Jean-Pierre Batut: The Chastity of Jesus and the Refusal to Grasp

Jean-Pierre BatutA perennial favorite from the archives: Jean Pierre Batut (auxiliary bishop of Lyons and an editor of the French Communio): The Chastity of Jesus and the ‘Refusal to Grasp.’ (pdf, 1997)

From the text:

Chastity is not charity; but, insofar as it is a refusal to grasp and an indefectible adherence to Him who gives, it forms its necessary condition. That is why the sign of chastity is the same as that of love: the eis telos (Jn 13:1), the “to the extreme,” the fact of leaning upon God even in the case where he withdraws himself; the fact of renouncing all human fecundity in order that God’s fecundity be manifest without mediation. A chaste life is thus a given life. “You must give over your life as you would toss a flower,” Madeleine Danielou said to her “daughters” of the apostolic Community of St. Francis Xavier. For “the grass dries up and the flower wilts, but the Word of our God abides forever” (Is 40:7-8; 1 Pt 1:24).  full text.

Roberto Graziotto: How Christians Should Think About Politics. Reflections in a Time of War

Roberto Graziotto, How Christians Should Think About Politics. Reflections in a Time of War (2004).

From the introduction to the 2004 issue on Joy:

Roberto Graziotto argues on both philosophical and theological grounds that an authentically realistic statesmanship lives from an at least implicit openness to the sequela Christi as the form of worldly politics precisely as worldly. According to Graziotto, such realism indicates a certain primacy of non-violence, to be firmly distinguished from any form of “blanket pacifism.”

Hans Urs von Balthasar: The Meaning of Celibacy

From the archives:

Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Meaning of Celibacy. Communio 3 (pdf, 1976).

From the text:

Christian celibacy is often spoken of as “an eschatological sign.”  This is well and good, except for the article “an.” Actually it is “the” sign and as such it becomes indispensable. . . . . If celibacy is lived as it is meant to be lived, in Christian joy, poverty, self-giving, and openness to God and men, it comprehends all that is human. (We can see this plainly in the person of a good pastor or a good religious.)

Lastly, the celibate priest today has to be stronger than his predecessor. He is placed in a sexualized environment and, generally, is deprived of the external guards of the post-tridentine seminary and protected rectory. He is exposed, while the witness of his life is rejected or is met with indifference by non-Christians. He does not get anywhere with it, it does not communicate anything to the people around him. The mighty effort of his witness seems to vanish into emptiness. Hence, he feels frustrated.

But the history of Christian virginity does not begin with Trent. It begins in Corinth, Ephesus, and Rome, to mention only three of the most licentious cities of antiquity. Exactly there, where sin flowered most lushly – and the letters of the Apocalypse show us other telling examples – has Christian virginity its beginning. Not in cloisters, not in closed Christian communities, but in a diaspora where Christians lived scattered, often in pagan households. It had to be and it came to be.

Christian virgins did not live in closed communities, but like members of secular institutes today, they lived dispersed in households and families. It is there that they gave witness, and were perhaps a more fruitful leaven than the later, structured cenobitic communities of Pachomius and Benedict. They understood that their witness has a purpose in itself: it radiates love. It is not something useful, a means, even though it frees the unmarried for the Lord, to be “concerned about the things of the Lord” (I Cor 7: 34), and thus also frees him for diaconal and presbyterial tasks of the Church.

And if the virgins of earlier periods were respected while the celibates of today are ignored or scorned, let us once more point out that virginity and the cross, and hence disgrace, are closely related. . .

Read the full text.

Jose Granados: On The Baptism in the Jordan

José Granados (bio). The Ages of the Life of Jesus: The Mystery of the Baptism in the Jordan (pdf). From the Spring, 2005 Communio.

See the series on The Mysteries of the Life of Jesus here.

More by José Granados, dcjm:

Love and the Organism: A Theological Contribution to the Study of Life. (2005) | ANT-OAR: Is Its Underlying Philosophy of Biology Sound? (2005) | Through Mary’s Memory to Jesus’ Mystery. (2006) | Toward a Theology of the Suffering Body. (2006) | The Word Springs From the Flesh. (2007) | Embodied Light, Incarnate Image: The Mystery of Jesus Transfigured. (2008) | The New Hosannah in the New Temple: Jesus’ Entry Into Jerusalem. (2009) |
Priesthood, a Sacrament of the Father. (2009) | The Suffering Body, Hope, and the Disclosure of the Future. (2009) | Risen Time: Easter as the Source of History (2010).

David S. Crawford on the Experience of Nature and Moral Experience

From the Summer 2010 issue on “Experience”:

David S. Crawford (bio). Experience of Nature, Moral Experience: Interpreting Veritatis Splendor’s “Perspective of the Acting Person” (pdf, 2010)

From the text:

My argument here will be that the dominant interpretation of the “perspective of the acting person” is questionable, both as an interpretation of John Paul’s encyclical and as an action theory. Of course, intention and choice are crucial ingredients of action. However, the dominant interpretation marginalizes the role of the physical structure of actions and, by implication, the status of moral agents as embodied, physical beings who neither stand over and against a world of “merely” material objects nor simply engage that world intentionally. Indeed, I will argue, the dominant interpretation reflects a modern and in the end reductive notion of nature.

Read the full text.

More by David S. Crawford:

Christian Community and the States of Life: A Reflection on the Anthropological Significance of Virginity and Marriage. (2002) | Consecration and Human Action: The Moral Life as Response. (2004) | Love, Action, and Vows as ‘Inner Form’ of the Moral Life. (2005)| Of Spouses, the Real World, and the ‘Where’ of Christian Marriage. (2006) | Conjugal Love, Condoms, and HIV/AIDS (2006) | Liberal Androgyny: ‘Gay Marriage’ and the Meaning of Sexuality for Our Time. (2006) | Recognizing the Roots of Society in the Family, Foundation of Justice. (2007) | Natural Law and the Body: Between Deductivism and Parallelism. (2008)

D. C. Schindler: On Experience and Reason

D. C. Schindler (bio). On Experience and Reason, from the Summer 2010 issue.

From the text:

While the conventional contemporary view of the world conceives of thought as opposed to, or at any rate outside of, reality, the classical worldview understands thought as a deepening of the real, and therefore as a bringing of experience to fruition. From this perspective, we would say that experience becomes more truly itself the more it is truly penetrated by mind, which would make sense, of course, only if it were true to say that experience as such were in some sense intelligent from the beginning. (full text)

 

Also by D.C. Schindler:

Freedom Beyond Our Choosing: Augustine on the Will and Its Objects (2002). Surprised by Truth: The Drama of Reason in Fundamental Theology (2004). “‘Wie kommt der Mensch in die Theologie?’: Heidegger, Hegel, and the Stakes of Onto-Theo-Logy.” (2005). The Redemption of Eros: Philosophical Reflections on Benedict XVI’s First Encyclical. (2006). Truth and the Christian Imagination: The Reformation of Causality and the Iconoclasm of the Spirit. (2006). Why We Need Paul Claudel. (2007). Restlessness as an Image of God. (2007). Why Socrates Didn’t Charge. Plato and the Metaphysics of Money. (2009).

Conor Cunningham: Natura pura, the Invention of the Anti-Christ: A Week With No Sabbath

From the Summer, 2010 issue:

Conor Cunningham (bio). Natura pura, the Invention of the Anti-Christ: A Week With No Sabbath.

From the text:

The most important point to be gleaned from the above . . . is that if we are to speak of pure nature in any real sense, then only God deserves that appellation, for as said already, God is existence itself, and Christ is the Natural Son from all eternity. Recall the words of T. S. Eliot—“Our only blood, our only body.” Similarly, Henry argues that there are no real births in Christianity, for there is only one Father, and this being the case all births are virgin, just as all existence is adoption (and this recalls creation ex nihilo). Ludwig Feuerbach once wrote that man is what he eats, but of course, the problem is that all that man eats is dead. Yet there is one exception to this, an exception that embraces all else, doing so as its beginning and end, the food of Christ himself, which is the very reason for creation. “Verily I say unto you, unless you eat the flesh of the son of Man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” No life, not just natural life, and no supernatural life, but no life at all. And as Augustine says, “You will not change me into you, as you do with the food of your body. Instead you will be changed into me.” (full text)

Antonio Lopez on Experience and Giussani

Antonio López, FSCB (bio): Growing Human: The Experience of God and of Man in the Work of Luigi Giussani (Summer 2010).

From the text:

What man really needs is discovered only in Christ. It is then that he realizes that he is thirsty because God, more profoundly and in a way unthinkable to man, is thirsty for him. When we mentioned at the beginning that God comes to allow man to live his own religiosity, this does not mean that Christ causes man to remain simply a natural being. Christ’s incarnation, instead, allows man to be in relation with the source without possessing it. Christology, for Giussani, is the truth of philosophy, not because Christ submits himself to the ontological structure of being, but, more fundamentally, because his person illumines the meaning of man and of the dual nature of being. While there is a sense in which faith can be understood naturally, with Augustine, as knowledge through a witness, the difference between recognition of the mystery and the affirmation of Christ is that faith, says Giussani, “is when something is said to you by a Thou, by God’s Mystery, as the book of Wisdom writes: ‘God has created man for happiness.’ This is faith because it is Another who speaks.” full text (pdf).

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