Orbiting Dicta

Monthly Archives: August 2014

More on Meister Eckhart

For several years, at the request of a number of readers, I wanted to collect and update various articles and lectures I have given on Meister Eckhart into a single volume as a follow-up to my older introductory work, Eckhart’s Way (1986), which itself was published in a revised edition by Veritas Publications, Dublin, in 2009.  The collection, Meister Eckhart: Master of Mystics was published by Continuum (now Bloomsbury) in 2011.

The War to End War

Today the heads of state and representatives from the European nations who entered into the bloodiest conflict the world had ever seen one hundred years ago on this date gathered in Liege and other sites of early conflict to mark the occasion with ceremonies, speeches, and tributes. World War I was alleged to be the war to end war.  Many expected the fighting to be over before Christmas.  It would drag on in the trenches, forests, and towns of Europe and, indeed, the world, for four long, terrible years.  Millions died as mechanized, industrial warfare transformed the scope and horrors of battle.  It was the end of the old order but, equally or even more tragically, the herald of the new.

A  century later, the world should be wiser, especially after a second World War which now seems more like a continuation of the first, and a Cold War that was its product, one that bankrupted nations morally and economically and brought the world to the edge of nuclear destruction.  But as we scan the horizons of conflict from Syria, Gaza, and Iraq to Ukraine, Libya, central Africa, and the fraught zones of East Asia, it may be questioned if we have learned anything at all.

And yet, for all that, people still yearn for peace and those who work for peace shall be called the children of God.

…and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. [Isaiah 2:4]

Marching Forward

In Ulster the marching season is officially over, and this summer it came off more peacefully than most.  But on Saturday the largest parade of them all took place in Belfast – the Gay Pride parade.  Or more accurately the LGBT Pride Parade, which is in fact the largest of such events in the British Isles.  There was another in Stockholm, which was also huge and well-supported, but… Belfast?  It’s hopefully reassuring that there can be a parade in that divided city that doesn’t involve shouting, Molotov cocktails, burning cars, tear gas, and rubber bullets.

Granted, a few staunch members of the Righteous Elect displayed banners condemning all and sundry to the fires of hell.  One banner-bearing protester described the whole business as an abomination.  That parades which extol bigotry, religious intolerance, cultural prejudice, and political suppression might be less than virtuous somehow escaped his notice.

But such expostulations were few and the raucous, colorful march was mercifully free of violence and vituperation.  Unionists and Republicans appear to have more in common than one might suspect.