"And we are put on earth a little space, / That we may learn to bear the beams of love." William Blake.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Murder Most Foul, some disconnected thoughts and quotes.

Twas my last year at Purdue University and a pro-life group gathered outside the English hall with six foot tall signs printed with photos of severed bodies that in truth are the size of a dime. They meant... something. I want to be able to say, "They meant well." Even I, a seamless garment pro-lifer, against capital punishment, euthanasia, war, suicide, assisted suicide, and abortion, puked in my throat, choked and thought, "this will only wound, not heal."

Dr. King wrote the words 
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Sara Manguso wrote in Guardians: An Elegy for a Friend, that her friend's suicide made that option unavailable to her. I keep asking when that option will be unavailable to me. These times try my soul. Last weekend I found the most elegiac place to die. And today, on my run, I saw myself, like Judas, running headlong off the cliff to dash myself against the stone. What does being against all violence look like?
Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that, wrote Dr. King. 
The light has shone in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it, wrote St. John of our Lord, the true Word who saves.
Last night, I broached the topic of the materiality of our thoughts, which Elder-now-Saint Porphyrios talks about in Wounded by Love. Elder Zaccharias wrote a whole book Our Thoughts Determine our Lives. The podcast Invisibilia  explored this from a scientific standpoint. I encountered Emerson's quote at the outset of "Self-Reliance" -- and here we are. What does it mean to wish that our brother gets his just-desserts? What does it mean to hate? To hate ourselves or another? 
That quote from Emerson in "Self-Reliance:" Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost,—— and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. --

From Wounded By Love, select quotes on materiality and danger in judgmental thoughts.

"Above everything is love. The thing that must concern you, my children, is love for the other person, of this soul. Whatever we do, whether it is prayer or offering advice or pointing out some error, let us do it with love. Without love prayer is of no benefit, advice is hurtful and pointing out errors is harmful and destructive to the other person who senses whether we love him or not and reacts accordingly. Love, love, love! Love for our brother prepares us to love Christ more. Isn’t that perfect? Let us scatter our love selflessly to all, without regard to the way they act towards us." [p. 181]

Let’s have love, meekness and peace. In that way we help our brother when he is possessed by evil. Our example radiates mystically, and not only when the person is present, but also when he is not. Let us strive to radiate our good will. Even when we say something about a person whose way of life does not meet with our approval, the person is aware of it and we repel him. Whereas, if we are compassionate and forgive him then we influence him — just as evil influences him — even if he does not see us.

We shouldn’t be enraged by people who blaspheme or who speak and act against God and the Church. Such rage is harmful. We may hate the words and the malice behind them, but we must not hate the person who spoke them nor become enraged against him. Rather we should pray for him. A Christian has love and graciousness and should behave accordingly.
What will make suicide unavailable to me? Self-annihilation. For there brothers and sisters annihilated daily by no will of their own. When I go, Dear Lord, let it be under the wheels of this dark age, in place of another who needed to go on.

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