity, and I cannot agree with him in that regard, but I think he is right to criticize the wanderlust that certain “spiritual seekers” have when they approach the traditions and attitudes that are right in front of them. The problem is not the “church you’re in”. The problem is you.





“Two Lungs”

23 06 2009

text

At special services in the pope’s chapel the gospel and epistle for the day were recited both in Latin and in Greek to remind all listeners that the two were parts of the same Catholic church and that the pope was lord of both; but to show the faded state of the Greek church, lights were dimmed and ritual dispensed with as the Greek was read, the lights returning to full glory when the Latin text was returned to once again.

-Jonathan Spence, from The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci

Now that barely anyone knows Latin, I wonder what would be done in today’s papal chapel. So much for the two lung theory.





Vladyka John

16 06 2009

Found via the Byzantine, Texas blog

Because I’ve come a long way…

Well, really, I did venerate his relics in San Francisco. Several times, in fact. Fr. Anastassy once brought out his mandyas for me and some other special pilgrims to venerate some six years ago now. It’s been a long road, I guess. That is why I post this: not so much because I still believe in all of it. More because I wouldn’t want to totally renounce where I have been. To do so is childish. We are who we have been, and part of me still has affection for the guy.

One thing I have realized, however, is that my whole attitude of him being a saint like Catholic saints are saints is childish. I cannot help but think that the walls of the Catholic Church stretch up to Heaven, and indeed, to the Trinity itself. To think otherwise is dishonest. Yes, I venerated those relics once. Would I venerate them now? No. Why? Because it is not given to me to judge. Indeed, at this point in my life, I would rather venerate an image of Jesus Malverde than of John Maximovitch. Why? Because Malverde may have never existed, and if he did, he was a bad Catholic. But at least he did not fight against the Truth. Life is just full of some very hard, very ironic choices.





Stalinist Icon

22 03 2009

RUSSIA-STALIN-ICON

St. Matrona of Moscow with good ol’ Uncle Joe. This icon actually hangs in a church somewhere in Russia. My former Trotskyist sensibility is incensed!

Expect a broader post on Eastern Orthodoxy later this week.