Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's not about dinosaurs

Would you rather explain away the following, or share in it?

1. The death of William Blake, 12 August 1827:

“Just before he died His Countenance became fair. His eyes Brighten'd and he burst out Singing of the things he saw in Heaven”

2. The experience of St Thomas Aquinas, 6 December 1273:

LXXIX: The witness went on to recall that while brother Thomas was saying his Mass one morning, in the chapel of St. Nicholas at Naples, something happened which profoundly affected and altered him. After Mass he refused to write or dictate; indeed he put away his writing materials. He was in the third part of the Summa, at the questions on Penance. And brother Reginald, seeing that he was not writing, said to him: 'Father, are you going to give up this great work, undertaken for the glory of God and to enlighten the world?' But Thomas replied: 'Reginald, I cannot go on.' Then Reginald, who began to fear that much study might have affected his master's brain, urged and insisted that he should continue his writing; but Thomas only answered in the same way: 'Reginald, I cannot - because all that I have written seems to me so much straw.' Then Reginald, astonished that ... brother Thomas should go to see his sister, the countess of San Severino, whom he loved in all charity; and hastening there with great difficulty, when he arrived and the countess came out to meet him, he could scarcely speak. The countess, very much alarmed, said to Reginald: 'What has happened to brother Thomas? He seems quite dazed and hardly spoke to me!' And Reginald answered: 'He has been like this since about the feast of St. Nicholas - since when he has written nothing at all.' Then again brother Reginald began to beseech Thomas to tell him why he refused to write and why he was so stupefied; and after much of this urgent questioning and insisting, Thomas at last said to Reginald: 'Promise me, by the living God almighty and by your loyalty to our Order and by the love you bear to me, that you will never reveal, as long as I live, what I shall tell you.' Then he added: 'All that I have written seems to me like straw compared with what has now been revealed to me.'


James Higham said...

There is a power in existence far greater than the nasty stuff which is currently driving on the current human misery worldwide.

It can and does reveal itself in small doses but the radio must be turned on to receive. That's why I think preaching is so much twaddle. The thing has to be done through personal experience.

Merry Christmas to you, Sackers.

Sackerson said...

And to you, my friend; and to all.

hatfield girl said...

I want to wish you Happy Christmas! S.

But I can't find the post to do it on. This one is on the notion of the good death? I'm going to do it on the next post no matter what.

Anonymous said...

Well the good thing about the credit crunch is that it seems to have made people value the Christmas spirit a bit more. So in the spirit of the many strangers that have wished me a Merry Christmas this year, may I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas too.

Sackerson said...

HG: It's not about the good death, but life. Had an experience when I was 23, and if that was a stroke, nervous breakdown or any of the usual casual-cack explanations, I'm a Chinaman. For a day or two, I understood the Buddhist phrase "empty and marvellous". I suppose I must be content to remember that such an experience is possible.

Anon: peace and joy to you, too.