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Home WHAT’S NEW Reflections CROSSWINDS

CROSSWINDS

CROSSWINDS …and ROUGH DRAFTSCROSSWINDS
…and ROUGH DRAFTS

 

Occasional Thoughts on Christianity, Education and Our Times

- by Fr. Barry Bercier, A.A.

Once, long before he became an exile on Patmos stormed by apocalyptical visions, John sat in a storm-tossed boat on the Sea of Galilee. That boat, represented here by a 17th century painting (Ludolf Bakhuysen), will serve as the masthead of this blog. According to the story, Jesus is sleeping on a cushion in the stern when a terrific storm blows up over the lake, threatening to sink the boat and drown those aboard. The disciples, overwhelmed by what looks to be impending doom, cry out to Jesus who seems disturbed only by the fact that he’s been unnecessarily roused from his slumbers. From his perspective, there’s nothing to be afraid of; he gives the command and the storm ends.

This blog is not written from Jesus’ perspective, however, but from that of the others there with him. Jesus was a good teacher and did not pressure his disciples into stifling what they had to say; with the waves crashing in and the boat sinking as they shook Jesus awake, my guess is that their speech at that moment was pretty much uncensored. The rough drafts that will appear here from time to time will also be uncensored, sometimes not entirely prudent or perhaps even regrettable. Maybe the writer here shouldn’t write... and maybe you shouldn’t read...



The Mind of Augustine and the Rhetoric of God PDF Print E-mail

St. AugustineApril 7, 2011
By Barry Bercier, A.A.

The greatest literary influence on The Confessions of St. Augustine is the Bible.  That’s perfectly clear. The Confessions is not only a sort of montage of Biblical quotes, from beginning to end, but it is the story of Augustine’s discovery of the Scriptures as the “firmament,” as he calls it, the definitive authority stretched over him as the sky become an unfurled scroll, under which he comes to make his exodus from darkness and restless dispersion to peace, understanding and the happy life.  He writes The Confessions, furthermore, to influence others also to come under that authority and so to make it their chief guide for the building of the City of God amidst the ruins of the dying empire of Rome.

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 April 2011 21:27
 
What in God’s Name…? PDF Print E-mail

YHWHFebruary 6, 2011
By Barry Bercier, A.A.

When Cain builds man’s first city, designed to protect the first murderer from those who would come after him, God provides one of its laws, the law of sevenfold vengeance.  The family of any murderer is to suffer seven times as many deaths in punishment of the original crime.  Cain’s city then is a remedy, assented to by God, for the evil and violence of men, but not given God’s blessing!  It is governed by evil and violent men who restrain each other in their evil doing only by terrifying them with greater evils still.

 
NOSTALGIA AND REVELATION PDF Print E-mail



January 22, 2011
By Barry Bercier, A.A.

Faced with the nihilism, disorder and totalitarianism that seem the destination of Enlightenment progress, we can find ourselves longing, naturally enough, for a return to that from which the progress first started out. If for philosophic types like Leo Strauss “return” meant return to pre-Christian Greek philosophy, for Catholics there can be a strong desire to return to something like the order of Christendom. Even while willing to acknowledge the failings and extremes of that earlier time, still there was something so good, true and beautiful about it, something in its own way so entirely without parallel in the human story, that we can’t but be roused, some of us, to a sort of powerful spiritual nostalgia.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 23:42
 
Progress or Return PDF Print E-mail

January 3, 2011

The title for this entry is stolen from the title of an article written by one of the great conservative thinkers of the 20th century, a real aristocrat of the mind if ever there was one, Leo Strauss.  Strauss was a witness to the monstrous unreason that shattered the old order of things in Europe and beyond, and spent his life in the effort to understand how it came to be.  Given the catastrophic consequences of that unreason, the consequences of which had not played themselves out in his lifetime (and have not played themselves out in ours), he went in search of a reasonable response and, if at all possible, a remedy to which such a response might lead.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 January 2011 20:07
 
FATHER D’ALZON AND EDUCATION PDF Print E-mail

December 30, 2010.

At about the time the young aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville was traveling horseback around the United States to study the character of the American Revolution, another young French aristocrat was getting ordained to the priesthood. He was Emmanuel d’Alzon, the founder of the Assumptionists. His family had experienced the terrific upheaval that was the French Revolution, and the new priest was to live out the rest of his life dealing with its consequences for the Church.

Last Updated on Monday, 03 January 2011 11:43
 
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