Friday, March 28, 2008

Daily Dose of Discernment: 3/28/08

Cruelty to animals is cruelty and a vile thing; but cruelty to a man is not cruelty; it is treason. Tyranny over a man is not tyranny: it is rebellion, for man is royal. Now, the practical weakness of the vast mass of modern pity for the poor and the oppressed is precisely that it is merely pity; the pity is pitiful, but not respectful. Men feel that the cruelty to the poor is a kind of cruelty to animals. They never feel that it is injustice to equals; nay, it is treachery to comrades. This dark, scientific pity, this brutal pity, has an elemental sincerity of its own, but it is entirely useless for all ends of social reform. Democracy swept Europe with the sabre when it was founded upon the Rights of Man. It has done literally nothing at all since it has been founded only upon the wrongs of man. Or, more strictly speaking, its recent failure has been due to its not admitting the existence of any rights or wrongs, or indeed of any humanity. Evolution (the sinister enemy of revolution) does not especially deny the existence of God: what it does deny is the existence of man. And all the despair about the poor, and the cold and repugnant pity for them, has been largely due to the vague sense that they have literally relapsed into the state of the lower animals.
-- G. K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens
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I will not pardon the sin in you, I will punish it severely, but I myself will suffer the penalty for you. I will not forgive your debt at no cost, but I myself shall pay it for you. The Lord will repay me, that he might oblige me more. Surely it is a greater mercy of God, a greater clemency of God, a greater generosity of God to pay the price, rather to give himself as the price, than it is to remit the debt. Surely you could have done otherwise, Lord, but you paid the cost that you might commend your love to me in your death for me, that all my heart and my soul might be moved by you, that amazed, trembling, and fainting, I might consider how you died on my behalf.

O love! O charity! O goodness! O kindness of my God! Oh how much you love me, my love, how much you love me! Impress your death on my heart, for this is the heat lifting my soul to you; this is the fountain of water rising up and lifting my soul to eternal life. Your other works, Lord, move me to love you, but your passion leads me to ecstasy, it seizes me and inflames me above myself, so that I am completely dissolved in your love. And you have loved me in such a way that when I will have given all of myself to you, I will have given nothing, because you have given me your full self, my entire God.
-- Thomas of Villanova, Friday after the Third Sunday of Lent, Sermon 2-4: Opera Omnia II, 61

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