Monday, 2 March 2009

Half term

Sorry for the slight gap in the Devout Life. We've just begun half-term break, and I went up to Wales with another seminarian to see a recently-ordained priest from Oscott. Having travelled on the train all day, I'm now back in East Anglia, and looking forward to a bit of a break, though sadly I've brought some work back with me to do (I'm more and more attracted to a Joseph Pieper philosophy book I started entitled Leisure, the Basis of Culture)! Here is today's selection from the Devout Life - at some point in the next few days I'll say a bit about the context of the book as well:

Meditation produces good movements in the will or affective part of our soul, such as the love of God and of our neighbour, the desire of heaven and eternal glory, zeal for the salvation of souls, imitation of the life of our Lord, compassion, admiration, joy, fear of God's displeasure, of judgement and of hell, hatred of sin, confidence in the goodness and mercy of God, confusion for our bad lives in the past; and in these affections our spirit should expand and extend itself as much as possible. [...]

However, Philothea, you must not dwell upon these general affections to such an extent that you omit to convert them into special and paticular resolutions for your correction and amendment. For example, the first word that our Lord spoke on the cross will doubtless stir up in your soul a good affection of imitation - namely, the desire to pardon your enemies and to love them. But I say now that this is of little value, if you do not add to it a special resolution to this effect: 'Well then! I will not hereafter be offended by such or such annoying words, with such or such a person, a neighbour of mine perhaps, [...] may say of me, nor by such an affront which may be put upon me by this person or by that: on the contrary, I will say or do such or such a thing to gain him, and appease him, and so also in other matters.' By this means, Philothea, you will correct your faults in a very short time, whereas by the affections alone you will do so but slowly and with difficulty.

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