“Christianity is possible in every moment yet.” F. Nietzsche

 

 

 

The World and the Mask

The features of a woman that had fallen asleep in a public area suddenly seemed wonderfully beautiful in the soft evening light. But it wasn’t the light.

The jaw was not pushed forward anymore, the many conflicting emotions around the mouth region had disappeared, the all too forced self-assertive eye closed. All of the tension of having to grimace at the world had relaxed for one paradisiac moment.

Sleep, a last refuge from the multiperspectivity of the goal shot scenes in the life of the self-optimized individual – serenity even in the position of the observer. ses

The calm in the storm

June 24th, 2018, 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

For an entire day Jesus speaks to the people in parables. Before Mark talks about Jesus stepping into the boat in the evening he notes: “But to his own disciples he explained everything in private.” Now he is alone with them on a boat as a storm breaks out at sea.

Apparently this story is an explanation of the parables told: Most recently Jesus compared the Kingdom of God with the autonomously growing seed. And now, during the storm, he is sleeping. Mark even mentions that he is lying on a pillow. The master is not bothered by the fear that the boat might sink because he knows that the seed grows – without activism and fuss. The combination of boat, disciples and Jesus will not sink. This calm first transfers to the sea – and after Pentecost also to the disciples. tac

Mk 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, he said to them, “Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

What is certain

June 17th, 2018, 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

The modern consciousness defined itself absolutely, disregarding everything exterior, coincidental, historical and dogmatic: “I think, therefore I am”. The only certainty left.

Hence the emancipated, autonomous subject of the modern era developed, whose dignity and rights are laid down in many constitutions. Thus a degree of freedom and self-determination is reached that in this form has not existed in history until now. Is there a bridge leading to Sunday’s gospel? In the parable Jesus reflects on what is certain. Exegetes do not agree whether he is speaking of the seed growing on its own or the confident sower. Jesus sees a process put in motion that is initiated by the sower and in which “the earth” participates in cooperatively until it is time for the harvest. John perpetuates Jesus’ certainty (4,36): “The sower and reaper can rejoice together”. ars

Mk 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.” He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

For your information

by N. Postman

The glut of information also leads to a growing feeling of powerlessness. The news media reports of the problems in the Middle East, we hear of the destruction of the ozone layer and the extinction of the rain forests. Are we now expected to take action ourselves?

Most of us cannot actively help solve such problems and thus a feeling of passiveness and incompetence grows in people, which inevitably leads to an increased interest in oneself. If you cannot accomplish anything in the world, at least you can change yourself. You can lose weight, you can dye your hair differently, you can change the shape of your own nose or the size of your own breasts.

We are aware of and know thousands of things and are not capable of influencing them. This leads to the growth of a peculiar egotism. Even worse: Most people still believe information and still more information is what people need above all; information forms the basis of all our attempts at solving problems.

But our truly serious problems do not arise from people not having sufficient information. When a nuclear catastrophe occurs, then not because of a deficiency of information. Where people starve, the reason is not inadequate information. When families fall apart, when children are abused, when increasing crime rates terrorize a city, when the education system turns out to be powerless, then this is not because of a lack of information, but because we do not develop a sufficient consciousness of what is sensible and relevant.

Translated from: Neil Postman, Wir informieren uns zu Tode (DIE ZEIT, 2.10.1992)

Saint-Peter’s-Boat

In the Mediterranean there is a species of bright blue jellyfish that floats on the surface of the water and sails with the help of a small upward silvery skin. Since it has no other means of movement except for letting itself drift in the wind, it gets stranded on the beach in huge numbers correlating to the wind conditions, where it then dries out.

Those who are not familiar with this phenomenon first think of pollution through plastic waste at the sight of the blue colored beach. In a time, when people did not have these associations yet and the small natural catastrophe just seemed beautiful the jellyfish got the nickname “Saint-Peter’s-Boat” in the German language. But the name givers back then must have been aware that the human boat of St. Peter’s has an advantage: It does not have to strand fatefully and dry out; this boat can tack into the wind. ses

Israel

by L. Baeck

When Israel can live securely among the nations,

then the promised times will have arrived,

for then and thereby it will be proved

that faith in God has become a living reality.

From: Leo Baeck (1921), The Essence of Judaism

Inconveniences

by N. G. Dávila

When he is stripped of the Christian tunic and the classical toga, there is nothing left of the European but a pale-skinned barbarian.

 

There are no stupidities which modern man is not capable of believing, as long as therewith he avoids the faith in Christ.

 

The greatest modern error is not to proclaim that God has died, but to believe that the devil has died.

 

One does not have to despair of the atheist, as long as he does not deify man.

 

The most dangerous idea is not the wrong idea, but the half right one.

 

Modern theologies tend to be the contortions of theologians who are trying to avoid admitting their unbelief to themselves. 

 

The progressive Christian makes eyes at his enemies so that his faith may be forgiven.

 

In his apostolic zeal the modern cleric forgets that one has to adapt the way of fighting to the times, however not the message.

 

Translated from: Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Scholien (2006)

New Old Name

by E. Guerriero

The choice of name surprised many cardinals, who could have bet that Ratzinger would choose the name “John Paul III” to emphasize the continuity with his predecessor. But the new pope replied resolutely to the question provided in the ritual: “Benedict”.

From the new pope’s view, the Benedictine monasticism did not only give Europe solid roots through its balance between reason and faith, between law and love, but offered it a model through which humanism, democracy and the harmony of art and music developed.

Pope Benedict was not a naïve nostalgic, nor a dreamer, who deluded himself into thinking he could restore the conditions that had led to that intellectual movement. But through his life he wanted to show people this equilibrium between reason and faith that stood at the origin of that which had made the culture and thinking of Europe so unique. The 20th century had already sufficiently proven that Europe, when it left this path, forfeited its radiance in the world. There was no reason not to look at one’s own history, at one’s own Christian roots, with love and respect — not to pursue expansionary goals, but to find the old balance again that stands at the origin of knowledge and wisdom.

Translated from: Elio Guerriero, Benedikt XVI. – Die Biografie (2018)        

Annemarie Berkenheier

And then we’ll chat for all eternity.

Dr. Annemarie Berkenheier (1919–2010), Foto October 2008

 

Conspicuous indicators of her upper-class catholic background were pieces of furniture of such dimensions that they would not have fit in any normal apartment; a meter-sized baroque sculpture of the woman in the Apocalypse; particularly: a portrait of her father, a doctor also known as doctor of the poor in Munich – looking out through the heavy frame, bearded and serious –, that she took with her to her first office in Schiller Street near central station. There she continued the treatment of fractures she had learnt from her father: without operation. Many patients came to her for that reason, especially from rural areas. Some stayed the night, paid in kind. One patient left her a car that would not drive, which she did not realize because she never owned a drivers’ license.

A conscious and loyal companion from the first hour on. She took on young doctors in her office and continued it with them as a joint practice. There are no great deeds known of her, except that she had a sound sleep in the mornings. She spent her last years in Urfeld by the Walchensee together with her friend Helene von Ungern-Sternberg. Later on she told of a nightly conversation with her:

 

One evening, as I was sitting with Helene in her room before going to bed, we started talking about the future and also about death. And Helene said: You know, I do fear dying a little; I think to myself: If I am expected to and must answer for everything I’ve done, then I don’t know… I didn’t always do everything as I was supposed to. I don’t know what I’m supposed to say and think then.

And then I said: You know, I also think about death. But when I do, I always think of the eternal city that comes down from the heavens, adorned like a bride. When God builds the eternal city, then He’ll sit there at the end of days and look at an enormous pile of stones, all of the people that belong to it; and then, first off, He’ll sort the stones. He looks for the precious stones, the semiprecious stones, then also those with slight marks, traces of damage. He says to himself: That doesn’t matter, we can work them in. Then He looks at the others that may be more damaged and says to Himself: There are so many spots in my city where you can’t see everything, they’ll fit there as well and will be beautiful and shine. And then He selects the blocks of marble, the beautiful ones, the grained ones and the ones that have small flaws, then the bricks – He will sort everything. And when He's done He will have a big pile of stones. He’ll say to himself: Pity, they’re living  stones, but I’ll have to throw them away. Suddenly it occurs to Him: I still have to make the foundation; a city like the one I am building needs a strong, sturdy foundation. Good, He’ll say, that I still have these stones, they will all go into the foundation and then I’ll add a lot of mortar, that will bind them together so that none of them are alone. That will make for a strong foundation, on which I will build my city.

As I was telling of the stones and the sorting, Helene sat there with big, fearful eyes; when I came to the foundation her eyes sparkled and she said: Yes, you’re right: it’s enough for the foundation. And when, at some point, I’m sitting in the foundation, I’ll call out: Annemarie, are you there, too? And then you’ll say: Yes, I’m also here, sitting in the foundation, really close to you. And then we’ll chat for all eternity.

 

Before her last wish was fulfilled, she still wanted to travel to Wladiwostok on the Trans Siberian Train. A beatification process has not been initiated. ars

Cardinal Question

by J. H. Newman

There never was an age in which the Church contained so many untrue members; that is, so many persons who profess themselves her members, when they know little or nothing about the real meaning of membership, and remain within her pale for some reasons short of religious and right ones.

For instance, to put one question on the subject,—How many supporters of Christ's holy Catholic Church do you think would be left among us, if her cause were found to be, not the cause of order, as it happens to be now, but the cause of disorder, as it was when Christ came and his Apostles preached?

From: Cardinal John Henry Newman, Homily in St. Mary in Oxford, 31st May, 1840