Lenten meditation: ascesis and renewal

March 2, 2007

“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

– Romans 12:2

“…if he nevertheless is unwilling to be like an instrument of war in the service of inexplicable drives, indeed, in the service of the world, because the world itself, the object of his craving, stimulates the drives; if he nevertheless does not want to be like a stringed instrument in the hands of inexplicable moods or, rather, in the hands of the world, because the movement of his soul is in accord with the way the world plucks its strings; if he does not want to be like a mirror in which he intercepts the world or, rather, the world reflects itself; if he does not want this, if he himself, even before the eye aims at something to make a conquest, wants to capture the eye so that it may belong to him and not he to the eye; if he grasps the hand before it grasps for the external, so that it may belong to him and not he to the hand; if he wants this so earnestly that he is not afraid of tearing out the eye, cutting off the hand, shutting the window of the senses if necessary – well, then everything is changed; the power is taken away… He struggles not with the world but with himself.”

– Søren Kierkegaard, “Four Upbuilding Discourses”

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