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Rule of Benedict Novice Class # 2 - 1990s

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This is going to be our final session, I believe, of this series, because next week we have a forum on Thursday, not just this one, but the week after, Richard Rohr is giving two talks, I believe, on that whole violence and the sacred thing, Gil Bailey and René Girard, so that will be Thursday and Friday. And the following week, Bede is supposed to begin with this, the following week will be Holy Thursday. Now, if you want to do a session on the liturgy of Holy Week, something like that, it would be better to do it earlier. If you're interested in that, just let me know and we can do it. Otherwise, we'll pass it up and let Holy Thursday just be itself. So we do it on Holy Thursday morning, if you want to do it. It's indifferent to me, we can do it either way. I used to do that sometimes in a class, but we do it before Palm Sunday, so that we get the whole perspective. Doing it on Holy Thursday is kind of like...


We have special readings or something. Well, the liturgy of Holy Week is very particular, especially the Easter vigil, of course, because So, it's of advantage to go over it beforehand. You might be familiar with it already, but you might want a refresher. I was just talking about our prospect for the classes, because this is the last one of the series. Next week is Forum. Then, after that, Richard Rohr is giving those two talks on Thursday and Friday. And then Bede. And in the middle is Holy Thursday. If they want to run through the liturgy of Holy Week, we could do that for a class. That would be great. Excuse me, I'm bleeding profusely from my... No, I just keep cutting the same thing when I shave. Did you get the questions on Chapter 3? I think you've got the other one.


I don't think so. And then, I should have given you this beforehand. You didn't get the B. Griffiths one, did you? We're probably not going to talk about this, but it's just a part of the Marriage of East and West. That was kind of a collateral reading for the part on the church. And this is a Martin article, which we will get. You probably remember this one before. We probably did it together. That's from contemplation and love of action. Because this is what we're doing now. We're in the middle of this third chapter of Consider Your Call. And the church and the Lord. So, Martin, let's end this thing. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. May the Father help us. Give us your Spirit. Help us to love and to live. Which we thank you for. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. Last time, we got as far as question 22, I think.


In fact, you were running out of questions, so you're going to do it this time. That's around page 34 in the Consider Your Call chapter. Here it is. This is a dense chapter. It requires careful reading to see exactly what he's going to get. Because he'll be juggling three or four different ideas at the same time. They're kind of mathematics. The balance between the inner world and the beyond is one of the aspects of the church's mission.


So he gives you kind of a caricature of both of the extremes. And then, he says one... It says, I guess, on the belt does not offer a code of ethics for heaven over some closed, ecclesiastical world. It says how men should live in the present age. Yeah, that's the caricature of that side. Or, an unworldly recipe for heaven is less of a strategy. Which would just put everything in the future and leave you without any interaction with the now. Straight to question 24. And the other side of that is where religion, or our faith, simply becomes synonymous with social justice, technological progress, or personal fulfillment.


See, he's back to a lot of that. Because he's got three different versions of that this world may think. One, the self-realization, culture, you know, which is prevalent. Especially in the neighborhood of Esso. And the technological dream. And then social justice itself, all of which are, you know, important. Especially social justice and personal realization. But they're not the whole thing. You can imagine the tussles. When you see the tussles between people who say, this is it. You know, social justice is it. We've been ignoring this. This is the one essential thing. And they leave everything else behind and go for that. So he's trying to give a balance which will prevent that. Nietzsche, the great prophet of modernity, forecasts that technological, scientific advancements will become these monstrous skyscrapers.


So actually, you'll think that there'll be more good that will be immediately given to the world from this progress. But they become more and more, once the image of skyscrapers grow away from the center of the world, out into space, and become more and more in their own little universe and stuff, and less connected to all of society. It's kind of a scary image. It's a good image. And the one that I think of that parallels it perfectly is the computer. Which promises infinite kind of expansion, acceleration, and everything. But you're growing away from the earth into a kind of cubicle. The kind of cubicle of computer technology, even. Or of having reality in such a way that it's not reality anymore. Because it's detached from everything else. You can be in a cube of an office with a computer and think you've got the whole universe there and not really be in touch with anything. I'm not saying it's bad, it's only that's the shadow stuff. You get these breakthroughs which seem to be quantum accelerations,


where everything seems to multiply all of a sudden and become better. Incredibly better. Incredibly more promising. Like the stock market in the 20s. But you're moving away from your center. From the earth. Okay, that interdependence of life and mission. This is complex, because he's weaving back and forth. And he's talking about one thing in two different lights. Or he's talking about two things in two different lights, or something like that. So there's a little subtlety about it all. One example is... Seminar about ethics. Those ethics are both in this world and out of this world. Second example is engagement in the political.


And transcendence of human positions and human values, human issues, problems. The third example about virginity and celibacy repair directly on monasticism. It's got a here and it's got a beyond to it. If it doesn't verify itself in the here by the love of other people, then it's not valid. And yet essentially it's a commitment to the beyond. So the both end is that, between what's essential and what's accidental? Is that what you're getting at? The both end is between the here and the beyond. This worldly and the other worldly are transcendent and existential. The way he's talking on this page, 34. But in terms of our relation to Judaism...


Oh, that's the next one. That's the next thing he does at the bottom of the page. I was just straying down to that because it's very interesting. He's got two cases there. One is a case of Judaism and the Gentiles. And Paul. The other is our situation now, like with the Eastern religions. And there's a parallel between those two. And the thing that challenges you to a new vision of your own tradition, of your own spirituality, is the encounter with the other tradition, which makes you ask the question, what's really essential? What's the real identity of Christianity? What are its essential elements? And what is an accident? What is the body and what is clothing like? The same question that Paul has to ask when he does away with circumcision and all those things. It's very interesting. So there you really see how the two are interlocked. The encounter, or mission you can call it, and the self-reflection and the sense of identity.


They're inseparable. And if you didn't have that challenge, you might never make that purifying reflection. Because that's what Paul has to do. When Paul encounters the Gentile world, he's got to cut right down to the core of Christianity and say, what is it really? What is essential? How much do we have to keep and how much can we let go of the tradition of Israel? So he cuts right to the bone. I can see Pete Griffiths trying to do the same thing, whether it's successful or not. It's interesting to reflect on how dependent we are on Judaism. Just to wonder, would Christianity make sense without the Hebrew scriptures? I've thought about that one a lot of times. Would it make any sense at all? I think a lot of people are trying to live with Christianity without that background. They don't like the Bible. They don't care about it. It's easy to get into that.


I'm inclined to do it sometimes. But just looking at the change, looking at the explosion that happens with the coming of Christ and the newness of that, which is so exciting. And then using Israel as a background. Isn't there a heresy closely connected with that? Is it Marcion? Marcion is a heresy. They rejected the Old Testament. They said that was a bad demiurge. The real God is the one that comes out from Jesus. Was that pre-Early, like 4th or 5th century? No, that was around 3rd century. 2nd or 3rd century. He would take what he thought were diametrically opposed texts of the Old Testament and the New Testament, put it together, and see how opposite it is. There must be a rift. There must have been a change, a battle in Argonne or something. Those heresies are beautiful because there are theology teachers in the world. It's just like the things they're talking about. The confrontation forces you to clarify


and forces you to come back and find yourself again. Find where home is. Find what's true. It's like the thing we were talking about with the mission, the encounter with the other tradition. The heresy forces you to re-verify the truth of your faith. And to find it once again, and experience it once again, at least intellectually. Sometimes, though, it throws you off on the other side. It can. You can react against it. Like Arianism did. The Church reacted against it so vigorously that it suppressed the Incarnation. Reformation. That's the thinking. Yeah, both ways. And the Reformation, I guess you could say catapulted us in the direction we had to go in, but at the same time, it inflicted a terrible wound for 500 years. It put us into a defensive posture. Right. The Enlightenment phase.


Awesome. In terms of casting off foes, none of you have done that. It was essential. If we let it happen, it's on the other side. See, the Reformation, instead of making us re-find what was essential, it made us hang on to what was not essential. Us. It made us do that. Roman Catholicism. Because what we did was we closed down at that time and said, the Church as it is now is perfect and everything is equally essential. Nothing can be criticized. By and large. Not entirely true. Because Trenton was a Reform too. But there were an awful lot of things that were kept and made permanent. Attempted to be made permanent. I think you're right in the sense that it makes us re-evaluate that sometimes it takes time to really look back at the conflict and see a more balanced position. Sometimes generations emerge


I still think we're undoing the Reformation. We're undoing it, but we're also assimilating it. Because Vatican II is really our acceptance of a lot of the Reformation. It'll take generations to accept Vatican II. I think we're undoing Vatican II now. Martin says that we've come so late to realize our defensiveness. It's like we shouldn't congratulate ourselves because we're so late on this recognition. It's even put more starkly on page 35. I think it's coming up in a question. Page 35 of this report. It talks about the floodgates being opened. The result of this long period of defensive withdrawal is that now, in the post-conciliar era, when the floodgates have been opened, the Church is singularly ill-equipped to meet the challenge of critical transformation. It's a central mission for the general preservation of that orthodoxy with which the post-Tristantean Church was so


preoccupied. So it's like we're like babies thrown into this floodwater trying to figure out how to catch up on that. Everything that we've missed, how to reintegrate the world when we haven't been doing that for 500 years. It's interesting. Sometimes there's a parallel crisis in the morality of the clergy for the sexual problems for the clergy and so on. It's a similar imagery. When you said babies thrown into the floodwaters, it reminded me of that. A lot of these pedophilia things and so on that happen. There's some kind of gap in growing up that's happened in the Catholic clergy. Okay. His point here is that the same conditions obtained for the living of the Gospel is for its proclamation for the mission and for the being of the life. Critical transformation of the world


and self-reflection are required for both. Now notice here he's talking about critical transformation of the world. Down below he's talking about critical transformation of the Church itself, I think. And the part that we just read is a shift here. Which I suppose is implicit in the way he's talking. The transformation is not just outside. And the criticism is not just outside either. But the self-reflection means there's an internal transformation as well. Then he brings back these three characteristics of the contemporary world. Complexity, crisis, and the search for solutions. Somehow I don't find complete satisfaction in them. Where is that? That's the start of D there, the contemporary situation I was talking about. See, he invoked those three at the beginning. He picked those out in the other chapter, I think, the three characteristics. It would be interesting to compare


Panettore's book with all of this because remember he's precisely comparing contrasting the monastic tradition plus its simplicity with modern world as what he called harmonious complexity. He calls it secularity versus simplicity. So he's doing a lot of making the same two columns very often, but something else is left out, and that's the Church. He doesn't consider that at all. It's a different kind of contemplation of monasticism. The Church doesn't figure. Except maybe as an institution, a kind of gray thing floating around there somewhere. He doesn't have a theological sense of the Church. It's a gray cubicle. Really? A gray cubicle. Gray evidence. And we know it's good, isn't it? Okay. So we talked about the defensive and negative attitude of Christian Church. The big thing is not so much


a tactical finding out how to handle the modern world or something. It's finding the confidence of what Christianity really is from the inside. Like the light and the energy coming from the inside out once again. It finds itself confident with a minimum of baggage to encounter everything. Because after all it has the energy within it for the transformation of the world, for new creation. Okay, so then he points out how this encounter with the world is not only a matter for the individual but a matter for the community. It's obvious in a way, but he's coming at it from this side. As the community does it, the individual can't do it. And then up on Tablet 36, he talks about the times when the established religious institutions become an obstacle to the process of


intervention, by its structure, attitudes and behavior. Looking through B. Griffith's stuff, that's one of his... He writes these articles to the Tablet in which he says, well, I've met a number of young believers for whom the Church is an obstacle to their growth rather than a help. He's writing for Indian people who came to the ashram who had left Christianity as they knew it over here. There's nothing else. Then he gives a couple of examples of... It was hard for me to understand exactly what he's illustrating here, but it seems to be this relationship between the Church and the world, and the indispensable... the way you can't separate them. And the Church, for its own growth, has to be using the things of the world in a way, has to be kind of digesting the world. Also, I mean, religious


institutions are by their nature conservative, because their job is to conserve. Their job is to preserve. One of the troubles is that we I think we just say we abstract institution from the living Church. And we both don't have a sense of that whole organism, or the whole thing that the Church is, which is also spiritual, which is like soul and spirit and body, you might say. We just see the body of the institution. We keep lambasting that. But that's split between institution and the totality of the Church. It seems like this... Yeah, that we need the individuals says here that the individual really can't decide this on his own basis and stuff, that you really got to integrate in the larger Christian's community. But then, what we're faced with is that the Christian community then, with that


abstraction, gets stuck in its framework and stuff like that. So then it almost like it needs the world to shatter that larger vessel so that the Church can see where and how it's got to adapt, and then can better lead the individuals into integrating all this stuff. It's a clunky process. So he has to do a kind of convoluted wrestling match here. Interesting that he asks for them to remain open to the tension, and that's the thing. Institutions don't like the tension, really. The institution naturally wants to suppress the tension, and it has an authority to do it with, too. Like the authority of the Magisterium and all its policies. It's very strong. This whole issue of... Was that a letter from


the Congregation of the Faith? There isn't room for dissent. I don't remember that whole thing. What document was that? I don't remember. Not long ago. Yeah. It was only a few years ago, right? Yeah, yeah. But somehow... So you can call it dissent, but there's something else there. There's an interaction between the Prophet and the Priest, or the Prophet and the King, which was already there in the Old Testament and should be there. Interaction between the Word and the Spirit, in a sense. It's got to be there within Christianity, but it's very hard to make room for it. And it's almost like the Word, and I'm saying this grossly and inaccurately, but it's almost like the Word cannot speak a word which will encompass the other reality and thereby legislate for it, because precisely the other reality is not Word. It's almost like masculine and feminine. The masculine cannot conceptualize the feminine


in a way which will govern it, because precisely the feminine is that which resists conceptuality and being contained in that way. So, it's a strange kind of encounter for that reason. The instrument that's trying to be... It isn't effective in that other domain. It can't handle it. Except in you know, there are always happy bubbles happening. There's so many good and thriving parishes and stuff where people just leave the church after a service full of life. With that, reading a book by Anselm Grund, a German, Benedictine, and it's part of this little series by Scheiner, Michigan, a Benedictine publishing house in Nebraska, and it's called The Challenge of Silence, and he'll actually talk about


the desert monks being a-verbal, being without the word, because, you know, they know, in one sense they know the word upside down, backwards and forwards, but in another sense, because of their strict discipline in not allowing internal chatter to occur. And even for long periods of meditation, confining themselves to one word, like half of a verse from scripture, and just meditating on that for hours and days, it's sort of a non-word love. Actually, the way he writes it is really good. It's something about to grow in the spirit they went without the word, or something like that, but it's that same thing that's really powerful. There's a truth to it, there's a reality, which is prior to the word. Prior to the word, and that's what monasticism is about. This desert father gave away his own scriptures to


Yes, he sold his Bible because the Bible sold it to him. It's kind of a catch-22, I guess. Nothing else to say, anyway. I'm going to give it to him for three years. Silence. Went back into silence. Now, the silent dimension is what monasticism is about, I think. But that too needs a discernment, because there are different kinds of silence. Some of them are vicious. Some monks could be silent all week, and then come out with a hatchet and go and burn down a church or something. There's all kinds of things that grow in silence. But when it's real, that's this dimension of, I don't know, the undivided, in the sense that you go east when you do that, I think. You go back to the undivided, where you don't even divide God from nature, God from life. You're aware of both at the same time. Reality is still undifferentiated, and good. Merton knew a lot


about that. He liked to write about that. I think the Roman concept of government has a lot to do with instruction, because a lot of corporations nowadays are based more on a dynamic model, versus the static model, which over a period of time, business is dying, isn't it, and kind of fluctuating with the market. And I think the Church would build its model, Goldstein talked about that, listening to people's needs, modifying the authority to meet the needs, more of a dynamic model. And you see a lot of fluctuations between Christian churches, especially Protestant, there's so much variety, quite a different variety of Church models, and you see effectiveness too, quite. Church was very dynamic


in the beginning, wasn't it? Certainly was. Partly because it was on the rock, and maybe that's what we can learn from these, so rigid, so unmodifiable laws. Before it became a cultural thing, it really was an experience of enlightenment, and we've got the homily for this Sunday, I keep going back to that. It was really, it was a powerful You know, Paul's conversion, for instance, this was a shocking thing to suddenly believe in the Church. It wasn't because you were a red-faced humanoid about to be dipped in the water, it was a conscious decision to embrace this radical new cosmos, really. Yeah, it was an overwhelming experience. We don't get to sense that very often.


We don't get a sense of that quite as often. Sense of? Of that conversion experience. That baptism is a conversion experience, because it's given to us early, we don't make that choice. So sometime later, there's that call to choose, to accept the baptismal promises. Maybe that's what every Lent is about. Maybe that's half my homily, I should shut up. Is he serious? We won't tell anybody. You can still hear him. The monastery in the world. Where are we going? Is there a question? I just want to make sure we finish. This is the last chance I have to present this material. Please. Okay, he's got four aspects of monastic life which illustrate these things at the bottom. An external relationship


with the monastery. A big axe that he keeps grinding is that the monks can't solve their problems just in a monastic world, just in a monastic context. Somehow the problems are bigger than the monastic world, and therefore they have to be aware of what's going on outside, and respond to that in a larger horizon. Are you talking of the four aspects being the style, the form, the observance, the attitudes? Yeah, that's right. And then he's got four or five issues at the top of the next page. There are a couple of numbers in my margin. Which the monks share with everybody else. There are different importances. For instance, that emphasis on the worth of the human person, that's a historical margin.


The attempt to find a new style of exercising authority. That's something, too, that so much attack in the West is the structures of authority and all sorts of philosophy and literary criticism about that. All sorts of stuff. And even within our community we're wondering about that. You can see how the Benedictine tradition would tighten up at that point. The way this rule is constructed is absolute monarchical authority. And that's the center beam of the whole structure. So when modern work comes along and questions that, you can see how Benedictine would close the doors and go right back. We live in another century. When modern work comes along and questions that, did you say? No, when the modern world comes along. Oh, when the modern world. I was going to say, I was challenged. So at that point see, the Benedictines absolutely have to take a bigger point of view than their own tradition. Otherwise the only alternatives they have are


to surrender or to dig in and resist. They've got to. They can't solve it from within the Benedictine rule. So they're driven back to the gospel in some way and forward to contemporary experience. The same thing is true of the church. It's awful that it's like a world war when this stuff is happening because everybody is not in the same place. So people, people's faiths, people's whole life is built upon some of these realities which they haven't been able to question. They haven't had the freedom or the education to question. Suddenly people start chopping away at it. It's awful. History is merciless. So they have to move from


simple, integral belief in one thing to simple, integral belief in something else because they're not able to do anything else. They're very easily misled. Anyway, then, it's beautiful. This is my own stuff, this questioning of power structures in an environment especially where so much of the growth talking with a visitor we had from Canada who was at a vocation yesterday who was with a large community in Canada for a while. He said that the way he said it crystallized things for me that he thought and understood that Benedict in monastic life was that you grow into God's will


by having, by not being able to exercise your own will by constantly, by the practice of obedience and doing what you're told, you somehow learn over time how to drive your will. I mean, that's obvious, but just the way he said it somehow crystallized it for me. But then, how to do that in this culture in time where it's often suggested to us to challenge things and to try to improve things, just that tension. Am I being too prideful and willful here? Am I being stubborn and stupid? Or am I, am I really honestly discerning? Am I doing the right thing in trying to fix a situation that has less or more injustice about it? It's very difficult because you seem to be going two directions at once. You want that total commitment through the medium of authority, because that's what the will gives us. And at the same time


there's this also gospel example of Jesus, you know, of questioning. Questioning and saying, call no man your father. It's absolute, you see. So he doesn't give us an easy... That was perceptive of that Walsh personality. Because in a way, the Benedictine will seems to be, in a way, it seems to be pre-personal, okay, in the sense that the individual person hasn't really won a right to exist and to freedom and to consciousness. And it's as if the chemistry of the rule is working before that process of individual call it individuation takes over, you know, and doesn't need it but we're in a different age. Well, you can't miss his point because he says it ten times. But you can't solve it as Tim said the last time. That's why we have a telephone book.


So you can see that there's something he said to labor over in his own, probably fight over in his own monastery. Anything else you want to talk about before we move over to discuss Mark? Just the very final words of the first chapter I wonder if that's there's quite a bit in the last part of the sentence a monastery, going towards his goal, a monastery may be a Christian community where men may experience God and be able to communicate that experience to others. Yeah, in some sense that's beautiful, it sounds really good but in another sense it's it's kind of I don't know maybe saying a lot I wanted to say that it's much more cataphatic than apathetic but how


I just don't know what I thought about that. What are you feeling about that? It's a Bedean type of question. Because there's something there that sticks for you what is it? Just that communicate that experience to others. There's something I think about the monastery that's supposed to take away external distractions that allow for the interior journey and the hard work of that and then allow for God and individuals to come together, of course with community and people and stuff but for that individual thing whereas here it makes it look like you're dipping into a honey bowl and giving it to others. It sounds like another mediation. We're the proprietors we're the local branch and we can supply the commodity. It sounds like that. Are they wanting to prove it? Yeah.


I think he was so tired after all that brain work that he just wrote that back. I said, is that enough to do it? Sounds great. Let's end it that way. It doesn't have the rigor of his earlier work. Rigor and motivation for his earlier work. Because it's a nice idea if it were possible. So... Communicate that experience to us. Sounds a little Dominican. Yesterday in the woods... Well, we could have an area in the woods where supernatural experiences were prepared. You take people on a walk and some kind of spirit comes out of the trees. That's the tree on the way to my house. It's the womb tree. Yeah. Do you have encounters? I try not to talk about it. People get jealous.


Everybody wanted a tree. Okay. So Merton he's funny the way he starts out. This was an article in Commonweal back in 1966. He liked it so much he put it in his book. I don't know whether he clowns it up a little more here than he did in Commonweal. Because he talks about a chapter. And he's got one simple thing to say throughout the throughout the article in a way. You can't objectify, you can't separate, you can't put the world out there. He's got that quote from Camus down the bottom. If I've got it right, when will I be more true than when I am the world? So that's what he wants to say. Now you can feel a little of the


Eastern influence here, Merton, maybe at that time. Because that's non-duality. You can't really objectify, you can't really dualize and say, okay, here am I, there's the world, I'm leaving the world, I'm rejecting it, I'm leaving it behind. And he gets to that, I think, by starting in a very Western way when he says that he loves Peter. There's sort of this intellectual realization that the world is in when he talks about that. But then at the end he goes to this Meister Eckhart quality who himself is in some ways Eastern. And this dive both into yourself and also into the all. So the interior and exterior unity between that. So the oneness of everything. Sounds kind of pedantic at the end. If you go inside your fun solution to all your problems it's an introverted solution it seems to me, okay, which not everybody would accept. I think our author in Consider Your Call on that chapter is taking a much more practical


grappling with the contemporary world in a much more practical way. And also he doesn't, you don't hear in him that confidence in the purely interior journey or finding that interior ground, he doesn't talk about that kind of stuff. You mean research? Yeah, research. Whoever it is that's doing that chapter. And there are complementary points of view. But I'm not sure that Merton's solution is completely, it's one of those like homilies, you know, spiritual homilies, which it isn't so easy to work it out in life. And I have a couple of question marks here where I write down, how do you do this? Yeah. He gets summoned, so by the time he's got a door he can close it. 1966. I had never read this article before. It is very funny. It is, yeah. Although his sarcasm itself gets kind of thick,


kind of viscous at the bottom of this first page. This is not the petulant and uncanonizable modern Jerome who never got over the fact that he could give up beer. So he draws a lot of attention to himself in this paper. I suppose so, doesn't he? Have you ever read Dan's Stranger? No, I don't think so. It was, I don't know, it's just a little thing, I presume it was an ever-growing circulation and he was like that in this whole, it was all describing his whole life and very much about this is what I'm not, this is what I'm not, I'm doing nothing, I'm sitting by a tree, I'm not a number in your computer, I'm not just a number. It's his idiosyncratic coming out. And he had so much to battle with. He even has to battle with his own first book. Yeah, oh yeah.


The Seven Story Mountain. So here he's not rejecting the world, he's rejecting the Seven Story Mountain. But he's always rejecting something. Okay, the old duality of time, eternity, matter, spirit, natural, supernatural and so on. Suddenly transposed into a totally different country. I don't, it's very hard for me to grab what he's talking about exactly when he talks about whether the world is an object of choice or not. Okay. It kind of eludes me and then I kind of grip on it towards the end. The world is not an object of choice, he says, in the sense that you can refuse the world that is. You can't because you are that world. On the other hand, at the end he comes around and says the world is an object of choice because you can affirm it, you can accept it, and that's what we're called upon to do, but not in a superficial way. Like people were doing it at that time, I guess. There's a wonderful sentence at the bottom


of 144. I realize how long he takes up. This world, in which there is much that is frightening, in which almost everything public is patently phony, and in which there is at the same time an immense ground of personal authenticity that is right there and so obviously no one can talk about it. That's marvelous. So when people condemn the modern world, they're only seeing one side of it. I find his historical analysis pretty interesting. There's two suggestions he talks about. The Carolingian suggestion and the Marxist suggestion. Marx and the Marx Brothers. He's got the Marx Brothers and then he's got Marxist. The way he found a certain affirmation of a reality hidden throughout this imperialistic


Carolingian period. And that despite all the problems of that, there could be, in a way that I think we're trying to re-figure out how to do now, there could be a sense of whole culture about that. And that not in a lack of freedom, but like if you were a merchant or if you were a pauper or if you were a monk or if you were a king, there's a certain sense in which that culture was so integrated that and so much of one piece that you wouldn't lust after the other person's position because it was just natural for you to be in that position and you were content where you were in a way that I don't think we can hardly imagine today. So there could be a sense of wholeness when people came together for climax or something like that. There could be a sense of everything being right, of everything being under God. Yeah, and you know, almost everybody's had to live that way forever, up until right now,


up until our time, and they still do in many parts of the world. A fixed universe in which if you're going to find it, oh, you have to find it in your own particular container, in this case. It's amazing the clarity with which he sees things, his carolingian suggestion and so on. And, you know, he was always in love with his Cistercian tradition, I think, and with the Cistercian writers and so on. So he can see the positivity there, even within the monastic tradition. He knows something about the outside of that in the 12th and 13th centuries, too. I think he's very good where he contrasts the static cosmos and static social order and static worldview with the dynamic one that's with us today. And so he sees the carolingian as the, what would you call it, the perfect example of that static order. He sees the Marxist vision as a good example of that


dynamic order, but with the shortcomings that he points out. Teilhard would be one who adopted that dynamic. Nevertheless, he was influenced by Marxism. He was a part of it. The reason why he's so suspect is that people thought he was tainted with Marxism at the time, but never agreed with it. But he does it from a Christogenic century point of view. So in the old scheme, he says, whatever move was suspect, whatever was impulsive, spontaneous, or in the monastic tradition, it will die. I used to be very devoted to that scheme of the four senses of scriptures, you know, exegesis. And finally, it dawns on me


that that's part of that static worldview in some way. And the worldview, which is also hierarchical, you know, when you move from the literal sense to the Christological sense, and you're going up until you get to the monagogical. But you're in a hierarchical society there in some way. And besides dynamism in the contemporary kind of whatever is valuable in the contemporary worldview, there's also a kind of, a sense of unity, of an interrelating whole, such that you don't have those vertical partitions, you know. You're not in the same kind of hierarchical order. The accused can well be hierarchical, I guess he is in a way. It's not the same kind of hierarchy. It's a participation in everything at once. Down at the bottom of 148, he gets to one


of his key points. Essential test of a journeyman. A journeyman, of course, is renewal, in the Italian word, ritornello. Renewing the whole perspective of theology in such a way that our ideas of God, man, and the world are no longer dominated by the imagery of the sacred hierarchical cosmos. Cosmos and society go along together. Cosmos, society, worldview, theology go along together, and moving from one paradigm to another. In which everything is decided beforehand, in which the only choice is to accept gladly what is imposed as part of the immobile and established social structure. So he's made that clear. So what's the counter-pull to that? Be something involving freedom and creativity, mobility, divinism. That sounds like a world in which everything is settled into form, and in which movement doesn't have anything rigid


or in place. He might also be able to say in which everything has been masculinized, but I don't know. Negative tend to this thing about the world as an object of choice for you. It seems that he has a middle 149. He says to choose the world is to choose to do the work I am capable of doing in collaboration with my brother to make the world better, more free, more just, more livable, more human. It has now become transparently obvious that mere automatic rejection of the world and contempt for the world is in fact not a choice but the evasion of choice. He has the words mere automatic.


That's good. It's almost like he's he's almost wanting to be everywhere. Yeah, there's that danger. It's kind of a compensation of the person who is confined between the walls of the monastery. And there's probably quite a lot of that in Merton. His spirit is pushing outwards and there can be a certain undifferentiation in that pressure. Certain naivety, a certain simplicity. It's easy for that to And then you've got to be careful of the definition of world in talking about those things too. Because Merton, in his prophetic writings, is very critical of the world. That the world is carefully defined as being the world of unjust social structures and the military, industrial, political, economic complex and that whole thing and so on. The demons that are out there rather than the creative ones.


Or the world of human creativity. Okay, then he starts hacking at the superficial kind of world affirmation, the kind of bubbly froth of the 1960s. Post-Vatican II time. The Vatican II, because the Council just ended a little before this was published. And then we get to the suggestion out of Groucho or Harpo with Karl Marx here. 150. I've never found a good summary of that aspect of Marxism which is fascinating. Because Teilhard's notion for it is moving from cosmos to cosmogenesis. Because the world at first is created and evolving sort of automatically as it's pushed from behind. And then at a certain point in the middle of creation, in the middle of the world, an intelligent free thing is there which is able to continue evolution from


within itself with freedom and creativity. Now that's fascinating. And to some extent it's certainly true. But it's capable of a kind of inflation to preposterous lengths. Because we're mortal after all. Matter has reached the point in man where it can become fully aware of itself, take itself in hand, control its own destiny. And now at last a great seething mass of material forces of will enter upon its true destiny by being raised to equal and level. It's kind of beautiful. I would fall for that. The trouble is science isn't enough to do it. Technology and cybernetics. Because then you get these Stalinist and fascist


solutions, you know, of manipulating and managing the world and humanity into a new form which would brutal and heartless. And ethics has no purpose. No. The managers. That's one of the most terrifying things in the modern world, is managed humanity. Look at Communist China and the Cultural Revolution and stuff like that. They change the policy and wipe out millions of people and do just awful things. Out of the head. Out of the brain. So really what happens is Marx does the same thing. He writes about the same kind of... That's what he complains about, is that Marx ends up with a solution without freedom of creativity, an obligatory solution, he puts it, you know, where some darn image is taken over and is driving everything in a demonic way, managing it and controlling it. Another system of control. Interesting, because Rohr's


going to talk about, you know, that Girard and Gil Bailey thing, but in a sense it's back to that. There's got to be an enemy. So now Marx says the enemy is imperialism, the enemy is capitalism. Yep. The medieval Christian thing would have been the enemy is, let's say, is the world. The world, the flesh and the devil, whatever. And who would fertilize themselves with it. Nietzsche has a line where he talks about young people of his day always wanting to cast an enemy outside of them. Somewhere in the world there's an enemy. It's a monster that's got to be fought rather than do the interior search. At the bottom of 151 he compares both of these systems, the Carolingian and the Marxist, and says there is only one choice to submit to the decision handed down from on high by authoritarian power which defines good and evil in political terms. Or no, maybe that's just about Marx, or maybe it's both. No, I think that was just about


Marx. But similar to the Carolingian. Well, he says it's the same crazy Marx Brothers opera, so he's identifying the two suggestions as he calls them at that point. Okay, the medieval one and the Marxist one. Both of them extinguish freedom and true humanity. He's probably got the image of Abbott Fox floating in his mind when he's writing this. He's just been refused a trip to Cuba. He was brought back in a military airplane for the rest of the season. You haven't had so much rent in five years. Okay, then he's got


Apostle Christian attempts, and then he's got one of his respects here at the bottom of 152. But then the tendency is no longer to regard God as enthroned up there, or up there to some of the cosmos, but as the absolute future. That's practically Rahner's language. He speaks of God as the absolute future. Well, manifest himself in and through man by the transformation of man in the world by science oriented. There's something wrong with that. That's the weak member of that whole thing. In some ways, science isn't equal to that. There's got to be a lot of other stuff. It's a growth of the whole person as if humanity were one person. The whole thing has to grow. It's like this is saying, the growth of the brain will take care of everything. I really think that


Descartes, back in the time of Israel, really thought that because of his brilliant new idea of just a purely rational approach, just living out of the head, he was really going to figure out, he was really deeply afraid of death, and was going to find a way to stab off death by compiling scientific data. Once he came up with this great method, just in a matter of years, the world would have united its scientific energy and brought everything together into total controlled life. Even in the 17th century. Totally controlled life. Irrational life. Which is what that dream is really going in the 18th century is the time of enlightenment. He figured he could do that. And then the disasters of the 20th century, the world wars, Nazism, and so on, seemed somehow to be


the grandchild of all of that. I have profound mistrust of all obligatory answers. It took me a while to figure that out. But those are what he's been talking about before, the authoritarian suggestion of somehow terminating and quenching freedom. But I find his analysis of history pretty interesting. Taking those two mountains, as it were, of the medieval Christian solution and the Marxist solution. Because he sees most of the world, or half of the world, dominated by Marxism. In some ways, the pathos of humanity in this situation, where he talks about the demonic gap when he's talking about the stuff prelude to the obligatory answers, the demonic gap between expressed aims


and concrete achievements in the conduct of the Vietnam War. In fact, in a certain sense, you can totally understand why even good people would get wrapped up in the Vietnam War. Because, you know, Northern Vietnam was trying to rip up Southern Vietnam. And despite the French and all that stuff, all the boundaries that were drawn in on that, but in another sense, you know, just the horrible, almost Marxist mentality on the part of the US government and the War Department about how to run the war was horrific. Yeah. It ends up being a war against humanity. And that's one of those places where you can see the objectification thing would have broken down. That is, the enemies out there and all of a sudden, that was a real moment of maturity for America wasn't it, for the States. A real time of growing up


where we weren't fighting a just war this time. Because through World War II, we were always right. There was always a just war. Yeah, I wonder if that's what causes you so much of the different novels that came out, the personal novels that came out from soldiers in Vietnam. It totally shattered their own view of their self and realized that somehow the enemy was also inside. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, they didn't need that kind of experience in the middle of fighting. I think Vietnam's still going on in 66, isn't it? Oh, sure, yeah. That was just a little after the Johnson time. Okay. When the world is hypothesized, we can't rely on these fictions. Now he gets into his


spiritual interpretation, moving from this dualizing objectification to a non-dual, unitive point of view. In the last few pages there. The way to find the real world is not really to measure and observe what's outside, it's to discover our own inner ground. That's where the world is, first of all, in my deepest self. But when he finds it in his deepest self, he finds the world already transformed in some way. Then you have to bring that out. It's the obligatory answer that they always make. So when you find the deepest ground, somehow Rush Hour isn't Rush Hour anymore? That's right. I think his answer is too glossy. That the world


cannot be a problem to anyone who sees ultimately that Christ and all his brothers and sisters on the ground are made one and the same created by love. Even with seeing redemption, grace and love, you're going to have lots of problems still. It does answer some problems, some critical problems. It's an elevation for ourselves and other people. But the fact that you have to deal with other people is always going to be a problem. I think he's been half of the answer. It's like his answer is Go East. He sounds like he's writing from India. He's very much what Perkins was saying. Find the source, find the inner ground, find the undivided, the blind. But that's only half the answer. He was being too poetic, I think. Yeah. Well, he's too confident


of his own answer after being so sarcastic about the other situations. He's a little bit too confident about his brother. Yeah, there's a certain smugness about him. This is the day the stranger had that too. A certain smug... It goes along with the sarcasm. It's the other side of the sarcasm. It's the smugness about his own answer. And that's in continuity with the Seven-Story Rock and that kind of smugness. So his answer is beautiful, but incomplete in some way. And it doesn't solve these problems to evolve, to offer a theoretical, theological, mental, and, you know, spiritual answer. Was that the other half of what he didn't answer? The other half is what Isaac was talking about.


Because half is the interior solution. You go inside and find the source. But the other half is really bringing what you bring from that source to meet the challenge and having to work out the nitty-gritty of the personal interaction and the world interaction, the practical problems. Consider your co-author, I think, is more in touch with than Martin is at this point. In many ways, it creates a lot of problems. You can't just shut out the enemy and get rid of the world. It creates a lot of problems. It's a little like the answer of Adanto or something like that. What's the problem? Go inside and find the undivided totality. The other half is the Western half of really coming to grips with the problem. We forget that interior thing. But still, I have a lot of respect for what he's doing. Sometimes in his writings he doesn't talk about


himself. Maybe just like the same excitement that he brings to writing about world problems. When he deals with the internal stuff, it can be exciting. It's certainly not as personal. He's personally involved in the world and all these things that he writes about as much as he can. He's a writer. But when he writes about the internal journey, a lot of it might be from subjective stuff, but it doesn't have the same ring of his personal experience of the interior journey. When he writes about interior things, I find it difficult to distinguish experience from literature. He's a very good writer. He's poetic enough in his prose so you can't tell if he's really coming from there or if he's thinking about there. Is he really coming from that depth of experience or is he imagining it?


Is he writing it? I don't know. Very often. I guess we better pray to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Thanks, Bill.