Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"O God! We don't know who you are!"

Consider this something of a mid-week check-up, or checking in, whatever the case may be. Like Fridays, Wednesdays are traditionally days of penance, days of fasting. For Eastern Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic, it still is. Building on the theme from Pascal's lovely scrap, which I posted on Sunday, something written by his fellow Frenchman, seventeenth century theologian, François de Fénelon, who served as archbishop of Cambrai, bears noting:

"O God! We don't know who you are! 'The light shines in the darkness' (John 1:5 [ESV]) but we don't see it. Universal light! It is only because of you that we can see anything at all. Sun of the soul! You shine more birghtly than the sun in the sky. You rule over everything. All I see is you. Everything else vanishes like a shadow. The one who has never seen you has seen nothing. That person lives a make-believe life, lives a dream...How many times I was unable to check my emotions, resist my habits, subdue my pride, follow my reason, or stick to my plan! Without you I am 'a reed swayed by the wind' (Matt. 11:7 [ESV])...


You have given me a new heart that wants nothing except what you want. I am in your hands. It is enough for me to do what you want me to do. For this purpose was I created."
I feel inclined to add that for this purpose, too, was I reborn when I was old and for this purpose do you beget me over and again, especially through penance and Eucharist, which are how I can be certain that you waste nothing; the very means you use to make everything work together for my good and to make me see that you, Lord, are my good.

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