26. Waiting for God by Simone Weil

Sheer and utter brilliance and beauty! The letters to the priest were OK, but her essay on "The Love of God and Affliction" took my breathe away.  The whole essay is HERE. It is well-worth your time to read it. Then you can say you read one of the great 20th century philosophers! 

"All that man vainly desires here below is perfectly realized in God. We have all those impossible desires within us as a mark of our destination, and they are good for us when we no longer hope to accomplish them." (p. 74)

Invitation to the Classics says, "Despite Weil's preoccupation with the political and social nightmare of the Spanish Civil War and World War II, she still . . . focused on a God who superseded the pain and chaos of this world" (p. 345). 

She was a French Jew from an agnostic home writing during World War II. She was definitely an unconventional believer, but she "gets God" and is often called a "saint for the churchless." She is definitely unconventional, but she is brilliant. I heartily recommend her!
God created through love and for love. God did not create anything except love itself, and the means to love. He created love in all its forms. He created beings capable of love from all possible distances. Because no other could do it, he himself went to the greatest possible distance, the infinite distance. This infinite distance between God and God, this supreme tearing apart, this agony beyond all others, this marvel of love is the crucifixion.
I read much of this book while waiting in the Burbank Airport for a flight to Portland. I wish I had bought the book. I did not write down all the wonderful quotes and cannot find many of them as I write this review. It would have been so much easier to underline, but I cannot deface a library book (as much as I was tempted). 

Waiting for God will waiting for a plane!
I especially like that she found that by reciting the devotional poetry of George Herbert, she could transcend the physical pain of her migraine headaches as she contemplated the Christian mysteries. I am right in the middle of reading Herbert's poetry!!! I love it when my worlds collide like that!

On one occasion she was reciting the poem "Love (3)": "Love bademe welcome, but my soul drew back/Guilty of dust and sin. . . ." In doing so she experienced an encounter so overwhelming in its otherness that she became convinced that "Christ came down and took possession of me . . . in this sudden possession of me by Christ, neither my senses nor my imagination had any part; I only felt in the midst of my suffering the presence of a love, like that which one can read in the smile of a beloved face." (Invitation to the Classics, p.346) 
I love how God comes to those who diligently seek Him. Beautiful book.

One more thing, she loved what fiction and art could do in our life, and I heartily agree:

This is something else which has the power to awaken us to the truth. It is the work of writers of genius. They give us, in the guise of fiction, something equivalent to the actual density of the real, that density which life offers us every day but which we are unable to grasp because we are amusing ourselves with lies. 
Art is the symbol of the two noblest human efforts: to construct and to refrain from destruction.
One more favorite quote (there are TOO many to write out in this blog post):

Random quotes I found on the web: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/s/simone_weil.html

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