Time for another new header image and more huge amounts of fiddling. As you can see, this one features the Virgin Mary liveblogging the Annunciation. See her flatscreen?
Okay, so it’s really Mary with her medieval reading desk — but its back is turned to us so that you can’t see the book on it. It’s really very similar to the sort of paper-holding gadgets you still see people use for typing things in. But it sure looks like the back of a flatscreen monitor, doesn’t it?
Europe and the Faith continues, after a really long hiatus. (Sorry about that.) For those who haven’t read the book, it’s Belloc outlining European history and its broad relationship to church history. It’s a very idiosyncratic sort of outline, but there’s a lot of good insights, too.
Belloc argued that the Fall of the Roman Empire in the west was actually more of a decentralization. (An idea which apparently came into vogue long after his death and has now gone back out again.) In this chapter, you will see that he argues a bit that the breakdowns in material culture were more caused by outside interference with the supply lines by the odd invasion than by local civilization crumbling under its own instability. (Some historians now feel that most of the trouble after the Fall was caused by the Visigoth and Muslim disruption of trade from North Africa and Egypt, as that was the breadbasket and trade hub of a good chunk of the world. This would explain a good chunk of the archeological evidence, actually.)
But don’t worry. This is an exciting chapter about danger, not a chapter about supply lines.
The Dark Night of the Soul continues as St. John tells us of other effects of this “night” of contemplation, and goes on to explain the last three lines of the first stanza of the poem with which we started the book.
The Dark Night of the Soul continues as St. John explains that being transformed by God is a lot like being a log that’s been set on fire. But if you think you know where he’s going with that analogy, you’re probably wrong. (Most of his light and dark analogies seem to go against not just his culture, but the last several thousand years of Indo-European culture. He makes sense, but you’d swear he was raised by aliens….)
The Dark Night of the Soul continues its examination of the good kind of emptiness and darkness in the faculties of the soul, with an in-depth description of all the unfun side effects God’s hidden purification of the soul has on the person being purified.Yeah, there’s nothing like not being able to pray or even concentrate. Or feeling that God doesn’t love you, isn’t listening to you, and that this will never ever change. Oh, yeah, and that anybody who says this is a good and natural stage of spirituality doesn’t know what the heck he’s talking about.
(If you have been experiencing symptoms like these, jump on the St. John of the Cross train! It won’t help if you’re really experiencing this kind of spiritual darkness, but hey, at least it’ll give you something to while the gray hours away!)