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  #16  
Old May 12, '12, 10:16 am
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Default Re: Seek That Which is above

Hi, the book Seek that Which Is Above has not been in stock at our closest bookstore, and I thought I would wait a bit before ordering unseen to see if this review would get underway--meantime I'm still re-reading Jesus of Nazareth, and started again in Benedictus, which I hadn't finished. The only other book I have is Milestones, Ratzinger's memoirs through 1977, a short book of 156pp which I greatly enjoyed and read almost straight through. Plus I have Matthew Bunson's We Have a Pope, also short, which seemed to be a good introduction even if rather hastily published.
Benedictus seems to me filled with much more of the same type quest for mysticism that jumps intermittently from Jesus of Nazareth. It often seems more intent on shocking than explaining. The beginning of today's meditation:
"The reason for our sadness is the futility of our love, the overwhelming power of finitude, death, suffering, and falsehood. We are sad because we are left alone in a contradictory world where enigmatic signals of Divine Goodness pierce through the cracks, yet are thrown in doubt by a power of darkness that is either God's responsibility or manifests His impotence."
The conclusion is much more positive, but doesn't seem to me to explain or warrant this. Anybody, please help.
  #17  
Old May 14, '12, 3:48 pm
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Default Re: Seek That Which is above

I also don't like the slant of that quote!! Perhaps there is a bigger context here. Would you mind typing out the paragraph immediately before this and include the quote, also followed by the answer. Also what page of the book it appears on.
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  #18  
Old May 15, '12, 7:48 am
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Default Re: Seek That Which is above

Good Morning, Dee, the quote from Benedictus (mentioned in prior post) was the opening two sentences of the meditation for May 12 (p 151), which is entitled Mary the Ark. There is no direct context link to the prior day's meditation, except that all the meditations for May to this point are in honor and celebration of our Holy Mother and the dedication of the month to her.
The meditation continues: ""Rejoice'--what reason does Mary have to rejoice in such a world? The answer is: 'The Lord is with you'...Jesus, whom Mary is permitted to bear, is identified with (Y- ), the Living God. When Jesus comes, it is God Himself who comes to dwell in her. He is the Savior--this is the meaning of the Name Jesus, which thus becomes clear..."
The conclusion of the meditation: "The more that each of us becomes a person, person in the sense of a fit habitation for God, daughter Zion, the more we become one, the more we are the Church, and the more the Church is herself."
I think it is fascinating, yet I have deep concern, about the interplay of logic and mysticism in the contemporary state of evolution of our Christology, our Catechism, and the life of our Church, starting with the question whether our primary task is assisting our neighbors or trying to save ourselves.
  #19  
Old May 16, '12, 12:40 am
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Default Re: Seek That Which is above

Hi, how interesting! lots to discuss and reflect on here. Here goes, I came up with these two points that clarify the dubious 'slant' these words appeared to have at first sight.
.
Firstly, to bear in mind that this is a 'meditation' and secondly, it is written/composed by the Holy Father himself.(who is reputedly learned and very pious)

"The reason for our sadness is the futility of our love, the overwhelming power of finitude, death, suffering, and falsehood. We are sad because we are left alone in a contradictory world where enigmatic signals of Divine Goodness pierce through the cracks, yet are thrown in doubt by a power of darkness that is either God's responsibility or manifests His impotence." (Benedictus)

Taken in the light of being a meditation/reflection, it makes sense in this context -that it is permissable and even realistic to analyize feelings of sadness we and humanity in general experience, and examine them honestly even though they are repugnant. We are surrounded by these types of mentalities and doubts in our everyday life, and by meditating in this way we come face to face with a reality that sometimes we prefer to gloss over. Think of how often the question of "if there is a good God, why is there suffering in this world?" arises, and how a person is inclined (no matter what religion) to 'blame' God for 'allowing' bad things to happen.

Spiritual writers and the Fathers agreed that sadness was a temptation to be fought against, as it was the trick of the enemy to make us despair and give up hope in the goodness of God.

Many thoughts come to mind here. Thanks for raising discussion of this meditation - it is certainly worth a long discussion. So will stop at this point in this meditation and hope that others may comment as well.

The Pope is forcing us to think at a deeper level here I think (as he does in his other book of meditations Seek That Which is Above - we have all found each meditation somewhat 'taxing' and required time to absorb and digest, then only could we discuss what had impressed us, and mostly, what we had learned or understood that which was new to us)

Here is a favorite quote from Mother Theresa of Calcutta -



Joy is prayer—Joy is strength—Joy is love—Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. God loves a cheerful giver. She gives most who gives with joy. The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Christ risen.
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  #20  
Old May 16, '12, 1:36 pm
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Default Re: Seek That Which is above

Thanks for comment and great quote. Seek that Which is Above was again not in my bookstore today, so I ordered it, and being unable to leave a bookstore empty-handed, I found myself carrying out God's Word (the Pope's book, not the Bible). While there I was reminded that I also own Apostles and Fathers which I left out of my post the other day. I strongly recommend both books, and have posted reviews on each of them on other sites.
I look forward to your comments on Seek...I should have it in a few days.
I think I've learned that when I encounter something in Scripture that stikes me as difficult, whether extreme or anagoge or hyperbole, like cutting off hand or foot, I move on to other passages, believing that on another day the Living Word will be more clear when I need it. I am more concerned about the logic of homilies, hymns, or other writings when they can be confusing or misleading to people, and the expressions "futility of our love" and "left alone...in world" in the Benedictus passage trouble me in part because they may just be translation problems.
  #21  
Old May 17, '12, 1:13 am
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Default Re: Seek That Which is above

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Originally Posted by eschator83 View Post
I am more concerned about the logic of homilies, hymns, or other writings when they can be confusing or misleading to people, and the expressions "futility of our love" and "left alone...in world" in the Benedictus passage trouble me in part because they may just be translation problems.
Me too! It pays to be careful...a priest I respected and who was very close to our family, always encouraged the faithful to 'never stop asking questions' - good advice in any age of the Church.

"I think it is fascinating, yet I have deep concern, about the interplay of logic and mysticism in the contemporary state of evolution of our Christology, our Catechism, and the life of our Church, starting with the question whether our primary task is assisting our neighbors or trying to save ourselves."

I quote you above, for the same reason and also agree that one must be discerning and also proactive where the situation calls for it.

How about you start a new thread on the Catholic Book Club (while we wait on DesertSister to return) with reflections from Benedictus? Perhaps post the one in full that we have been discussing above and then we can comment etc. and also post a thread here to let others know where to join in the discussion.

Personally, I think the Book Club should have several threads on different books running at the same time, so as to give variety to our members, who all may not like or have the same book?? (Hope DS would agree with this), but the forum is there, so why not?
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  #22  
Old May 23, '12, 4:08 pm
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Default Re: Seek That Which is above

I just picked up my copy of the Pope's book Seek That Which Is Above, and have been reviewing the comments which are posted in the Ccom Group called CA Book Club (see discussion thread #1). The book follows the Liturgical Calendar, starting with Advent, and comments have been posted up to Easter, which I hope to join.
With respect to the book Benedictus, I am not qualified to lead a discussion group on the Pope's writings, although I would participate if one started, either here or in a separate forum or group thread. Any book by the Pope seems to me to be in an entirely different frame of reference than most other so-called religious books, many of which strike me as quite irreligious, and I think it is an important contribution of our forums and groups to question and evaluate authors other than the Pope.
  #23  
Old Jun 2, '12, 1:27 am
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Default Re: Seek That Which is above

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Originally Posted by eschator83 View Post
Any book by the Pope seems to me to be in an entirely different frame of reference than most other so-called religious books, many of which strike me as quite irreligious, and I think it is an important contribution of our forums and groups to question and evaluate authors other than the Pope.
That's good news eschator, pleased you have your copy now. Look forward to you joining in.

I quite agree that it would be beneficial to evaluate authors and books other than the Pope's, especially those which strike one as being in certain ways 'irreligious'. I'm sure there are enough of that type of material around.

As I mentioned before, I think it would be a good idea to start a thread in the forum of our book club, an moreso now on a more 'controversial' book, in line with your suggestion above.

Do you have a particular book in mind? If so, let me know and I will look into starting a thread for it. We could always post a thread here on the CA Book Club Forum, as I have done with Seek That Which is Above, so that others can enter the discussion there or follow it to the Book Club Social Group by way of a link.
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  #24  
Old Jun 7, '12, 7:17 pm
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Default Re: Seek That Which Is Above

I am very grateful for your suggestion and encouragement, but feel uncertain about the conceptual difference between the book group and the forum book club. I am strongly inclined to try to support and encourage the forum, primarily because it has such a wonderful data base, even if participation seems to be declining.
The structure of the group is so much smaller--perhaps in part because we need to clean up our thread titles and structure. I hope in the future we can establish a unique new thread for each new book or other topic.
An advantage of the forum, I think, is that anyone can open a thread for a new book discussion, whereas in the group I suppose the consensus of the group should probably be sought before opening a new thread, although I'm not sure I see a big problem if a member used a new thread to propose a book for discussion, even if other members decided not to participate. It might encourage other new members.
I've been trying to catch up to you in the Seek book, paying less attention to several others on the bookstand.
  #25  
Old Jun 19, '12, 11:48 am
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Default Re: Seek That Which is above

I'm inclined to agree with you about the forum being the better place to post threads on new books etc. It has a lot of people looking, but not necessarily joining in, but that too will happen if the thread(s) are interesting to them.

I'm a bit busy right now planning for my daughter's wedding in July, so please don't feel rushed to catch up on Seek That Which is Above. I will check in on that group now and again, but will really only be participating in a few weeks from now.

I notice that many people look at this thread. ( you're welcome to leave a comment on the book; not necessary to commit to joining the group, would just be nice to hear what others think about these meditations of the Holy Father)
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  #26  
Old Jun 24, '12, 3:36 pm
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Default Re: Seek That Which is Above

We have celebrated the weddings of each of our five kids--and pray for your Joy and Faith and Peace through the apparently inevitable stresses. Actually, we're now eagerly anticipating the first of our grandchildren's weddings, hoping there is even more of the former and little or none of the latter (stress-for us at least). Be assured there is great consolation for the aging.
Since the Book Club Group has moved on in "Seek..." to the Vacation Meditations, perhaps comment on the Spring meditations could be added here, and perhaps also further comment on others of the beginning meditations as well.
  #27  
Old Jun 26, '12, 11:14 am
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Default Re: Seek That Which is above

Hi Echator. I agree - the framework is rather more flexible here. So, where are we? Presuming the quote below is still under discussion, I might have something to say about it.

"The reason for our sadness is the futility of our love, the overwhelming power of finitude, death, suffering, and falsehood. We are sad because we are left alone in a contradictory world where enigmatic signals of Divine Goodness pierce through the cracks, yet are thrown in doubt by a power of darkness that is either God's responsibility or manifests His impotence." (Benedictus)

A long time ago I read Lyall Watson's Dark Nature and that started off a whole train of thought, partially expressed in the thread Why is there evil in Nature? (you'll find it in my profile statistics). I don't have this book at hand. What does the rest of the meditation say?
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Last edited by Justin Swanton; Jun 26, '12 at 11:31 am.
  #28  
Old Jun 26, '12, 3:10 pm
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Default Re: Seek That Which is Above

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Originally Posted by eschator83 View Post
We have celebrated the weddings of each of our five kids--and pray for your Joy and Faith and Peace through the apparently inevitable stresses. Actually, we're now eagerly anticipating the first of our grandchildren's weddings, hoping there is even more of the former and little or none of the latter (stress-for us at least). Be assured there is great consolation for the aging.
Since the Book Club Group has moved on in "Seek..." to the Vacation Meditations, perhaps comment on the Spring meditations could be added here, and perhaps also further comment on others of the beginning meditations as well.
Thank you for your very kind prayer and encouraging insights. to aging and it's consolations, that made me chuckle. Yes, you are enjoying the promises made in the Nuptial Mass and elsewhere on living to see your children's children etc. May I be so blessed.

I like your idea of commenting here on the prior meditations. Please go ahead and post yours and I will join you, even if I keep comments short or copy over some of my earlier thoughts.
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  #29  
Old Jun 26, '12, 4:46 pm
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Default Re: Seek That Which is above

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Swanton View Post

"The reason for our sadness is the futility of our love, the overwhelming power of finitude, death, suffering, and falsehood. We are sad because we are left alone in a contradictory world where enigmatic signals of Divine Goodness pierce through the cracks, yet are thrown in doubt by a power of darkness that is either God's responsibility or manifests His impotence." (Benedictus)

A long time ago I read Lyall Watson's Dark Nature and that started off a whole train of thought, partially expressed in the thread Why is there evil in Nature? (you'll find it in my profile statistics).
This could be an interesting discussion on Original Sin and it's effects on man and creation. Pope Benedict's book, In the Beginning covers this ground pretty extensively, as do many of his homilies on the subject.

"... Evil is not logical. Only God and the good are logical, are light. Evil remains mysterious. It remains a mystery of darkness, of night. However, a mystery of light is immediately added. Evil comes from a subordinate source. With his light, God is stronger and, because of this, evil can be overcome. Therefore, the creature, man, is curable.; but if evil comes only from a subordinate source, it remains true that man is curable."
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it...o/212913?eng=y


"Because creation comes forth from God's goodness, it shares in that goodness - "And God saw that it was good. . . very good" Gen 1:4,10,12,18,21,31."

"302 Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created "in a state of journeying" (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call "divine providence" the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection:"

310 But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better.174 But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world "in a state of journeying" towards its ultimate perfection. In God's plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.175
Catechism of the Catholic Church
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_cs...m/p1s2c1p4.htm
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Last edited by Dee S; Jun 26, '12 at 4:49 pm. Reason: add text
  #30  
Old Jun 27, '12, 9:21 am
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Default Re: Seek That Which is above

I think God's Will for humans to have freedom is at the core of His tolerance of evil, and Catechism 1730f expresses this well. "God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions." The subsequent paragraphs in CCC seem clearly to explain/justify His reason for allowing people to choose between evil and good.
Logically I am comfortable with the concept that Good is all that is in conformance with God's Will, and evil is opposition to His Will. The concepts of venial and mortal sin are basically logical in my opinion, although I think not yet sufficiently identified in the Catechism. But it is beyond my logic and comprehension what creates the extremes of malice manifested in some worst acts of mortal sin--only the reality of Satan seems an explanation--certainly not the almost benign theory of the absence of Good.
That raises the obvious question, why does God not destroy Satan, and perhaps the answer is that if humans and angels are free, some other will again chose evil.
Now I'm off to find the thread Justin recommended--although first I must acknowledge that I have misunderstood the narrow definition of irony as opposition or contradiction. I'm still rereading and struggling with my big Webster, feeling like irony has come to be merely a euphemism or politically correct term for lying, deceiving, and misrepresenting (although perhaps generally where there is no malicious intent--such as Socratic irony).
I thought the classic ironies: such as the firetruck burning, the pastor sinning, the clown crying, santa claus stealing, were ironic because they were generally unexpected and surprising. Many thanks to Justin for the lesson--obviously I need to rethink (and probably rewrite) my post in the Book Club Group.
In my item 8 of that post, I used the term Revelation in referring to the question why Jesus had not appeared (ie revealed Himself) to more people after His resurrection.
The question seemed a bit surprising in its context between the beginning of Word of Witnesses (where Ratzinger seems to seek to emphasize the historicity--and truth--of Christianity) and the conclusion of emphasis on following (obedience to) Jesus--the answer could be an essay all by itself (such as the difference between appearance and vision--like to St Stephen).
On the question whether St Paul (and anyone else) is a consistent witness--more soon.
 

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