Category Archives: Roman Catholicism

The one true church of the Apocalypse, or the harlot of Revelation? You decide.

To the Holy Trinity: Images in Nature of the Birth of the Son of God

Moving along in Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, 1,3:

See this delicate vapour which the sea, sweetly touched by the sun, and as impregnated with its heat, sent day and night as of its own power to the heavens, without lessening of its vast womb. It is however the purest of its substance and something of the same nature, but not of the same material, of the waters which are held back. Such, says Solomon, the wisdom which God generates in eternity is a vapour of his all-powerful force a very pure emanation of his glory.

One can hear by this vapour, the heat itself which comes from the sun, from which none can hide, as David says.  That which is, one sees that the Wise seeks by all his comparisons, to make us hear a generation which neither alters nor cuts into his substance, and in the Father and the Son a distinction which does not detract from the unity.

It is this one who is not found among his creatures, and less in his physical creatures: but still he proposes to us the purest in physical nature to draw us to the most unconstrained images possible from the variation which appears in ordinary works.

Consider this burst, this ray, this splendour which comes from the son of the sun: it comes without dispersion, without separating itself, without waiting for the progress of time. All at once, as soon as the sun was formed, its splendour was born and poured out and one could see the beauty of this star. As such, said Solomon, wisdom which came from the womb of God was the delicate vapour, the very pure emanation, the lively gushing of his glory, the burst of his eternal light or as Saint Paul says, it is the resplendent ray of the glory of God and the imprint of his substance. As soon as light was, it broke out: and if the outbreak and splendour of the was not eternal, it is because the sun is no more; and on the other hand, if the light is eternal, its outburst and splendour will be also. Now God is a light where there are no shadows: a light which was not made, eternally subsists by itself and knows neither beginning nor decline.  Thus its outburst, which is his Son, is eternal like him and does not divide his substance. All the rays, to speak in this way, hold to the sun, his outburst never detaches; so without detaching from his Father, the Son of God comes forth eternally; and, to place God without a Son is to place the light without a ray and without splendour.

But let us pass to the other expression of Saint Paul: The Son of God, says the Apostle, is the character and the imprint of the substance of his Father. When a seal is applied in wax, it takes the resemblance and incorporates it, so that they cannot be separated. Consider this well: no facet escapes, and from this everything ends up in the seal from which it took its form. Thus the Son of God has taken all from the Father without taking anything away; he is the perfect image, the imprint, the expression, not of his face, because God does not have one, but as Saint Paul says, of his substance: according to the strength of the original, one can translate, of his person. He carries all the traits; it is why he says, Who has seen me, has seen my Father; and as the Father has life in himself, thus he has given to his Son to have life in himself. As the Father raises the dead and brings them back to life, thus the Son gives life to whom he pleases.  And he not only expresses his father in the effects of his power, he expresses all of his traits, all characteristics natural and personal, so that if one can see the Son without seeing the Father, one will fully see him in his Son.

But who can explain what are these traits and characteristics of the eternal Father which glisten in his Son? That is not of this life: and all which one can say, it is that there is nothing in God accidental, all the Father’s traits which the Son has imprinted in his person are of either the substance or the person of the Father. It is this substantial imprinting that the Father works of all that he is, and it is in making this impression that he generates his Son.

See in the Sage something more delicate. Wisdom eternally conceived in the womb of the Father is a flawless mirror of his majesty and the image of his goodness. An impression of a stamp, or the expression of the resemblance of an image which one cuts with a chisel or makes with colours, are too grossly material for the Son of God.  His nature has something more delicate: and see in the clear waters and in the mirror a new secret for painting or making an image.  There is only to present an object, soon he paints a self-portrait and this admirable painting is not corrupted in any way from the original: it is in some way the same original. Nevertheless neither the original nor the polished mirror where he is wholly imprinted decline. To make this portrait happen, there is no need for time, nor an imperfect sketch: in the same instant he begins and makes it happen, and the design like the end is only one trait.

Parousia: Sedona

Daystar DS 1001 (1975)

Arizona was the birthplace of God Unlimited, probably the best college-based group of the “Jesus Music” era (although this group did the same kind of ministry).  God Unlimited was an Episcopal group; this Arizona gathering was Roman Catholic, connected with the Spiritual Life Institute and Fr. William McNamara.

This is a very pleasant album, but somehow one gets the impression that it’s reaching for some things it just can’t grasp.  It’s tries in spots to be progressive, but ends up being as much MOR as anything else.  It also edges into some very “New Age” types of music and lyrics, but mercifully (with the lyrics at least) doesn’t make that either.  (A lot of that can be explained by Fr. McNamara’s own spirituality, which you can read about here). In the reaching part it resembles A City Set Upon a Hill Cannot be Hid, but that album (which really puts Our Lord’s parousia front and centre) has a stronger orchestration and is more creative than this production.

R-3128696-1317103287.jpegThe songs:

  • Sedona
  • Ladies Of The Sky
  • Passion Father
  • Steadfast Love
  • Praise Be The Lord
  • Friends In My Life
  • God Is Our Friend
  • It’s Called Faith
  • Take A Long Loving Look
  • Good Lady’s Love Song
  • Kingdom

DL

To the Holy Trinity: God of God: The Son of God Does Not Decay

Continuing in Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, 2,2:

A God, can a God come from him? A God, can he bring into existence a being other than himself? Yes, if this God is son. It is repugnant to God to come from another creator who pulls him from nothing; but it is not repugnant to God to come from another like a father who generates him from his own substance. More than that a son is perfect, if one can speak in this way, a son is more of a son if he is of the same nature and substance as his father; more if he is one with him; and if he can be of the same nature and individual substance, he will be more of a perfect son. But what nature could be so rich, so infinite, so immense for this, if it is not the only infinite and immense, that is to say the only divine nature? It is such which he has revealed to us that God is Father, that God is Son, and that the Father and Son are one God alone: because the Son generated from the substance of his father which does not admit division, and has no parts, which cannot be anything less than God and the same God with his Father.  For who speaks of the substance of God, says it all, and says by consequence God entirely. And who comes from God of this kind, that is to say of all his substance, has at the same time the entirety of his eternity, as the Prophet says: His going out is from the beginning, from the days of eternity: because eternity is the substance of God, and whatever comes from God and his substance, necessarily comes with the same eternity, the same life, the same majesty.  For if a father transmits to his son all his nobility, how much more does the Eternal Father transmit to his son all his nobility, with all the perfection and the eternity of his being? In this way the Son of God is necessarily co-eternal with his Father: for he cannot have anything new or in time in the womb of God.  The changing and passage of time of nature is to always change, this does not approach his august womb; and, the same perfection, the same fulness of being which in excluding nothing, excludes all changeable nature.  In God, all is permanent, all is changeless; nothing flows in his being; nothing new comes up; and, what makes up a sole moment, if one can speak of a moment in God, is always.  In the beginning the Word was: go back to the origin of the world, the Word was. Go back higher, if you can and place all the years which you like one after another, he was. He is like God the one who is. Saint John said in the Apocalypse (Revelation 1,4) may grace be given to you by he who is none other than he who is, who was and who is to come: it is God. And a little after, it is Jesus Christ of whom saint John speaks: See him who comes in the clouds. (v. 7) And it is him who pronounces these words: I am the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, says the Lord God, who is and was and is to come. Jesus Christ is thus like his father, he who is and who was: he is the one whose immensity wraps around the beginning and the end of things; and, like Son, being of the same nature and substance of his Father, is he also of the same being, the same duration, and the same eternity.

To the Holy Trinity: God is Fertile: God Has a Son

Starting a new Elevations on the Mysteries by Bossuet, 2,1:

 Why should God not have had a Son? Why should this happy nature lack this perfect fecundity that she gives to her creatures? The name of Father, is it so dishonouring and so unworthy of the first being, that he cannot arrange according to his natural characteristic? I who makes others have children, cannot not I have a child all the same? and if it is beautiful to have them, to make oneself children by adoption, is it not more beautiful and greater to generate them by nature?

I well know that an immortal nature does not have the need like a mortal and fragile one to renew itself, to perpetuate in substituting in his place children when one leaves the world, when one departs. But in himself, independently of this necessary reparation, is it not beautiful to produce another himself by abundance, by fulness, as the result of an endless communication, in a word by fertility and by the richness of a happy and perfect nature?

It is by participation in this happy fertility that man is fertile. When he lived immortal, according to the first design of his creation; when it pleased his creator for him to complete his happiness in his allotted time on earth, one always extends himself, it is beautiful to be fertile and to engender from himself and his own substance another. When this fertile efficacy is turned loose in its original and primitive state, it will be able to end when God wants it to, when the number of men which he wants to make happy is complete: but of itself, it will always be looked upon as rich and complete.  And where does this perfection come, if not from that of God always fertile in himself, and always father?

When the Sage pronounced these words: Who is he who is lifted up at the highest of the Heavens by his power, and who goes down endlessly by his cares? Who holds the winds in his hands? Who holds the sea in its limits and measures the ends of the earth? What is his name and who is the name of his son, if you know it? This is not a simple idea and words in the air: he claims to propose a mystery worthy of God, and something true and real, but at the same time incomprehensible. In his infinite nature, he saw a father whom one cannot understand and a son whose name was unknown. There was no question about naming or knowing him, because one knew that he was ineffable.

That is to say that to know the Son of God, it is necessary to raise up above the senses and of everything which can be known and named among men: it is necessary to take away all imperfection in the name of the son to leave only this: that the son is of the same nature as his father, without which the name of son will not stand. A child one day is not less of a man than his father: he is a man less formed, less perfect: but as less of a man, this cannot be and their beings cannot be so divided. But if a man and a son of a man can be imperfect, a God and a son of God cannot be so. Let us take away this imperfection, from the Son of God, who lives in another way, otherwise put by our fathers in the council of Nicea from the beginnings of Christianity: that he is God from God, light from light, true God from true God: perfect son of a perfect father: from a father who, not waiting to be old enough to be fertile, is father from what he is: who was never without his son: of whom the son has nothing degenerating, nothing imperfect, nothing to have to wait for until he is older, for all of this is nothing but the defect of the birth of men. God the Father has no need to associate himself to any other thing but himself to be father and fertile: he does not produce another outside of himself, because nothing which is outside of God is God. God thus conceives within himself, he carries in himself his fruit which is co-eternal with him. Again he is only father and the name of mother which is attached to imperfect and degenerating sex is not proper to him, all the while he has a maternal type of womb where he carries his son: I have, he says, generated you today from a material womb; ex utero. And the son calls himself the only son which is in the womb of the Father: a character uniquely proper to the Son of God. For where is the son, unless he is always in his father and never leaves his womb? His conception was not distinguished by his birth; the fruit he carried was perfect from when he was conceived, and he never left the womb in which he was carried. Who is carried in an immense womb, is from the start just as large and immense as the womb where he was conceived and never left.  God generated him, God received him into his womb, God conceived him, God carried him, God gave him birth: and the eternal wisdom which was nothing else than the son of God was attributed by Solomon as having been conceived and given birth: and all of this is only the same thing. God will only have this son, because he is perfect, and he cannot have two: one long and unique birth from this perfect nature and empties all the fertility and clothes him in all the love. This is why the Son of God calls himself Unique, the unique Son, Unigenitus: by which he shows at the same time that he is the Son, not by grace or adoption, but by nature. And the Father confirmed this word about the Son from on high by making this voice leave heaven: This is my well-loved son in which I am pleased: it is my Son, I have only him; and, from all eternity I have given him and give him all my love without end.

Frances Mary Hunter Gordon: The Woldingham Folk Mass

(1968)

It didn’t take long after Vatican II for new forms of the Mass to emerge.  This not only included the Novus Ordo Missae in 1970 (which is still in place, albeit with the Latinate English translation now in force) but also with new music.  On this side of the Atlantic, we had Peter Scholtes breaking new ground in the South Side of Chicago.  But across the pond–and really on the opposite end of the socio-economic spectrum too–things were happening, and this album was one of them.

There is an interesting account of how this album came into being (and it has its own lastfm page too).  Its prime mover, Frances Mary Hunter Gordon, tells us that the motivation for it was as follows:

Before I wrote The Folk Mass, the Catholic Mass was in Latin and all the music was old fashioned, traditional stuff – very beautiful – but – it was not our music. We were the swinging 60’s – the world of the Beatles. So The Folk Mass really broke new ground. The guitar had never been used in church in that way before. We sang the Mass in English for the first time and the style was our style, for our age. At the time it was a big thing, selling to many parts of the world. Meanwhile, I was in my last few years at school, trying to pass exams to get into medical school (I am a doctor), having turned down an offer from EMI to write pop songs for artists such as Cliff Richards!

And its recording pedigree went along with that bold goal:

The Mass was recorded on Saturday 18th November 1967 at Studio 3, Abbey Road, London – the same Abbey Road that The Beatles recorded in. That year the Beatles produced Sgt Pepper. They took over 700 hours at a cost of about £25,000!

All that said, the music style is sparse.  It is simply a harmony of female vocals with acoustic guitars.  With the vocalists coming from an Abbey, one expects a “Nun-Plus” style like this, and the album doesn’t disappoint.  That ethereal style, which the English excel in, would be brought to a different level by Cloud in the next decade.  In addition to Scholtes and the Americans, the Continent was busy pushing things ahead with more adventurous productions like The Mass for Peace and the Beat Mass.  (OTOH, this Mass would fare better in real liturgy use than these two…)

The album also has an “upper crust” feel to it, underscored by the following:

It was a private record pressing although there did not seem to be a charge for the recording. EMI said “we are intending to absorb this ourselves”. This may have had something to do with my uncle knowing Sir Joseph Lockwood (Chairman of EMI)!

Would have been nice if they could have stopped by my home church…but I suppose that stuff like this helped EMI to back its claim that it was “the greatest recording organisation in the world”.

My thanks to Pascual for putting me on to this music.

The songs:

  • Introit
  • In God alone
  • Kyrie
  • Gloria
  • Gradual
  • God My Hope
  • Creed
  • Offertory
  • Sanctus
  • Our Father
  • No not one
  • Agnus Dei
  • Where has the word of God gone
  • Hail Mary

DL

God, His Unity and Perfection: The Holiness of God

This is the last in this series from Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, 1,10:

1. God is the Holy One of Israel

God particularly delights in the name of holy.  Very often he calls himself the holy one of Israel: he wants that his holiness be his motif, and the principle of ours: be holy because I am holy, says the Lord.  His holiness, which is the consolation of his faithful, is also the terror of his enemies.  Whom do you attack, senseless low life? Whose name have you blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and cast proud looks? Against the holy one of Israel? While you carried yourself like a madman against me, your pride rose up to my ears; and here I put a brake on your mouth and an iron ring in your nose and I led you back on the road where you came. And elsewhere: the vigilant and the holy have come down from heaven (Isaiah 37, Daniel 4), it is an Angel if you wish: whatever he is, his power is in his holiness.  And the sentence leaves from on high: And he cried powerfully: cut down the tree, break off the branches, it is thus ordered in the assembly of those who are always awake, it is the sentence of the saints, their strength is in their holiness. And after: The kingdom is given to the people of the saints of the Most-High (Daniel 7) because he is holy and the all-powerful protector of holiness. The Pagans themselves well understood the power attached to the holiness of the divine name: the Queen said to King Belshazzar: There is a man in thy kingdom that hath the spirit of the holy gods in him: (Daniel 5:11 DRB) that was to say, the spirit of preaching and of divine efficacy.

2. The vision of Isaiah and of Saint John

I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and elevated: (Isaiah 6:1-4 DRB) and his train filled the temple. Upon it stood the Seraphims: the one had six wings, and the other had six wings: with two they covered his face, and with two they covered his feet, and with two they flew. And they cried one to another, and said: Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts, all the earth is full of his glory, And the lintels of the doors were moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.  See the holiness of God: see why he is called the holy one of Israel.  He showed himself to the prophet as the very holy one, the three-times holy one in his three persons: and the glory and the majesty which filled all the earth were the outbreak of his holiness. Holiness is his clothing, said David; and saint John, in the Apocalypse (Revelation 4) saw four animals which never stopped crying night and day: Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord God almighty, who was and is and who is to come.  Note this cry above all: there is nothing which is published with a greater cry and with greater perseverance: nothing which breaks out more highly in all the universe than the holiness of God.

Holiness is the summary and like an abstract of divine perfections.  The Son of God himself in his last prayer, speaking to his Father, as if to encapsulate in one single word his perfections, calls him: my holy Father, my just Father: and we do not find in his Gospel that he gave him another title than these two which make one. Himself he was known under the title of holy and just: the holy thing which will be born in you will be called the Son of God.  The demons spoke like the Angel: I know who you are: the Holy One of God. Daniel had named him in spirit because of his anointing: the Holy One of Holy Ones. Isaiah called him the Just. Saint Peter put together these two qualities in saying: You have denied the Holy and the Just.

3. That Which is Understood by Holiness

Holiness is in God is an essential incompatibility with all sin, with all defect, with all imperfection of understanding and will.

  1. Injustice, iniquity, sin cannot be in him: he is the rule and the good by essence, without which he may have in him some kind of defect. He neither understands nor wants that it is necessary for him to understand and hear: his understanding and will are his nature which is always excellent. His moral perfection and his natural perfection are one: he is equally immune to defect by his being and infallible in his intelligence and will, by consequence incompatible with all sin and defect.
  2. It belongs only to him to purify soiled consciences from sin: he is holy and sanctifier: he is just and justifying the sinner, as Saint Paul says.
  3. He is incompatible with sinners and rejects them in front of him by all his holiness and all his essence. The morning, says the Psalmist, in the time when thoughts are the neatest and when one can offer first fruits to God, Lord, I will present myself in front of you and I will see clearly, in your light, that you are a God and do not want iniquity.  The evil one does not live next to you: and the unjust do not last in front of your eyes.  You hate all those who commit sins: you will lose all those who speak lies: the bloody man and the deceiver are an abomination in front of the Lord.
  4. Sinners uselessly attack by their rebellion: and, his holiness dwells inviolable in the midst of the impious, the blasphemers, the impure ones of which all the universe is filled by the malice of men and demons.
  5. He dwells holy, although to punish sinners he delivers them to their bad desires, because to deliver them is not to produce them. God only removes himself from an ungrateful heart: this removal is holy, because God removes himself justly from those who leave him and punishes their voluntary straying, in striking them with blindness. He makes all in man, except the first sin where his action does not mix. The one who permits this is not soiled, because he alone, he can take away an infinite good and greater than the malice of all sins together, as when he took from the malice of the Jews a sacrifice so holy which expiates all crimes.
  6. He purifies the just by a thousand trials: he places them in the crucible and the fire: in the fire of this life: in the fire of the other and nothing soiled enters into his kingdom.
  7. His holiness is the conviction of all men: Unhappiness to me, wrote Isaiah, after having seen the majesty of the three-times holy: unhappiness to me with my impure lips: in the middle of a soiled people.  I saw with my eyes the King of armies: Go, he says, and say to these people: Hear and not understand. Blind the heart of this people: weigh down their ears: close their eyes. It is the effect of the holiness of God, when it is scorned.

I will be sanctified in their midst in punishing them: I will wash my hands in their blood and my just vengeance will break out my holiness.

Holy things are for the holy, it is written another time before communion. There is only one holy: only one Lord: only one Jesus Christ, the people respond. Oh Lord! Sanctify us, so that we sanctify and glorify your name. In truth, in truth I say to you: I do not know you: go away from me, all of you who work iniquity.

Approach, penitent sinners: purify yourselves in the source of purity. If your sins are red like scarlet, I will whiten them like snow. What a marvellous change! The Ethiopian will no longer have black skin: she breaks out in a heavenly whiteness: the holiness of God has done this work. Be thus holy, because I am holy, says the Lord. Be saints, ministers of God and his altars, dispensers of his word and his mysteries, because God has chosen you to sanctify his people. People of God, be holy, because God lives in your midst. Sanctify your souls where he wants to make his dwelling and your bodies which are the temples of the Holy Spirit.

God, His Unity and Perfection: The Love of God, Despised and Implacable

The next part of Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, 1,9:

Because you have not wanted to serve the Lord your God with pleasure and in the joy of your heart, in the abundance of all of his good things, you will be subjected to an implacable enemy which the Lord will send over you, in hunger and thirst, in nudity and famine, and he will place on your heads a yoke of iron which will overwhelm you. (Deuteronomy 28:47) And as the Lord took pleasure in doing well to you, of multiplying you, to enrich you to full hands, likewise he will take pleasure in losing you, in destroying you, in crushing you. (v. 63) Weigh these words: the measure of torments will be love scorned.  Why do you vainly cry (Jeremiah 30) and what use is it to you to push to the heavens your useless whining under the hand which breaks you? Your breakage is incurable: gangrene is in your wound and there is no cure: there is no longer for you either balm or splint. I have struck you with the blow of an enemy, of a cruel wound: not a father’s punishment to correct you, but a vengeful and pitiless punch to satisfy inexorable justice.  Your sins have become hard by the hardness of your heart, by your inveterate habits, by your inflexibility in evil. And I also, says the Lord, I will harden myself towards you: and I will forget that I am your father. You  will implore in vain my mercy pushed to the limit by your ingratitude: your insensibility will become mine.  I have done to you this cruel and insupportable treatment on account of the multitude of your crimes and your hard sins: on account of the inflexible hardness of your rebellious and self-willed heart.  It is time that judgement begins by the house of God (1 Peter 4:17) Lead to me Jerusalem: lead to me this soul piled up with such graces: I will lose it: I will erase it like one erases writing so as not to leave a trace: I will pass and pass again a sharp knife on his forehead and there will not remain anything sane or whole.

God, His Unity and Perfection: Goodness and Love of God Around Penitent Sinners

Again we have Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, 1,8:

It is said by a common proverb (Jeremiah 3) : If a husband leaves his wife and she, going away from him, marries another husband, will the first take her back? This woman, will she not be soiled and abominable? And you, sinning soul, you are freed from all your lovers.  It is not I who has left you, no, I am a faithful spouse and who myself has never divorced: it is you, unfaithful soul, who has abandoned me and given yourself not only to one lover, but to thousands and thousands of corrupters. Come soon to me, says the Lord, and I will receive you. Look on all sides, and such as your sight can stretch itself out, you will only see the scars of your infamies.  In what place have you not prostituted yourself, unclean soul, given up to all the desires of your heart? You were as exposed in public roads, and there was no creature who did not captivate your heart.  I repeated to you your revenges, your envies, your secret hatred, your ambition to which you sacrificed all, your impure and disordered loves? All the earth has been soiled with your prostitutions and your malices.  You have the forehead of an impudent, you have not blushed because of your excesses.  So come back, at least from now on: call me your father, your spouse and the conductor of my virginity.  Why do you always want to grow distant from me like an angry woman, why do you persist in your unjust anger? You have said that you have done bad things, you have puffed your self up, you have done this and you have little. I have abandoned you to your ways. Come back, unfaithful, and I will not turn my eyes away from you: because I am the Holy One, says the Lord, and my anger will not be forever. Only know your iniquity and that you have lied against the Lord. There is no leafy tree in the forest which is not a witness of your shame: there is no vain pleasure which has not misled you and you have not listened to me, says the Lord. Turn yourselves around, rebellious children: turn yourselves around and come back to the father’s house, prodigal children: you will be clothed in the first robe, a party will be celebrated in your honour: the whole house will be joyful and your father, touched with a particular tenderness, will excuse himself to the just ones which never left him by saying: You are always with me: but I must rejoice because your brother was dead and has come back alive: he was lost and has been found again. Rejoice with me, and with all of heaven, which makes a party at the conversion of sinners and conceives a greater joy for the return of one than for the perseverance of ninety-nine just  ones, which have no need for penitence.

Come back now, disobedient children (Ezekiel 18) come back, unfaithful spouses, because I am your spouse. (Jeremiah 3).  Is it my will that the impious perish and not that he will turn back and live? (Ezekiel 18) Come back, do penance and your sin will not turn you to ruin.  Put distance between you and your lies and disobediences, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.  And why do you want to die, children of Israel, while I, I who have offended you, want your life? No, I do not want the death of the sinner, says the Lord God: come back and live.

It is I, I myself, who wipes out your iniquities for the love of myself (Isaiah 43:25) and to satisfy my goodness: and I will not call to mind again your sins.  Only, remember me. Let us enter into judgement one with another: I want to lower myself to that point. Plead your cause: with what do you justify your ingratitudes, after which I have forgiven you so many times? Jacob remember, do not forget. (Isaiah 44) I have wiped away your iniquities like a cloud: I have dissipated your sins, like the sun dissipates fog.  Sinners, return to me, because I have bought you. O Heavens, sing his praises: earth, resound your praises from one end to the other: mountains, carry your songs to the clouds, because the Lord has shown mercy. As the heaven is raised up above the earth, so has he exalted and strengthened his mercies: as the sunrise is far from the sunset, so he has drawn away from us our iniquities. (Psalm 101) Like a father has pity for his children, so also God pities us, because he knew our weakness and what a mass we were burdened down with. We are only mud and dust; our days leave like grass and fall like a flower: and our soul, more fragile than our body, has no consistency.

God, His Unity and Perfection: The Goodness of God and His Love Around His Own

Another post from Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, I, 7:

It’s a father, it’s a mother, it’s a nurturer.  A mother, can she forget the child which she carried in her womb? And when she does forget it, I will never forget you, (Isaiah 49,15), says the Lord.  The Lord your God has carried you on his arms like a little child.  (Deuteronomy 1:31)  Like an eagle who carries its little ones, who stretches its wings on them, who flies on them and provokes them to fly: in this way God does not turn away his looks from above the nest and guards it like the pupil of his eye: he carries us to his breasts to give us milk: he puts us on his knee and not content with nourishing us, he joins with nourishing tenderness and caresses: like a mother caresses her child who draws her milk, thus I have consoled you, says the Lord (Isaiah 56). More than all that, he is a passionate lover, a tender spouse.  This is what the Lord says to Jerusalem, to the faithful soul: (Ezekiel 16) When you came into the world, you were in impurity from your father Adam, from whom you have inherited corruption and sin.  The umbilical cord has not been cut: you were not washed in water, neither salted with salt, neither wrapped in linens: no one had compassion on you, neither did they regard you with an eye of pity: exposed and thrown to the earth like an aborted one by an extreme contempt from the day of your birth, you were not except for your loss and no one cared for you.  This is what is by human nature itself, conceived in iniquity and sin.  Then, said the Lord, I saw you in passing, poor and abandoned, and all the while dirty in your own blood and all full of impurity from your birth, you had nothing which was not made of horror and you were delivered inevitably to death, I said to you: I wish that you would live.  See unhappy soul, it is I who says, see all the horror that you were in the impurity of your blood; in the filth of your sin.  It is such that God speaks to the soul which he washes by baptism.  But his cares are not limited here.  You have grown, says the Lord.  Your reason has formed little by little and you have become fit for jewellery which one gives to small girls, virtues for which it is necessary to prepare souls from their youth.  You began to be able to carry fruits: your breasts grew and formed: and you reached the age where you were given lovers.  But out of fear that you avoid taking someone unworthy of you, I presented myself to your desires.  I passed by and saw you at this age: and although you were nude and full of confusion, without self-control and in your first desires, I married you, I called you in my bed and into the embraces which purified the soul: I contracted with you an eternal marriage.  I swore by my truth that I would not abandon you and that you would be mine.  I washed you with holy water.  From the first days of your birth where I made it possible for you to live, you were already cleansed by the waters of baptism; but it was necessary to wash you after that of bad desires which the impure root of your lust did without stop; the impurity of blood which you were born with was again on you: I took you away by holy instructions and I placed on you the holiness of baptism.  And I anointed you with holy oil, by the abundance of my graces.  I gave you clothes of many colours: I decorated you with all virtues: and I hunted with care, the most beautiful furs.  And I enveloped you with clothes of fine linen, which are the righteousness of the saints; and I clothed you again with the finest garments: I took away by my grace your most earthy and carnal desires.  My love went beyond that and not only wanted you to be neat and proper, but rich and opulent, I gave you large ornaments, arm bracelets, a rich necklace around your breast, circles of gold, jewelled earrings and a crown on your head.  You glistened of silver and gold, and all was rich and magnificent in your clothing.  I nourished you in what was better and most exquisite: all the sweets were served at your table.  By these ornaments, by these cares, your beauty received such a burst that everyone was ravished.  I lifted you up to the throne.  All of the universe talked only of your beauty which I alone gave you, says the Lord God: who is the beautiful and good par excellence and the author of all beauty and all good in my creatures.

See, Christian soul, what lover, what spouse you have been given.  He found you ugly, he made you beautiful: he did not stop to embellish you more and more: he has showered on you all his gifts, all his riches: he placed you on his throne: he made you Queen: his Angels admired you as the spouse of the King of Kings, as received in his bed, united to his eternal happiness.  Heaped up with his glory and delights: what have you desired, Christian soul, to know all the good things and all the love of this generous spouse?

God, His Unity and Perfection: The All-Powerful Protection of God

Moving on, this from Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, 1,6:

(Isaiah 40, 41:14 and onward) Climb up to the top of a high mountain, you who evangelise, you who announce to Zion the good news of her salvation: raise up a powerful voice, you who announce to Jerusalem her happiness: raise your voice, do not fear.  Say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God who comes to your rescue: it is your God who comes with strength and with a dominant arm: he comes and with him his payback, and his work will not be lacking.  Like a shepherd feeds his flock, and who himself carries the lambs who cannot hold themselves up: the Lord carries in this way. Who is he who has measured the immensity of the waters by his hand and who has weighed the heavens with his wrist, and with his hand all the mass of the earth? Who is he who has placed the mountains and the hills in a balance and with little effort that all the earth is used as a counterweight, hanging in equilibrium in the middle of the air?  Who has helped the spirit of the Lord or who has served as his advisor and has shown him such great things which he must do? if it is necessary to offer sacrifices on account of his grandeur, neither Lebanon nor the earth will have enough wood for the burnt offerings: that is to say that the heart of man, although greater than all the universe and physical nature, does not have enough love, enough desire to sacrifice. The heart of man is lost when it wants to worship God. Do you know well the beginning of all things? Have you neither understood the foundations of the earth nor how God rests on his large tower and made it his seat or like his footstool?  Raise your eyes and look who has created all these luminaries: who have made them march in order of battle, and calls each one by their name without missing one, in his power.  Jacob, who defying you in this power, said in himself: my ways are hidden from the Lord, he doesn’t know where I am and my God does not pass judgement on me, to punish me or save me.  Do you not know that the Lord is eternal, that he has marked out and created the limits of the earth? Without weakness, without work, without laziness, he acts without stop and his wisdom is impenetrable. He exercises his strength to him who is given out, his courage and virtue to him who is no more.  The most robust youth will fall in weakness in spite of its vigour, but those who hope in the Lord will see their strength renewed day by day.  When they think they are at their end, and can do no more, all at once they will take flight like an eagle: they will run and not tire: they will walk and be unable to tire.  Thus walk, pious souls, walk: and when you believe you cannot do any more, redouble your ardour and your courage.  I will pull you, says the Lord, from the ends of the earth. I will take you by the hand and I will make you come back from the end of the world. I have said to you: you are my servant, I chose you and have not rejected you. Do you fear anything, because I am with you: do not let yourselves grow weak, as I am your God. I have strengthened you, I have rescued you and the right hand of my just one, of my Christ, has been your support.  All your enemies will be confused and will be as they are not: you will ask where they are will see them disappeared: your rebels to whom you delivered yourselves to continuous assaults will be like they never were: all their efforts will be in vain and like nothing: because I who am the Lord, I have taken you by the hand and I told you in the depths of your heart: do not fear, I have helped you. Jacob who was little and weak like a little worm, who could hardly drag himself: Israelites who are listless, beaten and ridiculed to the level of death, I have brought you back to life, I the Lord, by my all-powerful help and I am your redeemer, I the holy one of Israel.  You will put your enemies to flight, you will be on top of them like a new chariot, armed with blades of iron: you will destroy their armies and fortresses: they will be lifted up like the mountains, you will reduce them to powder. You will push in front of your enemies like a dust storm does dust and you will rejoice in the Lord, and your heart, carried away from comfort, will triumph in the holy one of Israel.

It is not necessary to say that these things are miracles, extraordinary effects of the power of God. God only shows these tangible effects of this open power to convince us of what he has always done in secret.    His arm is not less strong that he hides it, as when he declares: he is always and above all the all-powerful, the triumphant in Israel, as he calls himself, the invincible protector and always present to his friends.

Hear thus, Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen. This is what the Lord says: I who have formed you, who have created you and who have pulled you from nothing each moment, who is your help from your mother’s womb: from the beginning of your life, in your greatest weakness and among the most impenetrable darkness. My servant whom I love: upright man whom I have chosen, I will send you from heaven my consolations: I will pour out abundant waters on he who is thirsty, I will overturn torrents on this dried ground: I will pour out my spirit on you, I will make you fertile in good works and I will bless these productions.  Hear these words, desolate souls whom God seems to have left abandoned in his anger, but to whom his love is put to the test.  You will live, it is I who promises, I who am the true and holy one, the faithful and all-powerful: I do all I want. The Lord has sworn and he has said: if this which I have thought does not arrive, if this which I resolve is not accomplished, I am not God: but I am God: I am the God of armies, the God which makes all which pleases him in the heaven and the earth.  The Lord has pronounced and who can annul his judgement? The Lord has extended his hand and who can dodge the blows or deflect the impact?