Feeding the Hungry

“History cannot be detached from God and then run smoothly on purely material lines.”  Joseph Ratzinger,  Pope Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI  

Advertisements

Beauty Will Save the World: From the Mouth of an Idiot to the Pen of a Pope – Crisis Magazine.

via Beauty Will Save the World: From the Mouth of an Idiot to the Pen of a Pope – Crisis Magazine.

By R. Jared Staudt

A popular quote we often hear but find hard to understand is “beauty will save the world.” How will beauty save the world? The line comes from Dostoevsky’s novel, The Idiot, attributed to the main character, Prince Myskin. The prince, an epileptic Russian nobleman, serves as a Christ-like figure, who stands apart for his innocence and even naiveté. Out of the mouth of this idiot comes a clearer vision of beauty and reality than those around him, his clarity heightened even in the midst of his sickness.

The saving power of beauty in the prince’s life could not overcome his sickness, but nonetheless illumined his vision: “What matter though it be only disease, an abnormal tension of the brain, if when I recall and analyze the moment, it seems to have been one of harmony and beauty in the highest degree—an instant of deepest sensation, overflowing with unbounded joy and rapture, ecstatic devotion, and completest life?” In the midst of his suffering, he glimpsed, though in a paradoxical manner, the heart of reality.

Are the prince’s words on beauty the words of a mad idiot or of a prophet?

In Solzhenitsyn’s Noble lecture, he notes that after dismissing the quote for years, he realized that “Dostoevsky’s remark, ‘Beauty will save the world,’ was not a careless phrase but a prophecy. After all he was granted to see much, a man of fantastic illumination. And in that case art, literature might really be able to help the world today?”

If that is not enough, Pope John Paul II quoted the line in his Letter to Artists, under the heading “The Saving Power of Beauty”:

People of today and tomorrow need this enthusiasm [of wonder] if they are to meet and master the crucial challenges which stand before us. Thanks to this enthusiasm, humanity, every time it loses its way, will be able to lift itself up and set out again on the right path. In this sense it has been said with profound insight that “beauty will save the world” (§16).

Can the words of an idiot set the tone for our response to the modern world? In a mad world, maybe only the idiot is sane. It seems we can and even must trust him, now that the words of an idiot have become the words of a Pope!

Upon reading Pope Francis’s first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, I was struck most of all by its literary quality. The encyclical does not offer much theological innovation, but is remarkable for its engagement of culture: classical, medieval, and above all contemporary. It seems to follow Dostoevsky’s vision for the power of beauty. In our world that has largely rejected the ability of reason to know the truth and the moral order toward the good, is it a privileged moment for beauty? The encyclical seems to point to this reality, using literature and art to underscore its points.

Pope Benedict XVI, the primary drafter of Lumen Fidei, emphasized the absolutely essential role of beauty in human life in his “Meeting with Artists.” Guess who he turned to for support?

Dostoevsky’s words that I am about to quote are bold and paradoxical, but they invite reflection. He says this: “Man can live without science, he can live without bread, but without beauty he could no longer live, because there would no longer be anything to do to the world. The whole secret is here, the whole of history is here” (quoting from the novel, Demons).

Is it not clear that we are missing this key element of human life? And if we are, what does this mean for the life of faith?

Lumen Fidei does not explicitly draw out the significance of beauty for the light of the faith. Rather, it is demonstrated by the style of the encyclical itself. Once again, Dostoevsky makes a crucial appearance:

In Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, Prince Myskin sees a painting by Hans Holbein the Younger depicting Christ dead in the tomb and says: “Looking at that painting might cause one to lose his faith.” The painting is a gruesome portrayal of the destructive effects of death on Christ’s body. Yet it is precisely in contemplating Jesus’ death that faith grows stronger and receives a dazzling light; then it is revealed as faith in Christ’s steadfast love for us, a love capable of embracing death to bring us salvation. This love, which did not recoil before death in order to show its depth, is something I can believe in; Christ’s total self-gift overcomes every suspicion and enables me to entrust myself to him completely (§16).

This quote is significant in relation to Dostoevsky’s vision of beauty for a number of reasons. Like “beauty will save the world,” it comes from The Idiot and refers to Prince Myskin. Second, it points to a central theme of the novel, the struggle with beauty, physically and spiritually, in the midst of suffering. Third, this struggle and tension between physical and spiritual beauty becomes a central motif in the engagement of modern culture. In the midst of sickness, how can one perceive beauty clearly? Beauty should be a path to truth, and thus faith, but the modern world itself is disfigured and trapped in darkness. It has a kind of spiritual epilepsy, an internal, maddening sickness, which, unlike for Myskin, impairs the perception of true beauty.

Looking back to Benedict’s vision, we can see how beauty itself is luminous. The light of beauty is meant to illuminate the path toward the light of faith. In Benedict’s “Meeting with Artists,” we see both the darkness of the modern eclipse of beauty and true beauty’s ability to lead to sight:

Too often, though, the beauty that is thrust upon us is illusory and deceitful, superficial and blinding, leaving the onlooker dazed; instead of bringing him out of himself and opening him up to horizons of true freedom as it draws him aloft, it imprisons him within himself and further enslaves him, depriving him of hope and joy…. Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond. If we acknowledge that beauty touches us intimately, that it wounds us, that it opens our eyes, then we rediscover the joy of seeing, of being able to grasp the profound meaning of our existence.

READ MORE: via Beauty Will Save the World: From the Mouth of an Idiot to the Pen of a Pope – Crisis Magazine.

Vatican Spokesman Censures ‘Rolling Stone’ Article on Pope |Blogs | NCRegister.com

by Edward Pentin Wednesday

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi has strongly criticised an article on Pope Francis that appears in the latest edition of Rolling Stone magazine.

Although he acknowledged that the Holy Father’s appearance on the publication’s front cover shows a diverse interest in the Pope, the Jesuit spokesman denounced the article’s negative portrayal of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s pontificate, saying the piece disqualifies itself as serious journalism.

“Unfortunately, the article disqualifies itself, falling into the usual mistake of a superficial journalism, which in order to highlight the positive aspects of Pope Francis, thinks it should describe in a negative way the pontificate of Pope Benedict, and does so with a surprising crudeness,” Fr. Lombardi said in a statement.

In the piece titled "Pope Francis: The Times They Are A-Changin’", author Mark Binelli calls Benedict’s papacy “disastrous” and goes so far as to attack the former pontiff’s appearance and character. He also describes Benedict’s acclaimed apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis as “wonky” but without explaining further. 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/fr.-lombardi-censures-rolling-stone-article-on-pope#ixzz2rvK29qU7

The Little #Boy and the #Pope –

While representatives from more than 80 countries addressed the pope, a little boy walked onto the stage to say hello.

Via BuzzFeedBoy Wanders Onto Stage To Hang Out With Pope Francis

Ellie Hall / BuzVzFeed / Via youtube.com

Boy Wanders Onto Stage To Hang Out With Pope Francis

Ellie Hall / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com

Pope Francis was visibly amused when the child stayed on the stage instead of returning to his seat on the steps.

Boy Wanders Onto Stage To Hang Out With Pope Francis

Ellie Hall / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com

He refused to leave the pope’s side, even at the encouragement of several cardinals.

Boy Wanders Onto Stage To Hang Out With Pope Francis

Ellie Hall / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com

When the representatives came forward to greet the pope, the little boy was initially not amused.

Boy Wanders Onto Stage To Hang Out With Pope Francis

Ellie Hall / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com

But then he realized what was going on and decided to help out.

Boy Wanders Onto Stage To Hang Out With Pope Francis

Ellie Hall / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com

Boy Wanders Onto Stage To Hang Out With Pope Francis

Ellie Hall / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com

When Pope Francis began his speech, an aide attempted once again to make the child return to his seat.

When Pope Francis began his speech, an aide attempted once again to make the child return to his seat.

AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

The little boy refused, wrapping his arms around the pope in a tight hug.

The little boy refused, wrapping his arms around the pope in a tight hug.

Osservatore Romano / Reuters

Pope Francis didn’t seem to mind.

Boy Wanders Onto Stage To Hang Out With Pope Francis

Ellie Hall / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com

In fact, he seated the boy on his chair before resuming his speech.

PEG@pegobryFollow

Love. Kid runs on stage during @Pontifex speech, hugs him, Pope sits him on his chair to continue the speech.

12:01 PM – 29 Oct 13

Osservatore Romano / Reuters

Luke 18:16: “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

Tweet

Share

Email

More ▾

Report: Benedict XVI Resigned After ‘Mystical Experience’ | Daily News | NCRegister.com

BY EDWARD PENTIN

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has reportedly said that he retired from the papacy after a “mystical experience” and because “God told me to.”

The news comes from an anonymous source who visited the former pope a week ago, according to the Zenit news agency.

Asked why he resigned, the pope emeritus said, “God told me to,” but added that he had not received any kind of apparition or similar phenomenon. Rather, it was a “mystical experience” in which the Lord planted a seed of “absolute desire” in his heart “to remain alone with him, secluded in prayer.”

According to the source, this mystical experience has lasted throughout these past months, increasing “more and more” his longing for a unique and direct relationship with the Lord. It has not been an “escape” from the world, he reportedly said, but a means of seeking “refuge in God and living in his love.”

He also said that the more he sees of the “charisma” of his successor, Pope Francis, the more he realizes that his decision to resign the papacy was “the will of God.”

Despite living a cloistered life in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican Gardens, Benedict XVI does occasionally receive visitors privately. A few weeks ago, a seminarian at the North American College was surprised to be invited to the pope emeritus’ quarters to have a private conversation.

But during these meetings, Benedict XVI remains very prudent and typically discreet. He doesn’t reveal any secrets or say anything that may weigh on the new pontificate. He wishes to avoid declarations that could be thought of as “words said by the other pope,” Zenit reported.

At most, he will express wonder at how the Holy Spirit is working through his successor or he will talk about how his decision to resign was the result of Divine inspiration.

via Report: Benedict XVI Resigned After ‘Mystical Experience’ | Daily News | NCRegister.com.

Pope to Journalists I Love You So Much

<p><a href=’http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-to-journalists-i-love-you-so-much-and-i-thank-you-for-everything/’>Pope to journalists: 'I love you so much and I thank you for everything' :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)</a>.</p>Vatican City, Mar 16, 2013 / 08:11 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis told thousands of journalists today he loved them and thanked them for their recent work.

“I love you so much and I thank you for all that you have done,” Pope Francis told over 5,000 journalists today at Paul VI Hall in the Vatican.

“We aren’t called to communicate about ourselves, but on this trinity of truth, goodness and beauty,” he told the journalists at 11:00 a.m. local time.

The newly elected Pope from Argentina spoke to them and their families on the third day of his pontificate.

“Your work needs study, sensibility, experience like all other professions, but needs to also give special attention to truth, goodness and beauty,” said the Pope.

“That is why we are so close because the Church exists to communicate precisely this,” he stated.

He thanked the journalists for their “hard work” covering the days since Benedict XVI announced his resignation adding that it is not easy to communicate to “a vast and varied public.”

“Be sure that the Church reserves a big attention to your precious work,” said the 76-year-old Argentinian.

The pontiff told the professionals that Jesus is the center of the Church and not himself.

Havemus Papam!

Havemus Papam! The crowds are jubilant in St. Peter’s Square awaiting our new Holy Father’s appearance at the Vatican balcony.  I’m waiting for his first Urbi et Orbi  blessing. Waiting, waiting, waiting.  Who?