Carmel, Elijah and the Destroyer of Worlds

Call me odd, but I find it is always a good sign when a liturgical reading accidentally corresponds to the feast. From the Office of Readings, the first lectio is from the Book of Kings, wherein Elijah, retreating from the noise and din of the world on Mount Horeb, hears God’s voice not in the thunder and earthquakes and the rending of rocks, but in the ‘still, small voice’, a whisper even, in the original Hebrew, ‘silence’.
Today we commemorate Our Lady of Mount Carmel, title named after the place where Elijah was said to dwell in a grotto on its

Praise the Lord


St Irenaeus: not a psychobabble practitioner

Window of St Irenaeus by Lucien Bégule (1901)

The single most celebrated quotation from St Irenaeus, the apostolic Father who lived from about 130 to about 202AD is “Gloria Dei vivens homo.” (Adversus Haereses 20-1-7) As my old patristics teacher, Father Antonio Orbe once said as politely as he could to a student who wanted to study the dictum for his dissertation: “This phrase is very often cited, but always wrongly understood.”

Not a statement of self-actualising psychobabbleThe venerable professor said this because the much-quoted statement used to be widely misused to enlist St Irenaeus as a supporter of the personalist psychology of the 1970s. In this context, it would usually be quoted as “The glory of God is man fully alive” by which is meant man fully self-actualised, replete with “healthy” self-esteem.

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