Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Special Case of CSI

Pieper speaks of Kant's "most momentous" epistemological dogmatic assumption: all knowledge is discursive. This point is proven by many detective stories. Holmes proves his points through discursus. The great array of CSI criminal forensic experts use discursive means to solve the crimes. One comes to the knowledge of the crimes in this scientific manner. "According to Kant man's knowledge is realized in the act of comparing, examining, relating, distinguishing, abstracting, deducing, demonstrating." These are all acts of aggression. All use of the intellect is activity. It denies passivity. It precludes contemplation. It will be interesting to see how Chesterton develops his detective, Fr. Brown. Will all be solved by discursion or is there a certain passivity, a contemplation of the crime involved?

A Reflection on the Second Chapter of Leisure:The Basis of Culture

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How much do I weigh? or Wow, his rotundness is quite beautiful

Pieper quotes Junger as saying observation is an act of aggression. In this, he mentions measuring and counting and weighing as opposed to passively taking the color and beauty of a rose. These acts of aggression are scientific. These activities are scientific. I thinks he's trying to bring out a central point in the mode of understanding things. The 20th and 21st centuries have elevated scientific knowledge, acts of aggression mind you, as the sole, or rather, primary mode of knowledge. Passivity and contemplation are seen as a waster of time because they lack utility.

Reflection on Chapter II of Leisure: The Basis of Culture


As I continue to read "Leisure", I am brought to a thought I would like everyone's thoughts on. Pieper speaks of ratio and intellectus as that which produces knowledge. Is it possible to take this and compare it well to John Paul II's "Fides et Ratio"?

Saturday, July 17, 2010


"'School does not, properly speaking, mean school, but leisure." Leisure, Pieper says ,is he counterpart to work, philosophical concept of the Sabbath. I, then, find oxymoronic the phrase: school work. School means leisure. Leisure is the opposite, in a sense, of work, yet in this common phrase they are together. I found myself laughing at this insight.

Reflection on Chapter I of Leisure: the Basis of Culture

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pragmatism, the Enemy of Leisure?

"All man's gifts and faculties are not necessarily useful in a practical way; though there is no denying that they belong to a truly human life, not strictly speaking necessary, even though he could not do without them." Faculties without practicality challenge my American pragmatic sensibility. It indeed challenges things I've learned since childhood. If it is not practical, its not needed, many have told me. Philosophizing and leisure are not practical. They are not necessarily productive, despite their obvious goodness. Furthermore, they are contemplative. They require silence. Silence challenges contemporary culture's promotion of noise. I'm currently sitting in a coffee shop. The Coffee Shop XM radio station is playing. It's not loud enough to be annoying, but it's loud enough to be distracting It is preventing me from fully entering into leisure. Indeed, there's a certain bit of irony in that.

A reflection on and with a quote from the Author's Preface to the English Edition of Leisure: the Basis of Culture

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Culture and Cultus

I never made the connection between the word culture and the word cultus. I never before connected divine worship with culture. This opens up new lines of thought with regard to the phrases "culture of life" and "culture of death." Can "culture of death" be seen as worship or is it a contradiction in terms, a play on words bringing out the fact that it denies divine worship?

See the Author's preface to the English Edition of Leisure: The Basis of Culture

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fr. Schall's Foreward for Leisure: The Basis of Culture

Today is a world of novelty. It revels in new things, no doubt a result of Sarte's existentialism. Fr. Schall promotes the preeminence of ancient philosophy, something considered by most to be outdated. How can we defend his statement "knowing little or nothing before Machiavelli or Descartes is a formula for philosophical incoherence." against the culture of novelty and the denigration of the past?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"Blessed be the Name of the Lord" - Job 1:21

Recently, my Beloved has seen fit to grant my family, and I much grace. I do not say this to brag, but rather for you to see that which is often overlooked or unseen. In the Book of Job, our Beloved unveils to us that grace comes to us often through that which we see as trials, obstacles, and sufferings.
Many of us look upon trials as something evil and to be avoided at all costs; however, let us look and contemplate upon Job 1:21 and what our Beloved desires us to learn about the hidden graces.

“Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return; the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

First, we note that Job states, “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb”. You did not bring your own life into existence, and you will never have the power to bring yourself into life. Only through humility can we come to see with what Love we were a thought in God’s mind and with that same love our Beloved not only created us, but also holds us in existence with tender, fatherly affection, even during those times when we turn from Him through sin. Through humility we are also able to see that same Love becomes incarnate within the womb of Mary, the new Ark of the Covenant. Christ came to us out of love in order to take our sins upon Himself and to suffer and die in a most humiliating way in order for us to rise with Him.

Second, Job says “Naked I shall return”. Our Beloved reveals to us that when we die, we shall stand in all humility before the Eternal Judge and, without excuses, and understand how, by the way we lived our lives, we chose our eternal reward of heaven, heaven through purgatory, or hell.

The final part of the quote says, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord”. It is out of absolute eternal love that our Beloved grants us that which we need, both physically and spiritually. Many see God only as the eternal Judge Who is ready to send fire and brimstone down upon sinners. While one part of our Beloved is judge, He is also eternally merciful, forgiving, and compassionate. He desires your whole being – body and soul- to be overcome and enwrapped in His heart.

At times Our Beloved, Who desires all of this for us, allows us to experience separation from things we love or mean a lot to us. It is during these times that people often become angry, resentful, depressed, or turn their back upon He Who loves them most. We often fall into these ‘traps’ instead of trying to see what we are being taught or given. We don’t often come to understand that some things need simple faith by which we trust and fully abandon ourselves to Divine Providence.

Now, I’ll tie everything together. Job was showed people that our Beloved is merciful and loving. Job also teaches us that through many hardships – physically, spiritually, and emotionally – God is there watching and helping us as we face all that burdens us. Job 1:21 is my favorite verse because although Job’s life was crumbling and dying, he remained faithful in humility to God. He didn’t react upon emotion and wasn’t looking for some ‘feel-good’ faith; rather, Job’s relationship with God was based upon faith instead of emotion. Faith can have emotion, but ultimately, as I think St. John of the Cross would agree with me on, those emotions, those consolations are not what our relationship with God should be about. Instead, our relationship with God should be rooted in humility, realizing that whatever occurs in each present moment not only brings a lesson to us to grow in love with God, but also should be based upon simple faith, the faith of a child, that requires simple steps toward our Beloved, even when taking a step is hard because of the darkness surrounding us.

The Vacuous Star for Our Vacuous Times

I don't consider myself one who gets caught up in superstar hype. Brangelina lived in NOLA for a while. The city went crazy when there were "sitings." These people, despite their inflated egos, are still people. What stirs this on you are probably thinking? Lebron James. He's supposedly one of the greatest ever. Maybe so, maybe not. As of late, he and his "team" (which sounds vaguely like the cultish teams from Twilight) are creating hype over his free-agency. Who wants Lebron? Who wants the King? Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports writes a fantastic article challenging Lebron's ego, and the ridiculousness of such hype over a guy who can get a ball in a hoop really well, reeeeaaaalllly well. He calls Lebron "the vacuous star for our vacuous times."

Now I'm not a daily reader of sports journalism, but it's not the norm that social commentary enters into it. When it does, it must be big and obvious. Vacuous times is a scathing statement about today. This culture that is promoted is empty and meaningless. It holds a facade of power while wielding nothing more than a spitball's worth of actual strength. It is showy, individualistic, and self-promoting while having for its success, no ring, no gold, no championship, nothing that holds lasting esteem. It's a neon light that flashes one second and is dark the next. It attracts the eye but ultimately leaves the beholder with nothing more than a vacuous negative of the light, which has no real existence but only rather a quick imprint on the mind.

Maybe it's time we begin to refill the vacuum with life and meaning and something lasting. It's time we show the world the sun, which does not blink and go away but is lasting (much longer than all our lifetimes combined). Instead of building unsatisfying hype, let us help to promote a promise, "I will be with always, until the end of time."

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Reading Book 1

Today we start reading Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper. I'm not going to lie. I already started reading the book. I was so excited about reading that I just couldn't help myself. It's fantastic. Fr. Schall's introduction alone is worth a read. I can't wait to discuss this with y'all over the Facebook discussion board on Reverenced Reading's fanpage. Get started reading the book.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer Reading

Hey everybody. We are doing a Summer Reading Forum this summer on Facebook.

The three books are
Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper
Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Father Brown of the Church of Rome by G.K. Chesterton

Check out the event here.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Be A Man!

I recently was given a copy of Fr. Larry Richards' book "Be A Man!: Becoming the Man God Created You to Be." I am currently about two-thirds the way through it and highly recommend that every man read it. The text covers a series of points that should defining features of any man's life if he is living as God has created Him. Fr. Richards does an excellent job of bringing a deep subject to the table in a very understandable and often-humorous way. One of the more interesting things that he does is that at the end of each chapter he gives three concrete goals to help (and challenge) the reader to live out the point being discussed. At the end there is a nice little checklist that all of us could benefit to take a look at. It comes in just under 200 pages, but the book itself is smaller than most and reads really quickly.

I'm interested in finding a similar book for women, so if any of you women (or men) have suggestions...let me know!