A dinosaur for Lent

For the moment, at least, it appears this website is functioning again, which I mention for the benefit of my Commentariat. They may resume fire.

The season of Lent has interposed since my last effusion. Several readers had wondered if I’d fall silent for the duration of it. I will not, especially as I have been reminded by recent attacks that keeping this website may not be a pleasure. Generally, in the last few years, I have been more often punished than rewarded for what I have written; writing itself, or at least, writing honestly, becomes the ordeal. Silence, in the current “media environment,” might by contrast be the real pleasure. So giving up writing for Lent would be a cheat. Better to give up the meats and sweets, the snicker and licker.

For Lent this year, I should like to call gentle reader’s attention to a wonderful passage in the works of Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1627–1704), that French bishop and theologian and magnificent dinosaur from the Antediluvian, before the French Enlightenment, when very much less “modern” sentimental nonsense and “feeling” had attached to the Catholic faith; when it was often much sharper and cleaner.

He is quoted at the end of an excellent piece by his translator, Christopher O. Blum, which appeared on the Catholic Thing website, upon Ash Wednesday. And here is what Bishop Bossuet had to say in his own Meditations on Lent:

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“And you, whoever you may be, to whom Divine Providence should bring this book, be you great or small, poor or rich, wise or ignorant, priest or layman, monk or nun: go now to the foot of the altar and contemplate Jesus there, in the sacrament where he hides.

“Remain there in silence. Say nothing to him. Look upon him and wait for him to speak to you in the depths of your heart.

“I have died, he says, and my life is hidden in God until I appear in my glory to judge the world.

“Hide yourself in God with me, and do not think of appearing until I appear. If you are alone, I will be your companion. If you are weak, I will be your strength. If you are poor, I will be your treasure. If you are hungry, I will be your food. If you are afflicted, I will be your consolation and your joy. If you are bored, I will be your delight. If you are falling, I will hold you up.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Rev. 3:20)

“I do not wish for a third: none other but you and me. …

“So may it be, O Lord, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.”