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Learning the Virtues
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Learning the Virtues > Virtues - Justice, Reverence, Loyalty, and Disinterestedness

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Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 538 comments Quotes from Guardini relating to each chapter:

Justice - "Justice, then, is that order in which man can exist as a person, in which he can form his judgement about himself and the world, can have a conviction which none can touch, and can be master of his decision and act according to his judgement." (Pg. 49)

Reverence - "The right-minded man feels reverence before a great personality or a great work, but also before the defenseless person, the inexperienced, the weak, the suffering, and the afflicted." (Pg. 63)

Loyalty - "It is from God that loyalty comes into the world. We can be loyal only because He is so, and because He has willed us, who are made in His image, to be loyal also." (Pg. 76)

Disinterestedness - "The way in which a man puts away the false self and grows into the real self is that which the masters of the interior life call "detachment"." (Pg. 81)


Christine in BoMass, USA | 48 comments Justice was a great chapter.

I read in here the interplay between judgement, righteousness, fairness and justice (the rectifying between the injured and the perpetrator). These are very interesting ideas for us to contemplate in these times of disparity, law enforcement, discrimination, religious extremism leading to terror and mass murder, etc.. A lot to contemplate here.

"No justice, no peace." is that a threat or a logical conclusion to bad action.


Galicius | 466 comments “Justice” chapter

This is probably the first chapter in this book where Guardini is pessimistic about the future of the world. Unless I am reading him wrong this is how I hear him. He already referred to the idea of progress as a “superstition” in the previous chapter. (p. 37) Here he sees that only God will decide eventual justice in the final judgment.

His advice to us on how to go about in our daily life is sound and wise, as can be expected. The definition of justice I read here is: “basic value of all moral existence and that of hunger and thirst for bodily satisfaction.” (p. 47) Guardini adds that this should allow every man, “not only the powerful or fortunate or talented” to participate in the world and carry on his work with other people according to his conscience. (p. 49) Guardini’s tells us to begin practicing justice at home in our associations with members of our own family. We should give each person the right to be as they in our disposition, our thoughts, our attitude and daily actions. To do justice to the people we need to seek to understand their own point of view and act accordingly.

Unfortunately, as we know, history of the world is a “tragedy of justice.” Guardini asks whether in view of such reality should we even believe that justice exists. He sees great disorder in the present economic and social conditions in the world as well. Justice will only be accomplished in the final judgment. We should be most concerned with the fact that judgment will be passed on us individually. If we do not believe in Him, our “hunger and thirst shall never be satisfied.” (p. 55) That is what Jesus promised in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall have their fill.” (Matthew 5:6)

Guardini writes in the footnote that he will return this virtue in the final chapter, “Justice Before God.” (Note 22)


Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 538 comments Out of the four virtues that we just read about, the section on reverence spoke to me the most. When Guardini was talking about respect, immediately I pictured in my mind Rodney Dangerfield saying "I get no respect". Over the years it seems like reverence and respect for one another and for God has disappeared. Respect is reflected in our speech. I remember watching on TV the comedic roasts of celebrities, some of it was funny, but some of it was horribly mean. Sarcastic humor has become commonplace and I admit I have been guilty of it myself. If we are not respecting each other, we are not respecting God, and we are accountable to God.

Along with respect Guardini states "True courtesy is the expression of respect for the human person." Courtesy is another quality that has gone by the wayside. I look forward to reading what Guardini has to say in his chapter on courtesy.


message 5: by Gerri (last edited Jul 30, 2016 09:23AM) (new) - added it

Gerri Bauer (gerribauer) | 210 comments Guardini threw me for a loop on Justice. Galicius notes the paradox I also found there. First, I was struck by the strength of this sentence; it made so much sense: "Justice is that order of existence in which man can participate in the world and carry on his work, and can form with other persons relationships of friendship, of association, and of love and fruitfulness according to the demands of his conscience." (page 49). And on page 52, Guardini talks of how justice begins within each of us, at home. His ideas have merit in today's world, and I was thinking how well we'd do increase our personal efforts. So I was more than a little surprised to encounter his pessimism at the end of the chapter. "...but as a whole ... justice can never be attained." (p 54) Surprised, and bummed, I think, because it made me think of the state of the world today ...

In the same vein, I agree with you Susan Margaret about the level of disrespect society in general seems to accept. Meanness, harmful levels of competitiveness, violence. (My co-workers laughed yesterday when I said I don't watch anything more violent that the British Bakeoff. But that's not far from truth for me!) Anyway, as Guardini says, "The desire to strip what had previously been surrounded by reverence has actually glorified itself;" (p 60). How true, and how sad. We see that in how sex/sexuality is depicted in all media today, and by the ever-growing lack of privacy.

I don't want to be pessimistic. I lean toward optimism. Guardini made me think of Mother Teresa when he spoke about the need for loyalty to God even - or especially - in times when the feeling of God's nearness may vanish (p 73-74). He also says how the life of Jesus "is one entire expression of loyalty." (p 76). Such loyalty, I think, can help us get through the dark times we're living in today.

The chapter on Disinterestedness perplexed me until I realized Guardini was speaking about detachment and putting away of the false self. (p 81) Planning to reread that and some other chapters later on. There's a great deal of wisdom in this book.


Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 538 comments Gerri wrote: "..I don't watch anything more violent than the British Bakeoff"

Gerri, I have never watched the British Bakeoff, but I imagine it is pretty tame. You made me laugh too!

The chapter on Disinterestedness/detachment reminded me of the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. One of St. Ignatius' rules for the practice of indifference is: "Only esteem and desire what leads to God. All the rest is useless for His glory and man's salvation."


Galicius | 466 comments “Reverence” Chapter

Lack of reverence or “awe” in the house of God is one of my personal concerns. I am flustered at seeing acts of disrespect in our churches, even in great monuments to God. I was especially troubled when visiting St. Peter’s in the Vatican on a weekday, some years ago, in the middle of day. There were the expected large groups of tourists. Their behavior was what I least anticipated. There was commotion as in a marketplace. There is always more respect in a museum then what I saw and heard. Guardini sees only tourists doing this: “How the barbarism of our time is revealed when travelers in a church behave as if they were in a museum or a stadium.” (p. 64) This goes for our own small local church. The pastor goes around the aisles before mass talking here and there to people in seats for good 5-10 minutes before each mass. The congregation is more interested in greeting others than God and checking their smart phones. It isn’t like that everywhere. During our travel wee see plenty of sanctuaries with the appropriate atmosphere without the disrespect I am describing. How is it in your churches?


Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 538 comments I usually attend the Saturday, 5pm Mass or the Sunday, 5pm Mass and it appears that the majority of the parishioners are reverent. However, I have noticed that not everyone remembers to genuflect in front of the tabernacle. Over the years I have also noticed that dress has become more and more casual. I don’t feel that shorts and flip-flops are appropriate attire for attending Mass. The one main complaint that I have is that I cannot hear a single word of our priest’s homily. I do not have hearing problems nor is there a problem with the sound system. Our priest walks up and down the aisles while giving his homily and he sounds like he is whispering. I am always grateful when one of our other priests is presiding over the Mass.


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Irene | 909 comments My pastor is adamant about the importance of people visiting before and after Mass. We did a major renovation of the parish 16 years ago and created a large "Gathering Space" to replace the traditional vestibule. Several people have asked him to encourage people to visit in that Gathering Space and cultivate silence in the "Worship Space". But, he is strongly against that. His argument is that we are a family, a parish family. When families get together to celebrate, they visit, catch up, greet and laugh. He always says that if we walked into grandmother's house for Thanksgiving and everyone was silent, our first thought would be "Who died?" He recognizes the importance of quiet prayer, but not when the community is gathering for its great celebration of thanks, the Eucharist. We have gotten him to a compremise. Before he begins down the aisle at the start of Mass, he invites everyone to a moment of silence to make ourselves aware that we are in the presence of God.


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Manny (virmarl) | 4082 comments Mod
Am I the only person here who found the Justice chapter totally confused? Let me preface my criticism by exploring what is generally understood as justice. If you look here at a definition, http://www.dictionary.com/browse/just... of the sub definitions, “the moral principle determining just conduct” is the one that sums it all. And then looking up the definition of “just,” you’ve got “done or made according to principle; equitable; proper,” and “given or awarded rightly; deserved, as a sentence, punishment, or reward.” Between all that language one can approximate this abstract term to “making a situation right.” So there is a person or group of people who by the course of an event been thrown into a state of imbalance where the proper or deserved order has been violated by an unjust conduct.

This typically applies to two types of cases. First there is the legal case, where for instance a criminal robs a person, and justice is the act of trying to return back to a right situation. Second is the notion of social justice, where a person is unjustly acted on by a social system. For instance, it would be unjust to let a man die of hunger due to his extreme poverty when society is rich enough to give him food. So between the two cases there is a person acted on by either another person or a social system.

Now take Guardini’s definition:

"Justice, then, is that order in which man can exist as a person, in which he can form his judgement about himself and the world, can have a conviction which none can touch, and can be master of his decision and act according to his judgement."

Let me try to parse that, because I don’t have a clue as to what he’s really getting after. “Justice, then, is that order in which man can exist as a person” seems to refer to that person being acted on. I’m OK with that. Then he says, “in which he can form his judgement about himself and the world.” Now in all the cases I understand as justice, there is an outside event that affects a person or group. Here Guardini is referring to an internalization about the exterior world. What the heck is he talking about? Then he doubles down on that with “can have a conviction which none can touch.” I don’t know what any of that has to do with being robbed or being denied food as in my examples above. What does this internalization have to do with a situation unjustly thrown out of balance? And finally the last clause, “and can be master of his decision and act according to his judgement." Now “master of his decision” does refer to a proper order, but “act according to his judgement” again refers to some vague internalization which I don’t get.

Now I am not saying that Guardini is just randomly throwing words together. Clearly he has a specific thought in mind, a rather complex thought. So where does he explain such a complex notion? The very next sentence in that paragraph on page 49 is more fruitful but still vague:

“Justice is that order of existence in which man can participate in the world and carry on his work, and can form with other persons relationships of friendship, of association, and of love and fruitfulness according to the demands of his conscience.”

“According to the demands of his conscience?” Again a complex notion that is foreign to my understanding of justice. Such a complex notion requires explanation, examples, decomposition of ideas. As far as I can tell, he never explains what he means. He goes on and gives examples of injustices, talks about how one should act justly, but never as far as I can see explains how it effects a man’s internalization. To lay out such a complex definition on an abstract notion and not explain to me is confusing. I just didn’t get it and if someone could explain it or point out what I missed, I’d appreciate it.


Manny (virmarl) | 4082 comments Mod
Susan Margaret wrote: "I usually attend the Saturday, 5pm Mass or the Sunday, 5pm Mass and it appears that the majority of the parishioners are reverent. However, I have noticed that not everyone remembers to genuflect i..."

Your priest walks up and down the aisle while giving a homily? I find that in itself irreverent. But then how does he expect others to hear if he's at one end of the church? I wouldn't like that at all. It's not a theater. Is your parish one of those where everyone - and I mean everyone - holds hands during the Our Father? I was at a church in Toledo, OH once where that was the norm, and being forced to hold someone's hand up in the air felt a violation of my sense of holiness. I don't care if families do that, but the entire congregation? And they did it across the aisle as well.

Don't want to side track the Guardini discusion. Perhaps this can be continued elsewhere.


Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 538 comments Manny wrote: "Susan Margaret wrote: "I usually attend the Saturday, 5pm Mass or the Sunday, 5pm Mass and it appears that the majority of the parishioners are reverent. However, I have noticed that not everyone r..."

Manny I posted a response to you under General Catholic Chat - Parish Church.

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


Manny (virmarl) | 4082 comments Mod
In contrast to that on Justice, I found the chapter on reverence to be outstanding. Let me highlight what I see as an important paragraph:

“In reverence, a man refrains from doing what he usually likes to do, which is to take possession of and use something for his own purposes. Instead he steps back and keeps his distance. This creates spiritual space in which that which deserves reverence can stand erect, detached, and free, in all its splendor. The more lofty an object, the more the feeling of value which it awakens is bound up with this keeping one’s distance.” (p. 58)

And then Guardini goes on to present several reasons why we should have reverence in various parts of our lives, but it culminates with this on why we revere God:

“The basic act of this reverence is the adoration of God. It expresses the true nature of man most perfectly, especially if the body also performs the act in bowing. It must give us pause to note that this attitude is so very inconspicuous in religious life. Usually we only find petition or thanks, praise; adoration scarcely ever appears. And yet it is so essential. “I adore god” means I am aware that He is and that I stand before Him; that He is the one who essentially is, the Creator, and that I am His creature; that He is Holy and I am not, and that I adapt myself with heart and mind to the Holy One who confronts me. Adoration is truth in act.” (p64-65)

If I may paraphrase that, he is saying that adoration is the action of being reverent. I also enjoyed Guadini’s contemplation on whether God shows reverence Himself. Yes, He does; by letting His creature to be free of will is God’s reverence toward man. Fascinating.


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