PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

 

Lenten retreat reflection: Day 1 - The paradox of major vs minor sins

pp 11-13

http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=EOg19fGyNyoC&pg=PA14&lpg=PP1&output=html_text

Funny that I should encounter Bernard of Clairvaux in this reading, as I am in the middle of reading a book about the spirituality of this saint in conjunction with that of another monk saint, St. Benedict. The theme:  "Seeking God Alone Together." What I gather from the reading material is what I gather here in this retreat (see above link) once again: the wisdom of the golden mean, the delicate act of balancing in the observance of Christian virtues.

All my spiritual life, I think I have specialized on this one aspect of the faith. It is no longer new to me, but I am still surprised every time I get back to the principle, which is best encapsulated in the Latin saying Virtus stat in medio or Virtues lies in the middle.

Of course, to the uninitiated, this sounds like an invitation to compromise with the devil, but it's not. It's far more complex. Balancing things in the quest for a more virtuous life, to love and please the Lord better, is a sloooow work in understanding Christian paradoxes. I have dwelled on this topic of paradoxes for years, and I find it endlessly fascinating. This is what I appreciate the most about Christianity, its gentle wisdom, its non-extremism, in its careful treading on grounds caught in between the pitfalls of oversimplification/reductionism.

The observance of the golden mean is applicable to practically all Christian virtues that are filled with confusing dilemmas: nudity in art, whether showbiz talk is gossip, forgiveness, lying, etc. I have in fact written about these topics separately in my main blog. (In fact, I set up this blog on my spiritual thoughts separately for this purpose: to track my thought life in Christian paradoxes.) Here's just a quick survey:

http://restyo.blogspot.com/2008/03/paradoxical.html
http://restyo.blogspot.com/2009/04/the-ways-we-lie-essay-by-stephanie.html
http://restyo.blogspot.com/2009/10/truth-telling-remains-complicated.html
http://restyo.blogspot.com/2013/01/nudity-body-shame-vs-exhibitionism.html
http://restyo.blogspot.com/2012/08/jesus-is-funny-in-good-way.html
http://restyo.blogspot.com/2006/06/paradoxes-of-freedomindependence.html
http://restyo.blogspot.com/2008/08/weak-god.html
http://restyo.blogspot.com/2009/03/paradox-of-christian-identity.html
http://restyo.blogspot.com/2010/08/definitive-book-on-paradox.html
http://restyo.blogspot.com/2011/09/stockdale-paradox.html
http://restyo.blogspot.com/2011/07/new-paradoxes.html
http://restyo.blogspot.com/2011/07/paradox-of-being-human-and-human.html

I realize I'm at it through the years and I never feel being drained by it, because I don't rely on myself for wisdom. These, I learned, are best revealed slowly, i.e, revealed to me by the Holy Spirit in the most unexpected ways, from the most unexpected sources.

Comments:
thanks for taking this journey with me! :)

here's mine:

http://www.andthesethygifts.com/2013/02/13/plumbing-the-depths-deep-conversion-deep-prayer/


 
you're welcome, stef, and thanks too for this opportunity

 
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