Friday, June 3, 2011
A Meditation on Fasting
Schopenhauer gives us one reason why asceticism is important. By refusing the rule the appetites and training them to submission by ascetic practice we are distancing ourselves from the roar of the demands of our individual presentation of the universal will to exist. This removes us from the suffering which is the reality of that will in its individual presentations. We will know peace.
Mary embodies the virtues inherent in the first sort of discomfort. She gives her "fiat" to the angel, telling him, "let it be done to me according to your will." She suffers the piercing of the seven swords in her acceptance of the Father's will for her only son, Jesus. Her virtue is shown to be without comparison, but she takes not the Stoic's comfort of distancing herself emotionally from the consequences of her fiat. She suffers truly, and mixes the virtues of her acceptance with those of her son for the benefit of us, her children.
Jesus choses the severity of the cross so that he might win for us the new life of self abnegation and union with the Father. He is the Logos, the will behind all creation, its warp and woof, and he chooses to take death on the cross, not passively but actively, like an ascetic choosing a painful practice. In the painful travail of this birth of the new race of men, with Christ as the new Adam and all of us one with him, the suffering that is life is consummated into joy and peace, and the tears are wiped away. In the evening, we go weeping, weeping into the growing darkness. But joy comes in the morning.
May the fast be good today.
The life of men is indeed a mystery