Affliction is a sort of suffering "plus", which transcends both body and mind; such physical and mental anguish scourges the very soul. War and oppression were the most intense cases of affliction within her reach; to experience it, she turned to the life of a factory worker, while to understand it she turned to Homer 's Iliad. Affliction was associated both with necessity and with chance —it was fraught with necessity because it was hard-wired into existence itself, and thus imposed itself upon the sufferer with the full force of the inescapable, but it was also subject to chance inasmuch as chance, too, is an inescapable part of the nature of existence.
The element of chance was essential to the unjust character of affliction; in other words, my affliction should not usually—let alone always—follow from my sin, as per traditional Christian theodicy, but should be visited upon me for no special reason. The better we are able to conceive of the fullness of joy, the purer and more intense will be our suffering in affliction and our compassion for others.
Suffering and enjoyment as sources of knowledge. The serpent offered knowledge to Adam and Eve. The sirens offered knowledge to Ulysses. These stories teach that the soul is lost through seeking knowledge in pleasure. Pleasure is perhaps innocent on condition that we do not seek knowledge in it. It is permissible to seek that only in suffering. The concept of metaxu , which Weil borrowed from Plato , is that which both separates and connects e. This idea of connecting distance was of the first importance for Weil's understanding of the created realm.
The world as a whole, along with any of its components, including our physical bodies , is to be regarded as serving the same function for us in relation to God that a blind man's stick serves for him in relation to the world about him. They do not afford direct insight, but can be used experimentally to bring the mind into practical contact with reality. This metaphor allows any absence to be interpreted as a presence, and is a further component in Weil's theodicy.
For Weil, "The beautiful is the experimental proof that the incarnation is possible". The beauty which is inherent in the form of the world this inherency is proven, for her, in geometry , and expressed in all good art is the proof that the world points to something beyond itself; it establishes the essentially telic character of all that exists. Her concept of beauty extends throughout the universe: "we must have faith that the universe is beautiful on all levels It is this very agreement of an infinity of perfect beauties that gives a transcendent character to the beauty of the world He Christ is really present in the universal beauty.
The love of this beauty proceeds from God dwelling in our souls and goes out to God present in the universe". She also wrote that "The beauty of this world is Christ's tender smile coming to us through matter". Beauty also served a soteriological function for Weil: "Beauty captivates the flesh in order to obtain permission to pass right to the soul. Where affliction conquers us with brute force, beauty sneaks in and topples the empire of the self from within. According to Lissa McCullough, Weil would likely have been "intensly displeased" by the attention paid to her life rather than her works.
She believed it was her writings that embodied the best of her, not her actions and definitely not her personality. Weil had similar views about others, saying that if one looks at the lives of great figures in separation from their works, it "necessarily ends up revealing their pettiness above all", as it's in their works that they have put the best of themselves. Weil's most famous works were published posthumously. In the decades since her death, her writings have been assembled, annotated, criticized, discussed, disputed, and praised.
Along with some twenty volumes of her works, publishers have issued more than thirty biographies, including Simone Weil: A Modern Pilgrimage by Robert Coles, Harvard 's Pulitzer -winning professor, who calls Weil 'a giant of reflection. Weil's book The Need for Roots was written in early , immediately before her death later that year. She was in London working for the French Resistance and trying to convince its leader, Charles de Gaulle , to form a contingent of nurses who would serve at the front lines.
The Need for Roots has an ambitious plan. She painstakingly analyzes the spiritual and ethical milieu that led to France's defeat by the German army, and then addresses these issues with the prospect of eventual French victory. During her lifetime, Weil was only known to relatively narrow circles; even in France, her essays were mostly read only by those interested in radical politics. Yet during the first decade after her death, Weil rapidly became famous, attracting attention throughout the West.
For the 3rd quarter of the twentieth century, she was widely regarded as the most influential person in the world on new work concerning religious and spiritual matters. As well as influencing fields of study, Weil deeply affected the personal lives of numerous individuals; Pope Paul VI , for example, said that Weil was one of his three greatest influences. However more of her work was gradually published, leading to many thousands of new secondary works by Weil scholars; some of whom focused on achieving a deeper understanding of her religious, philosophical and political work.
Others broadened the scope of Weil scholarship to investigate her applicability to fields like classical studies, cultural studies, education and even technical fields like ergonomics. Many commentators who have assessed Weil as a person were highly positive; many described her as a saint, some even as the greatest saint of the twentieth century, including T. Gustave Thibon , the French philosopher and close friend, recounts their last meeting, not long before her death: "I will only say that I had the impression of being in the presence of an absolutely transparent soul which was ready to be reabsorbed into original light".
Weil has however been criticised even by those who otherwise deeply admired her, such as Eliot, for being excessively prone to divide the world into good and evil, and for her sometimes intemperate judgments. Weil was a harsh critic of the influence of Judaism on Western civilisation, and an even harsher critic of the Roman empire , in which she refused to see any value at all. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with Simone Veil , a French politician.
Ashford , Kent , England. People by era or century. Desert Fathers. Contemporary papal views. Aspects of meditation Orationis Formas , Anarchism portal Christianity portal Judaism portal. Mercer University Press. The University of North Carolina Press. Jane, and Eric O. Springsted, eds. University of Notre Dame Press. Retrieved 17 December Commentary on the primary source: Richard H. Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. University of Calgary. Retrieved Wilfrid Laurier University Press. The Jewish Daily Forward.
SkyLight Paths. Simone Weil: An Introduction to her Thought. Wilrid Laurier University Press. Books and Writers kirjasto. Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on 24 April Cited in Petrement, Weil , Blackwell Publishing. Retrieved 23 June Poseidon Press. Weil, What is a Jew , cited by Panichas. Simone Weil Reader. Moyer Bell. Sian Miles ed. An Anthology. Penguin Book. Francis of Assisi: performing the Gospel life.
Illustrated edition. Eerdmans Publishing. Source:  accessed: September 15, , p. Weil, Spiritual Autobiography , cited by Panichas and Plant. Great Christian Thinkers: Simone Weil. Liguori Publications. The Need for Roots. Simone Weil: A life. Schocken, pp. Simone Weil: A Sketch for a Portrait. Oxford University Press.
Eliot, "Preface" to The Need for Roots , p. Gravity and Grace. Like "affliction", han is more destructive to the whole person than ordinary suffering. Waiting For God. Harper Torchbooks, , pp. See for example the Introduction of Simone Weil: "The Just Balance" by Peter Winch This is an excellent source for a philosophical discussion of her ideas, especially for those interested in the overlap between her work and that of Wittgenstein.
The bed in the little room was removed, replaced by an altar loaded with candles and flowers. The video of the apparition played nonstop on the television in the living room. I knew there must be some reason She appeared to me, but I had no idea what it could be.
I kept apologizing. By March , Irma had partners in her search for meaning. Three women joined her to form a prayer group. The first of these was her coworker Kim Hickey. The daughter of a retired army officer well known in Hermiston, Kim was the first Anglo in whom Irma had confided, phoning her at home on February 2. She squeezed into the bedroom, looked at the painting, and saw the Virgin immediately, Kim recalled. You knew who it was because you could feel it. In fact, as soon as you saw, you knew, because there was this feeling that you had, not like any other feeling, a feeling of knowing, and of awe.
And everybody who saw Her had it. Irma and Kim soon brought in another adult care worker, Irene Virgen. The three said the Rosary on their fingertips until Marge Rolen arrived with her strings of plastic beads and made them four. The Munoz family called him for counsel the morning of the first apparition, but the priest already had been notified by at least a dozen other parishioners.
His office received more than calls during the next twenty-four hours, Father Paco said; the telephone lines seemed to be ringing constantly. Yet the priest made no effort to visit the Munoz trailer, and from the start expressed not only skepticism but outright antipathy. His bishop had advised him to remind the people in his homily the following Sunday that even authentic apparitions were merely private revelations and amounted to little beside the revealed truth of Scripture.
Jesus Himself had said you could know a tree only by its fruit, Father Paco observed. The priest had asked Mr. Munoz if he might take custody of the painting. Keep it. While on the one hand she felt truly blessed, Irma said, the weeks that followed were among the most agonizing of her life.
She was frightened by those who spoke of the Devil. Worst were the ones who said the apparition was itself the work of Satan, and that she was possessed.
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Strangers phoned in the middle of the night and threatened to burn the trailer with Irma inside. Munoz flew south the next morning, but by the time they arrived the old woman was in a coma. For the first time, I really believed there was a God and a Heaven. Her visit had changed me, changed us all. When the shrine is standing, she will return.
People from Oregon and Washington continued to make pilgrimages to the trailer in Boardman all through that spring and into the summer. Irma was sustained by the stories they told. One of her favorites came from a lady who had arrived at the trailer to kneel before the painting soon after the apparitions ended, to pray for her daughter, the one who had run away from home more than a year earlier. The visitor who made the greatest impact was a young man who had been in a Portland hospital, dying of AIDS, when he saw the video of the apparition on the local news.
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He recognized the Virgin at once, the young man said, and in that moment knew She was blessing him. He had been told he never would leave the hospital, but the young man convinced his family to arrange for his transport in a medical van, where he lay on a stretcher, hooked to life-support systems, for the entire two- hundred-mile drive to Boardman. When we went to check on him, he was crying, telling us that She had come, that he could see Her clearly. He told us he had lived a very bad life, in crime, and had been on drugs, but that now he felt very happy and like his life had been worthwhile, because he got to experience this while he was still alive.
And before he died, he asked if he could have the painting in his room with him. So we took it down, and he spent his last hours with it. Apart from the man dying of AIDS, the only others who reported seeing the Virgin again were children. The miracle of the peach tree astounded them also. The year before, it had put out only a few leaves that turned yellow and shriveled. But that spring, the branches were covered with flowers, and in the summer, they were so heavy with fruit that Irma and her family gave away peaches by the bagful.
The members of the prayer group still felt something more was going to happen. What that might be they had no clue, until April , when a call came from a wealthy Portland land developer named Joe Locke. Back in May , Locke had undergone a heart transplant, and for most of the next two years prayed every day that he might live long enough to care for his ailing mother until her death.
His mother had been in a Portland hospital during February , when she saw the TV news report of the apparition in Boardman. He opened the magazine to a full-page photograph of the Shrine to Our Lady of Peace recently constructed in Santa Clara, California, and immediately felt a need to visit it. Securing a site was a problem, however, and the project languished until a local Catholic family offered to donate ten acres outside Hermiston at the Umatilla Army Depot. The mustard gas in the canisters at the Umatilla base was alone sufficient to kill 90 percent of the U.
How, when, and where to dispose of the chemical weapons had been a source of contention in Washington, D. And in the high desert of eastern Oregon, the dispute had produced some horrifying imagery. To see ground filled with poison transformed into a landscape of prayer and devotion would be a tremendous tribute to the Virgin, observed Marge Rolen. The bishop had made it clear that the church would not support the shrine if it was directly linked to the supposed apparitions in the Munoz trailer, Father Paco said. However, he saw no sign, of anything more. The priest was particularly troubled that Irma Munoz and her family did not appear to have experienced a thoroughgoing conversion.
The mother came to church a couple of times. She went to church also, but in Pendleton rather than in Hermiston, Irma said, because she preferred the pastor there to Father Paco. I pray a lot more than I ever did before. Should I become a nun? Reprinted with permission from Grove Atlantic, Inc. All rights reserved. You are an investigative reporter with a primary emphasis on true crime incidents. What drew a true crime writer to investigate miracles?
The Price of Experience was essentially a cultural history, and LAbyrinth was a political broadside couched in a crime story.
"One Mythology Among Many": The Spiritual Odyssey of C. S. Lewis | VQR Online
Be that as it may, I was drawn to those initial reports of an apparition in that trailer park in Eastern Oregon by the realization that I was unwilling to simply dismiss them as hallucinations or confabulations, and that to me the fundamental source of them was a mystery. Admitting the mysterious left me with a sense of wonder, in both meanings of the word: puzzlement and awe. I wondered what was there, and I wondered how I felt about it. What possible criteria, I wanted to know, would one apply? What began as a simple inquiry into a Virgin Mary sighting in Oregon turned into an eight-year investigation into predictions of apocalyptic events, false claims of revelation and the search for a genuine theophany.
I became fascinated not only by how the church goes about authenticating miracles, but also by how it deals with its mystics, and their claims of divine revelation. And the more I learned about the controversy surrounding Medjugorje within the Church, the more remarkable it seemed to me that an event considered to be on par with Lourdes and Fatima was happening right now in a country that was being torn apart by the bloodiest European civil war in fifty years. I had to go there. Nearly all decisions about what is a miracle are made at the Vatican by separate bodies of scientists and theologians, who must agree, then submit their findings first to the College of Cardinals, then to the pope himself.
The Vatican takes the position that the affirmation of a miracle is done only in the context of beatification and canonization—the making of saints—and as a practical matter nearly all of those approved are medical in nature, and must be passed by the esteemed physicians recruited from major universities and prestigious clinics who make up what is known as the Consulta Medica.
Medjugorje has become the principle contemporary vehicle for discussing how this should or should not be done.
In the book, you offer many harrowing instances of how you sought an explanation of the miraculous, specifically in Bosnia-Herzegovina, while experiencing the worst of humanity: war, ethnic cleansing and mass graves. How did that backdrop of a war-torn country impact upon your investigation? The war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and all its attendant horrors was an essential aspect of my experience and of this book. In that place, at that time, it was difficult to doubt that evil exists. Equally impressive, though, was the human capacity for heroism, for charity and for sacrifice.
I realize this may sound terrible, but for me the war was tremendously clarifying. One finds oneself in a world where there is no room for the petty, the trivial, the banal. Everyone around you is living on the ragged edge of their mortality, not knowing what will come next, forced to proceed on faith. I sensed almost immediately that the events in Medjugorje were somehow inseparable from the war, and I wanted to understand how that could be. What I learned about this was disturbing and inspiring in equal measures. I was raised by a pair of athiests who took the Jesse Ventura view of religion—that it is a crutch for the weak-minded.
Both my siblings are avowed athiests. I was never really comfortable with this; even as a child I sensed that there was a divine source. As a young adult I was more drawn to Eastern than to Western religion; the Hindu cosmology made more sense to me than the Christian one, and Buddhist beliefs accorded better with the scientific skepticism I had absorbed as a youth.
What happened to me in Medjugorje was a kind of conversion experience. The fact that I had my children baptized Catholics tells you, I think, where my heart really lies on this matter. And I believe in God. Grove Press. About The Book A gripping investigation into the extraordinary phenomenon of Virgin Mary sightings around the world, the priests and scientists who investigate them, and a powerful examination about what constitutes the miraculous in the contemporary world In a tiny, dilapidated trailer in northeastern Oregon, a young woman saw a vision of the Virgin Mary in an ordinary landscape painting hanging on her bedroom wall.
What is a miracle and who gets to decide? What are the criteria? How has the investigation shaped your spiritual beliefs?
A Spiritual Odyssey: Diary Of An Ordinary Catholic
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