Wednesday, October 31, 2012

#105. "The Love of Eternal Wisdom"

ARCHIVE. For a list of all my published posts:

This is the 5th in my series of blog entries beginning with #101-- a collection of notes and essays from my files all dealing in one way or another with the emerging new religious consciousness. They are mostly things I've written over the last decade to clarify my own thoughts but which I want to make available for anyone who might be interested. This post (#105) was originally a follow up to the letter in post #104.

If you have questions and think I might help, you're welcome to send me a note:


Dear D&M:

What follows should really be called something like "Sam’s one-page 'contemporary' version of Barbara Moore's translation of Louis de Montfort's The Love of Eternal Wisdom." I wrote this a couple of summers ago; I did it primarily for my own benefit, as a way of better understanding the ideas connected with Sophia.

This introductory page is an integral part of the effort. As I said earlier, I'm sending this in conjunction with the long essay on Bulgakov from the St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly to give you an example of the "opposite ends of the sophiological spectrum."

The one thing I need to add to the Intro and text that follow is that while the language of my one-page summary is not one de Montfort would (or could) have used, I think I have been able to be fairly faithful to the 'flavor' or 'spirit' of what he has to say. It is complicated, however: in his opening prayer, for example, he addresses Sophia as “my princess,” and yet equates her with Jesus. Hmmm.

I think the most interesting thing about all this is not how odd it seems, but that it exists at all. -Sam



I have been having fun with Barbara Moore's book. I tried to do a one-page summary of Louis de Montfort's commentary about Eternal Wisdom.

Moore says Montfort’s book is probably based on notes for a retreat he was asked to give for the youthful members of a newly founded religious order devoted to the Holy Spirit. Montfort himself was a young and enthusiastic missionary priest at the time, so the resulting text is filled with the breezy slang of a youthful but charismatic leader trying to speak in a hip style to an even more youthful audience. All set within the context “baroque piety of 17th century France.” The result is dreadful.

So why bother with it? No one had done anything like it in western Christianity since the time of the early church fathers. And it would be another hundred and fifty years before the earliest Sophiologists appeared in Russian Orthodoxy. It's definitely worth looking at.

I probably spent as much time trying to come up with a good name for what Montfort calls “Eternal Wisdom” as I did in trying to summarize his text. What works best for me, so far, is “the Divine-Cosmic Energy." It’s appropriate and contemporary, and has the key advantage of putting Montfort’s thought in the perspective of a dynamic cosmos, utterly absent from the 18th century worldview. 

But I'm not really happy with “Cosmic Energy,” either. Sometimes, I think “the forces of nature” would be best. And I’m even less content with my summary. Above, I said “it's definitely a fun project.” Here, I’m thinking, “what a drag.”

Early on in his text, Montfort (writing around 1700 AD) quotes the author of the Book of the Wisdom of Solomon (writing roughly 100 BC), saying “I’m very confused. I feel like my mind is going in a half-dozen directions at once.” That is exactly how I feel. I have much admiration for Barbara Moore for taking on such a difficult project! 



Divine-Cosmic Energy takes priority before anything else. It pervades the universe and is responsible for everything, and all the good that it is, is ours for the taking. We humans are just like it; we are its supreme creation, its unique representative and living portrait. Its equals. Yet without it, we’re nothing. But-- without us-- it, too, is nothing. Its whole meaning and purpose is to be “for” us. It delights in us and needs us-- we, human persons at the heart of cosmos-- for its own fulfillment.

If what it’s all about is our happiness and enjoyment and we’re unhappy, that means we must be missing something. Maybe we’re just unaware. “Clue-less.” Or maybe we’re too distracted. Society has never been so bad, with its focus on externals and trivia, in making it easy for us to forget what life is about and to ignore the fullness of life which the Divine-Cosmic Energy offers us.

However, if we do pay attention to it, everything good is ours. It fulfills our heart’s desires. But we have to be attentive. We need to focus on it as much as a man does when he’s out looking for a woman. When we do, it responds like a woman happy to be found. She gives herself to us, totally.

This Divine Energy is such an amazing thing! There is nothing greater, nothing more important. And no violence, pain or bitterness is connected with it in any way. We really can’t put it into words. But we can experience it. It’s like food or music: we can tune in, taste it, know it by experience.

And it really does have a profound personal desire to belong to us. It personally cares about us, especially if we’re unhappy. It wants to share everything with us. It is so positively oriented towards us that it’s like a stalker. The Uncreated Energy is always pursuing us! But there’s no reason to be afraid of it. What it wants is that we should be its friends and fellow workers.

We can see its effects in people who befriend it. They stand out clearly as enlightened, inspired, encouraged, protected. It’s obvious they are being guided, that their lives are meaningful and happy. If we are open to it, the Divine-Cosmic Energy will guide us, too. Its goal is nothing less than riches and fullness of life for us; if we befriend it, it will supply us with everything we need.

Although it is in charge of the whole world, it works unobtrusively. This means that often we don’t recognize it, especially in life’s difficulties. But it’s the Cosmic Energy that, in fact, gets us through rough times. It so intensely wants to give itself to us that, if it’s ours, we never really lack anything.

Divine Energy gives meaning to our lives especially by serving us as a mentor and teacher. The wisdom it gives us is a profound understanding of the nature of things and a deep intuitive insight into what life is all about. It also gives us powerful communication and relational skills, so that our hearts can reach out to touch the hearts of others. Perhaps most important of all, it gives us the courage to be creative. It inspires us to do everything, to go everywhere, to try every new thing, to leave nothing unexplored. That we should become all that we can be. That’s what it wants from us!

Its greatest need, from its point of view, and its greatest gift, from our point of view, is our collaboration with it in the on-going creation of the world. Together, we and the Divine Energy bring about the New Creation. And its greatest lesson is that, in that on-going process, we can endure anything. Nothing good will get lost. Its most significant spokesman says, “Don’t be afraid.” 


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