The Country Where Merit is Run Down

It’s that time of the year again when we hear what used to be non-controversial but is now explosive: graduation speeches.  As I have said before, I don’t expect to get invited to give one of these, not unless the institution has more guts–and I more fame–than is presently evident.  So I stick to writing them out on this blog as an alternative to the fare now out there.

Graduation is (or is supposed to be) about achievement.  So let’s think: what would you say if I told you that there was a country out there which altered their system of upward ascent (career, not the aviation system) to ensure the perpetuation of the existing ruling group? The first country many Americans think of is the UK, although statistics show that they’re not doing any worse (and in some ways better) than we are in terms of upward mobility.  And, of course, we could think of many Third World places as well.

But what if I told you that I’m thinking about the United States?  Impossible now, you say?  But let’s look at this problem in a different way.

I spend a lot of time discussing Ivy League schools on this blog.  Too much, you say?  How about you quit voting for them and no other for POTUS?  (BTW, the only Republican seriously running that came from the Ivy League is none other than Ted Cruz). How about putting graduates of other institutions on SCOTUS? Since we both agree that they’re important, how do you get into one?  Well, it takes good academics, and having illustrious ancestors who went there helps too.  But in the application process you have to show, via an essay and other means, that you are a “well-rounded” person who isn’t just good at taking tests and aceing courses.

Today we’re obsessed with “socialisation” in American culture.  But this part of Ivy League (and other élite schools) admissions goes back far longer than the living memory of Boomers, many of whom miss the brain cells they killed with illicit mind-altering substances.  In fact, I think it fair to say that the de-emphasis of academic performance at all levels has been pushed along by its de-emphasis at the highest level.

So how did we get to this state of affairs?  The road was described a little which back by my fellow University of Tennessee academic, Glenn Harlan Reynolds:

Decades ago, the Ivy League colleges thought they had a problem: too many Jews…Problem was, the Ivy League didn’t really want them…The result was a change in admissions criteria to reward “leadership,” and “well-rounded” candidates — a thin disguise for “WASPs” — and, following closely on, actual quotas for Jewish students, so that no matter how many applied, their numbers on campus would stay just about the same. After several decades, this came to be seen as racist and unfair, and the quotas were dropped.

The quotas for Jews have come and gone, but the search for “well-rounded” applicants goes on.  One of the reasons why, when dinosaurs ruled the earth, I never applied for an Ivy League school is because I didn’t want to subject myself to the judgement of people on my life outside of the classroom.

Well, for all the blather about “tolerance” and “diversity” we haven’t gotten as far as we think.  We now have another group of overachievers–Asians–and they too are getting the shaft on both coasts:

College admission season ignites deep anxieties for Asian American families, who spend more than any other demographic on education. At élite universities across the U.S., Asian Americans form a larger share of the student body than they do of the population as a whole. And increasingly they have turned against affirmative action policies that could alter those ratios, and accuse admissions committees of discriminating against Asian American applicants.

Americans are inculcated with two narratives of what this country is about.  Which one has more weight depends largely on what side of the political spectrum you’re on, but they are as follows:

  1. The “Ellis Island” concept that people came over here to find a better life, “better” being cast these days in economic terms.
  2. The “meritocracy” concept, that those who have risen through our best schools and live in our best neighbourhoods have gotten there because of pure merit and that everyone else should bow down before them.

The first is simply not universally true.  Many people came here to live the way they wanted, whether that way was good, bad or indifferent.  The Scots-Irish come to mind, but there are others.  Consider the Jews: many came because they had their canful of pogroms.  (The way things are going, they may have to think about that again…)

The second…well, you figure it out: if a “meritocracy” got there because they passed through an élite school, and the élite school has been playing games with their admissions process as described earlier, what kind of meritocracy is that?  And, all the Hofstader-inspired blather about anti-intellectualism in American life, is it any wonder that our primary and secondary system is as weak as it is given the example at the top?

We can talk about “changing the system” all we want, but it’s not as easy as it looks.  So what are those of us who are receiving our sheepskins (pity the sheep) supposed to do?  We need to recognise that the road upwards isn’t a straight line of big talk and pursuing our dreams.  It’s a crooked path, marked by unexpected obstacles and undeserved setbacks.  So don’t go to pieces and keep plugging.

The one thing that made this country a truly Judeo-Christian place more than anything else is that, since we serve the God of a second chance, we have the country of a second chance.  The less Judeo-Christian this country is, the less it will be the place of a second chance.  Our country will change; our God will not.  He still has the second chance that really makes the difference.

On the Creation of the Universe: God is Not Greater, Nor Happier, For Having Created the Universe

We’re back to Bossuet, starting another series of Elevations on the Mysteries, III, 1:

Collecting my thoughts in myself, only seeing in me sin, imperfection and nothingness, I see in the same time, above me, a happy and perfect nature: and I say to him in myself with the Psalmist: You are my God, you have no need of my goods (Psalm 15), you have no need of any goods.  What use to me are the multitude of your victims? All is mine, but I have no need of all which is mine: it is enough for me to be and I find in myself all things.  I have no need of your praises: the praises which you give me make you happy, but if you don’t give them to me I have no need: my work praise me.  But then do I not need the praise which my works give me: all praise me imperfectly, and no praise is worthy of me, except for that which I give myself in joy of myself and my perfection.

I am he who is.  It is enough that I am: all the rest is useless.  Yes, Lord, all the rest is useless to you and cannot take any part in your grandeur: you are not greater with all the world, with a thousand millions of worlds than you are alone.  When you made the world, it is by goodness, and not by need.  It is suitable for you to be able to create all that you please; because it is the perfection of your being and the efficacy of your will, not only that you are, but also that all that you wish, be: that he might be, as soon as you want it, as much as you want it, when you want it.  And when you want it, you do not start wanting it: from all eternity you want what you want, and never change: nothing begins in you and all begins outside of you by your eternal command.  Is there something missing because you have not made something you could have made? All this universe which you have made is but a small part of that which you could have made, and after all nothing is before you.  If you have made nothing, being would have missed the things you would not have made; but nothing is missing to you, because independently of all things, you are he who is, and that is all that is necessary for you to be happy and perfect.

O Father eternally and independently of all other things, your son and your Holy Spirit are with you: you have no need for fellowship, and see, one in yourself eternal and inseparable from you.  Content with this infinite and eternal communication of your perfect and happy being, to these two persons which are your equals, which are not your workmanship, but your co-operators, or better said with you the same creator of all your works; who are with you, not by your commandment or by an effect of your all-powerfulness, but by the unique perfection and fullness of your being: all other communication is incapable of adding anything to your grandeur, to you perfection, to your happiness.

 

Daniel-Rops on the One God

From his Sacred History:

 Moses is, in the Hebrew religious history, the man who revealed the name of God.  In the encounter of the burning bush, he had exclaimed, “Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” (Exod. III:13).  And, bold as the question was, God did not conceal the answer.  The importance of the event is not easily understood by the modern mind, but in antiquity men attributed a mysterious power to the name, an irresistible potency.  We retain certain traces of this belief; we feel very strongly that a name describes a character; we speak of a Don Juan, or a Tartuffe; Balzac chose with great care the sounds that should designate his characters; and in the “Our Father” we still praise the name of God which, as the Commandment says, is not to be taken in vain.

In Mesopotamia and in Egypt the knowledge of a name was regarded as sacred.  The ancient Greek philosophers even admitted that there is a connection between things and their names.  To name is to call into existence.  To know the name of a god is to have the power to invoke him.  In the Egyptian legend of Isis we see the god Ra, stung by a serpent, begging the goddess-magician to cure him; and she first of all demands that he should give his name, the secret of his supreme power.  Something that our society, desiccated by rationalism, refuses to understand is regarded in the ancient traditions as one of the spiritual foundations of humanity…

And God said unto Moses, I am that I am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I am…The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.  (Exodus III:14-15)  In speaking of himself, God says, I am.  When man speaks of Him, he must say, “He is.”  The latter is to be the name of God as we find it throughout the Bible….

What is the meaning of that enigmatic formula, I am that I am? Countless pages have been written on the subject of those simple words.  The study of grammar permits of two interpretations.  Jahweh could signify “it is”–which expresses the metaphysical idea of the uncreated being, which exists in itself which requires no thing and no person in order to be: the God of eternity.  Or it can mean, “it makes to be,” “it realises,” that which creates, sustains, keeps promises, God the creator.  The two interpretations are in fact linked and the tradition of Israel does not separate them.

At all events, the Bible clearly indicates that the knowledge of the divine name marks an advance.  “I am Jahweh,” God further said to Moses. “I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of El-Shaddai, but by my name of Jahweh was I not known to them.” (Exodus VI:3)  El-Shaddai was the God of power, the mysterious and incalculable power by which everything on earth is regulated.   It is the Most High, the Almighty.  Jahweh is something more, the same God, the God of the Patriarchs, but defined..

It would be out of place to carry metaphysical analysis too far.  Moses’ contemporaries probably had only a vague intuition of the immense varieties that were implied.  But what is clearly important is the development that in the course of generations grew from it and which is implicit in the sacred tetragram.  God is unique in His very nature, and not by the exclusive choice of a man or a nation, which differentiates him absolutely from Hammurabi’s Marduk, or the Egyptian Aton.  He is necessarily the God of the Universe, of the whole of humanity, even if He is know and served by a specific nation.  And the virtues which in Him are worshipped–bounty, justice, and benevolence–are the natural attributes of His unique being, since every injustice, every violence, is opposed to harmony and unity…

Here again, we are struck by the human character of this theology.  Its point of departure is an even in history.  Israel, unlike so many nations, does not claim any legendary descent from God; the revelation took place at a moment of time and was transmitted through a man.  Hebraic humanism which is, together with that of Athens and Rome, one of the three foundations of our civilisation, depends entirely upon this simple affirmation.

Sometimes It Pays to Give Your Professor a Little Attention

I’ve been forced to broaden my horizons in my PhD pursuit.  That’s because, although I’ve done coding since I was eighteen, I’ve had to acquire a deeper understanding for two things: linear algebra and numerical methods.  It’s no understatement to say that both of these are at the core of the advances wrought by computerisation, whether we’re talking about statistical analysis or (in my case) simulation.

After my initial boffo performance, I turned to my Iranian friends for more help.  So they let me use some of the books they found useful for study back in the “old country”.  One of those was a sizeable book entitled Applied Numerical Methods by Brice Carnahan, H.A. Luther and James O. Wilkes.  As was the case with their wedding video, the heart skipped a beat, because the middle author, Hubert A. Luther, was my Differential Equations teacher at Texas A&M, forty years ago this spring.

Applied Numerical Methods was, AFAIK, the first really comprehensive textbook which combined linear algebra, numerical methods, and coding (in their case, FORTRAN IV) in one text.  Although some of the methodologies have been improved since it was published in 1969, and languages have certainly changed, it’s still a very useful book, although a little dense in spots.  Many of the books on the subject that have come afterwards have learned from its mistakes, but still refer back to the original.

Dr. Luther taught me the last required math class in my pursuit of an engineering degree at Texas A&M.  It wasn’t an easy class, even after three semesters of calculus (which I did reasonably well at).  Although he was originally from Pennsylvania, he acclimated himself to the Lone Star State with western shirt, belt and string tie, the only professor I can remember who did so. The start to his course was especially rough; the textbook was terrible, he was a picky grader, the scores I got back were low.  I thought I was facing the abyss…until another one of those “aha” moments came along.

We (the engineering students) were standing outside our Modern Physics class, which came before Differential Equations.  I found out I wasn’t the only one having this problem.  But one of my colleagues, a Nuclear Engineering student who went on to become my class’ wealthiest member, had a simple suggestion.  Go visit his office, he said.  He’s lonely (he was nearing retirement) and likes the company.  Your grade will go up.

I wasn’t much for visiting my professors, but I was desperate enough to try anything.  I made a couple of office visits.  I’m not sure how helpful his advice was, but his grading became more lenient and I got through the course OK.

Today I’m on the other end of the visitation.  I spend a lot of time in the office with no student visits.  Part of the problem comes from scheduling, both theirs and mine.  But I’ve found out something else about student visits: the students that come to see you really care about what they’re supposed to be doing in your class.  Although there are still students who think it their duty to “tough it out” without asking questions, many others just want to get through in the quickest and least time-consuming way they can find.

I’m glad I took my classmate’s advice and made the office visits.  But there are two other lessons I have learned since that time.

The first is that I wish I had taken a numerical methods course taught by Dr. Luther, it would have prepared me for what I’ve been doing both before and during the time of my PhD pursuit.

The second is that, when I started my MS degree twenty years later, I took a course over basically the same material taught by a Russian.  I found out that there was a great deal I hadn’t learned from Dr. Luther, and that American math education leaves a lot to be desired of.  So sometimes making the way easier up front comes back to get you in the end.

The Assault on Christians Wasn’t Supposed to Happen This Fast

Back in 2006, before the accession of the current Occupant, I began to write a little novel entitled The Ten Weeks.  It describes, among other things, the result of a democratically elected left-wing government and how it, using the sexual revolution as one of its weapons (and mob action as another), took progressive power in the society.

If we look at history outside the U.S., the progression of left-wing regimes pretty much follows a pattern, one which varies depending upon how, when and where that regime got into the driver’s seat.  But the idea that this was coming has been in the background of this blog since its inception.

However, to tell the truth, even I am surprised at how fast things have come “over centre”.  This is supposed to be a “rights” crusade.  But in a society deeply in debt, with growing economic inequality and a weak moral compass, “rights” are a dicey concept.  That’s especially true when we consider how one-sided these rights are administered, the result of an outcome-based judiciary and administrative system.  It decides what it wants to happen and “interprets” the law to make that decision a reality.  Under those conditions the judicial redress option is too iffy to really count on any more.

So that leaves us Christians with Lenin’s (and Russia’s really) favourite question: what is to be done?  I’ve got a few suggestions that hopefully will take root, especially with our leadership, whose “deer in headlights” stance is all too clear.

The first is to remember what we’re supposed to be doing here.  Our core goal is eternal life; that needs to stay our mission, for ourselves and for those to whom we reach out.  We’ve gotten off track with our attempts to show that who we are and what we do has “social value”.  At this point our opponents don’t care if what we do has social value: if it doesn’t empower them and fit into their ideological lens, they will hate it no matter what it is.

That refocusing of our mission also applies to the other time and energy wasting thing that Evangelicals in particular are bad about: upward social mobility.  There are certainly benefits for drying out, getting off of drugs and being responsible.  But when your opponents only recognise the right to party as the core goal of life, any attempt to instil austerity will be met with opposition.  And trying to move up will likewise engender opposition from an established “clerisy”.  I found the following statement interesting in Rod Dreher’s secret interview with elite-school law professor “Kingsfield”:

“I could still imagine having a kid who was really strong in his faith, and believing that God was calling him to going to a prestige college. I’m not ready to say ‘never’ for that, but I do think there are a lot of kids that we need to steer away from such hostile places, and into smaller, reliably Christian schools where they can be built up in their faith, and not have to deal with such hostility before they’re strong enough to combat it.”

I tire of Christians trumpeting the entrance of their progeny into “élite” schools as a sign that they have “arrived”.  I’ve always taken a jaundiced view of such “advancement”, and now a few people have figured that out.  (I’ll bet that Harvard is wishing it turned down Ted Cruz, but that’s their problem…I’ll deal with the merit issue of these institutions next month).

That leads to the next point: stick together.  That’s not as easy as it looks, but at this point it’s necessary.  If those opposed to us figure out they can split us on stuff, it will be very difficult to live in this society.  That in turn will make two other things which will make our lives easier.

The first is to allow ourselves to enter into patron-client types of arrangements.   That’s the essence of what the LDS church did in Utah with their new law.  The Roman Catholics are probably thinking the same thing; the biggest problem there is disunity among the bishops.  Given the perils of Americans negotiating, this can be a tricky proposition.  It’s a fine line between entering an arrangement and carrying their water.  Getting past that problem, we may not like heading towards a system more like the Ottoman millet system than anything else, but face it: the old Ottoman millet system beats what is fashionable these days, which is ISIS.

One interesting part of this direction is taking place in New York.  It didn’t get much press, but SCOTUS declined to review the appeals court decision that allows the City of New York to boot churches from meeting in schools.  Then Mayor DeBlasio allowed them to continue.  DeBlasio has his shortcomings, but he is one of the few prominent politicians on the left who realises that the LGBT community is not the be-all and end-all of progressive politics.  That, in turn, was doubtless driven by the many non-white groups who have their own opinion of the LGBT community, and they’re a part of DeBlasio’s–and the Democrats’–base as well.

The other thing is to do what we have to do to insure the integrity of our institutions.  Dreher’s “Kingsfield” discusses that in some detail; I would throw in that our ministers should take the Marriage Pledge and get civil marriage out of the church altogether. One thing that would advance this is to lose the idea that church as a private club is bad; I dealt with this in my response to Frank Matthew Powell.  Evangelical churches are obsessed with this open, populist idea of church, but it’s a luxury we’ll find harder to afford as time passes. In Roman times the church was looked at as a collegium, which is a form of private club.

Finally, I also think we need to realise that, if it ever was, the U.S. isn’t our country any more.  That must inform how we act on a number of issues, from military service to how we look at the state to even where we do send our children to college.  (There’s no dishonour going abroad).  Besides, it’s hard to be really fired up about a country that, one the one hand, promotes LGBT rights all over the world and on the other is hell-bent on signing a nuclear agreement with a regime that hangs the same people from hydraulic cranes.

It’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to be fun.  But Our Lord never promised either.

Duck and Cover Catholicism? Maybe, Maybe Not.

R.R. Reno at First Things isn’t happy:

Some months ago, I predicted that Catholicism in America would basically accommodate itself to whatever sexual regime dominates our society. The accommodation won’t be explicit. The Church won’t endorse homosexuality or gay marriage. Instead, the bishops will step aside, avoid controversy, and just stop talking about things that carry a high price for dissent. This duck-and-cover non-statement fits perfectly into this trajectory.

I’m the first to decry the frequently Jesuitical tendency of the of the RCC to deal with issues (they elected one as Pope, after all).  But I think that the RCC, along with other religious institutions, is looking at this differently.

Given what’s going on in Indiana, the easiest way to put this into perspective is to look at another state and another church-defined religion to see how things can work out in another way.

The other state is Utah and the other church-defined religion is the LDS church, the Mormons.  The LDS church and the LGBT leadership basically brokered a deal which carves out exemptions for the LDS church (and anyone else who wants to go along for the ride) to allow them to practice their faith without impositions by pansexualists.  Some on both sides whined about this, but compared to the virtual slugfest we have in Indiana, it’s pretty peaceful and accepted by both sides.

The difference is that, in Indiana and anywhere else where RFRA type legislation is either being considered or on the books, the practices of religious people are protected by such legislation as a matter of right, not because their leadership cut a good deal.  For the LGBT leadership, whose goal is to swap one set of rights for another, this will not do.  For people who think that politics is all about different identity and special interest groups getting ahead through government action, it won’t do either.  Changing that very nature of politics and political life is a core (if unspoken) aim of the left in general and the Democrat Party in particular.

The RCC has a longer history of wheeling and dealing with governments of all kinds, from the Roman Empire onwards.  And, because of its sacramental concept of marriage, it’s in a better place (as, for a different reason, is the LDS church) to deflect public accommodation assaults on its churches to perform same-sex civil marriages.  Civil marriages? It’s marriage system is even ready to dispense with that nuisance, although it’s traditionally loathe (and in places like France, unable) to do so.

So it’s likely, IMHO, that what Reno sees as cowardice is in fact the realisation that the political food fight going on in places like Indiana isn’t their battle.  And they may be right.  The RCC has outlasted Hitler and Stalin; only Mao’s nationalisation of the RCC in China still sticks in the craw.  The RCC knows an undemocratic dictatorship when they see one; why voluntarily go into the political arena when the deck is stacked and the game is fixed?

The group left in the lurch are the Evangelicals, who have relied on “inalienable” rights to protect their status since the beginning of the Republic.  To pull off what the Mormons did in Utah would need a more cohesive leadership (difficult with their diffuse organisation) and a negotiating process with the LGBT counterparts.  Evangelicals view the latter pretty much in the same light as they view Obama’s negotiating with the Iranians.  (What we really need to see is the LGBT leadership go to the mat with the Iranians…)

This process isn’t going be pretty moving forward.  I’m not convinced that the low-laying strategy of the RCC is the best, but what the “Religious Right” has done the last forty years or so hasn’t worked either.  It’s time to get creative, and in a hurry.

What You’re Supposed to Sing on Easter Sunday

Nothing Baptistic on this blog:

Salve-Festa-Dies(Don’t ask me why, they don’t allow embedding on this video, but you can click to go to it on YouTube anyway).

The lyrics are very old, going back to the end of the Western Roman Empire.  The tune is by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

One of the advantages of this hymn is that it can be “recycled” with different lyrics for several feasts, such as Ascension, Pentecost, etc. This makes it easier for the choir and other involved musicians.

Losing this great hymn was one of the “hits” I took when leaving (?) the Anglican-Catholic world.  Hopefully, like Bill Clinton’s Eucharistic Theology, this too can be fixed.

To The Holy Trinity: The Blessedness of the Soul, Image of the Holy Trinity, in the Trinity of His Persons

Wrapping it up for this elevation in Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, 2,9:

When God made me in his image and likeness, he made me to be happy like him, as much as a creature can be; and, this is why he placed in me these three things, in me who was made to be happy, the idea of my happiness and the love or the desire of this happiness.  There are three things which I find inseparable from me, since I do not exist without being something which was made to be happy. As a result I carry in myself both the idea of happiness and the desire to carry it out, which necessarily follow from this idea.

When people ask me which of these three things I would rather lose, I do not know how to answer.  Because first, I do not want to lose my being: I want, to say so, less to lose my happiness, as without happiness it would be better if I never was, conforming to this word of the Saviour about his unhappy disciple: It would be better if this man had never been.  I do not want to lose my happiness more than my being, neither to more to lose the idea and the love of my happiness more than my happiness, as there is no happiness without this idea and this love.

If there is something in me which has always been with me, it is this idea and this love of my happiness; because I cannot have ever been without fleeing that which harms me and to want that which is appropriate:  that which can only come from the desire to be happy and the fear of not being.  This sentiment begins to appear from childhood and as we carry this coming into the world, one should have this, although more obscurely and more muffled, from the womb of one’s mother.

Here is an idea which is born in us and with us, and a sentiment which comes with this idea; and all this is in us before all reasoning and reflection.

When reason begins to sprout, she does no other thing than to seek good and bad means to make us happy; that which shows this idea and this love of happiness is in the foundation of our reason.

In a certain way, this idea which makes us know our happiness and this feeling which makes us love it, becomes in time our only idea and feeling.  For the feeling, it is clear that all our other feelings relate to this one; and, as an idea, it follows that it is only to fulfil this one that we pay attention to all the others.  Let us suppose that God gives us all and can also take away all which pleases him, then takes everything away, except for our being and the idea of our happiness and the desire which presses us to find it; we will be something very simple; but in our simplicity, we will have three things which will not divide our simplicity, but rather drive all three to its perfection.

Then will we be happy?  Alas not at all!  We will only want to be and by consequence we will not be, as happiness cannot co-exist with need of which the desire is the proof.

So what is necessary to fix all of this to make us happy? It is necessary to fix the confused idea that I have happiness, the distinct knowledge of the object where it consists, and at the same time to change the confused desire of happiness by the actual possession of what it is.

But where can my happiness consist except in the most perfect thing which I know, if I can have it? That which I know to be the most perfect, it is doubtless God, since I cannot find in myself another idea of perfection other than God.  It remains to know if I can have it.  But what is having something, if not knowing it?  Can it be had otherwise than knowing its perfection? I am thus capable of having it, since I am capable of knowing it, as long as in knowing it I am brought to love it, as to know it without loving it, is in effect to know it badly.  After this happy addition which takes place at the knowledge and the idea that I have my happiness, will I be happy? Not at all.  But why? I know and I love God and this in itself, we have said, is to have it: and this is to have that which I know best; and we have said that this is to be happy: thus where am I?  Thus if I be happy, I will desire nothing; can I say that I have nothing to desire? Far from me be this blindness; I am thus not happy.

Thus it is necessary to search in myself what I lack.  I know God, I admit it, but very imperfectly; that which makes up my love for him is very weak, and from there also comes the weakness of wanting both good and bad things.  I have the desire to know God more perfectly than I do: to know him, as Saint Paul says, as I am known; to know him without covering, to discovery, in a word to see him face to face, without shadow, without veil, without obscurity.  When God repairs this, may he say to me as Moses: I showed you everything well; then I will say like Saint Philip, Master, it is enough for us.  But this is not for this life: when this happiness comes to us, we will have nothing left to desire for his knowledge.  But for love, what will this be?  When we will see God face to face, can we make something more than to love?  Doubtless no; and Saint Paul said that love lives eternally without ever being lost.  So will our love be more in this eternal and happy state, unless it is perfect coming from a perfect knowledge?   And he will not be able to change as he does in this life; and he will absorb all of our will into one which will be that of loving God and there will be no more wailing and our tears will be dried forever and our desires will come with our needs.  Then we will be reduced to perfect unity and simplicity; but in our simplicity, we will carry the perfect image of the Trinity; then God, united at the foundation to our being and showing himself, will produce in us the happy vision which will be one sense God himself, he along being object as he is the cause.  And by this happy vision, he will produce an eternal and insatiable love which will not yet be another thing but God himself seen and possessed;  and God will be all in all, and he will be all in ourselves; one God alone in our depths, producing himself in us by the vision and completing himself in unity with us by an eternal and perfect love.

Then our perfect unity will be accomplished in ourselves and will all those who have God with us; and that which makes us all perfectly one, that is what we will be and we will see and we will love, and all that will be in us all the same single life.  And so what the Saviour said will be accomplished: As you my Father are in me and I in you, so they will be one in us; one in themselves and one with all the members of the body of the Church which they make up.

Let us form in us the holy Trinity: united with God, knowing God, loving God: and as our knowledge, at present imperfect and obscure, will come; and that the love in us be the only thing which will never arrive and which will never be lost: let us love, let us love, let us love: let us do without end that which we will do without end in eternity.  O that time is troublesome! The needs weighing down our time carry us!  Who can endure the distractions, the interruptions, the sad necessity of sleep, of nourishment, other needs? But those of temptations, of bad desires, are they not as shameful as they are afflicted?  Unhappy man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?  O God, time is long, it is heavy, it bears down.  O eternal God, take time away from me, fix me in your eternity! In waiting, make me pray without ceasing, and pass the days and nights in contemplation of your law, of your truths, of you yourself who is all truth and all good.  Amen, Amen.