Friday, January 24, 2003

I had just slated Jeff Culbreath's weblog El Camino Real for inclusion in the February link updating when Jeff mentioned the following in his January 11th weblog entry - which I was unable to address before now due to time constraints and a scarcity of time for blogging myself:

My life of leisure is over. On Monday, I will begin training for a new business -- a vocation, it is hoped, along the lines of what I described in a previous essay on work. My presence in and around St. Blog's Parish will be significantly diminished, and blogging will be far less frequent. If you have enjoyed ECR, please pray for our new family enterprise. And thank you -- all of you -- for visiting this obscure corner of the internet.

Thankyou Jeff for bringing a reasoned and charitable approach to subjects where both elements are sadly often lacking in these kinds of discussions. Remember though my friend, work and leisure are not exclusive of one another but are complementary. Modern society suffers not from an abundance of leisure but a scarcity of it. In fact, that is the basis of today's "Points to Ponder" entries.

There is irony and tragedy in the fact that many people who retire with the anticipation of spending their time in leisure pursuits-perhaps golfing or fishing-so frequently become disillusioned and find their days of retirement a terrible burden to bear. So absolute is the identification of work with life that frequently when work ceases, life too comes to a halt. When leisure is devoid of meaning, countless older people live their retirement with a sense of dread, waiting . . .not only with time on their hands, but time which hangs heavily, veritably killing time until time kills them. "Retirement, more than menopause, is a sociological death," write the authors of Chrestwood Heights.

It will not be sufficient merely to fill this void with frenzied activities. Such compulsive activism may also be the undoing of the older person-leaving him in a state of fatigue or exhaustion. (I recall that during a snow storm in New York City, people over forty were warned not to shovel snow!) What is needed is not the means for whiling away the excess time, but rather a perspective which gives meaning to the time, an outlook which redeems the time...

And another:

Leisure and work then are intimately related. One is incomplete without the other. Leisure disconnected from work tends toward a spiritualism that becomes disconnected from the world thereby becoming corrupted. Worship becomes a form of modern gnosticism that flees the material world where matter has little to do with the spirit. Work disconnected from leisure tends to turn the activity of work into an end in itself at the exclusion of one's ultimate end. This is why Augustine, for example, is critical of people of commerce not necessarily by what they do (exchanging goods), but for their inability to find rest in God. According to Augustine, people of commerce "occupy their minds with the anxiety of possessing." Their hearts fail to rest for that which it was created to rest in. This prevents them from achieving their final end. For Augustine, the wealth acquired by work is meant to be relinquished for the good of all, so that the person does not become possessed by wealth preventing him/her from resting in God.

The more leisure intersects with work at every level, the more work becomes a vocation and the more one's life becomes unified. Or in more theological language, the more work becomes an act of worship, of praising the creator, of collaborating with God, the more one comes to see the mystery and wonder of a created reality. This of course does not mean that all work is worship of God. Work can be designed in such a way (80 hour weeks, poor wages, non-participation, etc) and directed to such ends (pornography, marketing dubious products, etc.) that by its very nature it excludes such worship as well as human fulfillment. But it is precisely in leisure that one can perceive the magnitude of such problems.

Best of luck and our prayers are with you and your family Jeff. I would only remind you that authentic leisure - which is scarce in today's day and age - requires learning and contemplation. And blogging one's ideas can be of assistance in this area.

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"Cleaning Out My Notebook" Dept.


Do you disagree that there was an organic development of the Roman Rite from at least the time of Gregory the Great up to the Missal of 1962? This is the thesis of Michael Davies, which he has set forth, elaborated on and defended in any number of books and articles.

Yes I disagree. There was an organic development from the apostolic times up until about the fifteenth century. Quo Primum in the sixteenth century basically took the form of the Roman Church and imposed it on the west and there was no "organic development" for nearly four hundred years after that.

Do you think he's wrong on this point or do I misunderstand precisely what you're saying?

A little of both.

It is my understanding, again primarily from Michael Davies, that there were several minor changes to the Missal of 1570 prior to 1958. Are you denying this?

Of course not. The Missal was modified in imperceptable ways about eight times prior to 1958.

Regarding the variety of rites in the West, obviously I agree that they existed, but I don't know what point you think is served by pointing this out. Indeed, the reform of Trent permitted the use of all valid rites in continuous existence for 200 years prior to the Council, most spectacularly the rites of Toledo and Milan.

That was in part because St. Charles Borromeo basically told the pope what he could do with Quo Primum and the pope wisely refrained from making an issue out of it. There were far bigger fish to fry in 1570 than arguing about rites of mass.

The idea behind Trent was to protect the Faithful from Protestant errors in the liturgy, not to destroy any valid existing liturgy.

Well unfortunately the myth of catholicity meaning uniformity sprung up at this time. And there were pressures put upon other churches - particularly the Gallican churches in France - to abandon their ancient usages and use the Missale Romanum of Pius V. Some liturgists even did not mind slandering the eastern liturgies if they thought this would benefit their crusade.

I would posit that the reform of the liturgy which came out of Trent was decidedly more "pastoral" than what came out of Vatican II, which resulted, as a practical matter, in the suppression of the traditional rite.

I do not see how you can say this when Quo Primum was a novel usage of papal law which in essence quashed the tradition of local customs developing organically in the various dioceses. Whatever problems we have had since Vatican II, at least the liturgy has enough fluidity within it to accommodate legitimate local variation. The fact that many places do not stay within the rubrics of the Revised Missal is of course problematical but reforms do not happen overnight. (Indeed it took two centuries to fully implement the reforms of Trent in some countries.) But I digress...

My basic point (and what I take to be Micael Davies') is that a group of experts getting together to radically refashion a liturgy was something unheard of in the Catholic world prior to Vatican II. Do you disagree?

Frankly, we have very little knowledge of what happened with liturgical development prior to the time of Leo the Great. The Roman Canon underwent a thorough recasting at a period of time which we cannot discern with complete certainty - though it seems to me based on the evidences that it was between 400 and the Council of Chalcedon in 451. We do not know who was involved in this process or what occurred. So in that respect it is improper for anyone to be making definitive statements one way or the other on the matter.

How is it you think that it is a "charade" to consider the rite codified as a result of Trent is an ancient liturgy, especially when compared to the innovative Novus Ordo, which was written the day before yesterday?

I consider a lot of things about the Counter-reformation period to have been a charade. I understand the mindset of churchmen who were concerned about the Church coming apart at the seams as she was doing in the sixteenth century but the subsequent "Fortress Catholicism" model was not authentic Catholicism at all but was defensive and in some aspects unnecessarily polemical.{1} I go over a lot of this in my writings so I will not rehash them here. I will leave you with this tidbit though: the Fathers of Trent intended - according to the Apostolic Constitution Quo Primum to restore the liturgy to "the pristine norm of the holy Fathers".

The problem is, there was little knowledge of liturgical practices prior to the eleventh century at the time of Trent.{2} So, since the Patristic period ended in the eighth century and the period of "peak Patristics" was the fourth to sixth centuries, how could the Tridentine reforms achieve what it set out to do when the knowledge to implement their intentions was lacking??? The answer of course is that they could not - which is not to say that they did not intend to do this. (We have no reason to presume that they did not intend to do what they said after all.)

The intention of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council was the same and they had a lot more knowledge of the Patristics period with which to accomplish this task. The degree to which they were successful is of course a matter of debate. Nonetheless, if your primary source (or one which you consider to be a fair source) is Michael Davies ...well... to be charitable lets just say that he is "seriously inadequate" and I will leave it at that.


{1} I refer here to the common emphasis on opposites rather then on the full truth - including some areas which were legitimate criticisms on the part of the "reformers". There was also the myth of the "unchanging Church" which was "always the same in all times and places", "uniformity of liturgical language and devotions constituted true Catholic ideals", etc.

{2} Most of the manuscripts which filled out a lot of the details were not discovered until after 1570 in various seminaries, monestaries, university libraries, etc.


Thursday, January 23, 2003

"The Price is Right" Dept.

Dale Price lays the smack down on Roe blowhard legal-eagle Ron Weddington. Here is just a taste...

Roe Lawyer Praises Decision For Helping to Cull The Herd...

An anencephalic pantload of smug protoplasm named "Ron Weddington" weighs in on Roe. Still more sad proof that of all the ailments afflicting humanity, cranial-gluteal impaction is the hardest to cure.

Time to break out the fiskin' stick. Italics represent the firings of the pantload's brain stem.

But for Roe v. Wade, millions more children would have been born into poverty, where they would be greeted by Congress and the state legislators who failed to provide money for day care, health care, education or job training.

My dad has a word for this sort of 'argument.' It rhymes with "coarse bit." For more go here.

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Good points to ponder from Fr. Jim Tucker of Dappled Things on "Mass All By Yourself"

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"Seeeee Em-i-ly Play" Dept.

After Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of Westminster (in the UK) claimed that his country "has become, from a Christian point of view, very pagan", Miss Stimpson noted that No offense to the Cardinal, but Plato was a pagan. Homer was a pagan. Ceneca was a pagan. Most modern day Brits (and a healthy share of Americans too) are not pagans. They are... go here to read her on-target analysis. How is that for a cliffhanger post??? ;-)

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Points to Ponder:
(In light of Roe vs. Wade)

The Constitution is a written instrument. As such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now. [South Carolina v. United States, 199 U.S. 437, 448 (1905)]

Can someone show me a single Founding Father who saw a "right to abortion"???


"None Dare Call it Conspiracy" Dept.

Courtesy of one of the weblogs We have been monitoring is the following interesting tidbit.

THE CONSPIRACY LIVES: As Howard notes, we here at the Volokh Conspiracy celebrate today's Supreme Court opinion in United States v. Recio, which held that a conspiracy does not end when the government frustrates the conspiracy's objective. The Court's unanimous opinion doesn't come as much of a surprise-- it's a good rule of thumb that when a case asks the Supreme Court to choose between the nearly-universal rule adopted by state and federal courts and that of the Ninth Circuit, the Ninth Circuit will lose.

The arrival of Recio offers a good opportunity to answer another conspiracy law question that readers may have asked themselves -- if several of the Volokh co-conspirators write under a pseudonym, and only Eugene knows who every one is, is there one Volokh Conspiracy, or are there really a bunch of different conspiracies, each with Eugene? I think Model Penal Code Section 5.03(2) offers the best answer:

If a person guilty of conspiracy . . . knows that a person with whom he conspires to commit a crime has conspired with another person or persons to commit the same crime, he is guilty of conspiring with such other person or persons, whether or not he knows their identity, to commit such crime.

In other words, we're all one happy Conspiracy here. At least, according to the Model Penal Code.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Bastiat's Corner:

It has been a while since a segment of this series has run. (The last segment ran HERE.) Those just joining us should start from the beginning where the thesis for soundly refuting socialist nonsense begins to take shape. (Otherwise you may not properly understand the context of where we are at currently in this thesis.)

In light of todays Roe v Wade anniversary, I will recapitulate in purple font the last paragraph of the previous installment here since one of the fundamental errors of Roe v Wade from a moral standpoint is manifestly noted within it.

A Frightful Idea

Those who are subject to vulgar infatuation may exclaim: "Montesquieu has said this! So it's magnificent! It's sublime!" As for me, I have the courage of my own opinion. I say: What! You have the nerve to call that fine? It is frightful! It is abominable! These random selections from the writings of Montesquieu show that he considers persons, liberties, property -- mankind itself -- to be nothing but materials for legislators to exercise their wisdom upon.

The Leader of the Democrats

Now let us examine Rousseau on this subject. This writer on public affairs is the supreme authority of the democrats. And although he bases the social structure upon the will of the people, he has, to a greater extent than anyone else, completely accepted the theory of the total inertness of mankind in the presence of the legislators:

"If it is true that a great prince is rare, then is it not true that a great legislator is even more rare? The prince has only to follow the pattern that the legislator creates. The legislator is the mechanic who invents the machine; the prince is merely the workman who sets it in motion.

And what part do persons play in all this? They are merely the machine that is set in motion. In fact, are they not merely considered to be the raw material of which the machine is made?"

Thus the same relationship exists between the legislator and the prince as exists between the agricultural expert and the farmer; and the relationship between the prince and his subjects is the same as that between the farmer and his land. How high above mankind, then, has this writer on public affairs been placed? Rousseau rules over legislators themselves, and teaches them their trade in these imperious terms:

"Would you give stability to the state? Then bring the extremes as closely together as possible. Tolerate neither wealthy persons nor beggars.

If the soil is poor or barren, or the country too small for its inhabitants, then turn to industry and arts, and trade these products for the foods that you need.... On a fertile soil -- if you are short of inhabitants -- devote all your attention to agriculture, because this multiplies people; banish the arts, because they only serve to depopulate the nation....

If you have extensive and accessible coast lines, then cover the sea with merchant ships; you will have a brilliant but short existence. If your seas wash only inaccessible cliffs, let the people be barbarous and eat fish; they will live more quietly -- perhaps better -- and, most certainly, they will live more happily.

In short, and in addition to the maxims that are common to all, every people has its own particular circumstances. And this fact in itself will cause legislation appropriate to the circumstances."

This is the reason why the Hebrews formerly -- and, more recently, the Arabs -- had religion as their principle objective. The objective of the Athenians was literature; of Carthage and Tyre, commerce; of Rhodes, naval affairs; of Sparta, war; and of Rome, virtue. The author of The Spirit of Laws has shown by what art the legislator should direct his institutions toward each of these objectives.... But suppose that the legislator mistakes his proper objective, and acts on a principle different from that indicated by the nature of things? Suppose that the selected principle sometimes creates slavery, and sometimes liberty; sometimes wealth, and sometimes population; sometimes peace, and sometimes conquest? This confusion of objective will slowly enfeeble the law and impair the constitution. The state will be subjected to ceaseless agitations until it is destroyed or changed, and invincible nature regains her empire.

But if nature is sufficiently invincible to regain its empire, why does not Rousseau admit that it did not need the legislator to gain it in the first place? Why does he not see that men, by obeying their own instincts, would turn to farming on fertile soil, and to commerce on an extensive and easily accessible coast, without the interference of a Lycurgus or a Solon or a Rousseau who might easily be mistaken.

Socialists Want Forced Conformity

Be that as it may, Rousseau invests the creators, organizers, directors, legislators, and controllers of society with a terrible responsibility. He is, therefore, most exacting with them:

"He who would dare to undertake the political creation of a people ought to believe that he can, in a manner of speaking, transform human nature; transform each individual -- who, by himself, is a solitary and perfect whole -- into a mere part of a greater whole from which the individual will henceforth receive his life and being. Thus the person who would undertake the political creation of a people should believe in his ability to alter man's constitution; to strengthen it; to
substitute for the physical and independent existence received from nature, an existence which is partial and moral.* In short, the would- be creator of political man must remove man's own forces and endow him with others that are naturally alien to him."

Poor human nature! What would become of a person's dignity if it were entrusted to the followers of Rousseau?

[*Translator's note: According to Rousseau, the existence of social man is partial in the sense that he is henceforth merely a part of society. Knowing himself as such -- and thinking and feeling from the point of view of the whole - he thereby becomes moral.]

Legislators Desire to Mold Mankind

Now let us examine Raynal on this subject of mankind being molded by the legislator:

"The legislator must first consider the climate, the air, and the soil. The resources at his disposal determine his duties. He must first consider his locality. A population living on maritime shores must have laws designed for navigation.... If it is an inland settlement, the legislator must make his plans according to the nature and fertility of the soil...

It is especially in the distribution of property that the genius of the legislator will be found. As a general rule, when a new colony is established in any country, sufficient land should be given to each man to support his family....

On an uncultivated island that you are populating with children, you need do nothing but let the seeds of truth germinate along with the development of reason.... But when you resettle a nation with a past into a new country, the skill of the legislator rests in the policy of permitting the people to retain no injurious opinions and customs which can possibly be cured and corrected. If you desire to prevent these opinions and customs from becoming permanent, you will secure the second generation by a general system of public education for the children. A prince or a legislator should never establish a colony without first arranging to send wise men along to instruct the youth...."

In a new colony, ample opportunity is open to the careful legislator who desires to purify the customs and manners of the people. If he has virtue and genius, the land and the people at his disposal will inspire his soul with a plan for society. A writer can only vaguely trace the plan in advance because it is necessarily subject to the instability of all hypotheses; the problem has many forms, complications, and circumstances that are difficult to foresee and settle in detail.

Legislators Told How to Manage Men

Raynal's instructions to the legislators on how to manage people may be compared to a professor of agriculture lecturing his students: "The climate is the first rule for the farmer. His resources determine his procedure. He must first consider his locality. If his soil is clay, he must do so and so. If his soil is sand, he must act in another manner. Every facility is open to the farmer who wishes to clear and improve his soil. If he is skillful enough, the manure at his disposal will suggest to him a plan of operation. A professor can only vaguely trace this plan in advance because it is necessarily subject to the instability of all hypotheses; the problem has many forms, complications, and circumstances that are difficult to foresee and settle in detail."

Oh, sublime writers! Please remember sometimes that this clay, this sand, and this manure which you so arbitrarily dispose of, are men! They are your equals! They are intelligent and free human beings like yourselves! As you have, they too have received from God the faculty to observe, to plan ahead, to think, and to judge for themselves!

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Monday, January 20, 2003

Oh, lest I forget, I want to wish to all my readers in light of todays celebration "Happy Holidays".


A good example of illustrating absurdity by being absurd.

But first a monitum:

The above link is not for the delicate of stomachs or the easily scandalized. If you are either of these, I exhort you to avoid the link completely. If not then a somewhat disgusting but logically sound proposal at the above link may be appropriate as we approach the 30th anniversary of legalized murder in this country. (But only with the tough as nails pro-death advocates, not the wishy-washy ones.)

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Sunday, January 19, 2003

The Ballad of the East and West:

I remember memorizing this poem when I was about twelve. (I can only remember a stray part here and there now though.) For some reason I am in the mood to post some poetry so I give you the Ballad of East and West. Enjoy :)

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, tho' they come from the ends of the earth!

Kamal is out with twenty men to raise the Border-side,
And he has lifted the Colonel's mare that is the Colonel's pride:
He has lifted her out of the stable-door between the dawn and the day,
And turned the calkins upon her feet, and ridden her far away.
Then up and spoke the Colonel's son that led a troop of the Guides:
"Is there never a man of all my men can say where Kamal hides?"
Then up and spoke Mahommed Khan, the son of the Ressaldar:
"If ye know the track of the morning-mist, ye know where his pickets are.
At dusk he harries the Abazai -- at dawn he is into Bonair,
But he must go by Fort Bukloh to his own place to fare,
So if ye gallop to Fort Bukloh as fast as a bird can fly,
By the favour of God ye may cut him off ere he win to the Tongue of Jagai.
But if he be past the Tongue of Jagai, right swiftly turn ye then,
For the length and the breadth of that grisly plain is sown with Kamal's men.
There is rock to the left, and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between,
And ye may hear a breech-bolt snick where never a man is seen."

The Colonel's son has taken a horse, and a raw rough dun was he,
With the mouth of a bell and the heart of Hell
and the head of the gallows-tree.
The Colonel's son to the Fort has won, they bid him stay to eat
Who rides at the tail of a Border thief, he sits not long at his meat.
He's up and away from Fort Bukloh as fast as he can fly,
Till he was aware of his father's mare in the gut of the Tongue of Jagai,
Till he was aware of his father's mare with Kamal upon her back,
And when he could spy the white of her eye, he made the pistol crack.
He has fired once, he has fired twice, but the whistling ball went wide.
"Ye shoot like a soldier," Kamal said. "Show now if ye can ride."

It's up and over the Tongue of Jagai, as blown dustdevils go,
The dun he fled like a stag of ten, but the mare like a barren doe.
The dun he leaned against the bit and slugged his head above,
But the red mare played with the snaffle-bars, as a maiden plays with a glove.
There was rock to the left and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between,
And thrice he heard a breech-bolt snick tho' never a man was seen.
They have ridden the low moon out of the sky, their hoofs drum up the dawn,
The dun he went like a wounded bull, but the mare like a new-roused fawn.
The dun he fell at a water-course -- in a woful heap fell he,
And Kamal has turned the red mare back, and pulled the rider free.

He has knocked the pistol out of his hand -- small room was there to strive,
"'Twas only by favour of mine," quoth he, "ye rode so long alive:
There was not a rock for twenty mile, there was not a clump of tree,
But covered a man of my own men with his rifle cocked on his knee.
If I had raised my bridle-hand, as I have held it low,
The little jackals that flee so fast were feasting all in a row:
If I had bowed my head on my breast, as I have held it high,
The kite that whistles above us now were gorged till she could not fly."
Lightly answered the Colonel's son: "Do good to bird and beast,
But count who come for the broken meats before thou makest a feast.
If there should follow a thousand swords to carry my bones away,
Belike the price of a jackal's meal were more than a thief could pay.
They will feed their horse on the standing crop,their men on the garnered grain,
The thatch of the byres will serve their fires when all the cattle are slain.
But if thou thinkest the price be fair, -- thy brethren wait to sup,
The hound is kin to the jackal-spawn, -- howl, dog, and call them up!
And if thou thinkest the price be high, in steer and gear and stack,
Give me my father's mare again, and I'll fight my own way back!"

Kamal has gripped him by the hand and set him upon his feet.
"No talk shall be of dogs," said he, "when wolf and gray wolf meet.
May I eat dirt if thou hast hurt of me in deed or breath;
What dam of lances brought thee forth to jest at the dawn with Death?"
Lightly answered the Colonel's son: "I hold by the blood of my clan:
Take up the mare for my father's gift -- by God, she has carried a man!"
The red mare ran to the Colonel's son, and nuzzled against his breast;
"We be two strong men," said Kamal then, "but she loveth the younger best.
So she shall go with a lifter's dower, my turquoise-studded rein,
My broidered saddle and saddle-cloth, and silver stirrups twain."
The Colonel's son a pistol drew and held it muzzle-end,
"Ye have taken the one from a foe," said he;"will ye take the mate from a friend?"
"A gift for a gift," said Kamal straight; "a limb for the risk of a limb.
Thy father has sent his son to me, I'll send my son to him!"

With that he whistled his only son, that dropped from a mountain-crest --
He trod the ling like a buck in spring, and he looked like a lance in rest.
"Now here is thy master," Kamal said, "who leads a troop of the Guides,
And thou must ride at his left side as shield on shoulder rides. Till Death or I cut loose the tie, at camp and board and bed,
Thy life is his -- thy fate it is to guard him with thy head.
So, thou must eat the White Queen's meat, and all her foes are thine,
And thou must harry thy father's hold for the peace of the Border-line,
And thou must make a trooper tough and hack thy way to power --
Belike they will raise thee to Ressaldar when I am hanged in Peshawur."

They have looked each other between the eyes, and there they found no fault,
They have taken the Oath of the Brother-in-Blood on leavened bread and salt:
They have taken the Oath of the Brother-in-Blood on fire and fresh-cut sod,
On the hilt and the haft of the Khyber knife, and the Wondrous Names of God.
The Colonel's son he rides the mare and Kamal's boy the dun,
And two have come back to Fort Bukloh where there went forth but one.
And when they drew to the Quarter-Guard, full twenty swords flew clear --
There was not a man but carried his feud with the blood of the mountaineer.
"Ha' done! ha' done!" said the Colonel's son.
"Put up the steel at your sides!
Last night ye had struck at a Border thief --to-night 'tis a man of the Guides!"

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, tho' they come from the ends of the earth!


Points to Ponder:
(Courtesy of Our Lord to St. Catherine of Siena)

I would have you know that every good, whether perfect or imperfect, is acquired and made manifest in me. And it is acquired and made manifest by means of your neighbor. Even simple folk know this, for they often love others with a spiritual love. If you have received my love sincerely without self-interest, you will drink your neighbor's love sincerely.

It is just like a vessel that you fill at the fountain. If you take it out of the fountain to drink, the vessel is soon empty. But if you hold your vessel in the fountain while you drink, it will not get empty: Indeed, it will always be full. So the love of your neighbor, whether spiritual or temporal, is meant to be drunk in me, without any self-interest.

I ask you to love me with same love with which I love you. But for me you cannot do this, for I love you without being loved. Whatever love you have for me you owe me, so you love me not gratuitously but out of duty, while I love you not out of duty but gratuitously. So you cannot give me the kind of love I ask of you. This is why I have put you among your neighbors: so that you can do for them what you cannot do for me--that is, love them without any concern for thanks and without looking for any profit for yourself. And whatever you do for them I will consider done for me.

So your love should be sincere. You should love your neighbors with the same love with which you love me. Do you know how you can tell when your spiritual love is not perfect? If you are distressed when it seems that those you love are not returning your love or not loving you as much as you think you love them. Or if you are distressed when it seems to you that you are being deprived of their company or comfort, or that they love someone else more than you.

From these and from many other things you should be able to tell if your love for me and for your neighbors is still imperfect and that you have been drinking from your vessel outside of the fountain, even though your love was drawn from me. But it is because your love for me is imperfect that you show it so imperfectly to those you love with a spiritual love." [St. Catherine of Siena: From The Dialogue, translated and with an introduction by Susan Noffke. Mahweh, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1980]