Monday 17 October 2011

How to change minds? 'Burn' hearts by contact with Truth


From the introduction to God's revelation to the human heart by Fr. Seraphim Rose.

This introduction was written by Hieromonk Damascene and described Fr. Seraphim's lecture at University of California, Santa Cruz on May 15, 1981:


[Fr. Seraphim's] ultimate aim, of course, was to awaken people to that which they truly desired: the living Christ.

He recognized that, for all the spiritual denseness of contemporary Western man, the basic process of his conversion was no different from what it had been in past ages.

Conversion takes place when something in the heart begins to 'burn' at being in contact with God-revealed truth.


Before this can take place, however, the person often has to feel an absence of truth, and to actually experience suffering as a result of this want.


People in the affluent West often have this feeling of spiritual torment suppressed from their consciousness, so occupied are they with physical comforts and stimulations. 

In countries where people are deprived of freedom and comfort, on the other hand, the spiritual hunger of man becomes more immediate and desperate. 

[Hieromonk Damascene describing the beliefs of Fr. Seraphim Rose.]



Gabe Ruth said...

This is very much what I have always considered Vatican II to really be about. The loss of the Beauty of the Latin Mass was a tragedy for those that knew it, and many perversions have crept in with the new Mass. But the whole flock is now exposed to the Truth in a way that only those with good teachers had been before (and the decline in the teaching of the Faith preceded Vatican II). Also, those outside the Church now have the ability to hear the Truth denied them before. I think the change to the vernacular was an adjustment made necessary by the deterioration of the teaching of the Faith, and not a bad thing. Other changes were more malign, like the diminished respect shown the Eucharist (priest facing the congregation, no rail, etc.). But rebellion is not the answer. Making your thoughts known to family, friends, and priest, observing the good old ways to the extent that you can, and prayer. These are they ways to reform.

Bruce Charlton said...

@GR - I'm guessing you intended to post this comment in the Tolkien Vatican II thread?

I think the problem now is that the Truth is buried amongst a vastly greater quantity of evil lies - often very attractively packaged.

The Church ought to be more concerned about preserving its purity, and less about diluting it with the culture of lies, so that now even within the Church and its Magisterium it becomes hard to find the Truth.

The Latin mass, properly conducted, was itself the Truth - something around-which lives were built. Can the same be said of what replaced it?

To ask the question is to answer it - THAT is what has been lost.

Gabe Ruth said...

I don't want to defend Vatican II, so I didn't want to say anything in that thread. But if any good came out of it, it was in attempting to do what is described in this post. Now I see your thoughts on "good intentions", so this will obviously not carry any weight with you. I'm a little surprised by the vehemence there. If you believe "the Latin Mass was itself Truth", that clarifies things, and leaves not much else to say.

On a related note, I saw an "I love the old Latin mass" bumper sticker this morning. Not the first one I've noticed, but they are not common. Maybe I'm missing something.

Bruce Charlton said...

@GR - "If you believe "the Latin Mass was itself Truth", that clarifies things, and leaves not much else to say."

I think this is reasonable way of expressing how people like JRR Tolkien felt - that regular, serious, devout (preferably daily) participation in the old Latin mass was the core of spiritual life, and (more or less) minimally sufficient for salvation.

This does not apply to me, since I have only attended one proper Latin mass, and then only as an observer.

For an Anglican, things are never as clear cut; but the Eucharist, using the BCP, and presided over by a priest known as Father - feels to me much as I *imagine* the Tridentine Mass would feel to a Roman Catholic of Tolkien's era.

As for reform... well that would certainly be desirable. But it may not happen.

Things may well continue to get worse - indeed they certainly will continue to get worse unless there is explcit repentance and resolution to reform.

Either way, somehow or another, nonethless, we will still have to keep going.

There are inspiring, indeed awesome, examples of the kind of thing that may be necessary from the experiences of Central and Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union under Communism - although no doubt this would be at a much less striking scale, in line with the feebler level of devoutness in the modern West.