“Peace in the Post-Christian Era” (Thomas Merton) “We have to make ourselves heard. Christians have a grave responsibility to protest clearly and forcibly against trends that lead inevitably to crimes which the Church deplores and condemns. Ambiguity, hesitation and compromise are no longer permissible. War must be abolished. A world government must be established. We have still time to do something about it, but the time is rapidly running out.” Continue reading Sea of Rosaries: Beatitudes Born of Magnificat
Christ Casting Avarice From The Temple ©Alfred Eaker 2018 “I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God. I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God, and yet hating him; born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers.” Thomas Merton, excerpt from Seven Storey Mountain (read by Pope Francis in his address to congress) Continue reading Of Mysticism and Social Justice: Christ Casting Avarice From The Temple
Feeding Of The 5000 © Alfred Eaker 2018 “Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny … To put it better, we are even called to share with God the work of creating the truth of our identity … The seeds that are planted in my liberty at every moment, by God’s will, are the seeds of my own identity, my own reality, my own happiness, my own sanctity.” Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas Continue reading Of Mysticism And Social Justice: Feeding Of The 5000
(Photo: Jesus raising the dead with a wand, Roman catacomb, 3rd century)
When J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books hit the shelves and became a global hit, American fundamentalist Christians took note and reacted with a loud fear, demonization, and astoundingly idiotic condemnation that was rare even for their various denominational demographics. There is perhaps nothing more threatening than rival mythology, especially when its well publicized and successful. Protestations and calls to ban the books were followed by entire websites devoted to instructing Christians how to respond to witchcraft and demonology as pop phenomenon. It backfired and the Potter juggernaut paved right over all that evangelical silliness. With the films that followed, Rowling became the most successful franchise since Disney. Given their way, these Western, allegedly Christian sects would have certainly have mounted a belated sequel to the Salem Witch Trials. Alas, pesky secular laws predominantly douse homegrown puritan torches and minimize imitation of Isis-styled iconoclasm, which hardly negates in-house suspicion of and aggression toward imagery, such as detailed here:
(Photo: 4th century Raising of Lazarus Fresco ((Christ with magic wand)) Catacomb cubiculum O, Rome)
Although the display of overwrought evangelical histrionics reached a new, modern height with the opening of the Harry Potter universe, their pop paranoia is nothing new. For those of us old enough to remember, the same demographics were issuing warnings about Superman, who they saw as a rival to their Lord and Savior (the mythological underpinnings of the DC character were undoubtedly inspired by Christ origin Gospel narratives).
In A Search For Solitude, Journals 1952-1960, Thomas Merton lists “distrust and rejection of emotional symbolism of art,” as an unfortunate tenet of contemporary Western Christianity.
Earlier, in “Run To The Mountains. Journals 1939-1941, ” Merton wrote: “It is one of the singular disgraces attached to Catholics as a social group that they, who once nourished with their Faith and their Love of God the finest culture the world ever saw, are now content with absolutely the worst art, the worst writing, the worst music, the worst everything that has ever made anybody throw up. All this, far from being caused by their Faith, only weakens and ruins their Faith. It is something of a Middle Class culture which is poisoning the Faith instead of slaking our thirst to honor God. And those who cannot distinguish what is bourgeoisie, in what they believe, from what is Christian are crucifying God all over again with their trivial, complacent ignorance and bad taste and materialism and injustice.”
January 31st is the 100th birthday of Thomas Merton. In honor of his centenary, the following is an excerpt from my Master’s Thesis: Justification By Imagination: The Marian Art Of Thomas Merton. The thesis was approved by Drs. Frank Burch Brown, Marti Steussy, and Lorna Shoemaker. Introduction: Opening Merton It is, perhaps, apt that Thomas Merton’s Marian art is primarily concealed—much as the Marian figure is in the gospels. The bulk of Merton’s Marian drawings reside at the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. Little of that art has been published. To approach it, one must first … Continue reading “Justification By Imagination: The Marian Art Of Thomas Merton” (Alfred Eaker’s Masters Thesis)
In the meditative state an achieved plane is desired, a plane with such shining translucency, that it takes on the characteristic of a perfectly formed icicle. This plane is prajna, the Sanskrit word for Wisdom. A common misconception among Westerners is that Buddhism, being a pessimistic, pantheistic religion, flouts moral conviction. Buddhism is neither pessimistic nor pantheistic and, rather than flouting moral conviction, Buddhism edifies ethical conduct as an essential goal attained through the wisdom from a life of meditation, as I will endeavor to show. First, in briefly addressing the charge of pantheism, I will quote Dom Aelred Graham, … Continue reading A DIAPHANOUS PLANE (AWAKENING THE BUDDHA WITHIN)