Dorothy Sayers on Tolerance and Despair

“In the world it calls itself Tolerance; but in hell it is called Despair. It is the accomplice of the other sins and their worst punishment. It is the sin which believes nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, loves nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and only remains alive because there is nothing it would die for.”

–Dorothy Sayers, Letters to a Diminished Church: Passionate Arguments for the Relevance of Christian Doctrine (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004 ed of the original), p.98

h/t, http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/64894/

C. S. Lewis on isolation and discussion in the modern world

“In any fairly large and talkative community such as a university, there is always the danger that those who think alike should gravitate together into ‘coteries’ where they will henceforth encounter opposition only in the emasculated form of rumor that the outsiders say thus and thus. The absent are easily refuted, complacent dogmatism thrives, and differences of opinion are embittered by group hostility. Each group hears not the best, but the worst, that the other groups can say.”

Spoken to the Socratic Club (h/t http://www.scriptoriumnovum.com/l/club.html)

 

Love and approval

“We have seen that loving concern, although it actually confirms the beloved in his existence, can also have a shaming element. This fact–which seems paradoxical only at first glance–indicates that love is not synonymous with undifferentiated approval of everything the beloved person thinks and does in real life. As a corollary, love is also not synonymous with the wish for the beloved to feel good always and in every situation and for him to be spared experiencing pain or grief in all circumstances. “Mere ‘kindness’ which tolerates anything except [the beloved’s] suffering” has nothing to do with real love. Saint Augustine expressed the same idea in a wide variety of phrases: “Love reprimands, ill will echoes”; “the friend speaks bitterly and loves, the disguised foe flatters and hates.” No lover can look on easily when he sees the one he loves preferring convenience to the good. Those who love young people cannot share the delight they seem to feel in (as it were) lightening their knapsacks and throwing away the basic rations they will eventually need when the going gets rough” (Josef Pieper, Faith, Hope, Love, p 187).

Dante: The Wrathful

“A marsh there is called Styx, which the sad stream
Forms when it finds the end of its descent
Under the grey, malignant rock-foot grim;And I, staring about with eyes intent,
Saw mud-stained figures in the mire beneath,
Naked, with looks of savage discontent,At fisticuffs–not with fists alone, but with
Their heads and heels, and with their bodies too,
And tearing each other piecemeal with their teeth.”Son,” the kind master said, “here may’st though view
The souls of those who yielded them to wrath;
Further, I’d have thee know and hold for true 

That others lie plunged deep in this vile broth,
Whose sighs–see there, wherever one may look-
Come bubbling up to the top and make it froth.

Bogged there they say: ‘Sullen were we–we took
No joy of the pleasant air, no joy of the good
Sun; our hearts smouldered with a sulky smoke;

Sullen we lie here now in the black mud.’
This hymn they gurgle in their throats, for whole
Words they can nowise frame.” Thus we pursued

Our path round a wide arc of that ghast pool,
Between the soggy marsh and arid shore,
Still eyeing those who gulp the marish foul,

And reached at length the foot of a tall tower.”

(Dante, Inferno, Canto VII, Sayers trans)

From the lustful mutual self-indulgence to a radical self-isolation, unable now even to communicate. Acedia is also wrath directed inwards on the self.

The Marsh. Both kinds of Wrath are figured as a muddy slough; on its surface, the active hatreds rend and snarl at one another; at the bottom, the sullen hatreds lie gurgling, unable even to express themselves for the rage that chokes them. This is the last of the Circles of Incontinence. This savage self-frustration is the end of that which had its tender and romantic beginnings in the dalliance of indulged passion” (Dante, Inferno, Canto VII, Sayers notes p 114).

George MacDonald–“Eli, Eli”

“He could not see, he could not feel Him near; and yet it is “My God” that He cries. Thus the Will of Jesus, in the very moment when His faith seems about to yeild, is finally triumphant. It has no feeling now to support it, no beatific vision to absorb it. It stands naked in His soul and tortured, as He stood naked and scourged before Pilate. Pure and simple and surrounded by fire, it declares for God” (C.S. Lewis, An Anthology, p 53).

Charles Williams’ play “Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury”

There are some people in my parish who are wanting to put on this play by Charles Williams.  They’re a talented lot, and it would be interesting to see.  I think it would require an accompanying commentary though.  I put it on here because this mildly adapted script may be of value to Charles Williams fans…  It used to be out of print, but appears now (2016) to be back in print.  There are some minor errors that occurred during the scanning process.  If any one wants a micro$haft word copy send me an email and I’ll send you one…

First produced in the Chapter House, Canterbury, as part of the Festival of the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral, 20 June 1936
THOMAS CRANMER Robert Speaight
HENRY VIII Philip Hollingworth
MARY Vera Coburn Findlay
FIRST LORD Jeffrey Leighton
SECOND LORD Frank napier
A PRIEST Sidney Haynes
A PREACHER William Fordyce
A BISHOP William Gorman
FIGURA RERUM, A SKELETON E. Martin Browne
The Commons; Singers; Executioners
The character of ANNE BOLEYN was not included in the somewhat shorter version of the play given at Canterbury
Directed by E. Martin Browne

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