One of the things I am discerning for this moment in time - and my current fascination with "the great cloud of witnesses" we call saints - comes from Robert Ellsberg's introduction to All the Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets and Witnesses for Our Time. "Saints are those who, in some partial way, embody - literally incarnate - the challenge of faith in their time and place. In doing so, they open a path that others might follow."
In the reflection for August 19th - Blaise Pascal - Ellsberg writes: "Pascal recognized that the age of reason was at heart an age of doubt. One could not offer a defense of Christianity that rested on the appeal to authority - whether of the church or Scripture - or on the existence of prophecies or miracles. These latter might confirm the believer's faith but they could not establish it. Nor could one follow the traditional philosophical method of arguing from nature back to first causes. This might 'prove' the existences of the Deist God or mathematical truths, but not the Christian God of love." (p. 359)
(So) his approach was to begin with an examination of the human condition, the experience of what he called "inconstancy, boredom, anxiety" and then to show that Christianity offered an explanation of this predicament... (for our brokenness) is not the last word... there is a yearning for the infinite that points us in the direction of our origins... (this) haunting introspection into the mysteries of the human heart (link) him to a broader tradition that spans St. Paul, St. Augustine, Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky.
This vacation time seems to be calling me to reread Ellsberg volume that I bought 11 years ago along with Nouwen's Spiritual Direction. and Jean Vanier's Becoming Human. And I've got some wild upright bass exercises to work on, too so that I not only "feel the pureness of each note" as my bass master told me today, but that I start walking the shit out things in new ways, too.