Wednesday, November 02, 2005

All Souls Day 2005

“You are all brothers!” “I got mine, you get yours.” After some days of happy contemplation, contrasting voices make me consider taking up writing again, so as to better hear your voice.

Do not believe you are elevated above others because of your office: “You are all brothers!” The common ground we share in God counts for more than the distinctions in offices and honors: “You have one Father, who is in heaven.” Great and small, famous and unknown: we are all children of the one Father.

He who does not forget this will remain simple and modest even in the highest positions. He will understand, above all, that there is only One who is truly great, before whom we are all small, before whom all our differences, which we consider so important, are trivial.

He who keeps this in his heart will not exploit a high office for himself but will view it as a position of service.

—Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, from Schönborn, My Jesus: Encountering Christ in the Gospel (Ignatius Press 2005)

I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, “I got mine, you get yours.”

You're a lobbyist or a senator or a cabinet chief, you're an editor at a paper or a green-room schmoozer, you're a doctor or lawyer or Indian chief, and you're making your life a little fortress. That's what I think a lot of the elites are up to.

—Peggy Noonan, A Separate Peace: America is in trouble—and our elites are merely resigned

The elites do not listen to cardinals, but one wishes that the cardinal spoke with more power.


History is story first and last. We owe the distorted conception in the first place to the French Annales dogma: plus d’histoire évenementielle. History without events is Hamlet without either the prince or the rest of the cast.
—Jacques Barzun, Letter to the Editor, Academic Questions, Spring 2005, Vol. 18 Issue 2.

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Expect to suffer.

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You did not “opine”: you spoke what you heard.


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