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Author QuotedRainer Maria Rilke
Title QuotedDuino Elegies / translated into English by James Blair Leishman and Stephen Spender
Date (Year/Month/Day)1966/02/21
ImprintNew York : W.W.Norton & Company. 1963
QuotationRilke again. Rereading the II Elegy and [Romano] Guardini about it. It seems to me that Guardini, while right in many judgments about R., takes too seriously R's own "passionat" rejections of Christianity in letters etc. For passionately one should understand emotionally. For subjective reasons beyond his control (his mother) R. simply could not be at peace with conventional Christian language and even with the idea of Christ as Mediator. I do not minimize this - objectively a failure of faith. Yet G. does not see that R. was also struggling with a false religious problem imposed on him by 19thcentury Christianity. The problem of finding wholeness (ultimate truth etc.) in God by denying and excluding the world. The holy is the non-secular. Feeling himself called upon to deny and exclude what he saw to be in reality necessary for "wholeness," "holiness," "openness," he finally refused this denial, and chose his "open world." In a sense he does come up with a cosmology that seems a parody of Christianity - but is it really as G. thinks, a "secularization" in the sense of a degradation? Is he not really reaching for the kind of Pleroma revealed in Colossians? Yes, his choice of angels is in a sense a failure, acc[ording] to Paul - yet was it entirely his fault? Was it forced on him by a manichean type of Christianity? I cannot agree with all Rilke says - but I do not think he himself would have expected, still less demanded, an act of theological faith in the content of the Duino Elegies!!
Quotation SourceLearning to love: exploring solitude and freedom. The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 6, 1966-1967.; Edited by Christine M. Bochen. / [San Francisco] : HarperCollins. 1997, p. 20
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