To be a “pilgrim” (status viatoris)

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Viator means wanderer, walker, wayfarer, pilgrim. The last term has acquired a special meaning and became a familiar part of religious parlance. We speak of the “pilgrimage” of this earthly life. This is a perfectly honorable and legitimate use of the word, to which no serous objections can be raised. However, certain rather melodramatic overtones have become associated with this usage, overtones which may blur the precise meaning of this important term, or even cause us to brush it aside. In reality the concept of status viatoris involves nothing sentimental, nor even anything distinctively religious or theological. What is meant, rather, is that man, as long as he exists in this world, is characterized by an inward, as it were ontological quality of being on-the-way to somewhere else. Continue reading

Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) wrote his Pensées in order to provide an apology for the Christian religion. He contrasts the geometric spirit (esprit géometrique = Descartes’ method of reducing complex whole to simple elements, ideas, or principles followed by deductive reconstruction) with the spirit of finesse (esprit de finesse) in which we intuitively see things at a glance and not through progressive analysis and reasoning. Continue reading