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The grandness of humankind

"You have taken note of him. You have made him little less than divine and adorned him in glory and majesty." (Psalm 8:5)

"I give thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made." (Psalm 139:14)

The incomparable worth of the human person. "Man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. The loftiness of this supernatural vocation reveals the greatness and inestimable value of human life even in its temporal phase. (Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II)

The mystery of the Holy Spirit merely tells us that there are grounds for trust, that it is all right to take risks, and being vulnerable to others is a better way to live. (A. Greely, The Great Mysteries)

You see, no one's going to help you Bubby, because there isn't anybody out there to do it. No one. We're all just complicated arrangements of atoms and subatomic particles - we don't live. But our atoms do move about in such a way as to give us identity and consciousness. We don't die; our atoms just rearrange themselves. There is no God. There can be no God; it's ridiculous to think in terms of a superior being. An inferior being, maybe, because we, we who don't even exist, we arrange our lives with more order and harmony than God ever arranged the earth. We measure; we plot; we create wonderful new things. We are the architects of our own existence. What a lunatic concept to bow down before a God who slaughters millions of innocent children, slowly and agonizingly starves them to death, beats them, tortures them, rejects them. What folly to even think that we should not insult such a God, damn him, think him out of existence. It is our duty to think God out of existence. It is our duty to insult him. Fuck you, God! Strike me down if you dare, you tyrant, you non-existent fraud! It is the duty of all human beings to think God out of existence. Then we have a future. Because then - and only then - do we take full responsibility for who we are. And that's what you must do, Bubby: think God out of existence; take responsibility for who you are. (The Scientist, from the 1993 Australian film Bad Boy Bubby). Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. (Psalm 130, how the Cannes jury panel theologians described the film).

  The Mosaics, Ravenna

Either light was born here,
Or reigns here imprisoned

Latin inscription, Sant'Andrea chapel

Western Christian art was born here, developing from the simple images - the Good Shephard and the Cross and Stars - to the iconic Christ in Sant'Apollinare Nuovo and the beautiful scriptural scenes in San Vitale. Never, though, did the early mosaicists turn their back on the idea of art; with the ideals of the ancient world still in their minds, they naturally thought of art and religion as going hand in hand, and found no problem in serving the cause of both. Using a new vocabulary of images and the new techniques of mosaic art, they strove to duplicate, and surpass, the sense of awe and mystery still half-remembered from the interiors of the pagan temples. [Cadogan guide to Italy]


Sometimes at pagan shrines they vowed
offerings to idols, swore oaths
that the killer of souls might come to their aid
and save the people. That was their way,
their heathenish hope; deep in their hearts
they remembered hell.

[Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney]