family, reason and the divine spark


We had a bit of a family day yesterday. First I sneaked off to church to practice and prepare for this morning with the understanding that Eileen would call me when we were ready to depart. I dropped a book off at the library. It occurred to me to stop by and say hi to Mom but I didn’t really have the time.  I had rehearsed the prelude and postlude and was working on today’s psalm when Eileen called.

I drove to Gregory Michigan where my brother lives with Sarah and Matthew. I had a nice chat with Sarah on the way over. She arranged us in our two cars I think. It was fun being with everyone. I also sneaked up stairs and looked at my brother’s poetry books which he has recently arranged by author.

We all went out to eat. Jeremy and Elizabeth treated us which was nice since we are low in funds. They and Sarah and Matthew paid for gas for the trip as well. Sarah and Matthew wanted to stay a bit longer so we left them the Mini and I drove the rest of the crew back to Holland. Eileen could not find her keys before we left and was very frustrated at herself. After the long trip home, she discovered them in her purse. Happy ending.

I dragged my little book of Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations along with me on this trip but didn’t get a chance to look at it of course. This morning after Greek and Finnegans Wake I read the introduction to my copy of the Meditations by W. H. D. Rouse.

He continually compares Stoicism, Marcus Aurelius’s take on it and Christianity. He even goes so far as to compare the Meditations to Thomas A Kempis’s Imitation of Christ
which is a bit odd.

I think I am rereading Aurelius, at least the first pages, because I have two references in the back of the book to passages I wanted to return.

The first one concerns reading.

Marcus Aurelius indicates that to Rusticus he owes the notion that it is important to “read with diligence; [to] not rest satisfied with a light and superficial knowledge…” p. 3

Even now when I reread this passage I see myself in the phrase “light and superficial knowledge.” Was I inspired by this passage to better and deeper reading in my middle and old ages? Who knows?

Then there is paragraph  XV.

All men are the same by virtue of reason and the divine spark

In the country of the Quadi at Granua, these. Betimes in the morning say to thyself, This day I shalt have to do with an idle curious man, with an unthankful man, a railer, a crafty, false, or an envious man; an unsociable uncharitable man. All these ill qualities have happened unto them, through ignorance of that which is truly good and truly bad. But I that understand the nature of that which is good, that it only is to be desired, and of that which is bad, that it only is truly odious and shameful: who know moreover, that this transgressor, whosoever he be, is my kinsman, not by the same blood and seed, but by participation of the same reason, and of the same divine particle; How can I either be hurt by any of those, since it is not in their power to make me incur anything that is truly reproachful? or angry, and ill affected towards him, who by nature is so near unto me? for we are all born to be fellow-workers, as the feet, the hands, and the eyelids; as the rows of the upper and under teeth: for such therefore to be in opposition, is against nature; and what is it to chafe at, and to be averse from, but to be in opposition?

It is wonderful to read these words and think about public discourse (and of course Facebooger). Time to get ready for church.

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