Je Maintiendrai

"... Le refus de la politique militante, le privilège absolu concédé à la littérature, la liberté de l'allure, le style comme une éthique, la continuité d'une recherche". Pol Vandromme

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Location: Portugal

Friday, December 21, 2007


"Rejoice but remember: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom"

Paul Johnson The Spectator, 12.12.2007

“To open a newspaper today is to enter a world of such horror, cruelty, vulgarity and corruption that one cannot imagine why almighty God does not decide, here and now, to put an end to it. But God knows better. There are many fine people around, and beautiful objects, and worthwhile activities, and as the year comes to an end we ought to remember them and give thanks. Just as there are 12 days of Christmas, so there are 12 blessings and here is my list for 2007. By a curious chance they all begin with the letter ‘F’.
First of all I give thanks for Family and Friends. Modern governments hate the family and seek to stamp it out. In China it is a criminal offence to have more than one child. Imagine the misery of a country where the phenomenon of an only child is a million strong. Here New Labour, as the latest scandals show, does not recognise a friendship unless qualified by a cash nexus. But we can show how much we value family and friendship by kneeling down each night by our beds and saying a prayer for each member of our family, and all our closest friends, by name. If this takes a long time, we can count ourselves lucky (…)
Thank God for Fingers. They do so many things, from the useful to the sublime. I first thought seriously about fingers when I heard Myra Hess play Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, and wondered how she could make hers do so much, so quickly, so skilfully and so beautifully. I am grateful I have fingers to paint and to write things like this. Let us never take fingers for granted. Nor should we take for granted the human Face. The more I think about it, the more wonderful it seems to me: its infinite variety, its extraordinary ability to show you what is going on in the brain behind it. I caught a glimpse, the other day on the Tube, of a face of such exquisite beauty and serenity that I am certain its owner is a holy woman. What I saw was not an appearance but an epiphany.
At the other end of this moral scale is St Francis of Assisi. He is the patron of animals but also, we forget, of the cheerful and patient acceptance of suffering. He was only 45 when he died, and for some years before that had experienced great trouble with his eyes, eventually going blind. His sufferings were appalling, especially from the attempts to relieve them by the primitive medicine of the 13th century. He bore everything with fortitude and resignation. St Francis makes us think of the infinite, unrelieved suffering of this world, and to hope that, if we ourselves have to face huge pain, we will submit to it with his courage and patience (…)
So my penultimate blessing is a call for Fidelity. I love faithful people, those plain, good, humble and modest worshippers I see in the churches I frequent, of all shapes and sizes and colours and cultures, but united by their faith, and their fidelity to it. In the old days, they would have been martyrs and have given their blood. Now they have the less exciting task of struggling on, saying their prayers and doing their duty when all the wealth and resources of a world where Satan rides high are devoted to stamping out religion. So my final blessing this end-of-year is that we may Feast, but feast seriously and serenely, earnestly and gravely, rejoicing in the good things but aware too of the wrath that is surely coming. ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’

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