Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dorothy Day on Hippies

...[F]or her, the 1960s had been full of signs of something vital that had gone out of the world--a glue that had held things together no longer worked.  And there was the war in Vietnam, a grotesque torture that depressed the spirits of all and seemed to her to accentuate the discordant and even the grotesque in a world apparently become meaningless.  On May 11, 1969, she wrote to Della [her sister] from St. Cloud, Minnesota, where she was visiting several Catholic Worker families.  She found that that singular effluence of the 1960s, the "hippies," were more numerous there than in New York.  "They are marrying young--17 and 18, and taking to the woods up by the Canadian border and building houses for themselves--becoming pioneers again.  It's as tho they were determined to live--to get out of the war atmosphere they have lived in all their lives--a new generation entirely."  A new generation of pioneers, yes, but Dorothy found them "maddening."  Hippies, in her view, were the offscourings of middle-class affluence who affirmed nothing except the principle of reducing every principle to the absurd.  In view of all the horror of Vietnam, Dorothy could imagine that "the soldiers would like to come back and kill these flower-power, loving people" who had "not known suffering."  What more properly would be in order for them was "prayer and penance" and "fasting."--William D. Miller, Dorothy Day: A Biography, pg. 491.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lives of the Saints

He studied the lives of the saints and recommended their biographies to Dorothy as examples of particular qualities of spirit on which a true humanism could be built.  "Peter was always getting back to Saint Francis of Assisi, who was most truly the 'gentle personalist.'  In his poverty, rich; in renouncing all, possessing all; generous, giving out of the fullness of his heart, sowing generously and reaping generously, humble and asking when in need, possessing freedom and all joy."--William D. Miller, Dorothy Day: A Biography, pg. 235.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Peter Maurin, Traditionalist

...[H]e read much history, especially histories of the Church.  He read history not to use it as the predictive instrument of the "social scientist," or to whet some pet theory as to why one thing and not another had happened.  Rather, he read history because through it he could discern the workings of those large ideas that had, at one time or another, won the minds and spirits of humankind.  In history, he could see the relationship between an idea-climate and a culture.  History, too, as he saw it, was the catalyst of tradition, the tool by which tradition can be humanized.  It was also the agency of community.  For, as a traditionalist, he affirmed that if the human vision was to be kept clear, the past must not be disassociated from the present.  All that had been possessed an organic unity with the present.  The past was not a carcass to be picked over and then cast onto the refuse pile.--William D. Miller, Dorothy Day: A Biography, pg. 234-235.

Wanna Study Theology?

You could do a lot worse than going here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Peter Maurin's Reading List

An important consideration, of course, is what he read, who "influenced" him.  It is impossible to know all that he may have read over the obscure years of his life, but Dorothy mentions some of the books he had her read.  "Besides Fr. Vincent McNabb and Eric Gill, there were Jacques Maritain, Leon Bloy, Charles Peguy of France, Don Sturzo of Italy, [Romano] Guardini and Karl Adam of Germany, and [Nicholas] Berdyaev of Russia."  Then she says that "the books Peter brought us enriched us immeasurably."--William D. Miller, Dorothy Day: A Biography, pg. 234.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Know Much to Love Much

Whether or not Maurin was a genius, Dorothy thought he was...His concern with ideas--his overall synthesis of history and of ideas--was such a passion with him that he could think of nothing else...

The elements of his "grand idea" came from years of reading. He read, not to engorge facts, but for ideas--to see how things went together and where they tended. In writing of this trait of Maurin's, Dorothy quoted some lines from "Bishop Prohaszka's Meditations on the Gospels,"...:"He wished to know much, so as to be able to love much. Let us therefore read and learn, not for the purpose of killing time or loading our memory but for refreshing our spirits and kindling our hearts to divine love.'"--William D. Miller, Dorothy Day: A Biography, pg. 234.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Third Way

Why did it have to be this way with religion--with her life as a Catholic--that she could not join these marching men and women?  Christ most certainly was with the marchers.  They were "His comrades."

She was emotionally overwrought, obviously, but her feelings, nevertheless, were expressive of a profound illness that had become acute in the body of Christendom. Those who professed Jesus had not made him Lord of history but history's lackey. And Dorothy, whose heart had always been drawn to the dispossessed, who had always stood aside from the main course that was crowded with persons struggling toward their bourgeois heaven, knew that the Christ they said was helping them in their struggle for bourgeoisity was really the anti-Christ.

"Is there no choice but that between Communism and industrial capitalism?" she asked. "Is Christianity so old that it has become stale, and is Communism the brave new torch that is setting the world afire?" How strange it was that "when Catholics begin to realize their brotherhood and betake themselves to the poor and to all races, then it is that they are accused of being Communists?"

"When the demonstration was over and I had finished writing my story," she said, "I went to the national shrine at the Catholic University on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.  There I offered up a special prayer, a prayer which came with tears and with anguish, that some way would open up for me to use what talents I possessed for my fellow workers, for the poor."--William D. Miller, Dorothy Day: A Biography, pg. 226.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Dignity of Woman

The house had been bought and paid for..."What shall we name it?"  She thought it should be called Maryhouse, because "the flesh of Jesus is the flesh of Mary."  How great the dignity of woman, how large a part she has played in the redemption of the world."--William D. Miller, Dorothy Day: A Biography, pg. 511.

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