August 19, 2009

Old and new treasures

With this I complete my trilogy of religious & spiritual posts of middle summer..

Father Philip Neri Powell, OP, an American friar and a fellow blogger whom I deeply admire and respect (I love his humor almost as much as his homilies..), has been working on Treasures Old and New: Traditional Prayers for Today's Catholics until last June. Now the book—which is due out on September 15 August 21, 2009, but there will be a second volume out early next year—has gone to the printers. In the meantime, while faithfully and impatiently waiting to read it, readers have been given by Liguori Publications the opportunity to view some sample pages from the book.

Entering into Joy

If to any man the tumult of the flesh were silenced—silenced the phantasies of earth, waters, and air—silenced, too, the poles; yea, the very soul be silenced to herself, and go beyond herself by not thinking of herself—silenced fancies and imaginary revelations, every tongue, and every sign, and whatsoever exists by passing away, since, if any could hearken, all these say, “We created not ourselves, but were created by Him who abides for ever:” If, having uttered this, they now should be silenced, having only quickened our ears to Him who created them, and He alone speak not by them, but by Himself, that we may hear His word, not by fleshly tongue, nor angelic voice, nor sound of thunder, nor the obscurity of a similitude, but might hear Him—Him whom in these we love—without these, like as we two now strained ourselves, and with rapid thought touched on that Eternal Wisdom which remains over all. If this could be sustained, and other visions of a far different kind be withdrawn, and this one ravish, and absorb, and envelope its beholder amid these inward joys, so that his life might be eternally like that one moment of knowledge which we now sighed after, were not this “Enter into the joy of Your Lord?” [Matthew 25:21]

—Augustine of Hippo, The Confessions, Book IX, Chapter 10.
Translated by J.G. Pilkington. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 1. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.