Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Christopher West's Aversion

At Theater of the Word Incorporated, Kevin O'Brien puts that "mature purity/fruits of the victory over lust" phrase oft used by Christopher West and his disciples into some context:

"The Holy Father continues in context ...

In mature purity man enjoys the fruits of the victory won over lust, a victory which St. Paul writes of, exhorting man to "control his own body in holiness and honor" (1 Th 4:4). The efficacy of the gift of the Holy Spirit, whose "temple" the human body is (cf. 1 Cor 6:19), is partly manifested precisely in such mature purity. This gift is above all that of piety (donum pietatis) ...

So even within a very narrow context, we can see that this Victory over Lust of which John Paul speaks is a victory of a man who controls his own body in holiness and honor by way of the grace of piety, or reverence toward God.

This is a far cry from what West and the Westians are trying to make of this phrase."

Here is an example of the game Christopher West plays with Pope John Paul II:

"Yet, as John Paul II insisted, we "cannot stop at casting the 'heart' into a state of continual and irreversible suspicion due to the manifestations of the concupiscence of the flesh... Redemption is a truth, a reality, in the name of which man must feel himself called, and 'called with effectiveness'" (TOB 46:4)"

And where in that passage, oh Christopher West, does John Paul write that at some point one may cease custody of the eyes and self-control? He is saying, to put it very simply, that at some point in our self-control (entailing combat) we must gain confidence in the victory that Christ has won, and cease being disturbed by every movement of concupiscence.

The thing about attaining self-control is that you are still controlling yourself. Among the fruits of "the victory over lust" is precisely this ongoing self-control - indeed, it's actual increase, so that Christ can increase. The fruit-bearing tree is pruned all the more, so to produce all the more fruit (West is rather a blind, contraceptive Puritan in this regard, for he always and ever ends not with one's bearing fruit to others, but with one's own self-interested "purity" gazing at another's sexuality --sorry, gazing at the glory of God through another's sexuality).

In our self-control, in our custody, it is as though we dare Christ to supplant us entirely - which He is only too happy to do. It should almost be like a competition between Christians; to see who can have his self the most supplanted by Christ (I think it would lead to us being much more humourous). You see, this is what happens with increased self-control, like custody of the eyes: we are bringing about order and fruitfulness to more than ourselves.

Christopher West and the Westians would have it that this custody of the eyes is not from the noble, non-lustful, positive part of ourselves, but some negative, sexually hung-up prude always staring at the sidewalk.

Because Christ supplants us, fills us, in proportion to what we take captive for Him, this "self" that we take into custody becomes ever less the tyrant, and that is precisely the reason why our custody over it can increase rather than cease (cease, as West would have it, at some pan-Christian life-moment of pseudo union with God, called down no less by none other than ourselves!), and our pleasure in that control increases. Because our ultimate pleasure is not in our "purity which can behold the glory of God in another's body", but in Jesus Christ living in us, through Whom we most clearly see others.

Averting the eyes falls under the more positive custody of the eyes. And custody of the eyes falls under the yet more positive self-possession. He who is in possession of his self is free (freedom is not merely the ability to say 'no'). He who is free can humble himself; and he who can humble himself can resist the riptide pull of the erotic and its images which overwhelm the imagination (mainly by avoiding the pull in the first place through custody of the eyes, through self-possession), and which consequently overwhelm the physical body, and consequently one's actions.

Averting the eyes is a great timeless Catholic practice never to be disposed of in one's lifetime, for it takes into consideration, even when one is not conscious of it, that we are sparing another person from the burden of our eyesight. What? You ever been in a room with other people nearby, and you know without looking, that someone is looking at you? Well, uh duh, yeah, well, uh, averting the eyes then is about more than our own precious purity. It is about a great deal more and involves thousands of variables according to circumstances - from those who don't want to be looked at, to those who want to be looked at too much, and to everything else that may be interpreted in ways that were never intended in the first place and which wouldn't have been so, had one taken custody of the eyes. It brings about a world of order which is God's original will. And this makes us happy. You might say that one needs to develop the taste for it.

I feel sad for those Westians, that they might never know the pleasure of sitting beside another, and neither looking at the other, and neither feeling obligated to, and both secure in the presence of each other's souls more real even than the physical body; sad that they may never know the pleasure of giving another person over to Christ, into His care and completely out of your own interests and out of your self-interested purport to objectify them as proof of your "pure gaze beholding God's glory"; sad that they may never know the pleasure of complete disposal of one's own faculties, including that of eros, in Christ as He gives Himself over to you.

These kinds of things are very Catholic pleasures, and those Westians, well, I'm afraid that because of their frenzied, self-interested, narcissistic, uncrucified twisting of Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body, they will never develop the palate for them.

Yesss, we hates that nasty Elven bread, don't we Precious? Yes Precious, we hates it.


Practicing Mammal said...

it seems akin to attaining the goal of regular fasting, and the spiritual benefits therein, and once the self mastery is acquired, to proceed to eat without reserve...

Paul Stilwell said...

Yes, that's a very apt analogy!