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Thought of Christmas ....... Stop all consumption? .....Christmas Day 1886...Paul Claudel evokes his conversion on Christmas Day...The Photography of Christ

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posted by Hughes Songe alias bernawy hugues kossi huo on Friday 3rd of December 2021 12:32:37 PM

"This was the unfortunate child who, on December 25,1886, went to Notre-Dame de Paris for Christmas services. I was then beginning to write and it seemed to me that in Catholic ceremonies, considered with a superior dilettantism, I would find an appropriate excitement and the subject of some decadent exercises. It was in these arrangements that, bent and shoved by the crowd, I attended the high Mass with mediocre pleasure. Then, having nothing better to do, I returned to Vespers. The children of the master's degree in white dresses and the students of the small seminary of St Nicolas du Chardonnet who attended them, were singing what I later knew to be the Magnificat. I myself was standing in the crowd, next to the second pillar at the entrance of the choir on the right side of the sacristy. And then came the event that dominated my whole life. In an instant my heart was touched and I believed. I believed, with such a force of adherence, such an upheaval of my whole being, such a powerful conviction, such a certainty leaving no room for any kind of doubt, that since then, all the books, all the reasoning, all the chance of a troubled life, have not been able to shake my faith, nor, indeed, to touch it". The Photography of Christ:Dear Sir, I read with the strongest interest the opuscule that you had the kind thought to send me: Christ in his passion revealed by the Holy Shroud of Turin. I have the striking images that accompany it4 are considered at length.. I don' t Wishes it to reach the general public and help Christianity in France to realize the importance of this religious event which is discovery. photograph of the Holy Shroud of Turin. It's so important that I can only compare it to a second resurrection. I am referring by the thought to this sinister period from 1890 to 1910, where my youth and my mature age passed, a period of materialism and materialism. of aggressive and triumphant scepticism, dominated by the figure of Ernest. Renan.. How much effort, then, to obscure the divinity of Christ, to veiling this unbearable face, to flatten the Christian fact, to erase it the contours under the criss-crossed strips of erudition and doubt! The little pieces of the Gospel were no more than a mass of incoherent and suspicious materials, where every amateur was going to search the elements of a construction as pretentious as it is temporary. The figure of Jesus was drowned until it disappeared in a fog of historical, mystagogical and romantic literature. I mean, we had successful! Jesus Christ, it was only a pale outline, a few words, a few words. lineaments fluid and ready to go. Madeleine could now go to the tomb. His Lord was taken from him. And now, after centuries gone by, the obliterated image suddenly reappears. underneath the fabric with appalling truthfulness, with authenticity, no more. only an irrefutable document, but a current fact. The interval of the nineteen centuries is destroyed all at once. The past is transferred in the immediate future. "What our eyes have seen," says St. John,"what we have seen," says St. John. let us at leisure consider, what our hands have done with the Word of life, what we have done, what we have done with it. is not only an official document, as would be, for example, an official signed and initialled: it is a verbatim record of the proceedings, a large judgment duly signed and initialled. a decal, it's an image bearing her own caution. Plus that an image is a presence! More than a presence, it's a photograph, something printed and unalterable. And more than just a photograph, it's a "negative ", i. e. a hidden activity (a bit like the Sacred Scripture itself, will I take the liberty of suggesting) and able, under the objective, to achieve positive evidence! All of a sudden,in 1898, after Strauss, after Renan, at Loisy6's very time.and as a coronation of this prodigious work of excavation and exegesis.realized by the century that will end, we are in possession of the photograph of Christ! Like that! It's Him! It's His face! This face that so many saints and prophets have been consumed with the desire to contemplate, following this word of the Word of God. Psalm:"My face has sought You: Lord, I will seek Your face ". It is in us! From this life, we are allowed as long as we want to to consider the Son of God face to face! Because a photograph is not a portrait of a man's hand. Between that face and us there was no one as a human intermediary. It is He who materially impregnated this plate, and it is this plate in turn that comes to take possession of our spirit What a face! We understand these executioners who couldn't stand it. and who, in order to overcome it, are still trying today, as they can, to hide it. I will express my thoughts by saying that what we brings this wonderful appearance, it is even less a vision of overwhelming majesty that the feeling in us, beneath sin, of our complete and radical indignity, the exterminating conscience of our nothingness. There are in these closed eyes, in this definitive figure and as a mark of eternity, something destructive. Like a sword strike in the heart that brings death, it brings consciousness. Something so horrible and beautiful that there's no way to get him.to escape only through worship. Photography has given us back this body that the greatest mystics have barely dared to consider, literally martyred since the plant. from feet to the top, all wrapped in whiplashes, all dressed up.of this sacred flesh has escaped. to the atrocious inquisition of Justice, these straps armed with lead and lead hooks on it unleashed! He was born in Villeneuve-sur-Fère (Aisne), into a family of farmers and government officials. His father, Louis-Prosper, dealt in mortgages and bank transactions. His mother, the former Louise Cerveaux, came from a Champagne family of Catholic farmers and priests. Having spent his first years in Champagne, he studied at the lycée of Bar-le-Duc and at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in 1881, when his parents moved to Paris. An unbeliever in his teenage years, he experienced a sudden conversion at the age of eighteen on Christmas Day 1886 while listening to a choir sing Vespers in the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris: "In an instant, my heart was touched, and I believed." He would remain a strong Catholic for the rest of his life. He studied at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (better known as Sciences Po). The young Claudel seriously considered entering a Benedictine monastery, but in the end began a career in the French diplomatic corps, in which he would serve from 1893 to 1936. He was first vice-consul in New York (April 1893), and later in Boston (December 1893). He was French consul in China (1895–1909), including consul in Shanghai (June 1895), and vice-consul in Fuzhou (October 1900), consul in Tianjin (Tientsin) (1906–1909), in Prague (December 1909), Frankfurt am Main (October 1911), Hamburg (October 1913), ministre plénipotentiaire in Rio de Janeiro (1916), Copenhagen (1920), ambassador in Tokyo (1922–1928), Washington, D.C. (1928–1933) and Brussels (1933–1936). While he served in Brazil during the First World War he supervised the continued provision of food supplies from South America to France. (His secretaries during the Brazil mission included Darius Milhaud, later world-famous as a composer, and who wrote incidental music to a number of Claudel's plays.) In 1930, Claudel received an LL.D. from Bates College. In 1936 he retired to his château in Brangues (Isère). Claudel married Reine Sainte-Marie-Perrin on 15 March 1906. In his youth Claudel was heavily influenced by the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud and the Symbolists. Like them, he was horrified by modern materialist views of life. Unlike most of them[citation needed], his response was to embrace Catholicism. All his writings are passionate rejections of the idea of a mechanical or random universe, instead proclaiming the deep spiritual meaning of human life founded on God's all-governing grace and love. Claudel wrote in a unique verse style. He rejected traditional metrics in favour of long, luxuriant, unrhymed lines of free verse, the so-called verset claudelien, influenced by the Latin psalms of the Vulgate. His language and imagery was often lush, mystical, exhilarating, consciously 'poetical'; the settings of his plays tended to be romantically distant, medieval France or sixteenth-century Spanish South America, yet spiritually all-encompassing, transcending the level of material realism. He used scenes of passionate, obsessive human love to convey with great power God's infinite love for humanity. His plays were often extraordinarily long, sometimes stretching to eleven hours, and pressed the realities of material staging to their limits. Yet they were physically staged, at least in part, to rapturous acclaim, and are not merely closet dramas. The most famous of his plays are Le Partage de Midi ("The Break of Noon", 1906), L'Annonce Faite a Marie ("The Tidings Brought to Mary", 1910) focusing on the themes of sacrifice, oblation and sanctification through the tale of a young medieval French peasant woman who contracts leprosy, and Le Soulier de Satin ("The Satin Slipper", 1931), his deepest exploration of human and divine love and longing set in the Spanish empire of the siglo de oro, which was staged at the Comédie-Française in 1943. In later years he wrote texts to be set to music, most notably "Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher" ("Joan of Arc at the Stake", 1939), an "opera-oratario" with music by Arthur Honegger. Claudel was always a controversial figure during his lifetime, and remains so today. His devout Catholicism and his right-wing political views, both slightly unusual stances among his intellectual peers, made him, and continue to make him, unpopular in many circles His address of a poem ("Paroles au Maréchal," "Words to the Marshal") to Marshal Philippe Pétain after the defeat of France in 1940, commending Petain for picking up and salvaging France's broken, wounded body, has been unflatteringly remembered, though it is less a paean to Petain than a patriotic lament over the condition of France. As a Catholic, he could not avoid a certain sense of bitter satisfaction at the fall of the anti-clerical French Third Republic. However, accusations that he was a collaborationist based on the 1941 poem ignore the fact that support for Marshal Petain and the surrender was, in the catastrophic atmosphere of defeat, emotional collapse and exhaustion in 1941, widespread throughout the French populace (witness the large majority vote in favour of Petain and the dissolution of the Third Republic in the French Parliament in 1940, with support stretching across the political spectrum). Claudel's diaries make clear his consistent contempt for Nazism (condemning it as early as 1930 as "demonic" and "wedded to Satan," and referring to communism and Nazism as "Gog and Magog"), and his attitude to the Vichy regime quickly hardened into opposition. He also committed his sister Camille Claudel to a psychiatric hospital in March 1913, where she remained for the last 30 years of her life, visiting her seven times in those 30 years (see Camille Claudel's Wiki page for further details).Records show that while she did have mental lapses, she was clear-headed while working on her art. An exhibition of her bronzes in the Swiss Foundation Gianadda from 16 November 1990 until February 1991 shows clearly what can be considered only a small proof of the timeless beauty of her sculptures, inspired by a genuine talent. Doctors tried to convince the family that she need not be in the institution, but still they kept her there. (The story forms the subject of a novel by Michèle Desbordes, La Robe bleue, The Blue Dress.) Despite sharing in his earlier years in the old-fashioned antisemitism of conservative France, his response to the radical racialist Nazi version was unequivocal; he had written an open letter to the World Jewish Conference in 1935 condemning the Nuremberg Laws as "abominable and stupid." The sister of his daughter-in-law had married a Jew, Paul-Louis Weiller, who was arrested by the Vichy government in October 1940. Claudel went to Vichy to intercede for him, to no avail; luckily Weiller managed to escape (with Claudel's assistance, the authorities suspected) and flee to New York. Claudel made known his anger at the Vichy government's anti-Jewish legislation, courageously writing a published letter to the Chief Rabbi, Israel Schwartz, in 1941 to express "the disgust, horror, and indignation that all decent Frenchmen and especially Catholics feel in respect of the injustices, the despoiling, all the ill treatment of which our Jewish compatriots are now the victims... Israel is always the eldest son of the promise [of God], as it is today the eldest son of suffering." The Vichy authorities responded by having Claudel's house searched and keeping him under observation. His support for Charles de Gaulle and the Free French forces culminated in his victory ode addressed to de Gaulle when Paris was liberated in 1944. Claudel, a conservative of the old school, was clearly not a fascist. The French writers who were attracted by, and collaborated with, the Nazi "New Order" in Europe, much younger men like Louis-Ferdinand Céline and Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, tended to come from a very different background to Claudel's: they were nihilists, ex-dadaists, and futurists rather than old-fashioned Catholics (neither of the other two major French Catholic writers, François Mauriac and Georges Bernanos, were supporters of the Nazi occupation or the Vichy regime). An interesting parallel to Claudel, for Anglophones, is T. S. Eliot, whose later political and religious views were similar to Claudel's. As with Eliot, even those who dislike Claudel's religious and political beliefs, have generally admitted his genius as a writer. The British poet W. H. Auden, at that time a left-leaning agnostic, acknowledged the importance of Paul Claudel in his famous poem "In Memory of W. B. Yeats" (1939). Writing about Yeats, Auden says in lines 52–55: Time that with this strange excuse/Pardoned Kipling and his views,/And will pardon Paul Claudel,/Pardons him for writing well. (These lines are from the originally published version; they were excised by Auden in a later revision.) Jean-Charles de Castelbajac wrote a song "La soeur de Paul" pour Mareva Galanter/2010. George Steiner, in The Death of Tragedy, calls him one of the three "masters of drama" in the twentieth century. Paul Claudel was elected to the Académie française on 4 April 1946. As well as his verse dramas, Claudel also wrote much lyric poetry, for example the Cinq Grandes Odes (Five Great Odes) Claudel, a conservative of the old school, was clearly not a fascist. The French writers who were attracted by, and collaborated with, the Nazi "New Order" in Europe, much younger men like Louis-Ferdinand Céline and Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, tended to come from a very different background to Claudel's, nihilists, ex-dadaists, and futurists rather than old-fashioned Catholics (neither of the other two major French Catholic writers, François Mauriac and Georges Bernanos, were supporters of the Nazi occupation or the Vichy regime). An interesting parallel to Claudel, for Anglophones, is T. S. Eliot, whose later political and religious views were similar to Claudel's. As with Eliot, even those who dislike Claudel's religious and political beliefs, have generally admitted his genius as a writer. The British poet W. H. Auden, at that time a left-leaning agnostic, acknowledged the importance of Paul Claudel in his famous poem "In Memory of W. B. Yeats" (1939). Writing about Yeats, Auden says in lines 52-55: "Time that with this strange excuse/Pardoned Kipling and his views,/And will pardon Paul Claudel,/Pardons him for writing well." (These lines are from the originally published version; they were excised by Auden in a later revision.) Jean-Charles de Castelbajac wrote a song "La soeur de Paul" pour Mareva Galanter/2010. George Steiner, in "The Death of Tragedy," calls him one of the three "masters of drama" in the twentieth century. Paul Claudel was elected to the Académie française on 4 April 1946. Paul Claudel évoque sa conversion le jour de Noël " Les cinq grandes odes ", Paul Claudel (1906-1910) - Ode II, "Salut donc, ô monde nouveau à mes yeux..." L'expérience mystique Une expérience poétique Un lyrisme religieux L'oeuvre de Claudel ne se comprend pas sans la puissante inspiration religieuse qui l'anime. Depuis qu'il eut la révélation de l'existence de Dieu le jour de Noël."Tel était le malheureux enfant qui, le 25 décembre 1886, se rendit à Notre-Dame de Paris pour y suivre les offices de Noël. Je commençais alors à écrire et il me semblait que dans les cérémonies catholiques, considérées avec un dilettantisme supérieur, je trouverai un excitant approprié et la matière de quelques exercices décadents. C'est dans ces dispositions que, coudoyé et bousculé par la foule, j'assistai, avec un plaisir médiocre, à la grand-messe. Puis, n'ayant rien de mieux à faire, je revins aux vêpres. Les enfants de la maîtrise en robes blanches et les élèves du petit séminaire de saint Nicolas du Chardonnet qui les assistaient, étaient en train de chanter ce que je sus plus tard être la Magnificat. J'étais moi-même debout dans la foule, près du second pilier à l'entrée du choeur à droite du côté de la sacristie. Et c'est alors que se produisit l'événement qui domine toute ma vie. En un instant mon coeur fut touché et je crus. Je crus, d'une telle force d'adhésion, d'un tel soulèvement de tout mon être, d'une conviction si puissante, d'une telle certitude ne laissant place à aucune espèce de doute, que, depuis, tous les livres, tous les raisonnements, tous les hasards d'une vie agitée, n'ont pu ébranler ma foi, ni, à vrai dire, la toucher." L'esprit de Dieu m'a ravi tout d'un coup par-dessus le mur et me voici dans ce pays inconnu. Oû est le vent maintenant ? oû est la mer? oû la route qui ma mené jusqu'ici... Oû sont les hommes?il n'y a plus rien que le ciel toujours pur. Oû est l'ancienne tempête? Je prête l'oreille:et n'y a plus que cet arbre qui frémit. J'écoute: et il n'y que cette feuille insistante. Je sais que la lutte est finie... Il y a eu le passé, mais il n'est plus. Je sens sur ma face un souffle plus froid. Voici de nouveau la Présence, l'effrayante solitude, et soudain le souffle de nouveau sur ma face. Seigneur, ma vigne est en ma présence et je vois ma délivrance ne peut plus m'échapper. Celui qui connaît la délivrance, il se rit maintenant de tout les lien, et qui comprendra le rire qu'il a son coeur? Il regarde toutes choses et rit. Seigneur, il fait bon pour nous en ce lieu,que je ne retourne pas à la vue des hommes,que je sois plus connu d'aucun d'eux, Et comme l'étoile éternelle. Sa lumière,qu'il ne reste rien en moi que la voix seule. Le verbe intelligible et la parole exprimée et la qui est l'esprit et l'eau.... Frère, je ne puis vous donner mon coeur, mais ou la matière ne sert point vaut et va la parole subtile. Et moi-même avec une intelligence éternelle. Ecoute, mon enfant et incline vers moi la tête, et te donnerais mon âme. CINQ GRANDES ODES L ESPRIT ET L EAU PAUL CLAUDEL Cher Monsieur, J'ai lu avec le plus vif intérêt l’opuscule que vous avez eu l'aimable pensée de m'envoyer : Le Christ dans sa passion révélée par le Saint Suaire de Turin. J'ai longuement considéré les saisissantes images qui l’accompagnent4 . Je souhaite qu'il atteigne le grand public et qu'il aide la chrétienté de France à réaliser l'importance de cet événement religieux qu'est la découverte photographique du Saint Suaire de Turin. Une importance si grande que je ne puis la comparer qu'à une seconde résurrection. Je me reporte par la pensée à cette sinistre période qui va de 1890 à 1910,où s'est écoulée ma jeunesse et mon âge mûr, période de matérialisme et de scepticisme agressifs et triomphants et que domine la figure d'Ernest Renan. Que d'efforts alors pour obscurcir la divinité du Christ, pour voiler ce visage insoutenable, pour aplatir le fait chrétien, pour en effacer les contours sous les bandelettes entrecroisées de l'érudition et du doute ! L’Évangile mis en petits morceaux ne constituait plus qu'un amas de matériaux incohérents et suspects, où chaque amateur allait rechercher les éléments d'une construction aussi prétentieuse que provisoire. La figure de Jésus était noyée jusqu'à disparaître dans un brouillard de littérature historique, mystagogique et romanesque. Enfin, on avait réussi ! Jésus-Christ, ce n’était plus qu'un pâle contour, quelques linéaments fluides et tout prêts à s'effacer. Madeleine pouvait maintenant aller au tombeau. On lui avait enlevé son Seigneur. Et voilà qu'après les siècles écoulés, l'image oblitérée reparaît tout à coup sous le tissu avec une véracité épouvantable, avec l'authenticité, non plus seulement d'un document irréfragable, mais d’un fait actuel. L'intervalle des dix-neuf siècles est anéanti d'un seul coup. Le passé est transféré dans l’immédiat. "Ce que nos yeux ont vu ", dit saint Jean, ce que nous avons à loisir considéré, ce que nos mains ont manié du Verbe de vie, ce n’est pas seulement une pièce officielle, comme serait, par exemple, un procès-verbal, une grosse de jugement dûment signée et paraphée : c'est un décalque, c’est une image portant avec elle sa propre caution. Plus qu'une image, c'est une présence ! Plus qu'une présence, c'est une photographie, quelque chose d'imprimé et d'inaltérable. Et plus qu’une photographie, c'est un "négatif ", c’est-à-dire une activité cachée (un peu comme la Sainte Écriture elle-même, prendrai-je la liberté de suggérer) et capable, sous l'objectif, de réaliser en positif une évidence ! Tout à coup, en 1898, après Strauss, après Renan, au temps même de Loisy6, et comme un couronnement de ce travail prodigieux de fouilles et d'exégèse réalisé par le siècle qui va finir, nous sommes en possession de la photographie du Christ ! Comme cela ! C'est Lui ! C'est Son visage ! Ce visage que tant de saints et de prophètes ont été consumés du désir de contempler, suivant cette parole du psaume : "Ma face T'a recherché : Seigneur, je rechercherai Ta face ". Il est à nous ! Dès cette vie, il nous est permis tant que nous voulons de considérer le Fils de Dieu face à face ! Car une photographie, ce n'est pas un portrait fait de main d'homme. Entre ce visage et nous il n'y a pas eu d'intermédiaire humain. C'est Lui matériellement qui a imprégné cette plaque, et c'est cette plaque à son tour qui vient prendre possession de notre esprit. Quel visage ! Voilà pour la convenance subjective. Mais que dire de la coïncidence matérielle et de la superposition minutieuse et détaillée du document ainsi placé entre nos mains et du quadruple récit de la Passion ? Tous les traits en sont là inscrits, ineffaçables : les plaies des mains, celles des pieds, celle du côté jusqu'au cœur, celle de l'épaule ; la couronne d'épines qui nous rappelle l’interrogation de Pilate "Ergo tu Rex es ? ", et ces traces de la flagellation, si réelles que la vue encore aujourd'hui nous en fait frémir. La photographie nous a rendu ce corps que les plus grands mystiques ont à peine osé envisager, martyrisé littéralement depuis la plante des pieds jusqu’à la cime, tout enveloppé de coups de fouet, tout habillé de blessures, en sorte que pas un pouce de cette chair sacrée n'a échappé à l'atroce inquisition de la Justice, ces lanières armées de plombs et de crochets sur elle déchaînées !... Ce ne sont point des phrases que nous déchiffrons ligne à ligne : c’est toute la Passion d'un seul coup qu’on nous livre en pleine figure. L'heure même est écrite : c’est le soir, il fallait se presser ; la hâte avec laquelle on a roulé ce corps souillé dans un linge, sans prendre le temps de le nettoyer pour obéir aux prescriptions du Sabbat immédiat. Le temps pendant lequel cet enveloppement a duré et qui est indiqué par l'avancement du travail destructeur sur le cadavre. L’obligation clairement imposée aux amis du Christ de procéder à ce supplément de toilette funèbre que l’intervention du Sabbat les avait obligés d’ajourner. La disponibilité elle-même de cette carapace rejetée ainsi qu'une dépouille d'insecte après la mue ; enfin, malgré les explications ingénieuses des savants qui se sont occupés du Saint Suaire, il est bien difficile de voir, dans cette impression détaillée du corps du Christ en négatif sur une toile non préparée et grâce uniquement à quelques aromates disposés au hasard, un phénomène purement naturel. II n'y a, dans la vaste expérience que nous possédons des ensevelissements antiques, aucun analogue. Une vertu est sortie de Lui et a laissé cette trace prodigieuse. Il n’est pas moins remarquable que, pendant toute cette suite de siècles et d'événements, les différents incendies qui ont attaqué le Suaire aient respecté l’image sacrée et que leurs vestiges ne constituent autour d'elle qu'une espèce d'encadrement ! Aussi quelle reconnaissance devons-nous aux autorités civiles et religieuses qui ont enfin permis l'examen minutieux de l'insigne relique et aux hommes de science qui l'ont étudiée avec tant d'ingéniosité et de bonne foi, tels que M. Paul Vignon ! Le moment est venu des vulgarisations, et c'est à ce titre que je salue avec joie le travail si remarquable que vous m’avez envoyé et auquel je souhaite la plus large diffusion. Paul Claudel en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Claudel



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