The CCEL Times 5.5 (May 3, 2010)
In This Issue:
From the Director
In this month's article I hope to be able to continue the series on suffering--without inflicting more of it, if possible.
According to St. Julian of Norwich, in her Revelations of Divine Love, pain is a result of sin. Despite this negative feature of pain, it also has a positive feature. It "purges" us--it makes us "know ourselves and ask for mercy" from God. Further, God will remedy our pain; he will "make all things well." God does this, according to Julian, by revealing to us his unending goodness and the wholeness of his love. And in that "showing," the pain of sin is lost. Thus, although we must go through a life with periodic suffering, a greater vision of God and his goodness awaits us in the afterlife, according to Julian.
Reading Julian's book takes patience because the language is archaic, even though it has been updated from the original fourteenth-century Middle English. However, a book like this is best read slowly and thoughtfully, so that may be a feature rather than a bug. I found the book very inspiring and well worth the time invested.
What We're ReadingThe Consolation of Philosophy
by St. Boethius (480-524)
Review by Tim Perrine, CCEL staff writer
Written in the 6th century, The Consolation of Philosophy is the best-known--and most profound--work of the Christian theologian and philosopher St. Boethius. He composed this great work while he was unjustly imprisoned, directly before his unlawful execution. Consequently, The Consolation--which takes the form of a dialogue between Boethius and 'Lady Philosophy'--discusses a variety of important and weighty issues including ethics, the nature of God, God's relationship to the world, the problem of evil, and the true nature of happiness. ... Both compelling and illuminating, The Consolation of Philosophy is profitable for all readers and comes highly recommended.
Featured HymnJesus Shall Reign Where'er the Sun by Isaac Watts (c. 1674-1748)
Isaac Watts (PHH 155) based this hymn text on Psalm 72:12-19 and referred to verses 5 and 8 of the psalm as well. ... Originally in eight stanzas entitled "Christ's Kingdom among the Gentiles," the text was published in Watts' Psalms of David, Imitated (1719). ... Watts' text is a strong Christological interpretation of Psalm 72. We sing of the worldwide reign of Christ (st. 1), who is praised by all creatures (st. 2 and 5) , and whose rule results in blessings on people "of every tongue" (st. 3) and redemption for the outcasts (st. 4). The text has a strong missionary focus.
Classic Reflections on the Ascension
Although Christ's bodily presence was withdrawn from the faithful by the Ascension, still the presence of His Godhead is ever with the faithful, as He Himself says (Mat. 28:20): "Behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world." For, "by ascending into heaven He did not abandon those whom He adopted," as Pope Leo says. But Christ's Ascension into heaven, whereby He withdrew His bodily presence from us, was more profitable for us than His bodily presence would have been. First of all, in order to increase our faith, which is of things unseen.
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