SMC205 - Oct 27

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University of Toronto St. George
St. Michael's College Courses
Giulio Silano

SMC205H1F Oct. 27, 2011 Mostly dealing with women this week… Is the Christian experience as presented by these women, coherent with what was read before? Are they doing something else? - These women write more with intensity, affection - Sophistication with complicated theology of Catherine - Francis and Dominic – whether first or more eloquent, expression of things important nonetheless, notion of desire for union with God goes back all the way, martyrs express deepest union with God and it is Christ who comes to suffer in them. These women are not martyrs, they present the same questions of how does union happen but they have a stronger and frequent recourse and spousal image to describe the relationship - Old Testament- not absent, you just had difficulties finding people to say this is the love of my life - These women live metaphor literally, remove spousal language and describe as the essential thing, so that takes front stage and all else is made to flow from this spousal relationship, there is no absence of male writers who exhibit the same, Bernard partakes in the same language intensity and wants union to be taken seriously, and known for commentary on song of psalms - Some Nasturtiums refer to Christ as Mother and assert selves as children of Christ sobbing - Although this thing can be spoken by men, women were more likely and easily able to describe the Christian life and thus force others to contend with the question of what it means for the Church to be proud- they say what is true of the church should be true of each single Christian, every person, male or female, is called to live spousal experience with God- remember soul is feminine, even a man’s soul is anima and to speak of the soul is Christ’s bride – but once again this becomes the proposal, anyone else who comes along must deal with its beauty and consistency - They are willing to push the analogy as far as possible, engagement address very detailed by some German nuns “Without you I cannot be” – basis of Christian foundational Church- shows relationship between person soul and God Mechthild of Magdeburg Must live intense relationship of love… th 12 century is very important to the shaping of all our subsequent shaping’s of love- great love stories are born here, romance born here with reflectional love – French book called LOVE AND DEATH saying you cannot love unless death – natural perversion of what the nuns are saying- in this perspective death and life are to tell apart – same in story of Christ it is difficult to say if he is more himself when he is alive or when he dies – is Christ’s death a beautiful or awful thing? – Easter song – happy fault of Adam which required Christ’s death on the cross – even called happy, his fault is happy yet we get the death – thus death beautiful? = recognition that sadness and creativity, love are linked… anyone who does not experience sadness - creation made because in sadness we realize things do not last – love springs from something like that, desire to engage in something enduring in face of existent always marked by incumbents of death - This becomes the source of life… the experience of abandonment by the beloved is not the worst thing to happen, highest form of love is that which survives even in mode of abandonment – here is he and for whom we are told union with the father is the highest good and at highest moment of racial supplementation is found to give himself, so if that’s the highest point and most loveable point in Christ’s own story, then in any person’s story fidelity to love in face of betrayal can be the highest thing you can possibly achieve. Time of Bernard, there is a change to the feminine which is plausible – it does not change because nothing goes away but there is a heightened mode of expression of women’s experiences which is unprecedented – no other period see women so eloquently and prominently – also moment when church requires 1160s definition of marriage – how widely and readily definition is accepted is surprising, people find a suggestion, their view of human changes and they do easily understand freedom and lack of coercion and love are intimately related Those that postulate these changes, first discuss monk (binding for life?) then discussion moves from monk to marriage, and you say same principles of how a monk chooses to live should be principles working in humans commitment- the monastic affection on love, Christ, mother is a cause and effect, they happen at same time but hard to say which is first, but these women feel confident speaking in first person and you see it only grow- Claire and Catherine time these are women of huge assurance, great authority Claire is the one who is most consistent, without her they would have forgotten poverty Catherine- way she speaks to friends, mercenaries, popes without arrogance but with authority th and eloquence – these are beautiful 12 century women Language of Claire and Catherine- is searching, more radical because they are willing to say in straight forward way what matters to me matters to all of you – the early women would not do this they witness only own experience and use poetical language they do not use theological language like Claire and Catherine Francis- is he masculine of feminine? He quotes bible a lot – does figure of Francis mean much as you? – he means prayer- his writing may be seen as harsh. Francis for those who follow him, literally is the “New Christ”. Stigmata examples are mostly women, but Francis is the first and only male for a long time who is said to have received this mark of the wounds of Christ on his body + poverty + fellowship is what moves his followers. Franciscans are a tortured lot of people. They spent most of 100 years of existence arguing what Christianity should be about, an argument mostly about poverty and its centrality/literalness and what is required to live this. The whole movement with Francis regard it as important the experience of poverty, voluntary poverty, depend on others for daily needs. As you know from reading it is not as if poverty has not been presented as virtue before, it has been but don’t obscure poverty… Benedict’s Rule required a promise of poverty for the sake of obedience, if you have own stuff and do not depend on Abbott then you would rise up in pride and say you have own stuff so poverty for Benedict is means for better practice of virtue, self-emptying vs. Franciscans who invert the relationship and in their sense poverty is highest virtue. This is a change Christ poor for our sake – moving from God to human – he has impoverished himself. Was he economically poor? Not really he had some money. So Franciscans say Christ is poor and justify their way of life as perfect. But this is false. It is foolish in a way but it is the modern way, in one way we must confront the Franciscan phenomenon. Modern Christianity goes back to Franciscans because moderns agree Church should be poor. Augustine thought wealth is redeemed when comes to Church and only when goes to Church it is redeemed but otherwise it is tainted. So if monk not rich, it is still okay for Church to be… The shift of poverty as plus for Church is a big change and is raised by people who should have been smarter because it was impossible to live Franciscan way without resurgence of cities, you cannot beg unless there are people to beg from. It is because of resurgence of trade that Franciscans criticize wealth and live the way they want to. The paradox is that they are sustainers, patrons, make it possible to live that way are those merchants. Francis himself could not make his choice without his father’s will he needed parents who were merchants so he could beg from them. Merchants are grateful because we take their life seriously… May reject merchant life but we require them to know what is required for salvation – voluntary poverty is only possible if wealth is there, begging for alms only if those who can give you alms At end of day it is fascinating Claire is more forceful writer of poverty than Francis. Francis describes conversion and says poverty is important but ascribes it to an encounter with a leper, he cannot bear thought of kissing lepers and believes they are so ugly, and believes his conversion is started once he kisses a leper, then lives in penitent way and does penance throughout life. Franciscan – poverty of issue divides them over and over again, maybe even still an issue… that becomes an issue for all Christians too – the question of poverty. Worst thing a priest could do is be attached to money! Vow of poverty taken by all subsequent movements of church but only lately people do not live that requirement as radically Is experience of poverty same? Poverty can be a greater condemnation in the city than elsewhere because poverty in city is a failure. Issue of Wealth? Francis- Italian poem The Canticle of Brother Sun- they are responsible for making preaching important to Catholic Church! – scriptures lacking authority for preaching? – the whole presupposition for preaching in scripture is to preach to those who are not baptized – these people like Francis say preaching is important and essential because conversion does not happen once and for all so need to say same stuff to baptized and n
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