Archive for the ‘Charles Péguy’ Category

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Reading Selection From Charles Peguy’s The Portal of the Mystery of Hope

April 30, 2012

“As a literature teacher, I’m marking the Easter season in one way I know how: assigning books that are suited to the season. This week we’re reading that lyrical, enormously uplifting work of Charles Péguy, The Portal of the Mystery of Hope. A gifted poet, Péguy lived among the poor, defended the innocent Dreyfus, embraced and then saw through socialism, and finally was led by his love for St. Joan of Arc to renew his childhood faith before he died in one of the very first battles of World War I. But in his 40 years he penned some of the greatest Catholic books of the 20th century, and this is one of them. It focuses on what Péguy calls the most neglected theological virtue: “the little girl, Hope.” His earthy, mystical lyrics depict Hope as a playful, energetic, eight- or nine-year-old child, beside whom Faith and Charity are weary middle-aged moms, who draw the energy to keep on moving from the innocent glee of the girl who tugs them forward by the hand.”
John Zmirak in Crisis Magazine

“Péguy, who was certainly not a theologian given to compartmentalizing, had brought his insights, once achieved, to completion in a breakthrough to a comprehensive theology of hope — by means of patient contemplation of the one reality that is at once natural and supernatural, by an unceasing process of approfondissement and assimilation. And this theology of hope makes its presence felt today, gently but irresistibly, by a structural shift in the whole theological edifice…

So the whole of Péguy’s art and theology flow more and more towards prayer without one ever being able to say precisely whether this prayer is dialogue or a monologue on God’s part. It is a dialogue with God but one which is constantly developing into a monologue of God the Father, addressed without distinction to his Son, to the men he has created and to himself. It is a form of “theology as Trinitarian conversation,” never realized prior to Péguy, which could only be risked by a poet using a simple and popular style of utterance that avoids any show of sublimity and yet does not for a moment degenerate into “mateyness” and false familiarity. Only faith in the Holy Spirit can allow God to speak in such a way.”
 Hans Urs von Balthasar

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Look at the little one, says God, how she marches.
She would skip rope in the procession
She marches, she moves ahead by skipping a rope, for a bet.
She’s so happy
(Alone among them all)
And she’s so sure that she’ll never get tired.

Children walk exactly like little puppies.
(Moreover, they play like puppies too)
When a puppy goes for a walk with his masters
He comes and he goes. He comes back, he leaves again. He goes ahead, he returns.
He makes the trip twenty times.
Covers twenty times the distance.
It’s because as a matter of fact he’s not going somewhere.
His masters are the ones who are going somewhere.
He’s not going anywhere at all.

What he’s interested in is precisely making the trip.
Likewise with children.
When you make a trip with your children,
When you run an errand
Or when you go to Mass or to Vespers with your children,
Or to say the rosary
Or between Mass and Vespers when you take a walk with your children.
They trot along in front of you like little puppies.
They run ahead, they lag behind.
They come and they go. They play around.
They jump, They make the trip twenty times.
It’s because as a matter of fact they’re not going somewhere.
They’re not interested in going somewhere.
They’re not going anywhere at all.

The grown-ups are the ones who are going somewhere
The grown-ups, Faith, Charity.
The parents are the ones who are going somewhere.
To Mass, to Vespers, to say the rosary.
To the river, to the forest.
To the fields, to the woods, to work.
Who do their best, who strain themselves in order to get somewhere
Or even to go somewhere to go for a walk.

But the children are only interested in making the trip.
To come and to go and to jump. To wear out the road with their legs
Never to have enough of it. And to feel their legs growing.
They drink up the road. They thirst for the road. They never have enough of it
They’re stronger than the road. They’re stronger than fatigue.
They never have enough of it (just like hope). They run faster than the road.
They don’t go, they don’t run in order to get there. They get there in order to run. They get there in order to go. Just like hope. They don’t spare their steps. The idea doesn’t even occur to them
To spare anything at all.

It’s the grown-ups who are sparing as they’re forced to be. But the child Hope
Never spares anything
It’s the parents who are sparing. Unhappy virtue, alas, that they should have to make a virtue of it.
They’re forced to. As strong as my daughter Faith is,
Solid as a rock, she’s forced to be sparing.
As ardent as my daughter Charity is,
Burning like a fine wood fire
That warms the poor man by the fireplace
The poor man and the child and the starving man,
She’s forced to be sparing.
Only the child Hope
Is she alone who never spares anything.

She doesn’t spare her steps, the little devil, she doesn’t spare ours.
Just as she doesn’t spare the flowers and the leaves in the grand Processions,
And the roses of France and the beautiful Lilies of France
With the undrooping collars,
So in the little, in the long procession, in the hard procession of life she doesn’t spare anything
Neither her steps nor ours.
In the ordinary, in the gray, in the common procession
(Because it’s not every day that you have Corpus Christi.)

She doesn’t spare her steps, and since she treats us like herself
 She doesn’t spare ours either.
She doesn’t spare herself; and likewise, she doesn’t spare others either.
She makes us start the same thing over twenty times.
She makes us return twenty times to the same place.
Which is generally a place of disappointment
(Earthly disappointment.)

It doesn’t matter to her. She’s like a child. She is a child.
It doesn’t matter to her to take the grown-ups for a ride.”
Earthly wisdom is none of her business.
She doesn’t calculate like we do.
She calculates, or rather she doesn’t calculate, she counts (without noticing) like a child.
Like someone who has her whole life in front of her.

It doesn’t matter to her to take us for a ride.
She believes, she expects us to be like her.
She doesn’t spare our sufferings. And our trials. She thinks
That we have our whole lives ahead of us.
How she deceives herself. How right she is
For don’t we indeed have our whole Life ahead of us.
The only one that matters. Our whole Eternal life.

And doesn’t the old man have as much life ahead of him as the baby in tin’ crib.
If not more. Because for the baby in the crib the eternal Life,
The only one that matters, is hidden by this miserable life
That he has in front of him. First. It’s in front. By this miserable life on earth.
He has to endure, he has to go through this whole miserable life on earth
Before he can get to, before he can reach, before he can attain the Life
Which is the only life that matters. The old man is lucky.
He has wisely left behind this miserable life
Which had hidden the eternal Life from him
And now he is free. He has put behind him what was before.

He sees clearly. He’s full of life. There’s no longer anything between him and life.
He’s standing on the edge of the light.
He’s on the shore itself. He’s at the limit. He’s on the brink of etenial life.
We are right in saying that old men are wise.
Just as the child is right to think
That we are like her.
That we have our whole life ahead of us.
That we have it as much as she does. That it matters for her
To make us make the trip twenty times.
She’s right. What matters
(And to make us return twenty times to the same place
Which is generally a place of disappointment
Of earthly disappointment) what matters
Is not to go here or there, is not to go someplace
To arrive someplace
Some earthly place.

What matters is to go, always to go, and (on the contrary) not to arrive.
What matters is to go simply in the simple procession of ordinary days,
The great procession toward salvation. The days pass in procession
And we pass in procession through the days. What’s important
Is the going. To keep going. That’s what matters. And how you go.
It’s the road you travel. It’s the traveling itself.
And how you do it.

You make twenty times the same trip on earth.
To come to an end twenty times.
And twenty times you end up, you come to, you attain
With difficulty, with much effort, with much straining,
Painfully
The point of disappointment.
Of earthly disappointment.

And you say: This little Hope has tricked me again.
I never should’ve trusted her. It’s the twentieth time that she’s tricked me.
Earthly wisdom is not her strong point.
I will never believe her again. (You will believe her again, you will always believe her).
I’ll never get taken in again. — Fools that you are.
What does it matter the place you wanted to go to.
Where you thought you were going.

Come on now; you’re not children, you know perfectly well
That the place you were going to would be a disappointment.
An Earthly disappointment. It was already disappointing beforehand. So why did you want to go there. Because you understand very well the game of this little Hope.

Why do you always follow this child of disappointment.
Why do you get yourself involved in this little one’s game.
All the time, and the twentieth time more firstly than the first.
Why do you go along of your own accord.
All the time, and the twentieth time more readily than the first.

It’s because in your heart you know very well what she is.
And what she does. And that she fools us.
Twenty times.
Because she is the only one who does not fool us.
And does not disappoint us

Twenty times
All through life
Because she is the only one who does not disappoint us
For Life.

And it’s thus that she is the only one who does not disappoint us. Because those twenty times that she makes us take the same trip
On earth, according to human wisdom, those are twenty times of increasing difficulty
Of repetition, of the same thing
Twenty times in vain, right on top of each other
Because they all went by the same road
To the same place, because it was the same route.

But for God’s wisdom
Nothing is ever nothing. All is new. All is other.
All is different.
In God’s sight nothing repeats itself.
Those twenty times that she made us take the same trip to get to the same point
Of futility

From the human perspective it’s the same point, the same trip, the same twenty times.
But that’s the deception.
That’s the false calculation and the false reckoning.
Being the human reckoning.

And this is why it doesn’t disappoint: Those twenty times are not the same. If those twenty times are twenty times of trial(s) and if the route is a path to sanctity
Then along the same path the second time doubles the first
And the third time triples it and the twentieth time multiplies it twenty fold.
What does it matter to arrive here or there, and always at the same place
Which is a place of (earthly) disappointment.
What matters is the path, and which path you take, and what you do on it
How you take it.
It’s the trip alone that matters.

If the path is a path to sanctity
In God’s sight, a path of trials
He who takes it twice is twice as holy
In God’s sight, and he who takes it three times
Is three times as holy, and he who takes it
Twenty times, twenty times more holy. That’s how God reckons.
That’s how God sees things.

The same path is not the same the second time around.
Every day you say, all your days are alike
On earth all days are the same.
Departing from the same mornings they convey you to the same evenings.
But they do not lead you to the same eternal evenings.
Every day, you say, looks the same — Yes, every earthly day.
But have no fear, my children, they do not at all look like
The last day, which is different from every other.

Every day, you say, repeats itself. — No, they are added
To the eternal treasury of days.
The bread of each day to that of the day before.
The suffering of each day
(Even though it repeats the suffering of the day before)
Is added to the eternal treasury of sorrows

The prayer of each day
(Even though it repeats the prayer of the day before)
Is added to the eternal treasury of prayers. of each day
(Even though it repeats the merit of the day before)
Is added to the eternal treasury of merits.
On earth everything repeats itself. In the same matter.
But in heaven everything counts
And everything increases. The grace of each day
(Even though it repeats the grace of the day before)
Is added to the eternal treasury of graces. And it’s for this that the young

Hope
Alone doesn’t spare anything.

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To Know And To Believe – Charles Péguy

July 5, 2011

Charles Péguy

A brief essay by Charles Péguy on a profound topic. First an intro bio by Ralph Mclnerny:

 When he sat off on foot for Chartres he was a man who probably thought of himself as an all around failure.

In 1912, a spare man with a spade beard set off on foot from Paris, his destination the cathedral of Chartres. His name was Charles Peguy, he was just shy of forty years of age, he was a poet, pamphleteer, patriot and, above all, a Catholic who cherished his faith the more because of the years he had spent away from it. Two years later he would be one of the first to fall for France in World War I. Eighty years later he is mentioned often, written of some, read little. Who was Charles Peguy?

Many first encountered him in Raissa Maritain’s memoirs. He enters the Maritains’ life as owner of a bookstore, Cahiers de la Quinzaine, which can still be seen on the Rue de la Sorbonne, a vestigial rebuke to the institution across the street. Raissa presents us with the portrait of a slightly older man, married, with children he had not had baptized, a socialist, a man of enormous integrity who had broken with his former political allies, living a precarious life.

In her second book of memoirs, Adventures in Grace, Raissa discusses Peguy’s religious difficulties. Her account begins with a quotation from Peguy, “I have found the Faith again, I am a Catholic.” Thus he came before the American Catholic reader as a writer who, having wandered in the byways of socialism and uneasy agnosticism, returned to the faith and found in Joan of Arc the overwhelming symbol of France.

The fact is that he wrote Jeanne d’Arc almost a decade before his return to the Church in 1907 and it is tempting to think that she attracted him because of her failure, her martyrdom, her victory in defeat. Peguy’s own life did not describe a rising line. It was not exactly a spiral downward either, but a looping progression from hope through halfaccomplishment to reversal. When he sat off on foot for Chartres he was a man who probably thought of himself as an all around failure.

With writers, it is customary to trade off a dissatisfying life for the stories or poems that come out of it, counting the sacrifice of the poet small price to pay for his poetry. This romantic conception of the artist dies hard. In any case, Peguy would have repudiated it with disdain. He wanted recognition and acclaim. He felt he deserved it. He did not receive it. Is there success in failure?

The Christian signs upon himself the cross which symbolizes the cruel execution of his publicly discredited Lord. In hoc signo vinces? But victory under this sign almost always looks like worldly defeat. One of the fascinations of Peguy is that he sought worldly acclaim by writing on themes which call into question worldly acclaim.

Only you know our loveliest sentiments
Last no more than the space of a day
And the strongest and most lasting love
Lasts no more than moments.

Those lines are from, Eve, said to be the longest poem in French, one thousand, nine hundred quatrains, or seven thousand six hundred fortyfour lines. That is the size of a good sized novel. A pretty hefty bid for attention.

His prose writings are studded with mots. “There are lots of honest men. You can tell them by the way they do bad things badly.” “Experts on youth are almost as sad as experts on love.” “Kantianism has pure hands, but it has no hands.” “One is no longer a poet after twelve years of age.” “One word is always better than many.” And, fair warning perhaps, “One should never believe what a poet says.”

The Maritains, in their fervor as converts, confided in Peguy what had happened to them. “But I too have come to that,” he cried. What did the poet mean? Jacques was not edified to learn that Peguy missed Mass on Sunday as well as Ascension Day. What kind of faith was this that did not express itself in the practices the faith required? But Peguy’s marriage was not blessed and his children were unbaptized and his wife was opposed to rectifying either. They had married in a civil ceremony, she came of revolutionary stock, and Peguy appears to have felt bound by the nature of the compact they had entered into, considering it a matter of justice. To go to Mass would be to endure the suffering of separating himself from his family, and to be unable to receive communion. This was Peguy’s agonizing situation. He may serve as a kind of patron for those caught in similar seemingly insoluble circumstances.

Jacques Maritain made a disastrous visit to Peguy’s wife to convince her that, since baptism was a meaningless gesture in her eyes, she should accede to Peguy’s desires. The visit descended into theological wrangling. Raissa tries to put the best face on it, but it is difficult not to see the visit as enormously imprudent. It caused a rift between the Maritains and Peguy.

Peguy had been a champion of Dreyfus, and fell out with his former allies. He was a difficult friend and a ferocious foe. He returned to the faith but not to communion and it was only on the battlefield that he reentered the sacramental life. Peguy is a puzzle, no doubt about it. His poetry, which translates with difficulty, has come into English, but his prose has not. The fifteen years of his Cahiers, chock full of his great polemics and crusades, are exciting to read. His blast against Durkheim and sociology makes telling points. His feeling that the Church, by treating the apostate Ernest Renan with such gentleness, seemed to have adopted the liberalism that had led Renan out of the priesthood and out of the Church, is a shrewd analysis. T

There are French writers who have written out of a Catholic sensibility but whose lives have been far from edifying. One thinks of Chateaubriand and Barbey d’Aureyville, to keep examples discreetly in the past. Peguy does not fall into this category. Far from it. With the return of faith came a settled Catholic outlook, that pervaded his life and everything he wrote. “It is probable that he did not have that `illumination’ which suddenly seized Claudel one Christmas afternoon at Notre Dame during the singing of the Magnificat, but that an interior change took place by slow increments. When he made his remark to Lotte [that he had regained the faith], he was sure of himself, and when he declared himself subject to the absolute `order’ of Our Lady of Chartres he had accepted the faith as a gift.” (Louis Perche)

In 1910 appeared The Mystery of the Charity of Joan of Arc. The adoption of an openly Catholic outlook alienated many subscribers to the Cahiers, who had come aboard when Peguy was a socialist. He gained new readers, of course, some of them as equivocal as those he had lost. He was embraced as an unquestioning patriot, a hero of the right. But Peguy’s politics seem as nonideological as those of Bernanos. Peguy deserves a revival of interest on the part of Catholics. Anyone can love the poetry, but the prose, should it find its way into English, would claim, I think, a wide readership. Passionate, provoking, in the world but not of it, living his life in a kind of limbo, Peguy ended as a hero, both moral and military. Joan of Arc must have welcomed him home.

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 A PHILOSOPHER ON HIS DEATHBED recently said to the most faithful of his disciples, who made a note of his words for us. Having arrived at an advanced age this philosopher, a few moments before the moment of his death said approximately this: “I know that I am going to die, but I do not believe it.”

No doubt he meant by these words, as far as one can explain through analysis words so profound and so true, he meant no doubt by these words that he knew, that he foresaw, that he foreknew his approaching death with a full intellectual, historical and scientific knowledge, implying an unquestionable historical and scientific certainty, but that he did not foreknow, that he did not foresee his own approaching death with an interior organic knowledge.

One knows one’s death, one does not believe it, or one does not believe in it. This, I think, is one of the most profound remarks that has ever been pronounced since death came into the world. And death has been in the world for a long while. This is a remark so profound, and one which reaches so profoundly to the most profound and the most essential sentimental springs, that it does not apply to death alone, that it is not true of death alone, but is true of all things which are of the same degree of profundity as death, of the same order of greatness as life and death. It is not true of probity only, which is a virtue of race and of which the dishonest cannot have the least organic idea. It is true above all of destitution which is so closely related to death, being very exactly what the very rare expression of the Greek Antigone has indicated: a living death.

He who has not been tempted, in destitution, does not know what destitution and temptation are; and consequently he does not know what probity is, what it is to be honest. Or to speak quite exactly and to adhere strictly to the remark that we have reported, he can know it, but he does nothing but know it: he does not believe it and he does not believe in it.

Genius exacts the patience to work — and the longer I live, citizen, the less I believe in the efficiency of sudden illuminations that are not accompanied or supported by serious work, the less I believe in the efficiency of conversions, extraordinary, sudden and marvelous, in the efficiency of sudden passions, — and the more I believe in the efficiency of modest, slow, molecular, definitive work.

The longer I live — the less I believe in the efficiency of an extraordinary sudden social revolution, improvised, marvelous, with or without guns and impersonal dictatorship — and the more I believe in the efficiency of modest, slow, molecular, definitive social work.

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Charles Péguy

June 26, 2009

 

Charles Péguy

Charles Péguy

 

 

Charles Péguy (January 7, 1873 – September 5, 1914) was a noted French poet, essayist and editor who died in WWI on the eve of the Battle of the Marne. He converted to Catholicism in 1908 and from that time on his works become imbued with his faith.

 

 

 

 

 

Quotations from Charles Péguy

“The sinner is at the very heart of Christianity. Nobody is so competent as the sinner in matters of Christianity. Nobody, except the saint.”

“It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been committed for fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.” (Notre Patrie, 1905).

“Tyranny is always better organized than freedom”.

“Homer is new and fresh this morning, and nothing, perhaps, is so old and tired as today’s newspaper.”

“Surrender is essentially an operation by means of which we set out explaining instead of acting.”

“He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself the accomplice of liars and forgers.”

“A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.”

“How maddening, says God, it will be when there are no longer any Frenchmen;

There will be things that I do that no one will be left to understand.” (Le Mystère des saints Innocents)

“It is impossible to write ancient history because we do not have enough sources, and impossible to write modern history because we have too many.” (Clio, 1909)

“In the end, life offers only one tragedy: not to have been a saint.” (Attributed to by Peter Kreeft)

“Humanity will surpass the first dirigibles as it has surpassed the first locomotives. It will surpass M. Santos-Dumont as it has surpassed Stephenson. After telephotography it will continually invent graphies and scopes and phones, all of which will be tele and one will be able to go around the earth in less than no time. But it will always be only the temporal earth. And it will even be possible to burrow inside the earth and pierce it through as I do this ball of clay. But it will always be the carnal earth.” 1907

THE PASSION OF OUR LADY –Charles Péguy

It was their fault. It must have been their fault.
They had always been too proud of him.
Joseph and she, they had been too proud of him.
It was bound to end badly.
You mustn’t be so proud.
You mustn’t be as proud as that. — Weren’t they pleased
On the day when that old fellow Simeon
Sang that hymn to the Lord,
Which will be sung forever and ever.
Amen.
And then there was that old woman in the temple.

Weren’t they proud!
Too proud.

And that other time too.
The time when he shone among the doctors.
At first they got quite a jolt,
When they came home
And he wasn’t with them,
All of a sudden he wasn’t with them.
They thought they had forgotten him somewhere.
Mary was all taken aback.
They thought they had lost him –
That was no joke. It made her tremble.
It wasn’t something that happened every day
To lose a twelve year old boy.
A big twelve year old boy.

Fortunately they found him in the temple in the midst of the doctors.
Sitting in the midst of the doctors.
And the doctors listening religiously.
He was teaching, at the age of twelve, he was teaching in the midst of the doctors.
How proud they had felt.
Too proud.

Just the same, he ought to have been careful, that day. He had really been too brilliant, he shone   too much in the midst of the doctors.
Too much for the doctors.
He was too great among the doctors.
For the doctors.
He had let it be seen too clearly.
He had let it be seen too much.
He had made it known too manifestly that he was God.
Doctors don’t like that.

He ought to have been more careful. People like that have good memories.
It is even because they have such good memories that they are doctors.
He surely hurt their feelings that day.
And doctors have a good memory.
Doctors have a memory that goes way back.

He ought to have been more careful. Those people have a memory that goes back a good deal.
And then they always stick together.
They uphold each other.
Doctors have a memory that goes way back.
He surely hurt their feelings that day.
When he was twelve.
And when he was thirty-three, they got him.
And this time they wouldn’t let him off.
It meant death.
They had him.
They got him.
When he was thirty-three they caught him.
Doctors have a memory that goes way back. –

He had been a good son to his father and mother.
Until the day when he began his mission. — He was generally liked.
Everybody liked him.
Until the day when he began his mission.
His comrades, his friends, his companions, the authorities~
The citizens,
His father and mother,
They all thought what he did was all right. Until the day when he began his mission. –

The authorities thought what he did was all right.
Until the day when he began his mission.
The authorities considered he was a man of order.
A serious young man.
A quiet young man.
A young man with good habits.
Easy to govern.
Giving back to Caesar what was Caesar’s.
Until the day when he had begun disorder.
Introduced disorder.
The greatest disorder in the world.
The greatest there ever was in the world.
The greatest order there had been in the world.
The only order.
There had ever been in the world. –

He was a good son to his father and mother.
He was a good son to his mother Mary.
And his father and mother thought everything was all right.
His mother Mary thought it was all right.
She was happy, she was proud of having such a son.
Of being the mother of such a son. –
And she gloried perhaps a little in herself, and she magnified God.
Magnificat anima mea.
Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus.
Magnificat. Magnificat.
Until the day when he had begun his mission.–
Perhaps she no longer said Magnificat then.
For the last three days she wept.
She wept and wept
As no other woman has ever wept. –

No boy had ever cost his mother so many tears.
No boy had ever made his mother weep as much.
And that is what he had done to his mother
Since he had begun his mission. — For the past three days she had been wandering, and follow­ing.
She followed the people.
She followed the events.
She seemed to be following a funeral.
But it was a living man’s funeral. –

She followed like a follower.
Like a servant.
Like a weeper at a Roman funeral. — As if it had been her only occupation.
To weep. — That is what he had done to his mother.
Since the day when he had begun his mission. — You saw her everywhere.
With the people and a little apart from the people.
Under the porticoes, under the arcades, in drafty places.
In the temples, in the palaces.
In the streets.
in the yards and in the back-yards.
And she had also gone up to Calvary.
She too had climbed up Calvary.
A very steep hill.

And she did not even feel that she was walking.
She did not even feel that her feet were carrying her.– She too had gone up her Calvary.
She too had gone up and up
In the general confusion, lagging a little behind
She wept and wept under a big linen veil.
A big blue veil.
A little faded.– She wept as it will never be granted to a woman to weep.
As it will never be asked
Of a woman to weep on this earth.
Never at any time.– What was very strange was that everyone respected her.
People greatly respect the parents of the condemned.
They even said: Poor woman.
And at the same time they struck at her son.
Because man is like that.– The world is like that.
Men are what they are and you never can change them.
She did not know that, on the contrary, he had come to change man.
That he had come to change the world.
She followed and wept.
And at the same time they were beating her boy.–

She followed and wept.
Everybody respected her.
Everybody pitied her.
They said: Poor woman.
Because they weren’t perhaps really bad.
They weren’t bad at heart.
They fulfilled the Scriptures.–

They honored, respected and admired her grief.
They didn’t make her go away, they pushed her back only a little
With special attentions
Because she was the mother of the condemned.
They thought: It’s the family of the condemned.
They even said so in a low voice.
They said it among themselves
With a secret admiration.–

She followed and wept, and didn’t understand very well.
But she understood quite well that the government was against her boy.
And that is a very bad business.– She understood that all the governments were together against her boy.
The government of the Jews and the government of the Romans.
The government of judges and the government of priests.
The government of soldiers and the government of parsons.
He could never get out of it.
Certainly not.– What was strange was that all derision was heaped on him.
Not on her at all.– There was only respect for her.
For her grief.–

They didn’t insult her.
On the contrary.
People even refrained from looking at her too much.
All the more to respect her.
So she too had gone up.
Gone up with everybody else.
Up to the very top of the hill.
Without even being aware of it.
Her legs had carried her and she did not even know it.
She too had made the Way of the Cross.
The fourteen stations of the Way of the Cross.
Were there fourteen stations?
Were there really fourteen stations?–

She didn’t know for sure.
She couldn’t remember.
Yet she had not missed one.
She was sure of that.
But you can always make a mistake.
In moments like that your head swims.
Everybody was against him.
Everybody wanted him to die.
It is strange.
People who are not usually together.
The government and the people.–
That was awful luck.
When you have someone for you and someone against you, sometimes you can get out of it.
You can scramble out of it.
But he wouldn’t.
Certainly he wouldn’t.
When you have everyone against you.
But what had he done to everyone?

I’ll tell you.
He had saved the world.

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