Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Lorica

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,    

Through belief in the threeness,    

Through confession of the oneness    

Of the Creator of Creation.     

I arise today    

Through the strength of Christ's birth with His baptism,    

Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,    

Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,    

Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of Doom.     


I arise today    

Through the strength of the love of the Cherubim,    

In the obedience of angels,    

In the service of archangels,    

In the hope of the resurrection to meet with reward,    

In the prayers of patriarchs,    

In prediction of prophets,     

In preaching of apostles,    

In faith of confessors,    

In innocence of holy virgins,    

In deeds of righteous men.     


I arise today    

Through the strength of heaven;    

Light of sun,    

Radiance of moon,    

Splendor of fire,    

Speed of lightning,    

Swiftness of wind,    

Depth of sea,    

Stability of earth,    

Firmness of rock.     


I arise today    

Through God's strength to pilot me:    

God's might to uphold me,    

God's wisdom to guide me,    

God's eye to look before me,    

God's ear to hear me,    

God's word to speak to me,    

God's hand to guard me,    

God's way to lie before me,    

God's shield to protect me,    

God's host to save me,     

From snares of devils,    

From temptation of vices,    

From everyone who shall wish me ill,    

Afar and near,    

Alone and in a multitude.    


I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,     

Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,    

Against incantations of false prophets,     

Against black laws of pagandom,    

Against false laws of heretics,    

Against craft of idolatry,    

Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,    

Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.     


Christ to shield me today    

Against poising, against burning,    

Against drowning, against wounding,    

So there come to me abundance of reward.     


Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,    

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,    

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,    

Christ when I lie down,    

Christ when I sit down,    

Christ when I arise,    

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,    

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,    

Christ in the eye of everyone who sees me,    

Christ in every ear that hears me.     


I arise today    

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,    

Through belief in the threeness,    

Through confession of the oneness    

Of the Creator of Creation.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

As You Like It

Annie and I watched Branagh's 2006 version of Shakespeare's As You Like It last night and it was delightful! I recommend it to all who are fans of Branagh's work... a few choice sections from the master of English prose:

I must have liberty
Withal, as large a charter as the wind,
To blow on whom I please.

Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The seasons’ difference, as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter’s wind,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile, and say
’This is no flattery. These are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.’
Sweet are the uses of adversity
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

All the world's a stage,/And all the men and women merely players./They have their exits and their entrances/And each man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages. 

It is not the fashion to see the lady the epilogue; but it is no more unhandsome than to see the lord the prologue. If it be true that good wine needs no bush, ‘tis true that a good play needs no epilogue. Yet to good wine they do use good bushes, and good plays prove the better by the help of good epilogues. What a case am I in then, that am neither a good epilogue nor cannot insinuate with you in the behalf of a good play! I am not furnished like a beggar, therefore to beg will not become me. My way is to conjure you; and I’ll begin with the women. I charge you, O women, for the love you bear to men, to like as much of this play as please you. And I charge you, O men, for the love you bear to women—as I perceive by your simpering none of you hates them— that between you and the women the play may please. If I were a woman I would kiss as many of you as had beards that pleased me, complexions that liked me, and breaths that I defied not. And I am sure, as many as have good beards, or good faces, or sweet breaths will for my kind offer, when I make curtsy, bid me farewell. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

For all those wishing to seriously study Insight...

PL 772 01                    Insight and Beyond I

Patrick Byrne             W 4:30-6:20




Insofar as there is a struggle about agreeing with Insight or disagreeing with it, that struggle arises on a very fundamental existential level. It is akin to Heidegger’s classification of a person as authentic or inauthentic; in other words, there is a deep existential level of self-criticism.”

                                                              Bernard Lonergan


This course begins a two-semester project exploring Lonergan's unique invitation to "self-appropriation" as a response to the crises of our times. Bernard Lonergan wrote his major philosophical work, Insight, to address what he regarded as the great challenges posed by Modernity: modern natural science, modern historical thought, and the great revolutions in modern philosophy, especially in Descartes, Kant and Hegel.  In many ways Insight shares the concerns of post-modernism, but departs from its pervasive relativism.  Written after his scholarly investigations of Aquinas, Lonergan set himself the task of developing what he learned from those studies into a methodical way of treating philosophical metaphysical, ethical, historical, hermeneutical and theological issues. He called that method “self-appropriation” – that is, coming to better know oneself as an agent of one's own conscious activities, and as a contributor to the destiny of human history.


Students in this course will have the unique opportunity to be part of an online, international learning community. Class sessions will be edited, placed online, and shared with the international community of others also wishing to study Insight and Lonergan's later works.


Course Requirements:

(1) Class preparedness (15%); careful reading of the weeks assigned chapters, responses to study questions and exercises, and prepared notes of questions and comments for class discussion);

(2) A short paper (4-5 pages) describing an insight you have had. (15%);

(3) Term paper (of 20-25 pages) (40%);

(4) Final Exam  (30%).


Reading List:          


Lonergan, Insight

Lonergan, Topics in Education

Selected essays

Flanagan, Quest for Self-Knowledge


Friday, April 17, 2009

"Esse" by Czeslaw Milosz

I looked at that face, dumbfounded. The lights of metro stations flew by; I didn't notice them. What can be done, if our sight lack absolute power to devour objects ecstatically, in an instant, leaving nothing more than the void of an ideal form, a sign, like a hieroglyph simplified from the drawing of an animal or a bird? A slightly snub nose, a high brow with sleekly brushed-back hair, the line of the chin - by why isn't the power of sight absolute? - and in a whiteness tinged with pink two sculpted holes, containing a dark, lustrous lava. To absorb the face but to have it simultaneously against the background of all spring boughs, walls, waves, in its weeping, its laughter, moving it back fifteen years, or ahead thirty. To have. It is not even a desire. Like a butterfly, a fish, the stem of a plant, only more mysterious. And so it befell me that after so many attempts at naming the world, I am able only to repeat, harping on one string, the highest, the unique avowal betong which no power can attain: I am, she is. Shout, blow the trumpets, make thousand-strong marches, leap, rend your clothing, repeating only: is!
She got out at Raspail. I was left behind with the immensity of existing things. A sponge, suffering because it cannot saturate itself; a river, suffering because reflections of clouds and trees are not clouds and trees.

Brie-Comte-Robert, 1954

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Homily by St. John Chrysostom

Let all pious men and all lovers of God rejoice in the splendor of this feast; let the wise servants blissfully enter into the joy of their Lord; let those who have borne the burden of Lent now receive their pay, and those who have toiled since the first hour, let them now receive their due reward; let any who came after the third hour be grateful to join in the feast, and those who may have come after the sixth, let them not be afraid of being too late; for the Lord is gracious and He receives the last even as the first. He gives rest to him who comes on the eleventh hour as well as to him who has toiled since the first: yes, He has pity on the last and He serves the first; He rewards the one and praises the effort.

Come you all: enter into the joy of your Lord. You the first and you the last, receive alike your reward; you rich and you poor, dance together; you sober and you weaklings, celebrate the day; you who have kept the fast and you who have not, rejoice today. The table is richly loaded: enjoy its royal banquet. The calf is a fatted one: let no one go away hungry. All of you enjoy the banquet of faith; all of you receive the riches of his goodness. Let no one grieve over his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed; let no one weep over his sins, for pardon has shone from the grave; let no one fear death, for the death of our Saviour has set us free: He has destroyed it by enduring it, He has despoiled Hades by going down into its kingdom, He has angered it by allowing it to taste of his flesh.

When Isaias foresaw all this, he cried out: "O Hades, you have been angered by encountering Him in the nether world." Hades is angered because frustrated, it is angered because it has been mocked, it is angered because it has been destroyed, it is angered because it has been reduced to naught, it is angered because it is now captive. It seized a body, and, lo! it encountered heaven; it seized the visible, and was overcome by the invisible.

O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? Christ is risen and you are abolished. Christ is risen and the demons are cast down. Christ is risen and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen and life is freed. Christ is risen and the tomb is emptied of the dead: for Christ, being risen from the dead, has become the Leader and Reviver of those who had fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Startling Strangeness

"For the appropriation of one's own rational self-consciousness, which has been so stressed in this introduction, is not an end in itself but rather a beginning.  It is a necessary beginning, for unless one breaks the duality in one's knowing, one doubts that understanding correctly is knowing.  Under the pressure of that doubt, either one will sink into the bog of a knowing that is without understanding, or else one will cling to an understanding but sacrifice knowing on the altar of an immanentism, an idealism, a relativism.  From the horns of that dilemma one escapes only through the discovery (and one has not yet made it if one has no clear memory of its startling strangeness) that there are two quite different realisms, that there is an incoherent realism, half animal and half human, that poses as a half-way house between materialism and idealism and, on the other hand, that there is an intelligent and reasonable realism between which and materialism the half-way house is idealism".