Lecture 9 Nov 10.docx

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

SMC205H1F – November 10, 2011 (Thomas a Kempis) This week’s reading - Dutch - No jokes, very serious - Nothing like Catherine turning and smiling - Smiles are to be feared - Influence of this book is immense - Thomas a Kempis – lives his experience, experience with common brothers, written for people like this who are trying to live this kind of life - What is this life like? – undertake lives to live poverty, chastity as lay people, do so without vows, refuse to take vows, thus say their commitment is to be renewed every day because they depend on that stability – what choice to live that way? Criticism of what is in place? Is this happening because you have seen something others have not? - Benedict raises question of choice to live by labour is a criticism of what is in place- expects monks to work to support selves but by 15 century monks working is not plausible - Francis – wanted friars to not live by work if necessary, begging is important to Francis - Thus this intro can be read as criticism – they are addressing the question of living in the cities, doing this work, how does Christian life act out when doing these activities, they establish institutions take seriously the call to live an apostolic life. Beginning of Imitation - founder is critical of scholastic writing- criticize out of knowledge, learned experiment, we having the benefit of this course can look at what they are doing and what they are imitating, they have some sense of Christian experience in past and respond to their current problems and needs, taking different features from monastic life, making an original proposal. We know monks were lay people and for them to say they are lay and can form communities, is not scandalous. They have a rich sense of possibilities they can pursue, they make living by making selling books thus they are literate, are copyists, make libraries of their own… - all practices you could not have presumed in earlier periods, literacy was widespread with printing press, more books in 15 century than 12 because audience was larger, literacy had practical value because people could invest and make a living and use it th Imitation of Christ- written book, eloquent, verbose, thicker, people use more words by 15 century due to technology, rediscovery of paper, cheapness of paper, all more accessible, easier, doable, - urban revival, greater literacy contribute to problems and solutions suggested to address issues- these people rely on being lay, work, education too despite scepticism of scholasticism, they run schools for younger people to implement practical skills and sense of importance for right living or morality… they run these schools at same time of polemic living Nature of the polemic in scholastic culture? Scholastic approach is unduly curious about thinks you will be curious about. – Topics= Transubstantiation, nature of God, = curiosity in schools underlying piety – thus not crazy about and may even dislike… does theology help people? In living the life of piety? – it depends – definition of piety? = imitation include requirement of humiliate reason before faith but Silano is unsympathetic to this silly notion of piety apparently. He thinks forms of piety cannot be separated from great variety in Church so difficult to make th general statements about what piety is – does the rosary foster or hinder piety? – 15 century is the age of the rosary! Suggested to many as a wonderful practice. Why? – relate to our readings. Rosary: an object first, long string of beads, allows you to say certain prayers: 5 our fathers, 10 hail Mary’s, glory to be – gospel verses! The Mysteries are at the heart of the exercise, before each decade you proclaim a mystery “Jesus arguing with teachers” and then you follow with prayers. Is the principle activity the repetition of the prayers or the contemplation of the mystery? – those who frame the practice, think mystery matters, while repetition is meant to keep distractions at minimum. – classic is 15 mysteries, 5 sorrowful, 5 glorious, 5 joyful Ignatius’s, Julian of N – live in picture over and over again- because conversion requires movement of whole person and these activities are supposed to involve the whole person. They all seem to be converging toward the importance of pictures, being in it, should be obvious and ties back to crucial importance of memory, how do you engage affections if not in the picture, they all share a weariness of reducing all to ideas. All these practices are supposed to bring the personal back. When we use personal currently it is viewed as peculiar but Silano thinks personal can be private or what not but in the writings personal is considered what any person would imply as they are persons. If you had a wandering mind the rosary would not help. IF you had no hands the rosary would not make sense, nor if you did not have peculiar mind and memory. - These are some of the trends that you see when they ponder what it means to be a Christian and how to live and love- similar to Apostles, emphasis on the life and remember in same way as Apostles - Critical awareness of tradition – used by brother of common life no vows, means they will eventually move toward monastic or clerical vocation, A Kempis lives years as member of community before becoming ordained, retains connections with community – even though lay people, they are supposed to listen to other read and discuss, but always to grow in piety and devotion. The Brothers and Sisters of the common life- to claim ones more that you are trying to be in the here and now faithful imitators of the first our father, argument monks made that at the beginning all are monks because they share all and in common but these people are choosing the common life out of this reasoning, Jerusalem life common back then is like this… - similar to new monastic movements. Lay movements- Opus Dei commit self to live in community, share goods as you go on working in the world. So the difference is you live under a contract not vows, make an agreement which th is a term and you renew or do not renew – resembling 15 century communities – similar responses How to live a Christian life in the city is different than living in a village- cities are unstable, change more, immigrants, do not have the solidarity nor the calendar or established practices. You are also a different person in the city, having different skills and activities. If Christianity affects everything, these activities need a Christian way of being performed, what it would mean for someone like a fisherman to be a Christian. These forms of life are addressing the question of what continues and what emerges recently and needs solid responses, as Christian we start in present and look for proposals in past and make specific to your own circumstances, and modify to your position. Opus Dei- believed too much emphasis on priests, forgetfulness of call to holiness comes from baptism not orders. - What does it mean to live a Christian experience ascetical – proposal of living a common life, of sharing resources, practicing obedience and chastity? After Opus Dei many other movements develop in the church with a similar model. It is an interesting inversion of experiences, in Francis proposal from friar to nuns, then third orders where people linked to friars or nuns. Then others with lay people developing within movements forms of community and even priesthood (Opus Dei- call of lay comes first, then some called to priesthood who become priests of society of holy cross, receive ordination of service of members of Opus Dei – we saw this with the people in the Common life (this week’s reading) – people have confessors, and priests in the movement of the common life. - Other movements have similar proposals to lay people, eternalized, lead to commitments of stronger experience, development of communities within, and possible priesthood which makes it in service of specific movement Introduction – published in classics of spirituality series – Dutch extraction himself. Calvinist? Comes through in fun and interesting ways via sympathy way – similarities in what happens later in Netherlands. THE IMITATION OF CHRIST Silano hates the Imitation? – not Italian! – good Protestants? – It is hard to find any sign of the Church in their reading and writing… fascinating to what extend Hildegard or some of those women’s display differences. This is you facing him and he facing you… - People defined as brothers of common life- yet no mention of the brotherhood, support the community gives you- even though the book would not exist without an experience, it is still as if the community is not there according to these writings, it makes you wonder the conditions when this was written. A Kempis like Anthony, lived long time, should not hate the friendship as a way to God according to Silano - Other’s opinions are said to be harmful, and should be avoided - Say one good thing of creat
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