Friday, January 14, 2005

Culture and wealth

A culture does not have to be wealthy or have political power to be virtuous. Wealth and power, in fact, don't help members of a community become virtuous. Discussion?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A great reading

"Quod ab alio oderis fieri tibi, vide ne tu aliquando alteri facias. Panem tuum cum esurientibus et egenis comede, et de vestimentis tuis nudos tege. Consilium semper a sapiente perquire. Omni tempore benedic Deum, et pete ab eo ut vias tuas diregat, et omnia consilia tua in ipso permaneant." (Tob. 4: 16-17, 19-20.)

A sure formula for happiness from today's morning prayer.

I should just ignore ICEL

I should just let the differences between the Latin and the ICEL paraphrase slide, but I guess I'm obsessive compulsive.

Here we go:

Gratias agamus Christo eumque semper laudemus, quia non dedignatur fratres vocare quos sanctificat. Ideo ei supplicemus:

Sanctifica fratres tuos, Domine.

Now for the English:

Let us give thanks to Christ and offer him continued praise, for he sanctifies us and calls us his brothers.

Lord, help your brothers grow in holiness.

Now, what would be a better translation of the second part? "because he does not think it unworthy to call 'brothers' those he sancfities. Therefore let us entreat him: Sanctify your brothers, Lord." The force of the "quia" is clarified by the "quos." The "and in the English completely deflates the deep sense of the "fratres...sancificat...sanctifica fratres."

I can see no ideological reason for so distorting a clause save that the paraphrasers are really too stupid to get the sense of the original. Either that or the paraphrasers don't really understand either Latin, English, or both.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Work, leisure and contemplation

Leisure (in the sense that Josef Pieper used it) is the basis of culture and man is made for contemplation. Mary chose the better part and it shall not be taken from her. But that does not mean that unstructured, self-directed time is the normal mode of existence for human beings on earth and that work is a (necessary) interruption of that leisure. First of all, work and contemplation are not contradictory. They only seem so in post-lapserian human existence. Second, even before the Fall work was the normal mode of human existence (tending the garden) and there would have still only been one day a week in which work was not enjoined.

I believe this is a fundamental error of my generation and those that have come later, to see work not as the normal lot of human kind that can and should be interrupted regularly for higher human aspirations, but to see leisure (in the sense of unstructured, self-directed time) as the norm and work as a regrettable interruption of that time.

We have been given six days to work and one way to dedicate wholly to the Lord. Not that our work is not dedicated to the Lord, but you know what I mean. I would say ordinarily that men, unless they have a distinct vocation to the contemplative life, ought to spend most of their day working, either at their occupation/profession or at home in their family. Recreation, a necessary part of human existence, should occupy only a small part of our day. Some days none at all except prayer time.

I think earlier generations knew this, plus those that are not as privileged as we Americans are.

On the other hand, I was raised in a household in which the man of the house worked his 40 hours, then considered the rest of his time personal recreation time, only to be interrupted for work when absolutely necessary. It has taken me years to overcome the habits that developed from this attitude. I still have to struggle against them.