When the angel calls

On November 1st, actress Anne Bennent quoted in the literature museum in Vienna a prolonged passage from “The Greater Hope” by Ilse Aichinger:

“Tomorrow becomes today. ... Today becomes yesterday... don't you permit it. Catch hold of today! Make sure that you stay! ... Now in the hour of death. ... Pain always brings a benefit. ... Come and give Him (God) your sins, because you have nothing else. ... We're all on the way to the holy land! – Where is the holy land? – It's everywhere that shepherds watch their sheep and leave everything when the angel summons them.”

The young writer wrote this just after the war had ended in Vienna. In the 2007 edition, Ilse Aichinger concludes her “Speech to the youth” with the appeal to continue the pursuit of the “patient, but never soporific search”: “Always await this joy but never let this hope be corrupted.” On November 11th, Ilse Aichinger passed away in Vienna. dio

Very serious

by S. Kierkegaard

„One must become a Christian as a child, it must be commenced in childhood“; that is, the parents want to be exempt from becoming Christians, but then want to have a mask, and therefore this: to bring their children up to be true Christians.

The relation of the parents to the children comes to resemble the relation of the pastors to their congregations. The pastors are not exactly desirous of becoming Christians themselves either – but their congregations, they are to become true Christians. The hoax is always to get rid of the earnestness (of becoming a Christian oneself) and to introduce instead the profound earnestness (!) of wanting to make others Christians.  „Christendom,“ from generation to generation, is a society of non-Christians; and the formula for the way this happens is this: the individual himself is unwilling to be a Christian, but takes it upon himself to beget children, who are to become Christians; and these children in turn conduct themselves in the same way. God sits in heaven – made to look like a fool.

From: Kierkegaard, Søren (1855). The Moment

The barn allegory

by V. E. Frankl

How does the average person see ‘time’?

He only sees the stubble field of mortality – but he doesn't see the full barns of the past. He'd like the time to freeze so that everything stops fading; however, that way he is similar to a man hoping for the mower and threshing machines to stand still and to work at the very same place instead of working while moving; because when the machine keeps moving on the field, he shudderingly sees the enlarging stubble part while ignoring the increasing amount of grain inside the machine.

That way, the only thing humans tend to notice with past things is their absence; they do not see the granaries they have been brought into. They say: it's gone because it is evanescent – however, they should say, it's gone; after meeting time ‘one time’, they are immortalised 'for ever’.

From: Frankl, Victor E. (1964). Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy 

Fighting for the heritage

by J.-M. Lustiger

In the patristic heritage you can find texts that are part of a theological and spiritual continuity so strong that no one could tell if they are of Christian or of Jewish origin.

The traditional polemic against the synagogues was fighting for the heritage, other than rejecting the heritage which is practised by the modern anti-Semitism.

It's wrong to state that Israel had not acknowledged the Messiah as the primordial church was a Jewish one. 

From: Lustiger, Jean-Marie Cardinal (1992). The choice of God 

Shimon Peres, died 28th September, 2016

I am convinced, that life is not about what you are, but what you do. 

Titles have never impressed me. I have, I believe, understood early on, that as a public person you should not reign but serve the people. I prefer serving over reigning. 

Early on I became aware that we have nothing. Israel is a very poor country. Small, dry, a rather barren than promised land. However, I then realised, we have a great treasure - the people.

My entire life, I tried to help others. If I help others, I help myself.

Before I go to bed, I make a list of all mistakes I made throughout the day.

From an interview of the Bild newspaper from 6th June, 2013, shortly before his 90th birthday.

Shear Yashuv Cohen, Rabbi of Haifa, died 5th September, 2016

He was the first rabbi in history who was asked to speak in front of the committee of bishops in the Vatican; invited by Benedikt XVI. In this speech on 6th October, 2008, Rabbi Cohen said:

“Between our people and our belief and the Catholic church, there is a long, difficult, and painful history that is drenched in blood and tears. My presence, I am deeply aware, is a sign of hope, a message of love, coexistence and peace for us as well as for generations to come.

Your invitation is also a confirmation that you are ready to proceed your teachings in a direction, which called us ‘our older brothers’ and ‘the People of God’, with whom he has closed an eternal pact – a statement we appreciate deeply. I thank God, who let's us have this day together.”

Full text of the speech (German)

Peter Esterhazy, died 14th July, 2016

“I do no live radically enough.

I live as if I had an eternal future ahead of me, not total doom. This means, I live in the servitude of my future and not in the infinite freedom of my mortality.”

From: Borchard, Ralf (2016). Ich lebe, als erwarte mich ewiges Dasein. Deutschlandradio. Available at http://www.deutschlandradiokultur.de/zum-tod-von-peter-esterhazy-ich-lebe-als-erwarte-mich.2165.de.html?dram:article_id=360182 (Accessed 22 July. 2016). 

Elie Wiesel, died 2nd July, 2016

“The sincere Christian knows

that what died in Auschwitz was not the Jewish people but Christianity.”

From: Cargas, Harry James ed. (1978). Responses to Elie Wiesel


by C. S. Lewis

“It is far better to make people live in the future.

It is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities. Nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead. Our work (the work of the devil) aims to lead people away from the present and eternity, because the present is where eternity touches time.”

From: Lewis, C. S. (1942). The Scretape Letters: Letters from a Senior to a Junior Devil

The small difference

by J. Pelikan

“Tradition is the living faith of the dead;

traditionalism is the dead Faith of the living.”

From: Pelikan, Jaroslav (1971). The Christian Tradition