An Introduction to the Devout Life continues, with a discussion of how to talk with proper respect about God and one’s neighbor. We also learn that puns and jokes are saint-tested and saint-approved.
Just in time for Halloween, a fairly full account of the Halloween martyrdom of Blessed Terence Albert O’Brien, O.P., and bishop of Emly! AND his prophecy of dooooom on Ireton. AND Ireton’s guilty conscience seeing ghosts. Man, this is fun stuff.
Don’t worry. It’s not gory, and most of the length is info about his life and what was going on at the time. I excerpted it from a much longer history text from Victorian times. I’m only sorry that I don’t have access (not being a university student) to some of the Early English texts bearing on the matter. (Mostly the James Hind pamphlet containing O’Brien’s last speech on the gibbet.)
Btw, nowadays we know from the inquest held on O’Brien’s father’s death in 1623 that O’Brien was born at Tuogh (Tower Hill), a mile south of Cappamore. (Look it up on Google Maps.) His family was of the O’Brien Arra, and they held 2000 acres of land. “Albert” is his religious name, taken when he joined the Dominicans; “Terence” or “Toirdhealbhach” is his given name.
Also btw, the reason they kept talking about these folks as Confederates is because the folks fighting Cromwell were the Catholic Confederation. They fought as Royalists loyally supporting Charles I. (Incredibly typical for Irish history. The Irish also fought for Richard III after the Tudors took over, and so on.)
On the Soul and the Resurrection continues. St. Macrina discusses Jesus’ parable of Dives the rich man and Lazarus the poor man, and why it’s good to get your suffering done on Earth. Then just in time for Halloween, we even have a patristic discussion of ghosts!
St. Macrina is such a theology/science geek. I mean, would this even occur to the average person on their deathbed? She’s either awfully tough-minded or giving her brother Greg a hard time to get him out of his grief rut. “Woooooooo… here I am on my deathbed, speculating about ghooooooosts….”
An Introduction to the Devout Life continues, as St. Francis talks a bit about external or bodily mortification, including stuff like fasting, abstinence, etc. (And hairshirts.) He’s not really all that hep on mortification as an extreme sport. In fact, he’s got a much better idea.
So it’s very plain to see how St. Therese of Lisieux was influenced by St. Francis de Sales in developing her “Little Way”. If eating whatever is set before you, regardless of your own wants, is more of a mortification than extreme fasting, the same principle quickly carries over to other preferences in daily life.
Of course, it could be pointed out that they’re both very French in thinking this way about food preferences. I’m sure the Food Network foodies would agree on how much a mortification of desires this would be to a gourmet.
On the Soul and the Resurrection continues, as St. Macrina moves back into more speculative territory. She really seems to have liked the idea of the soul swanning around in the world in atoms. Well, that hadn’t all been worked out yet, so she had a right to speculate.
We also get some very fun similes, which she uses for how the soul hangs out with atoms, but which St. Greg points out are more suited to proving the possibility of resurrection in the exact same body.
We also have more fun with Greco-Roman speculation about the antipodes. Apparently some people, pagans and otherwise, thought Hades was logically on the opposite part of the globe to where they lived, and that this constituted “the underworld”. If St. M had believed this, she’d have believed her soul was somewhere out in the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and South America. So it’s a good thing she knew souls were immaterial and not bound by place! (Antipodemap.com figures this stuff out for you, btw.)
On the Soul and the Resurrection continues, as St. Macrina argues for evolution as the divine plan.
Well, okay, not really. But you could pretty clearly use this kind of recapitulation argument that way. And why not? It would be really amusing to watch Dawkins’ head explode if you did argue from the divine. St. Mac didn’t even know about all the little plants and bacteria and virii that live inside us and the various kinds of cell, all of which would improve her argument that humanity encapsulates bits of all the orders of Creation, and thus had to come along later than their beginnings. Evolution as an important part of God’s toolbox would seem to fit very naturally into this view.
On the Soul and the Resurrection continues the dialogue between St. Macrina and her brother St. Gregory of Nyssa. In this installment, we have some kinda iffy Greek ideas about atoms, emotions, and the soul, but there’s a strong ending.
Btw, it turns out that icons of St. Macrina the Younger (ie, this one, not her grandmother the martyr) often depict her in the seat of a teacher/philosopher, or bearing a scroll.
An Introduction to the Devout Life continues, as our friendly neighborhood bishop points out that you shouldn’t play with people’s hearts or waste their valuable time, and comments unfavorably about the wisdom of courtly love as a party game. It sounds like he had to do a lot of patching up of broken hearts in his day….
UPDATE: Link fixed. Thanks.
An Introduction to the Devout Life continues, with some thoughts on friendship, and picking your friends wisely.
An Introduction to the Devout Life continues, with a few words on how to derive spiritual growth from being broke.