The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Friday, June 15, 2007

Again, On Love

I have been thinking recently on how love is an act of the will and not of the intellect. That is, love is not something that turns your mind on and off. True, love can seem that way sometimes, but ultimately, in this frail human condition, we chose to love.

When we look at anything beautiful, we can still look away. When we smell something appealing to our appetite, we can still refuse to eat. And when someone offers us his or her love, we can still reject it. We must chose to love, and to love all the way. Not in half measures, not with reservations. Love is not "turned on", it is worked at, cultivated, and built. That is why arranged marriages in the past were probably more successful than relationships in our present time. We can either chose to look at the Beloved in front of us as someone we must compete with or, on the other hand, as someone to whom we must give our whole being.

Thus, it appears a bit odd to discern "if so-and-so is compatible with me". I chose her because I see all that is loveable about her and I draw her to myself. In this, there is trust, there is life, there is excitement, and, yes, there is love.


At 11:58 AM, Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

Sorry to be so preachy lately.

At 2:05 PM, Blogger Magotty Man said...

When you need to preach, you need to preach... and I hope you don't mind me linking to your page from mine?

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

Of course not. Please feel free.

At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe I met you once in Winona about 7 or 8 years ago. I could be wrong though. It doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. Anyway, I find your blog quite fascinating. As a Catholic who goes to the SSPX and who tries to be conscious of the "ghetto mentality" that can afflict many supporters of this movement, I thought the words you wrote about "Lefebvrism" (from a few months ago) were quite thought-provoking. I am the first to point the finger at myself, but I often get the sense that too many "traditional" Catholics completely miss the point of the Christian life. Essentially, as you well know, it is union with God which must start here on earth. As Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange would say, the divine life we will participate in Heaven must already begin here on earth.

Also we can so easily become a slave to the rules and regulations of the Church, which are meant only to be a means towards the lofty goal of the beatific vision.

I am insignificant and perhaps I need to get the beam out of my own eye but I just want to see more people striving for perfection. It simply doesn't matter if we can go to the TLM because of the SSPX if we are not aiming for the divinization of our lives here on earth. We may have the TLM without all the political machinations involved within the "offical structure" (this is my opinion) but all of this will come to naught if it bears no fruit in our interior life. I am not sure if I made any sense but I just posted these words out of a certain frustration at seeing the great potential that individual "traditional" Catholics have in becoming saints which can transform society for Christ the King.

By the way, have you ever read Kyriakos C. Markides' book "The Mountain of Silence" which delves deep into the Athonite spiritual tradition? Even though I am a Catholic I must say the book is quite impressive.

Please forgive my "rant".

At 8:02 AM, Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

I don't think you ever met me, since I have never been to Winona. I did my seminary years with the SSPX in La Reja, Argentina. (I'm not Argentine, but I do speak Spanish, so that is why they sent me down there.) You are probably mistaking me for someone else.

While I appreciate much of the work the SSPX does, I could never remain in or around it. It is an issue of the beautiful ancient liturgy being bogged down by a supposedly doctrinal but in reality political agenda. I suppose my perspective was way too "cosmopolitan" to buy into the view of history, culture, and the Church that the SSPX holds as de fide.

And as for sanctity, you are very right. Arguments are a great cause of pride, which is the deadliest sin. While I am in no place to dictate what constitutes sanctity and what doesn't, I do know that in order to be a saint, one must first be a human being. That is what this blog is about.

And I would like to thank you for commenting. As you can see, my comment boxes are often very sparse. If I posted things that were more thought-provoking or controverisal, maybe more people would comment. But an occasional comment or e-mail is much appreciated. In the end, however, this is probably one of the more solipsistic blogs: in a lot of ways it is the hashing out of my own thoughts with all of you as witnesses.

At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps your posts are sufficiently thought-provoking to counsel silence and, well, thought, instead of immediate responses shot from the hip.

I'm entering the Church from a low-church Bible-only protestant tradition and find in your writing a bracing reminder of the messiness of the Faith that is difficult for me to see in my bright-eyed convert stage. I also find in your writing an antidote to the temptation I feel as a convert running from a tradition-less world to plunge right into the politics and controversies waged between reformers and traditionalists in the Church. You're right. I just need to learn how to be human by spending a few decades learning, as you and one of your commenters said some time ago, to pray, tithe, and obey.

May God bless you as you have blessed me.


At 7:15 AM, Blogger Levi said...

For some reason this post makes me think of Saint Maximus the Confessor. I have been greatly influences by his impact on Soteriology. I think if we realized we didn't have to submit to our passions we be able to love better. So many people think you have to have some uncontrollable passion for someone to love them, or if you have it for someone else it's ok to stop loving the person you are with.

I think his ideas were more practical. I think they make sense with reality. I've been accused of not giving glory to God by my calvinist friends. But from being a protestant/calvinist for the short time I may in some theoretical way give all the glory to God, and probably attributes things to him that shouldn't be, but in reality it doesn't work. You don't take hold of your wait for it to take hold of you. And I don't see that in Scripture. Instead of being free from our passions God just changes them?

Anyway, I think if people understand humanity better, the problem it has right now, and how God has and is fixing they'd know how to love better.

What do you think?


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