Friday, December 14, 2007

Quote of the Week

I'm doing a Friday penance of cleaning my office and I found an old First Things article by Fr. Edward Oakes, S.J. It is a self-admittedly scattered article about relativism, but he ends with a quote from Blaise Pascal:
[The Christian religion] teaches men both these truths: that there is a God of whom we are capable, and that a corruption in our nature makes us unworthy of Him. It is equally important for us to know both these points; for it is equally dangerous for man to know God without knowing his wretchedness, and to know his wretchedness without knowing the Redeemer who can cure him of it. Knowledge of only one of these points leads either to the arrogance of the philosophers, who have known God and not their own wretchedness, or the despair of the atheists, who know their wretchedness without knowing the Redeemer.
Fr. Oakes also gives Pascal's recommendation for dealing with the challenges of our day:
Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true. The cure for this is first to show that religion is not contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect. Next, make it attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then show that it is. Worthy of reverence because it really understands human nature. Attractive because it promises true good.

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