Monday, November 03, 2014

Jesus, Mary & Joysoph

Barely any time this morning, as can be discerned by that wince-inducing title.

As Lincoln might have said about the Incarnation: let us resolve that this species, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.

It is as if the entire cosmos and whole history of man are focused to a point, conferring "a decisive re-orientation toward a new manner of human existence" (Benedict).

This new beginning "opens up" new possibilities for man, possibilities that had previously been foreclosed. Now we not only have a horizontal genealogy, but also, so to speak, a vertical "pneumalogy" -- a direct line of common descent from the Father.

However, since this is a new birth of freedom, the link is not compulsory but voluntary. No one is forced into anything. The adoption papers have been drawn, but we still have to sign the dotted line.

On Friday night I watched what is supposed to be the Best Zombie Movie of All Time, I Walked With a Zombie. In it, one of the characters says something to the effect that their life is so miserable -- these are descendants of slaves who still toil on sugar plantations -- that they weep when a baby is born and "make merry" at funerals.

I suppose one could say the same of being born a peasant at the margins of the brutal Roman regime in 3 or 4 BC. There is indeed a great deal of pessimism in ancient thought, and it is difficult to see why there wouldn't be.

Chesterton touches on this in The Everlasting Man -- that even if one was not a slave, the vast majority of people were "insignificant or even invisible." Unlike today, the state didn't even bother pretending to be your friend. He speaks, for example, of the pyramids, which were erected

"under those everlasting skies for ever by the labour of numberless and nameless men, toiling like ants and dying like flies, wiped out by the work of their own hands."

The pyramids are supposed to be an enduring monument to man's greatness, but we forget that they point in two directions, or rather, like any Tower of Babel, they try to transform what is a meaningless existence into a meaningful one in a self-nullifying way -- like trying to prove the eternal greatness of Nazi Germany via a monument built by Jewish slave labor.

In this context, the annunciation of Jesus' conception is quite odd. As Benedict writes, the angel does not greet Mary with the usual Shalom or a colloquial Whassup?, but rather, with a word that translates to Rejoice!

For Benedict, this "marks the true beginning of the New Testament." You might say that the Gospel -- good news -- begins here, in a surprisingly literal manner. This joy is a "particular gift of the Holy Spirit.... a chord is sounded with the angel's salutation which then resounds through the life of the Church." Thus, "Rejoice, full of grace!" implicitly connects these two -- joy and grace -- which are "joined at the same root."

Remember, we can always say NO! to the offer of joy and grace. We are all entitled to spiritual birth control, which is none other than free will, or the power to render ourselves infertile and prevent a divine conception (and birth and growth). There is terrestrial abortion and there is celestial abortion, but the two are not unrelated.

Speaking of fertility, Benedict has a brief passage on Joseph. Not a great deal is said about him, but then again, to describe him as a "just man" says a great deal.

For Benedict it implies "one who maintains living contact with the word of God.... He is like a tree, planted beside the flowing waters, constantly bringing forth fruit." These vertical waters, "from which he draws nourishment, naturally refer to the living word of God, into which he sinks the roots of his being."

Furthermore, this is not something "imposed" from without or from on high, but something recognized and loved for what it is: it is that same Joy alluded to above:

"The image of the man with roots in the living waters of God's word, whose life is spent in dialogue with God and who therefore brings forth constant fruit -- this image becomes concrete in the event recounted here [his attitude toward Mary's surprising pregnancy], as well as in everything we are subsequently told about Joseph of Nazareth."

22 Comments:

Blogger mushroom said...

We are all entitled to spiritual birth control, which is none other than free will ...

You'd think the left would be happier about this than they seem to be. So many people seem dead set on embracing and celebrating determinism.

Yes, you know it because you, you just can't help yourself

11/03/2014 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Jesus, Mary & Joysoph
Barely any time this morning, as can be discerned by that wince-inducing title."

Well, could've been Joysus, Merry and Joysoph which made me wince jest thinkin' about it.

11/03/2014 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"We are all entitled to spiritual birth control, which is none other than free will ...

You'd think the left would be happier about this than they seem to be. So many people seem dead set on embracing and celebrating determinism."

Aye, the left wants to be date-raped by fate rather than be married to Destiny.

11/03/2014 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"It is as if the entire cosmos and whole history of man are focused to a point, conferring "a decisive re-orientation toward a new manner of human existence" (Benedict)."

We can choose to morph with mirth into a nous creature feature, to grow into one's pOtential and learn to realayes one's humanity while we wait.

We are spiritual mutants, and how we mutate depends on whether we choose light or darkness, good or evil, life or death, truth or lie, beauty or ugliness, thankfullness or bitterness, etc..

We can be the redheaded stepchildren of God Hisself.
And God won't beat us although we can be beaten by the truth to beat the lies that fester within, which is a good thing since it helps us mature.

11/03/2014 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Speakin' of zombies, that's what a person that is spiritually dead becomes.
And like fictional zombies they seek to plunder and destroy all that is good.

11/03/2014 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

... they weep when a baby is born and "make merry" at funerals.

Huh. Sounds just like the progressive credo. Though progressives take it a little farther: they find life so dreadful they do all that they can to discourage people from giving birth and to encourage people to hasten their deaths, while finding very little to be joyful about at any point in between.

11/03/2014 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Date-raped by fate -- that's good.

11/03/2014 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"The pyramids are supposed to be an enduring monument to man's greatness, but we forget that they point in two directions, or rather, like any Tower of Babel, they try to transform what is a meaningless existence into a meaningful one in a self-nullifying way -- like trying to prove the eternal greatness of Nazi Germany via a monument built by Jewish slave labor."

Yep, that's one of those hair raisers for me, that when I hear someone speaking admiringly of the Pyramids, or of the liberty loving confederacy fighting against northern aggression and the like... the little hairs on the back of my neck begin to tingle.

Something critical has been inverted in their conception, as they busily stake out their higher ground in the shadowy alcoves of a deep pit.

11/03/2014 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"We are all entitled to spiritual birth control, which is none other than free will, or the power to render ourselves infertile and prevent a divine conception (and birth and growth)."

What an arresting way of putting it.

And the opposite holds true too, I'd imagine? Choosing abstinence over sowing your wild Doh!'s?

The planned parenting of Good thoughts or of multiplying mind parasites - your choice.

11/03/2014 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

http://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/.premium-1.541926

The notion that poorly treated slaves built the pyramids is a myth (not the good kind). Ancient peoples all over the world were building giant structures. We still don't know how.
One sign of happiness, especially in pre-modern times, is incredible workmanship, and this is seen everywhere on the planet. Up until modern times, that is. Now, for some odd reason, people create trash. Hard work and faith may someday prove more valuable than "liberty" and ugliness. I mean, in heaven.

11/03/2014 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

From John's link: "Archaeological evidence from the Lost City of the Pyramid Builders doesn't point toward Israelite slaves, but to forced labor battalions who lived pretty high on the hog."

Oh... so they weren't burdened field hand slaves, they were pampered house slaves?! Well, that makes all the difference!

Uhm... not!

To be a house slave... or to be an American - That is the question

11/03/2014 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Predictably, these despicable scum, particularly the IG investigating the 40 deaths of veterans waiting for medical care at the Phoenix VA (which was covered up), and the White House appointee covered up the cause of the deaths of these veterans to cover Obama's dishonorable and psychopathic ass, and the leftist media gleefully played along:
minx.cc:1080/?post=352903

There were no good intentions here, this was blatantly evil.
And this is just one of the VA's that covered their murderous greed at the expense of the lives of honorable heroes that they so callously and viciously disregarded.
But hey, at least they punished the brave and courageous whistleblowers.

There's gotta be a very special place in hell for these scumbags.

11/03/2014 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks, Mushroom.
I'm not a fan of fate, cuz fate is a bitch.

11/03/2014 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

Reminds me of the building of the Panama Canal, doesn't it you, Van?
Forced labor is found everywhere and everytime. Even today.

11/04/2014 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Democrats said if they were elected they'd make voting easier.
And they wuz right!

11/04/2014 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

For the record, my most up to date history book says that the pyramids were made with a combination of free and slave labor, but that it is impossible to know the exact percentages. But my wider point was again the contrast between the Christian message and the well known pessimism of the ancient world, especially for the average person.

11/04/2014 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And I don't know if "free labor" would be the proper term in a society that had no concept of civil rights.

11/04/2014 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Bingo!

11/04/2014 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

My point is that trash is produced by pessimism, regardless of whether labor is free or forced.
Beauty is produced by, if not optimism, at least a fervent faith in the next life and the happiness that comes from knowing one's likely station there.

11/04/2014 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Compare the Cathedral at Chartres, for example, to the new (or old) World Trade Center. Both icons of values. One reminds of heaven and God. The other of hell and Mammon.
Good Union wages, though with enough money for cable by working at WTC.

11/04/2014 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Not sure of the beauty of strangling all the pharoah's relatives, servants and concubines to be with him in the crypt.

11/04/2014 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

I know. And that was just WWI!

11/05/2014 05:18:00 AM  

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