Lin Weeks Wilder

Lin Weeks Wilder

Christianity, conversion, Education, faith, fear, good and evil, peace, sacraments, Virtues

Restoring Our Glory: Love of Chastity

restoring our glory: love of chastity
Royal Gold Crown

Restoring our glory

“Come ye, let Us make man in Our image, and according to Our likeness.” Now by this word “Us” He maketh known concerning the Glorious Persons [of the Trinity]. And when the angels heard this utterance, they fell into a state of fear and trembling, and they said to one another, “A mighty miracle will be made manifest to us this day [that is to say], the likeness of God, our Maker”… And they saw the right hand of God opened out flat, and stretched out over the whole world; and all creatures were collected in the palm of His right hand…

And  when he rose at full length and stood upright in the centre of the earth, he planted his two feet on that spot whereon was set up the Cross of our Redeemer; for Adam was created in Jerusalem. There he was arrayed in the apparel of sovereignty, and there was the crown of glory set upon his head, there was he made king, and priest, and prophet, there did God make him to sit upon his honourable throne, and there did God give him dominion over all creatures and things. And all the wild beasts, and all the cattle, and the feathered fowl were gathered together, and they passed before Adam…”

The Book of the Cave of Treasures

I have to redo man in everything. Sin has removed the crown from him,
and has crowned him with opprobrium and with confusion; so he cannot stand before my Majesty.
Sin has dishonored him, making him lose any right to honors and to glory. This is why I want to be
crowned with thorns – to place the crown on man’s forehead, and to return to him all rights to every
honor and glory. Before my Father, my thorns will be reparations and voices of defense for many sins
of thought, especially pride; and for each created mind they will be voices of light and supplication,
that they may not offend Me.

The Twenty-Four Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The above two quotations express first, the incomprehensible majesty of man’s original divinity and the colossal cost of our redemption. Restoring our glory: love of chastity.

The vocabulary of faith

It was at St. Benedict’s Abbey that I joined the Catholic Church. I read five textbooks that summer, each of which required intense concentration. And yet it was fun.

Fun. Really? Reading a textbook from the 1940s based on St. Thomas Aquinas’ writings is fun?

My ‘Yes!’ is unqualified– unconditional. Can you imagine finding something you have been looking for most of your life? Something you could not express but once you found, knew? And even better, a teacher to guide you, answer your questions, one on the same path as you? I found the answers to questions I ‘d been asking for my entire life in those volumes. Restoring our glory: love of chastity.

The process of religious conversion in and of itself causes the convert to stop. That cessation of motion in the direction of life has tremendous consequence. Everything that was believed before feels upside down, the openness to learning is unprecedented, perhaps never to be felt like that again.

I learned the phrase, “dumbing down” from the editor of the textbook I published with Blackwell Scientific Publishing Company. Richard understood my goal to produce a textbook which would provide a breadth of physiology and pathophysiology not available in competing texts. But, he warned me, the culture was dumbing down. It was the mid-eighties, and the majority of readers wanted simpler, easier sources.

The vocabulary of faith is like that. In the interest of making the Catholic faith accessible to laypeople- children and converts, it is has been distilled to something unrecognizable. And boring.

Everyone has warned me not to tell you what I am going to tell you in this last book. They all say “the ordinary reader does not want Theology; give him plain practical religion.” I have rejected their advice. I do not think the ordinary reader is such a fool. Theology means “the science of God,” and I think any man who wants to think about God at all would like to have the clearest and most accurate ideas about Him which are available. You are not children: why should you be treated like children?

Mere Christianity

We yearn to be fed

by the thoughts of men and women who have walked the same path. There is an almost infinite repositry of writers wating for the chance to help us see more clearly. Their writings are timeless and exist in all traditions. Erik Varden’s Chastity- Reconciliation of the Senses makes use of Jewish, Hindu, Christian as well as secular voices in this forthright, incisive and remarkably gentle book.

Perhaps because he’s Norwegian, humanity’s infinite love for sin doesn’t deter the delicate sympathy and humor with which he writes. Like this remark about modern attitudes about celibacy. “Virginity, to be fruitful, must be chosen as a vibrant, for life. We are culturally conditioned to think of virginity as pickled maidenhood.”

And the poignancy of this one: “We easily forget that God has hope for us. He knows we need to grow and grow up.”

I think the most stunning thing about this book is its implicit hope and clarity: our sins don’t shock Jesus. In his chapter Tensions, Varden remarks that the practice of virtue is neither natural nor ‘normal.’ We must recall that all we can do on our own is sin. Rather, It’s extraordinary, therefore requiring the supernatural: grace. Our perception of celibacy as sublimation is flawed and dangerously so. It isn’t sublimation at all, declares Bishop Varden, but one of orientation. We’re reminded by Saint Benedict to “love chastity.” Continence becomes something to offer our beloved as gift.

Varden ends Tensions with this exquisite quote from Etty Hillesum:

.I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything that is unsolved in your heart and try to cherish the questions themselves, like closed rooms and like books writtien in a very strange tongue. Do not search for the answers which cannot be given you now because you could not live them. It is a matter of living everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing, one distant day, live right into the answer.

Etty Hillesum: An Interrupted Life

After reading a few of the quotes like the one beginning this article,

I bought and devoured The Book of the Cave of Treasures. Bishop Varden’s decision to ground his book in the splendor of these ancient Syriac writings is inspired. One cannot read this compressed biblical history without virtually prostrating oneself in awe at the magnificence of Creation and first human being, Adam. These ancient writings make our hearts soar and fuel our fervor to be perfect as Our Father in heaven. We learn too of God’s compassion: Adam was not left bereft.

And besides [these things] God spake unto me, saying, “Be not sorrowful, O Adam, for thou didst wish to become a god and didst transgress my command. Behold, I will stablish thee, not at this present, but after a few days.” And again He spake unto me, saying, “I am God Who made thee to go forth from the Garden of Joy into the earth, which shall shoot forth thorns and brambles, and thou shalt dwell therein. Bend thy back, and make thy knees  to totter in old age, and I will make thy flesh food for the worms.
And after five days and half a day{5} I will have compassion upon thee, and shew thee mercy in the abundance of my compassion and my mercy. And I will come down into thy house, and I will dwell in thy flesh, and for thy sake I will be pleased to be born like an [ordinary] child. And for thy sake I will be pleased to walk in the market place. And for thy sake I will be pleased to fast forty days. And for thy sake I will be pleased to accept baptism. And for thy sake I will be pleased to endure suffering. And for thy sake I will be pleased to hang on the wood of the Cross. All these things [will I do] for thy sake, O Adam.”

To Him be praise, and majesty, and dominion, and glory, and worship, and hymns, with His Father and the Holy Spirit from this time forward and for ever and ever. Amen.

The Book of the Cave of Treasures

The litany of chastity

Post Tags :
Bishop Erik Varden, study of the faith, the twenty-four hours of the passion of Christ

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Lin Wilder

Lin Wilder has a doctorate in Public Health from the UT Houston with a background in cardiopulmonary physiology, medical ethics, and hospital administration. 

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