Simone Weil

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: Fifth Word, Witness—Bless John Paul II by Charles M. Murphy

March 29, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration Woman, this is your son. Son, this is your mother. (John 19:27) As the second millennium of the birth of Christ drew near, Pope John Paul II issued a reflection upon the Mother of the Redeemer.  Citing the Second Vatican Council, he recalls that the church in the course of history “proceeds along the path already trodden by the Virgin Mary who ‘advanced in her pilgrimage of faith and loyally persevered in her union with her son unto the cross.’”  There, he says, “Mary’s motherhood is a gift, a gift which Christ himself makes personally to every individual.” Karol Wojtyla’s life was characterized by devotion to the mother of God who, he believed, saved him when he lost his own mother at the age [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: Fourth Word, Witness—Blessed John XXIII by Charles M. Murphy

March 28, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:46) Behind the genial smile and peasant simplicity of Angelo Roncalli, Pope John XXIII, was a closely guarded secret, his soul and the constant soul work in which he was so seriously engaged all his life.  From 1895, when he was fourteen, until 1962, a few months before his death at eighty-one – a span of almost seventy years – he kept a daily journal to which he later gave the title Il Giornale dell’ Anima (The Journal of a Soul).  In it he was constantly talking with God and placing himself at God’s disposal. His life was a public one and far removed from the contemplative sphere: secretary to his bishop in Bergamo, spiritual director at the local [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: Third Word, Witness—Dorothy Day by Charles M. Murphy

March 27, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration Today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43) Dorothy Day, with the French exile Peter Maurin, founded the Catholic Worker movement with its houses of hospitality for feeding and sheltering the poor and homeless.  They also began a monthly newspaper, The Catholic Worker, to communicate the church’s social teachings.  The Catholic Worker, true to its mission, still sells for a penny a copy.  Day and Maurin preached and practiced a “radical” Christianity of social justice, charity, and pacifism – radical in the sense of going to the roots of our beliefs and living out the consequences.  Voluntary poverty and direct, one-on-one love of the poor are expected of all members.  Dorothy always credited [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: Second Word, Witness—St. Teresa Blessed by the Cross (Edith Stein) by Charles M. Murphy

March 27, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:32-34) Hannah Arendt and Edith Stein were philosophy students in Germany before World War I.  Arendt studied with Martin Heidegger, Stein with Edmund Husserl.  Though Jewish, both women were strongly attracted to Christianity.  Arendt wrote her doctoral dissertation on Saint Augustine’s concept of love, and Stein wrote hers on the idea of empathy.  Arendt eventually made her way to the United States and had a distinguished academic career.  Her five-part article, “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil,” written for the New Yorker magazine in 1963, caused great controversy. After some years as a Roman Catholic, Stein was [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: First Word, Witness—Simone Weil by Charles M. Murphy

March 25, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46) The cry of desolation and abandonment of Jesus from the cross surely is one of the saddest verses in all of scripture.  Another, and comparable to it, is a passage from the Book of Genesis, a book that begins with God’s celebration of all his works as “good” and of creation of the first human as “very good.”  But later, surveying the extent of human wickedness, God “regretted having made human beings on Earth and was grieved at heart,” (Genesis 6:6).  It was then that God decided to “rid the surface of the Earth of human beings whom I have created,” and everything else. (Genesis 6:7). Simone Weil, the brilliant French philosopher and [...]

MYSTICISM: Simone Weil—Encounters With Christ

October 11, 2017

From Waiting for God and The Notebooks of Simone Weil In 1938 I spent ten days at Solesmes, from Palm Sunday to Easter Tuesday, following all the liturgical services.  I was suffering from splitting headaches; each sound hurt me like a blow; by an extreme effort of concentration I was able to rise above this wretched flesh, to leave it to suffer by itself, heaped up in a corner, and to find a perfect and pure joy in the unimaginable beauty of the chanting and the words.  This experience by analogy enabled me to get a better understanding of the possibility of divine love in the midst of affliction.  It goes without saying that in the course of these services the thought of the passion of Christ entered into my being once and for all. [...]

POETRY: Daydreaming by Simone Weil

October 11, 2017

I believe that the root of evil, in everybody perhaps, but certainly in those whom affliction has touched, is daydreaming. It is the sole consolation, the unique resource of the afflicted; the one solace that helps them bear the fearful burden of time; and a very innocent one, besides being indispensable. So how could it be possible to renounce it? It has only one disadvantage, which is that it is unreal. To renounce it for the love of truth is really to abandon all one’s possessions in a mad excess of love and to follow Him who is the personification of Truth. And it is really to bear the cross; because time is the cross. In all its forms without exception, daydreaming is falsehood. It excludes love. Love is [...]

POETRY: Gravity And Grace by Betsy Sholl

November 5, 2014

Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it. (Simone Weil) Simone Weil, it’s hard to concentrate on you with those three boys on the next bench blowing up balloons and letting them go, all squirt and grunt, fizzling into— the void, I think you’d say. And leaving a void too—if spent breath becomes exhaust, if everything we do ends up empty. So prayer, you’d add, becomes a little death as we pour our desires into words that fill to bursting, then leave our lips to corkscrew and sputter into thin air, selfless, anonymous enough to rise. Now the boys race up the slide, all high-fives and laughter, blowing off gravity, while I read you’d like to be blown away, see a landscape [...]

POETRY: Doubt by Fanny Howe

February 19, 2014

Virginia Woolf committed suicide in 1941 when the German bombing campaign against England was at its peak and when she was reading Freud whom she had staved off until then. Edith Stein, recently and controversially beatified by the Pope, who had successfully worked to transform an existential vocabulary into a theological one, was taken to Auschwitz in August 1942. Two years later Simone Weil died in a hospital in England—of illness and depression—determined to know what it is to know. She, as much as Woolf and Stein, sought salvation in a  choice of words. But multiples succumb to the sorrow induced by an inexact vocabulary. While a whole change in discourse is a sign of conversion, the alteration of a single word only signals a kind [...]

PATIENCE: Evil by Simone Weil

September 26, 2013

Creation: good broken up into pieces and scattered throughout evil. Evil is limitless, but it is not infinite.  Only the infinite limits the limitless. Monotony of evil: never anything new, everything about it is equivalent.  Never anything real, everything about it is imaginary.  It is because of this monotony that quantity plays so great a part.  A host of women (Don Juan) or of men (Célimène), etc.  One is condemned to false infinity.  That is hell itself. Evil is license and that is why it is monotonous: everything has to be drawn from ourselves.  But it is not given to man to create, so it is a bad attempt to imitate God. Not to recognize and accept this impossibility of creating is the source of many an error.  We are [...]

MERCY: God’s Mercy And Love by Simone Weil

March 26, 2013

From Waiting for God It is in affliction itself that the splendor of God’s mercy shines, from its very depths, in the heart of its inconsolable bitterness.  If still persevering in our love, we fail to the point where the soul cannot keep back the dry, “My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”, if we remain at this point without ceasing to love, we end by touching something that is not affliction, not joy, something that is the central essence, necessary and pure, something not of the senses, common to joy and sorrow: the very love of God. We know then that joy is the sweetness of contact with the love of God, that affliction is the wound of this same contact when it is painful, and that only the contact matters, not the [...]

PRAYER: Concerning The Our Father by Simone Weil

March 16, 2012

Our Father which art in Heaven He is our Father.  There is nothing real in us which does not come from him.  We belong to him.  He loves us, since he loves himself and we are his.  We do not have to search for him, we only have to change the direction in which we are looking.  It is for him to search for us.  We must be happy in the knowledge that he is infinitely beyond our reach.  Thus we can be certain that the evil in us, even if it overwhelms our whole being, in no way sullies the divine purity, bliss, and perfection. Hallowed be thy name God alone has the power to name himself.  His name is unpronounceable for human lips.  His name is his word.  It is the word of God.  Man has access to this name, although it also is [...]