Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
This was the tree on which Christ, like a king on a chariot, destroyed the devil, the lord of death, and freed the human race from his tyranny. This was the tree upon which the Lord like a brave warrior wounded in hands, feet and side, healed the wounds of sin that the evil serpent had inflicted on our nature. A tree once caused our death, but now a tree brings life. Once deceived by a tree, we have now repelled the cunning serpent by a tree. What an astonishing transformation! That death should become life, that decay should become immortality, that shame should become glory! Well might the holy Apostle exclaim: Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world! The supreme wisdom that flowered on the cross has shown the folly of worldly wisdom's pride. The knowledge of all good, which is the fruit of the cross, has cut away the shoots of wickedness.
The wonders accomplished through this tree were foreshadowed clearly even by the mere types and figures that existed in the past. Meditate on these, if you are eager to learn. Was it not the wood of a tree that enabled Noah, at God's command, to escape the destruction of the flood together with his sons, his wife, his sons' wives and every kind of animal? And surely the rod of Moses prefigured the cross when it changed water into blood, swallowed up the false serpents of Pharaoh's magicians, divided the sea at one stroke and then restored the waters to their normal course, drowning the enemy and saving God's own people? Aaron's rod, which blossomed in one day in proof of his true priesthood, was another figure of the cross, and did not Abraham foreshadow the cross when he bound his son Isaac and placed him on the pile of wood?
By the cross death was slain and Adam was restored to life. The cross is the glory of all the apostles, the crown of the martyrs, the sanctification of the saints. By the cross we put on Christ and cast aside our former self. By the cross we, the sheep of Christ, have been gathered into one flock, destined for the sheepfold of heaven."
(Tomorrow is the Universal Elevation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross, for Catholics and Orthodox! How nice to use the word "universal" in such a sense. It is always the 14th of September. Some people just can't figure out when the 14th of September is.)
Thursday, September 9, 2010
"The pagan Roman emperors tried to completely eradicate from human memory the holy places where our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and was resurrected for mankind. The Emperor Hadrian (117-138) gave orders to cover over the ground of Golgotha and the Sepulchre of the Lord, and to build a temple of the pagan goddess Venus and a statue of Jupiter.
Pagans gathered at this place and offered sacrifice to idols there. Eventually after 300 years, by Divine Providence, the great Christian sacred remains, the Sepulchre of the Lord and the Life-Creating Cross were again discovered and opened for veneration."
"On October 31, 1917, in Tsarskoye Selo, a bright new chapter, full of earthly grief and heavenly joy, was opened in the history of sanctity in the Russian Church: the holiness of the New Martyrs of the twentieth century."
"Wherefore, children, let us not faint nor deem that the time is long, or that we are doing something great, 'for the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward.' Nor let us think, as we look at the world, that we have renounced anything of much consequence, for the whole earth is very small compared with all the heaven. ...Wherefore, children, let us hold fast our discipline, and let us not be careless. For in it the Lord is our fellow-worker, as it is written, 'to all that choose the good, God worketh with them for good.' But to avoid being heedless, it is good to consider the word of the Apostle, 'I die daily.'' For if we too live as though dying daily, we shall not sin. ... Wherefore having already begun and set out in the way of virtue, let us strive the more that we may attain those things that are before. And let no one turn to the things behind, like Lot's wife, all the more so that the Lord hath said, 'No man, having put his hand to the plough, and turning back, is fit for the kingdom of heavens.' And this turning back is nought else but to feel regret, and to be once more worldly-minded. But fear not to hear of virtue, nor be astonished at the name. For it is not far from us, nor is it without ourselves, but it is within us, and is easy if only we are willing. That they may get knowledge, the Greeks live abroad and cross the sea, but we have no need to depart from home for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, nor to cross the sea for the sake of virtue. For the Lord aforetime hath said, 'The kingdom of heaven is within you.'"
"Today Constantine and his mother HelenReveal the precious Cross,The weapon of the faithful against their enemies.For our sakes, it has been shown to be a great sign, and fearsome in battle."
Saturday, September 4, 2010
"The glorification of women in current Soviet fiction is more convincing than that of men. The heroine, in contrast to the hero, shows consistently fullness of character: tsel'nost'. It is a multifaceted character of wide range, encompassing positive qualities such as selflessness, endurance, generosity, ability to adjust to stress, ability to solve immediate problems. One of the foremost properties of tsel'nost', a term much less fuzzy than 'wholeness,' is unselfconsciousness. Moreover, in contrast to the man, the woman represents strength which is derived from an ability to relate actively to society, to the collective, to the family....The strong-woman motif finds no parallel in a series of male counterparts, who, to begin with, frequently stand for ideas. The heroine preempts the hero's place. She might even personify a reproach against the restlessness, escapism, and narrowness found in the Onegins, Chatskys, Pechorins, Beltovs, Raiskys. Strong men seem to be punished for their masculinity and self-assertion with early death. This is the case with Bazarov, Insarov, Bolkonsky. The longevity and softness of the slumbering Oblomov, the giant of low vitality, makes the point....Men qua men are disappointing. Oblomov is incapable of the simplest salvation offered him by Olga. The technicalities of a wedding are too much for him. Onegin, stronger by far and man that he is, assumes the frustrating posture of brotherly love...The singularly non-Victorian heroine gives herself spontaneously and, if need be, commits adultery for the sake of full participation. Tatiana's dream marks the acceptance of Onegin's dangerously evasive reality and her strength is expressed in that frustrating surrender... The very motif of the strong woman makes it possible to mention Ostrovsky's untutored, primitive Katerina side by side with the refined gentlewomen. He presents her as a result of an oppressive milieu of the heavy and cruel kupechestvo. But the important thing is that Katerina acts when driven toward fulfillment. Having enacted the storm of her life, she leaves her weak husband to his desolation and in envy of her courage. Her lover likewise is weak while in contrast Katerina's strength is monumental....The courage to involve oneself fully was seen in its connection with the feminine ability to love and to act. The nuptial scene in On the Eve is a motto for many novels. Insarov warns Elena of the hardships ahead: exile, poverty, humiliation. To all this she replies: 'I know. I know everything... I love you.' 'Welcome, then, my wife in front of the people and in front of God!'Elena knows. But Nekrasov's countess, Volkonskaia, does not. A bride at eighteen, raised in the greenhouse of the Pushkin era, she has no notion of her husband's political activities. She hardly knows him. When he is arrested, unquestioning loyalty determines her martyrdom--in her mind, he cannot be dishonorable. ... When she joins her husband in a Siberian mine, she kneels before him and kisses his chains. Astonishing as it may seem, this romantic narrative has never been considered sentimental. This is germane to the argument of the extra-literariness of the motif. Nekrasov measures integrity in terms of commitment to primary loyalty in the face of threats, both intrinsic and extrinsic. If there is anything this young woman knows it is that the state, the tsar, the mighty are wrong. Her loyalty is of an ecstatic nature, and her strength rests in love.It is notable that the 'strong man' is reluctant to entier into primary loyalties. Chernyshevsky spelled out the program of abstinence for his bristling radical. Innocence, generosity, spontaneity, essential ingredients of tsel'nost', are not Rakhmetov's qualities. He has no drives--he is all brain...Gorky's victim of 1905, the revolutionary Pavel, admonishes an underground comrade against marriage: 'You shall live for the sake of a piece of bread, for your children, for your house; and you shall both be lost to the cause, both!'...The denial of love is an essential attribute of the revolutionary man who fears dissipation of strength, diffusion, submersion in autrui...Oblomov can do only one thing: submit. Raskolnikov's cerebration, far from being submissive, represents also only one state: alienation. The split in Raskolnikov, as the name implies, describes him fully. He indeed stands in contrast to tsel'nost'. In Russian fiction, only a man can be so split. To be sure, only a man can be a Prince Myshkin. The Idiot's impotence, Raskolnikov's alienation, Oblomov's phlegma, all are unthinkable in a heroine."
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Even if there is a major opportunity to take power, slipshod Republican organization and fundraising have squandered much of it. Third, there aren’t really enough districts that Republicans can plausibly win to get the majority. To make up for the likely losses in Louisiana, Delaware and Illinois, they will need to win a total of 43 seats elsewhere, and it is genuinely difficult to see where these seats come from. Yes, there are 80 Democratic incumbents in House districts that voted for Bush in ‘04, but the story here is that most of the voters in most of these districts learned their lesson from ‘04 and stopped voting for Republicans, and not enough of them have changed their minds to undo all of the political damage Bush and his allies did to the GOP. Republican failure is too recent and too glaring, and the GOP leadership has done far too little to show that it has learned anything from that failure (emphasis mine - TKB).