September 28, 2008

"The Christian is the person who does not calculate..."

This is from a great book I'm reading, Ratzinger's Faith, by Tracey Rowland, p. 75...

....In particular he [Ratzinger] speaks of the twin pathologies of bourgeois pelagianism and the pelagianism of the pious. He describes the mentalité of the Bourgeois pelagian as follows: 'If God really does exist and if He does in fact bother about people He cannot be so fearfully demanding as He is described by the faith of the Church. Moreover, I am no worse than others: I do my duty, and the minor human weaknesses cannot really be as dangerous as all that.'

This attitude is a modern version of 'acedia,' —a kind of anxious vertigo that overcomes people when they consider the heights to which their divine pedigree has called them. In Nietzschean terms it is the mentality of the herd, the attitude of someone who just cannot be bothered to be great. It is bourgeois because it is calculating and pragmatic and comfortable with what is common and ordinary, rather than aristocratic and erotic....

...Contrary to the bourgeois spirit Ratzinger argues that the Christian is the person who does not calculate. A Christian with an authentic spirituality does not ask 'How much farther can I go and still remain within the realm of venial sin, stopping short of mortal sin?' Rather, the Christian is the one who simply seeks what is good, without any calculation... In contrast one can find an example of an erotic and aristocratic disposition in the prayer of St Ignatius of Loyola:
To give, and not to count the cost,
To fight, and not to heed the wounds,
To toil, and not to seek for rest,
To labor, and not to ask for any reward
Save that of knowing that we do thy will.

Posted by John Weidner at September 28, 2008 2:57 PM
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