Valentin Tomberg on Hope and the Renewal of the Church


We write today just a very brief little note – a brief burst from my heart about Hope.

For at this website, we have been offering a grim picture of the modern world.

And in the weeks ahead, as we continue to unpack Hilaire Belloc’s diagnosis of the modern world, we may sound even grimmer.

What then of hope?

What of hope, when what I write in this weblog would seem so staggeringly impossible, for example as when I recently wrote:

We have just seen that for Steiner, the ‘primary necessity’ is to bring to a halt the entire trend of modern education!

Meanwhile, Belloc set himself against such pillars of modern Capitalism as the practice of Usury …

And in his Catholic legal theses, Tomberg will say civilisation will be ruined unless our system of jurisprudence restores not simply Natural Law, but Divine Law!

How the vast majority of modern humanity will mock all this – and will mock souls such as myself who concern themselves with such utterly radical and apparently impossible proposals.

How utterly absurd to dream of a world where modern materialistic education is brought to a halt, Usury is eliminated and Divine Law is restored to jurisprudence!

What of hope, when this is what I write?

What of hope, when I invoke the very recent loss of what had become the central image and devotion of the Catholic Church – as I recently did in a book review here?

I say ‘loss’, but I should say deliberately discarded: thrown in the dustbin (or the trash, if you prefer American English).

O Most Sacred Heart! Cor Jesu Sacratissimum …

But this is what I say today of hope.

For two thousands years, the Church has persisted, while so much else is dead and buried.

And in Lazarus Come Forth, Valentin Tomberg writes of how Christianity has been regularly renewed in its darkest hours.

While all things succumb to degeneration, Christianity is regularly re-generated.

Tomberg cites a number of major historical examples of how cultural darkness was followed by light, beginning with the darkness of Arianism in the Fourth Century.

And in the darkness of the Reformation, he writes as to how the Counter Reformation Saints such as Saint Ignatius of Loyola revivified the Church:

[After the Twelfth Century] the merciless, crippling influence of … degeneration … asserted itself, and during the course of the following centuries,  this enthusiasm [of the Twelfth Century for Christianity] gradually dried up.

Then again there took place a streaming-in of re-awakening impulses in the Sixteenth Century.

This expressed itself in a great movement of interiorisation connected with the bringing into existence of the Jesuit Order through Saint Ignatius of Loyola and his comrades …

Revivified: the Saints did not rebel against the Church, instead they brought new life to the Church.

I must say more of this, I know. For as I plunge further into the legacy of Belloc – Hilaire Belloc, dear friend, dear soul! – I know this website may sound still grimmer.

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But Hilaire, dearest friend, who died in 1953, but whom I feel so very much with me today, I will not give up hope.

And as best as I can, I will continue your work!

For I feel the Sacraments enlivening my heart each day. I feel the Power of the Church. And I trust that another of my dearest friends, Valentin Tomberg, is not wrong.

I trust that Christianity will be renewed!

There are rebels everywhere seeking to undermine and compromise and destroy – but I trust that they will not succeed.

I trust that ‘the merciless, crippling influence of … degeneration’ will be halted.

And friends, dear friends Valentin Tomberg and Hilaire Belloc, it seems that your thinking  comes and joins with my own poor thinking, as I ponder and meditate as to how Christianity can be saved in this hour of darkness.

I mean to say: as I add my own tiny ponderings and meditations to the great men and women and great Saints pondering these urgent matters …

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