Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Daily Dose of Discernment: 2/19/08

There are two rooted spiritual realities out of which grow all kinds of democratic conception or sentiment of human equality. There are two things in which all men are manifestly and unmistakably equal. They are not equally clever or equally muscular or equally fat, as the sages of the modern reaction (with piercing insight) perceive. But this is a spiritual certainty, that all men are tragic. And this, again, is an equally sublime spiritual certainty, that all men are comic. No special and private sorrow can be so dreadful as the fact of having to die. And no freak or deformity can be so funny as the mere fact of having two legs. Every man is important if he loses his life; and every man is funny if he loses his hat, and has to run after it. And the universal test everywhere of whether a thing is popular, of the people, is whether it employs vigorously these extremes of the tragic and the comic.
-- G. K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens
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To preserve men and women from sin and from being unworthy of himself God commanded them to love him and taught them to be just in their dealings with other people. By the Ten Commandments he prepared them to live in friendship with himself and in harmony with one another. This was simply for their own good and it was all God asked of them. It conferred great glory on them and gave them the friendship with God they had lacked, but it did not benefit God, for he had no need of their love. The need was all on their side: they needed the glory of God and could obtain it only by serving him. This is why Moses said to the people: Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him. In this your life consists.

And so God has abolished the laws which were given as a sign of their servitude but has amplified the natural laws which are of universal application and befit people who are free. This he has done in his generosity by freely making us his children, so that we might know him as our Father, love him with our whole heart, and unswervingly follow his Word.
-- Irenaeus of Lyons, Adversus Haer. 4, 16, 2-5: SC 100, 564-572.

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