Category Archives: Roman Catholicism

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

An Aggie Throwback: Answer Coffeehouse Rehearsal, Forty Years Out

Another milestone on the blog: the fortieth anniversary of the recording of the Answer Coffeehouse Rehearsal in College Station, Texas.  It’s primitive in many ways but for those of us who were involved in it it’s the only recording out there.  There aren’t many Christian coffee-house recordings from the day around in general; this is one of them.

The post gives the explanation of the recordings.  It still features what is, IMHO, the best musical rendition of Isaiah 40:31 out there.

As we start yet another season in the SEC, the fruit of that ministry and others remains the best part of being an Aggie.

When Your Metairie is Wiped Out: My First Post After Hurricane Katrina

This weekend is the tenth anniversary of the Gulf Coast landing of Hurricane Katrina, which wrought so much destruction in both Louisiana and Mississippi.  I had started the predecessor format of this blog earlier that year.  Given ancestral and business interests, a disaster of this size made an impact on me, especially after visiting the place the following year.

My focus at the time was on the eternal, and that’s never a bad thing.  But the aftermath of Katrina, and the relief effort that followed, highlighted two things.  The first was the total inability of our governmental agencies to act effectively in response to this disaster.  Most of the media blame was centred on George W. Bush.  But to err is human; for a real disaster, you need a bipartisan effort, and Louisiana in particular supplied the Democrats to round things out.  The only state or federal executive to have his or her reputation come out enhanced was Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

The second was the response of the church.  In many ways, Katrina was the church’s finest hour since 9/11.  The speed at which churches and parachurch organisations responded and organised relief of all kinds amazed even those of us who were familiar with its charitable arm.  Ministries such as Operation Blessing, Operation Compassion, Mercy Chefs, God’s Pit Crew, the Southern Baptist efforts and many others rose to the occasion and, within the limitations of their resources, filled in the many gaps left by government.

People who blithely call for the revocation of churches’ tax exempt status, saying the government can take care of such things, have conveniently forgotten the lessons of Katrina.  If they succeed, they will soon see the fulfilment of their prophet Karl Marx’ dictum that history repeats itself: the first time as a tragedy, the second as a farce.  How funny the next round of victims sees that is another story…

Hurricane Katrina has come and gone, and taken a good deal of the New Orleans area with it. There’s a lesson from this that dates back to the time New Orleans was founded. In Matthew we read the following parable:

Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables. “The Kingdom of Heaven,” he said, “may be compared to a king who gave a banquet in honor of his son’s wedding. He sent his servants to call those who had been invited to the banquet, but they were unwilling to come. A second time he sent some servants, with orders to say to those who had been invited ‘I have prepared my breakfast, my cattle and fat beasts are killed and everything is ready; come to the banquet.’ They, however, took no notice, but went off, one to his farm, another to his business; While the rest, seizing his servants, ill-treated them and killed them. The king, in anger, sent his troops, put those murderers to death, and set their city on fire. Then he said to his servants ‘The banquet is prepared, but those who were invited were not worthy. So go to the cross-roads, and invite everyone you find to the banquet.’ (Mt. 22:1-9)

In his classic Meditations on the Gospel, the French bishop Jaques Bénigne Bossuet translated the term “farm” (v. 5) with the term métairie. Residents of southern Louisiana are all too familiar with this term: today the city of Metairie, the suburb in Jefferson Parish immediately west of New Orleans, is underwater, victim of Hurricane Katrina and a broken levee. The immensity of the tragedy is beyond words.

The term métairie refers to a form of sharecropping that was practiced in New France, and the estates where it was practiced. When New Orleans was founded in 1718—just a few short years after Bossuet wrote his Meditations in old France—it was concentrated in what is now called the Vieux Carré, the French Quarter. The land surrounding it, in what is now Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes, became estates to farm the rich alluvial soil.

Bossuet’s use of the term métairie is interesting, because most translations give the impression that the man who refused the invitation was going out to till his own soil. Bossuet—preacher most of his career to kings and aristocrats—takes the idea to a new level, portraying a man who will leave the hard physical labour to others while he takes in the profits.

New Orleans has always led a precarious existence. Its physical location makes for an excellent port, but the low elevation of the place—which only got worse as it expanded from the Vieux Carré, except for the area up near Lake Ponchartrain—made water removal a constant trial. Inadequate levees have been a part of the city’s woes from its founding. Tropical diseases took their tool as well. Moreover New France didn’t provide the proper hinterland to feed the city and port economically; it wasn’t until the Spanish took the city after the Seven Years’ War that this took place, and things really got going when New Orleans entered the US in 1803.

This strange combination of alternating wealth and poverty—and the uncertainty that goes with it—is what developed New Orleans’ carefree attitude towards life. The “Big Easy” was born in adversity, and many of its residents have contented themselves with drowning their cares in rum old fashioneds since the days when Bossuet’s patrons, the Kings of France, ruled the place.

Today, as then, we have may people who have ignored the invitation of God for eternal life and have gone off to their métairie or whatever other concern that they have. Between trying to keep that going they have immersed themselves in whatever pleasure—and that includes intoxicating substances a lot more potent that rum old fashioneds—that might come their way. But neither business nor pleasure can be taken into eternity, and both can be taken away in a hurry, as the residents of Metairie are being reminded of the hard way.

This life has a great deal of uncertainty. That uncertainty looks a lot different when we can view it from the perspective of eternal life. That’s especially important at times when your métairie—and Metairie itself—are wiped out.

For more on this eternal life, click here.

The Ottoman Tales XI: They’d Rather Die Christian

This ends a series inspired (somewhat) by Noel Barber’s The Sultans.  The previous instalment is here.

If there’s one thing to be learned about studying the Ottomans, it’s that there are many strange stories to tell.  What makes up “strange” depends upon one’s frame of reference.  In his book on Palm Beach, Laurence Leamer characterised the town’s social system as madness, but for those of us who are a product of same, is there any other way to do it?  That’s a stretch, but this last tale from the Sultan’s palace is in a league of its own.

A few years before the French Revolution,  the Algerians, the pirates par excellence of the western Mediterranean, presented the Sultan with an unusual gift: a French noblewoman by the name of Aimée Dubcuq de Rivery, whom they had captured and made a slave.  She went from the convent in France to the harem in Constantinople.

That culture shock was just the beginning of a wild ride, as only the Ottomans could offer.

Her stock went up soon when she gave birth to her son Mahmud by Sultan Abdul Hamid I, who was fond of her.  The Sultan died in 1789, succeeded by his nephew Selim.  Selim and Aimée were also fond of each other, but the world they were about to be catapulted into was anything but placid.  Back home in France the Bastille was stormed in July, igniting the French Revolution.  Faced with his own problems at home with the Janissaries, Selim organised a new army (Napoleon Bonaparte volunteered as a military adviser, but was turned down, going on to bigger things while marrying Aimée’s cousin Joséphine) and Aimée promoted things French in old Constantinople.  But Napoleon invaded Ottoman Egypt, forcing Selim to turn to the British.

The Janissaries, true to form, overthrew Selim in 1807, putting Mahmud’s half-brother Mustafa on the throne.  Bairactar Pasha revolted, and the result was that Aimée’s son Mahmud ended up as Sultan.  The Janissaries extracted concessions out of Mahmud but mother and son were secure for the moment.

With his mother’s help, Mahmud turned out to be a reformer, bringing in Western (mostly French) institutions and people in trying to modernise the country.  In the meanwhile there were successes and failures.  Mahmud, with the help of a Turkish officer named “Black Hell” managed to massacre the Janissaries and end their meddling ways.  On the other hand the Russians continued to nibble away at Ottoman territory, and Greece won its independence.

But the time came for Aimée to leave this life.  She had lived at the power centre of Islam and exercised that power when she could as the consort, friend and mother of the Caliph, the leader of Islam (well, Sunni Islam at least).  But with life slipping away, in spite of all of the Islam surrounding her (or perhaps because of it) she demanded of her son that she be given Christian last rites and die in the grace of Jesus Christ.

The highest Muslim he was, but Mahmud acceded to his mother’s request. He summoned a Greek Orthodox priest, who came to the palace and, in Mahmud’s presence he heard her confession, gave her absolution, and died in the Christian faith she was baptised in.

Today, in many of the same territories that Mahmud ruled over, we see Christians confess Jesus Christ and be martyred for that confession.  The circumstances of their passing are far different than Aimée’s, and the new caliph is not in the same league as the Ottoman sultans.  But the idea is the same: when the time for eternity comes, the real Christian wants to enter into the presence of his or her Lord and Saviour.

And this will fulfil my earnest expectation and hope that I shall have no cause for shame, but that, with unfailing courage, now as hitherto, Christ will be honored in my body, whether by my life or by my death, For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. But what if the life here in the body–if this brings me fruit from my labors? Then which to choose I cannot tell! I am sorely perplexed either way! My own desire is to depart and be with Christ, for this would be far better. But, for your sakes, it may be more needful that I should still remain here in the body. (Philippians 1:20-24)

So what about you?  Where (and with whom) do you plan to step into eternity when the time comes?

If you don’t know, or want to do better, click here

Those Undiverse Episcopalians, and Others

They talk a good game, but as a recent Pew report notes, those purveyors of same-sex marriage bomb in the racial diversity department.   Even with the choice of Presiding Bishop Curry, the Episcopal Church is whiter than–horrors–the Southern Baptist Convention!

It’s hard to blame non-white people from avoiding the Episcopal Church; in fact, it’s hard to blame anyone from avoiding it these days.

Some other observations:

  1. Although “nothing in particular” religiously is better spread out, if you’re a declared atheist or agnostic, chances are you’re white.  And that’s TEC’s (and other liberal churches) prime demographic.  It’s an uphill battle.
  2. Pentecostal churches and the Roman Catholic Church hover around the racial distribution of the population at large.  That’s one reason (I think it’s the big reason) why Pentecostal churches continue to grow and the RCC can offset their weak pastoral system and perennial “back door problem”.  My experience in the Church of God is that this church in particular doesn’t take full advantage of its racial diversity, particularly in its leadership structure, which is why the Assemblies of God are growing faster.
  3. It’s interesting that the Seventh-Day Adventist church and its errant progeny, the Watchtower, lead the pack in racial diversity.  On the other end are the Mormons, who (justifiably) struggle with this issue.
  4. It’s probably a little unfair to compare religions such as Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism because their main adherents are immigrants from non-white parts of the world.
  5. The Anglicans are actually ahead of the Episcopalians they left in the racial diversity department, but there’s a lot of work to be done.

I’m not one of those people who think that racial diversity is important for “politically correct” reasons but because a) like it or not, our population is increasingly non-white and b) non-white people are less likely to secularise (and militantly so) than their white counterparts.  It’s a simple matter of church growth.

I’ve dealt with issue re TEC before.

The Pope, Technology and Slavery

The Holy Father has once again ambushed American Catholics with Laudato Si, his encyclical on the environment and global warming.  As was the case with his earlier document on social teaching, we should not be too surprised; there is a great deal of precedent for this kind of thinking.  As R.R. Reno points out:

In this encyclical, Francis expresses strikingly anti-scientific, anti-technological, and anti-progressive sentiments. In fact, this is perhaps the most anti-modern encyclical since the Syllabus of Errors, Pius IX’s haughty 1864 dismissal of the conceits of the modern era.

Buried in the Catholic psyche is a longing for a Ptolemaic, village-centred world where the church, at the heart of things both physically and spiritually, rings out the daily cycle of Mass and prayer and orders the life of the people.  This was before Copernicus and Galileo had the bad taste to point out that the earth wasn’t the centre of the universe, which didn’t sit well with the Aristotelian intelligentsia that dominated Catholicism.  The fact that post-modern progressives find a congenial ally with such a mentality speaks volumes of their own scientific level.

(For my Anglican readers: this is a little different from Rowan Williams’ rolling over and playing dead on the subject; that was so bad even a gay atheist called him out on it, as you can read here.)

In any case, Reno is right: an anti-technological bias pervades the entire document.  But is technology (and I’ll leave the scientific part for elsewhere) really that divorced from moral life?  The kerfuffle over the Confederate flag in view of the recent shootings in Charleston provides an interesting answer to this question.

There’s a lot of argument about the motivation for the Civil War: slavery, tariffs, states rights, etc.  But there’s no argument that, when the country split apart, the disparity in economic and human strength was enormous.  The South had adopted an economy that was in part a plantation system worked by slaves and a small landowner (whether they really farmed the land was a mixed bag) collection for the rest.   It was a pretty traditional set-up: slavery had been a part of human civilisation for a long time, and the small landowner had been an ideal since Biblical times.

In the North we certainly had the small landowners, but we also had a robust industrial and technological base, the rail system to go with it, and sizeable cities.  Immigration (at that point mostly German and Irish) overwhelmingly went to the North because that’s where a livelihood was to be made; Texas was a notable exception for the Germans.  (And that immigration, BTW, is where American Catholicism got it real shot in the arm, one put on steroids by Italian and Eastern European immigration after the war, also favouring the North).

Had the South seceded in the 1820’s or 1830’s, things might have been different.  But by the time South Carolina stormed out of the Union 20 December 1860, the advance of technology was such that a serious manufacturing base was becoming a major advantage in fighting what was in many ways the first modern war.

The South certainly started out with, man for man, better military leadership and better soldiers.  And the North struggled in its early years with an overly politicised system of promotion.  But once the North got its act together, generals such as Grant and Sherman brutally used the numerical, industrial and technological advantages to basically grind the South to powder.  Under these conditions the South basically came to a “gunfight without a gun”, as one SCV relative put it.  (I had ancestors on both sides of this drama; some were on the receiving end and some were on the industrial end).

Americans in particular are a) always trying to make everything into a moral cause and b) always trying to gin up everyone’s motivation, which is why motivational speakers stay busy.  But once you have motivation you must have means, and North certainly had that to win the war.  Without the North’s technological and industrial advantage the War Between the States would have ended with the states still divided and the black slaves working the plantations.

If that’s the kind of result the Holy Father wants, he’ll get it.

The Eucharist, Spiritual and Corporeal

From Bossuet’s History of the Variations of the Protestant Churches, III, 12, this gem:

For although the Eucharist, as well as the other mysteries of our salvation, had a spiritual effect for its end, it had, like the other mysteries, that which was accomplished in the body for its foundation. Jesus Christ was to be born, to die, to be spiritually risen again in the faithful ; yet he was also to be born, to die, and to rise again really, and according to the flesh. In the same manner, we were to partake spiritually of his sacrifice; yet we were also corporally to receive the flesh of his victim, and to eat of it indeed.  We were to be united spiritually to the heavenly spouse ; yet his body which he gave to us in the Eucharist, in order to a mutual possession of ours, was to be the pledge and seal, as well as the foundation of this spiritual union; and this divine marriage, as well as the ordinary ones, though in a far different way, was to unite minds by uniting bodies. To speak therefore of the spiritual union was, in reality, to explain the last end of this mystery ; but to that intent, the corporal union, on which the other was grounded, ought not to have been forgotten.

An Important Way Church Needs to Be a Safe Space

Anyone who works in a university environment these days–especially in a public university whose state support continually evaporates–has heard about the concept of “safe space”.  It’s an idea promoted by LGBT advocates where parts of the campus are designated as safe for such people to be without fear of opposition.  The problem with that is twofold.  One is that what’s a safe space for one group of people is a dangerous one for another.  The other is that campuses, with the current corporatist ethic run amok, are becoming safe spaces from independent thought of any kind.

The idea of a “safe space” per se isn’t a bad one.  Back around the turn of the millennium, while attending a meeting of the National Coalition of Men’s Ministries, I remember a speaker saying that church should be a safe place for hurting people (and that covers just about all of us) to live and move and have their being.  People being what they are, which is fallen, that’s not always easy, but the more we make it our aim the closer we can expect to reach our goal.

But it’s reasonable to ask: safe from what?  There are many dangers that we meet in this life, but with the forward march of the LGBT community there’s one thing in particular that churches need to learn in a hurry if they expect to survive intact.

In an earlier post I noted the following:

The one letter that never gets into this collection is “A” for abstinent.  The whole concept that someone would voluntarily abstain from sex for any reason is anathema to just about everybody in this deal: gay, straight, in between, you name it.  It’s particularly odious to those who, as noted earlier, define their lives by their sexual preference (and the activity that goes with it).  It’s the main driver why a) the LGBT community hates real Christianity the way it does and b) that hatred resonates with the heterosexual community.

Churches have dealt with the blow back from the sexual revolution for a long time.  They’re trying as always these days to figure out a way to “take a stand”.  It’s hard to take a stand when you don’t understand the ground you’re defending, and a little historical perspective is in order here.

Those of you who studied Greek and Roman mythology will recall that the gods and goddesses, like their human counterparts, were male and female.  They cavorted with and married each other, and when that wasn’t enough they went down and did the same with people.  That mythology was the religion of classical antiquity, which included the paganism against which prophets such as Elijah stood against.

Into this world came Yahweh, who had no consort and no equal and, strictly speaking, no gender either.  He set forth a way for Israel that dispensed with the fertility rites of the neighbours.  That didn’t sit well with neighbours like Jezebel and it didn’t go down well with Israelites like Manasseh either, but captivity and exile drove the message home.  When the time came for God’s son (also eternally generated without sex) to come into the world,  he did so by asexually conceiving him in a virgin.

By the fulness of time when Our Lord came into the world, the centuries of the wide-open sexuality that dominated the classical world was starting to wear a little thin.  Christianity triumphed in a world which had grown weary of its obsession with sex, and the genderless God brought the civilisation past a purely sexual/fertility cycle.

As in ancient Israel, that didn’t sit well with many.  The growth of secularism has been a resurgence in paganism with all the sex-obsessed business that goes with it.  It’s little wonder that one doctrine that is attacked mercilessly is the Virgin Birth: the idea that the world could be saved without sex engenders hostility in Christianity’s opponents as little else does.

But it’s not easy to deconstruct a civilisation, even when the wind is at your back.  It takes determination and people who don’t mind breaking eggs to make omelets.  That has come with the LGBT community, who are as opposed to abstinence heterosexually as they are to their own.  Acceptance of their idea ultimately is a reversion to paganism and the end of meaningful Christianity.  It’s also the end of the civilisation; a civilisation whose highest pursuit is the next hook-up isn’t going to get very far in any other way.

Christianity in the West has tried to manage the changes the best it can.  Evangelicals in particular, who claim (with some justification) a higher level of commitment, have tried to accommodate these things with stuff like “beauty pageant Christianity“.  It’s also shocking in many ways how Evangelicalism has tried to become a “waist down religion” like Mormonism.  But the game is up.

A driving force behind the transgender movement is the search for identity.  For all of the bawling about the fixed nature of human sexuality, as one Christian counsellor pointed out to me human beings are sexual: how they express that changes from person to person and even in time.  If we make the “discovery” (and that’s a duplicitous way to put it) of sexual identity the centrepiece of life, then ultimately we will have to force people to engage in a variety of sexual activities to make the discovery process experiential.  Sex is too powerful a force in human life, and the process too easily manipulated, for this process to result in anything else but a general disaster, where people’s little remaining autonomy is destroyed and adverse unintended consequences become the norm.

What churches need to be a safe space from is the idea that there is no meaningful life apart from sex. Part of that, of course, is to rid the church of child predators.  The campaign to do so in Roman Catholicism, comforting as it is and should be to the victims, has been pushed by people who, in the long run, have the opposite result on the agenda.  But another part is to present abstinence not as a void but as God’s way to getting people through a hormonally tumultuous period, and also by setting instant gratification aside to pursue life-long and eternal goals that get them beyond the next hook-up and bring enduring happiness.

That’s not going to be easy.  Evangelicals in particular like to try to edge up to the culture to “win” it.  But our culture is destructive except for those at the top (and it is for them in another way).  We need to make that clear.

It will be a costly road to take.  As noted earlier, there will be those who won’t take it.  But in the end it will be worth it.

On the Creation of the Universe: The Assistance of Divine Wisdom in the Creation of the Universe

Putting a wrap on Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, III, 8:

Now there is only this beautiful place in Proverbs, where the uncreated wisdom speaks thus: The Lord has possessed me, generated me, from the beginning of his ways.  I am myself this beginning, being the worker idea of this great artisan and the original model of all his architecture.  He has generated me from the beginning and before he made anything.  Before these works I was, and I was consequently from all eternity, as there was only eternity before all the ages.  From all eternity I was ordered, according to the Vulgate: I was the commandment and the same order from God which ordered all.  I was founded, said the Septuagint: I was the support and the upholding of all beings, and the word by which God carries the world.  I was the primacy, the principality, the sovereignty over all things, according to the original Hebrew.  I was from the beginning and before the world was made.  The depths were not yet and I, I already had conceived them; already formed in the womb of God and always perfect.  Before the mountains were formed with their heavy mass; before the hills and ridges I was born.  He had made neither the earth nor the habitable and inhabitable places, according to the Septuagint; neither that which holds the earth in its state and that which keeps it from dissipating into powder, according to the Hebrew; according to the Vulgate, the hinges and the supports of this heavy and dry elementI was with him, not only when he formed, but also when he prepared the heavens: when he held the waters in state and formed them in a circle, with his compass, when he raised the heavens; when he steadied the source of waters to flow forever and water the earth; when he made the law to the sea and fixed it in its borders; when he steadied the earth on its foundations and held it balanced by a counterweight: I was in him and with him composing, nourishing, ruling and governing all things: rejoice in me all the days, and saying each day with God that all is good, in rejoicing with me always, rejoice with me in the universe by the facility, the variety, and the agreement of works which I have produced: magnificent in great things, industrious in the little ones, and then rich in the little and inventive in the great ones.  And my delight is to converse with the sons of men: forming man, in a way more familiar and tender as he made him appear; because man merits well this particular meditation which we will do in the following days.

So, let us admire the work of the wisdom of God assisted and cooperating with his power.  Let us praise with the Sage and summarise all his praises in saying with him: The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth, hath established the heavens by prudence.  By his wisdom the depths have broken out, and the clouds grow thick with dew. (Proverbs III:19-20)

Let us conclude: God has decorated and ordered the world by his word; it is in the decorating and in the order that the operation of his word and wisdom begins to appear, when he placed distinction and beauty in the universe.  It was only God who made the foundation as the order and decoration by his wisdom.  Because as have seen, if his wisdom alone could order and form the world, she alone could also make it capable of order and form.  We principally attribute to the word and wisdom, the order and decoration of the universe, because it is where his operation appears most distinctly and properly.  But for the rest, it is necessary to say with Saint John: In the beginning was the Word; by him all was made; and nothing was made without him.  By him heaven and earth were made with all their decoration.  All the work of God is filled with wisdom; and we ought to learn to put wisdom to good use.

The first good use of wisdom which we ought to do, it is to praise God by his works.  Thus here let us sing in deed the song of the three children, and inviting all the works of God to bless them, let us finish in ourselves and invite ourselves in saying: O children of men, bless the Lord! May Israel bless the Lord: bless him, you who are his ministers and his sacrificers; bless him, servants of the Lord: souls of the just, bless him: bless him, O you all who are holy and humble of heart: praise him and exalt him for ever and ever.

On the Creation of the Universe: The Order of the Works of God

Lining up another one of the Elevations on the Mysteries by Bossuet, III, 7:

God made the basis of his work.  God decorated it, God put the finishing touch, God rested.

When he made the basis of his work, that is to say in confusion the heavens and the earth, the air and the waters, it was not said that he had spoken.  When he began to decorate the world, it is thus that he made his word appear: God said: Let there be light, and the light was.  And so on for the rest.

 The word of God, it is his wisdom; and wisdom begins to appear with order, distinction and beauty; the creation of the basis pertains more to power.

And this wisdom, from where does it begin, if not by the light, which of all bodily natures was not the first to carry his impression? Wisdom is the light of spirits, ignorance is compared to darkness.  Without light, all is deformed, all is confused: it is she who embellished the beginning and differentiates objects by her outbreak which she diffuses and which, to say so, she paints and gilds.  May the light appear, the most beautiful of material creatures, who embellishes all the others; and note that your author is all light in himself: And art clothed with light as with a garment: amictus lumine sicut vestimento: that the light which he is clothed with is inaccessible in herself: but that she scatters forth, that it pleases him, on the intelligent natures, and dims to accommodate weak eyes.  That he is beautiful and beautifying; that he is breaking out and bubbling up, luminous, and by her light obscure and impenetrable, known and unknown at the same time! Appear, now one time, beautiful light, and make us see that light and intelligence foresees and directs all the works of God.  Eternal light, I adore you: I open to your rays my blind eyes; I open and lower at the same time, not daring to draw away from my view of you, from fear of falling into error and darkness; neither also to stop too much on this infinite outbreak, from fear that to dare look at your majesty, I might not be dazzled by your glory.

It is to the favour of your light that I see the light to be born in the world; and that following your works, I see you grow perfection little by little; until that which you put a happy end worthy of you, in creating man, the spectator and admirer of all your works, and the only one who can profit from such marvels.  After this, only rest remains to you, to show that your work is perfect and that there is nothing else to add?

Blessed be you, o Lord, in the first day of the universe, where creation appeared in light, and all together the symbol of the day which you wanted to sanctify in the New Testament which is Sunday: where the corporal light shined all together in this word: that the light was made, and the spiritual light in the resurrection of the Saviour and in the descent of the Holy Spirit, who began to give birth in the world to the light of apostolic preaching.

May this be our first day; that this day fill us up with joy; may it be for us a day of rejoicing and sanctification, where we say with David: This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.  This is the day of the Trinity to be adored: the Father appeared by the creation of the light; the Son by his resurrection: and the Holy Spirit by his descent.  O holy day, o happy day! May you always be the true Sunday, the true day of the Lord, by our faithful observance, as you are by the holiness of your institution.

Here is our first say.  But let us not forget the sixth where man was created.  Will we not rejoice in this day of our creation? It soon became unhappy and maybe the day of our fall, at least it is certain that the day of our fall followed it shortly.  But let us admire the mystery; the day where the first man, the first Adam was created, is the same where the new man, the new Adam died on the Cross.  It is thus for the Church a day of fasting and mourning in all the following generations; a day which is followed by the sad repose of Jesus Christ in the tomb, and which is nevertheless full of consolation for the hope of future resurrection.

O man! See in the sixth day your loss happily restored by the death of your Saviour.  Renew in this day the memory of your creation and the admirable figure of the formation of the Church, by that of Eve our mother and the mother of all living.

O Lord! Give me the grace in celebrating the memory of the six days of your work, to arrive to your rest in a perfect acquiescence to your will; and by this rest to return to my origin, in rising with you, and in clothing me in your light and your glory.

On the Creation of the Universe: Acts of Faith and Love on All Things

Acting again to post Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, III, 6:

You are all powerful, of God of glory!  I adore your immense and voluntary generosity.  I pass all the centuries, and all the evolutions and revolutions of nature; I see you as you would be before all beginning and all eternity; that is to say that I see you as you would be; the creature has changed, but you, Lord, are always what you are.  So I leave behind all creature and I see you being alone, before all the ages.  O the beautiful and rich gift which you made in creating the world! The earth was poor under the waters and was void in her dryness, before you made the plants germinate, with all their different fruits and faculties; before the birth of the forest, before you made like a painting grass and flowers, and before you covered the earth with animals! That the earth was poor in the vastness of its womb, before she made the retreat with so many fish! And what was less living and more void than the air, before you filled it with flying things? But how much was the sky itself poor, before you sowed it with stars, and before you lit the sun to preside during the day, and the moon to preside in the night? All the mass of the universe was unformed and the chaos was frightful and poor, when light was missing! Before all that, that the nothingness was poor, as it was a pure nothing! But you, Lord, who would be and who carries everything in your all powerfulness, you only have to open your hand and you have filled with blessing the heavens and the earth.

O God, that my soul is poor! It’s a true nothing from which you pull little by little the good which you want to spread: it is only a chaos before you began to sort out all thoughts.  When you began by faith to begin the light, it was imperfect, until you formed it with charity; and that you are the true sun of justice, as intense as bright, you embraced me with your love! O God! Be always praised for your own works.  It is not enough to enlighten me one time; without your help I fall in my first darkness, because the sun is always necessary to the air it brightens so that it can stay bright.  How much more do I need that you do not stop enlightening me and that you always say: That the light be made?