Friday, July 24, 2009

From The Journals of Fr. Alexander Schmemann:

Tuesday, March 1, 1977

I am reading Henri Bremond with enormous interest. I am always interested in people like Bremond, Loisy, and Laberthonniere, who lived through doctrinal crises. I am interested in the personal, internal aspect of their religious dramas. I feel somehow, mutatis mutandis, related to them – totally belonging to the church. This is obvious to me like the air we breathe, like life itself, but at the same time completely free inside the church. I am endlessly distressed by the enslavement to something or somebody that I see happening all around, distressed by the idolatry, so often so triumphant in the church. A rebellion against the church, always cheap, is equally wrong, as well as mutiny, or spiritual sectarianism with its false pathos, unctuous sweetness, self-satisfaction, narrow vision. I can say in all conscience that the church has always been for me higher than anything, without any doubt an unseen, unquestionable – not authority – but Light. Everything lives in that Light; everything is that Light! The church in its essence, in its light, must not narrow but widen, not submit but liberate. This is the essence of the church, this Light is our life.

Church people – how should I say it – do not like to be faithful to the Church. They want the Church to be faithful to them, to fulfill their needs, so that those who love the essence of the Church are bound to suffer from the Church. In the life of “modernists” (and later Teilhard de Chardin) what is interesting is not their “leaving.” To leave is to betray, it is dull, it is spiritual “vulgarity”; whereas loyalty is a cross, it is victory. One suffers from misunderstanding, solitude, feeling walled off. The victory comes from a gradually growing clear evidence inside one that this is Christianity. That is why the books about these people, dead long ago and now forgotten, disturb me so much. “Then all the disciples forsook him and fled” (Matthew 26:56). I think that every man who believes in Christ must go through that; it is the test of his testimony.

March. Although one walks to church in the early morning in the intense cold, the light of the sun, the color of the sky, the lightness of air are – Spring!


Blogger jcw said...

Thank you for these journal entries. I've not read Schmemann's journals in some time and I should, I think, re-visit them. Again, thank you; God keep you.

8:42 PM  

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