Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Moving on...

Some messages of encouragement and clarity on this day:

First, today's meditation passage on DGO is from St. Therese of Lisieux. Consider carefully what the Little Flower says about the search for the great soul, and the conditions for that search:
Dear Sister, how can you ask me if it is possible for you to love God as I love Him? ... My desires of martyrdom are nothing; they are not what give me the unlimited confidence that I feel in my heart. They are, to tell the truth, the spiritual riches that render one unjust, when one rests in them with complacence and when one believes they are something great... Ah! I really feel that... what pleases Him is that He sees me loving my littleness and my poverty, the blind hope that I have in His mercy .... That is my only treasure...

Oh, dear Sister, I beg you... understand that to love Jesus... the weaker one is, without desires or virtues, the more suited one is for the workings of this consuming and transforming Love. The desire alone to be a victim suffices, but we must consent to remain always poor and without strength, and this is the difficulty, for: "The truly poor in spirit, where do we find him? You must look for him from afar," said the psalmist. He does not say that you must look for him among great souls, but "from afar," that is to say in lowliness, in nothingness.

Ah! let us remain then very far from all that sparkles, let us love our littleness, let us love to feel nothing, then we shall be poor in spirit, and Jesus will come to look for us, and however far we may be, He will transform us in flames of love. Oh! How I would like to be able to make you understand what I feel! It is confidence, and nothing but confidence that must lead us to Love. Does not fear lead to Justice? (To the severe justice that people show to sinners but not the justice Jesus will have for those who love him.) Since we see the way, let us run together. Yes, I feel it, Jesus wills to give us the same graces; he wills to give us his Heaven gratuitously.

On a more overt political note, Plato writes in the Republic:

The city where those who are to rule are least anxious to be rulers is of necessity the best managed.

Finally, Victor Davis Hanson, in A War Like No Other, on the character of the most tragic of all conflicts, the Peloponnesian war:

Just think of it: a land versus a maritime power, the starkness of the Dorians contrasted with Ionian liberality. Oligarchy was pitted against democracy, practiced dearth set against ostentatious wealth. A rural hamlet dethroned a majestic imperial city; and a garrison state professed the cause of Greek autonomy abroad even as a humane imperialism killed the innocent.

No one foresaw such carnage in 431. Who believed that in just two years, the majestic Pericles would end up covered with pustules, grasping an amulet as he coughed out his life in the fevers of the plague? [Hanson then discusses the fates of other important figures....] Everything considered wisdom at the beginning of the war would be proven folly at its end.

Circumstances change. Leadership is the critical issue in the search for the better republic, and until great souls emerge the vision of the best polity will continue to take second place to economic revanchism and the moral cynicism that prefers selfish, short-sighted, agenda-driven convenience over the inalienable dignity of life itself.

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