Häromdagen fick jag besök av Viktor Aldrin i mitt kontor på teologen i Lund. Vi hade inte mötts innan, men har gemensamma bekanta. Vi pratade om hans forskning, lite om min, insåg att vi hade gemensamma intressen. Ett sådant där trevligt möte som uppstår med jämna mellanrum i universitetsvärlden. Jag hade hört talas om Viktors avhandling när den försvarades, med en titel som Prayer in Peasant Communities: Ideals and Practices of Prayer in the Late Medieval Ecclesiastical Province of Uppsala, Sweden så är det ju inte så konstig att jag också tänkt att jag borde läsa den någon gång (du kan ladda ner en pdf här). Några dagar senare låg boken och väntade i mitt postfack (Republic of Letters, ftw!). Jag har bara hunnit bläddra lite smått i den, men den verkar, som jag anat, innehålla mycket spännande om hur vanligt folk bad i Sverige under medeltiden.
Ett avsnitt som fångade min uppmärksamhet handlar om hur bedjare uppmuntrades att upprepa Jesu namn som beskydd mot djävul och fara. En sorts svensk medeltida Jesusbön med andra ord. En av de källor Viktor använder sig av heter Själens tröst, en medeltida uppbyggelsebok, författad efter tysk förebild någon gång efter 1420, troligen av en Vadstenamunk. Här möter vi följande historia om St. Ignatios av Antiokia (det är hans minnesdag idag!) som exempel på hur Jesu namn skall vara i den kristnes hjärta:
I was idle with my soul, when I heard that you could use me
I followed very closely, but my life remained the same
But then you showed me where you had been wounded
In every atom broken is the name
Word of words, and the measure of all measures
Blessed is the name, the name be blessed
Written on my heart in burning letters
That’s all I know, I cannot read the rest
Den grekiske talaren och filosofen Dion Chrysostomos (född mellan 40 och 50, död ca 120 e.Kr) om vilken sorts kritiker en stad behöver.
But you have no such critic, neither chorus nor poet nor anyone else, to reprove you in all friendliness and to reveal the weaknesses of your city. Therefore, whenever the thing does at last appear, you should receive it gladly and make a festival of the occasion instead of being vexed; and even if vexed, you should be ashamed to call out, “When will the fellow stop?” or “When is a juggler coming on?” or “Rubbish!” or some such thing. For, as I have said, that sort of entertainment you always have in stock and there is no fear that it will ever fail you; but discourses like this of mine, which make men happier and better and more sober and better able to administer effectively the cities in which they dwell, you have not often heard—for I do not care to say that you would not listen to them.
And perhaps this situation is not of your making, but you will show whether it is or not if you bear with me today; the fault may lie rather at the door of those who wear the name of philosopher. For some among that company do not appear in public at all and prefer not to make the venture, possibly because they despair of being able to improve the masses; others exercise their voices in what we call lecture-halls, having secured as hearers men who are in league with them and tractable. And as for the Cynics, as they are called, it is true that the city contains no small number of that sect, and that, like any other thing, this too has had its crop—persons whose tenets, to be sure, comprise practically nothing spurious or ignoble, yet who must make a living—still these Cynics, posting themselves at street-corners, in alleyways, and at temple-gates, pass round the hat and play upon the credulity of lads and sailors and crowds of that sort, stringing together rough jokes and much tittle-tattle and that low badinage that smacks of the market-place. Accordingly they achieve no good at all, but rather the worst possible harm, for they accustom thoughtless people to deride philosophers in general, just as one might accustom lads to scorn their teachers, and, when they ought to knock the insolence out of their hearers, these Cynics merely increase it.
Those, however, who do come before you as men of culture either declaim speeches intended for display, and stupid ones to boot, or else chant verses of their own composition, as if they had detected in you a weakness for poetry. To be sure, if they themselves are really poets or orators, perhaps there is nothing so shocking in that, but if in the guise of philosophers they do these things with a view to their own profit and reputation, and not to improve you, that indeed is shocking. For it is as if a physician when visiting patients should disregard their treatment and their restoration to health, and should bring them flowers and courtesans and perfume.
But there are only a few who have displayed frankness [παρρησίαν] in your presence, and that but sparingly, not in such a way as to fill your ears therewith nor for any length of time; nay, they merely utter a phrase or two, and then, after berating rather than enlightening you, they make a hurried exit, anxious lest before they have finished you may raise an outcry and send them packing, behaving in very truth quite like men who in winter muster up courage for a brief and hurried voyage out to sea. But to find a man who in plain terms and without guile speaks his mind with frankness, and neither for the sake of reputation nor for gain makes false pretensions, but out of good will and concern for his fellow-men stands ready, if need be, to submit to ridicule and to the disorder and the uproar of the mob—to find such a man as that is not easy, but rather the good fortune of a very lucky city, so great is the dearth of noble, independent souls and such the abundance of toadies, mountebanks, and sophists.
Källa: Discourses 32. To the People of Alexandria, i Loeb Classical Library 358.
Den 30 september 1897 dog den heliga och ”lilla” Thérèse av Jesusbarnet och av det Heliga Anletet. Idag firar den Katolska kyrkan sin kyrkolärares minnesdag. Läs gärna påven Benedicts generalaudiens om henne:
Dear friends, we too, with St Thérèse of the Child Jesus must be able to repeat to the Lord every day that we want to live of love for him and for others, to learn at the school of the saints to love authentically and totally. Thérèse is one of the “little” ones of the Gospel who let themselves be led by God to the depths of his Mystery. A guide for all, especially those who, in the People of God, carry out their ministry as theologians. With humility and charity, faith and hope, Thérèse continually entered the heart of Sacred Scripture which contains the Mystery of Christ. And this interpretation of the Bible, nourished by the science of love, is not in opposition to academic knowledge. The science of the saints, in fact, of which she herself speaks on the last page of her The Story of a Soul, is the loftiest science. [källa]
Allow me to begin my reflections on the foundations of law [Recht] with a brief story from sacred Scripture. In the First Book of the Kings, it is recounted that God invited the young King Solomon, on his accession to the throne, to make a request. What will the young ruler ask for at this important moment? Success – wealth – long life – destruction of his enemies? He chooses none of these things. Instead, he asks for a listening heart so that he may govern God’s people, and discern between good and evil (cf. 1 Kg 3:9). Through this story, the Bible wants to tell us what should ultimately matter for a politician.
Saint Paul in the Letter to the Romans, when he said: “When Gentiles who have not the Law [the Torah of Israel] do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves … they show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness …” (Rom 2:14f.). Here we see the two fundamental concepts of nature and conscience, where conscience is nothing other than Solomon’s listening heart, reason that is open to the language of being.
Det är ingen slump att kärnpunkten i påven Benedikts tal är historien om Salomo och hans lyssnande hjärta. Lyssnandet är för påven den grunddygd och hållning gentemot världen som möjliggör mänsklig blomstring och god politisk ordning. Vi måste alltså öva upp en förmåga att höra Ordet/förståndet som bär upp och formar skapelsen. Benedikts kritik av en positivistisk förståelse av naturen och förståndet bottnar i frågan om lyssnandet: kan vi ens höra ordet som riktas till oss om vi begränsar naturen till att vara enbart ”an aggregate of objective data linked together in terms of cause and effect”? För att kunna läsa naturens bok krävs en annan blick.