Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sewn Inside Pascal's Coat - Romano Guardini

“A few days after the death of Pascal, a domestic of the house noticed by chance that, in the lining of the coat of the famous deceased, there was something which seemed thicker than the rest, and having undone this place to see what it was, he found a small, folded parchment, written in Pascal’s hand, and in this parchment, a paper written in the same hand: the one was a faithful copy of the other. The two pieces were immediately placed in the hands of Madame Perier [Pascal’s sister], who showed them to several of his special friends. All agreed that this parchment, written with such care and with such remarkable characters, was without a doubt a sort of memorial which he kept very carefully in order to conserve the memory which he kept very carefully in order to conserve the memory of something which he wanted always present to his eyes and mind, since for eight years he took care to sew it in and remove it whenever he had new clothes made.”

At the top of the sheet there is a cross surrounded by rays. Underneath, the following:

The Year of grace 1654

Monday, November 23, day of saint Clamant, pope and martyr,

and others in the martyrology.

Vigil of Saint Chrysogonus, martyr, and others.

From about ten-thirty in the evening to about half an hour after



God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob,

Not of the philosophers and savants.

Certitude, certitude; feeling, joy, peace.

God of Jesus Christ.

Deum meum et Deum vestrum.

“Thy God shall be muy God.”

Forgetting the world and everything except God. He is only found by the paths taught in the Gospel.

Grandeur of the human soul.

“Just Father, the world has not known you, but

I have known you.”

Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.

I separated myself from him: Dereliquerent me fontem aquae vivae.

“My God, will you abandon me?”

May I not be eternally separated from him.

“This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God,and

Him whom you have sent, Jesus Christ.”

Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ.

I separated myself from him; I fled him, renounced him,

Crucified him.

May I never be separated from him!

He is only kept by the opaths taught in the Gospel.

Total submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.

Eternally in joy for a day of trial on earth.

Non obliviscar sermons tuos. Amen.[1]

“This is an historical document in the strict sense of the word. It attests an event which separates a before and an after. Not an episodic feeling, a fugitive presentiment, an abstract insight devoid of obligation, which could have ensued at any moment, but rather a turning point and decision which stands in history. And which engenders history: the inner, Christian history of this man, in that it brings to its I culmination everything experienced up to this point, and fixes a new beginning…

Something colossal has happened here. Pascal has stood in fire. We may not take the word allegorically. If the elect of religious experience speak of inner ‘light,’ of inner ‘glow,’ they do not intend to use comparisons, but mean real beaming, real burning… coming, of course, from another source than physical nature of psychic consciousness. It is an experience of the spirit; more exactly, of the Holy Spirit, of the ‘Pneuma.’ There takes place therein an elucidation in certitude, a seizure by glory, a clarification of life, which place man on a new level of existence.”[2]

[1] Romano Guardini “Pascal For Our Time,” Herder and Herder (1966) 33-34

[2] Ibid. 34-35.

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