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Jansenism

Christian theological movement
People want to be Christians too cheaply, and consequently they are not Christians at all. ~ Pasquier Quesnel
The soul which stops at creatures delays the course of the voyage by which it moves toward God; and by desiring to enjoy them, it proportionately deprives itself of the enjoyment of God. ~ Pierre Nicole
Have we despised what the world esteems and esteemed what it despises? Have we fled what it wants and wanted what it flees? Have we loved what it hates and hated what it loves? ~ Louis Tronson

Jansenism was a Catholic theological movement, primarily in France, that emphasized original sin, human depravity, the necessity of divine grace, and predestination.

QuotesEdit

  • We might easily pursue these contrasts between bourgeois of the Jansenist school and those of the Jesuit school. One, of upright and rigid character, was himself in the various occupations of daily life; the other had the personality of his state, which would make of him less a moral personality than a socially determined being, subject to rules which it would be improper and unChristian not to observe, the "first duty of probity" always being, as Père Bourdaloue puts it, to "submit to authority." So that while the disciple of the Jesuit Fathers might be a reliable man, who most probably would always remain prudently within the confines of mediocrity, the disciple of the Jansenists might sometimes indulge in eccentricities. He was less reliable; he might take the counsels of perfection literally, and not be so docile. Under a middle-class exterior, he might often conceal a romantic spirit, preserving a predilection for the heroic feats of olden times.
    • Bernard Groethuysen, The Bourgeois: Catholicism vs. Capitalism in Eighteenth-Century France (1927), as translated by Mary Ilford (1968), p. 163
  • The soul which stops at creatures delays the course of the voyage by which it moves toward God; and by desiring to enjoy them, it proportionately deprives itself of the enjoyment of God.
    • Pierre Nicole, Essais de Morale (1753), XII, 301, in The Bourgeois: Catholicism vs. Capitalism in Eighteenth-Century France (1927) as translated by Mary Ilford (1968), p. 118
  • Jesus ... never laughed. Nothing has ever equaled the seriousness of his life; it is clear that pleasure, recreation, anything that could divert the mind, had no part in it. The life of Jesus was utterly taut, wholly caught up in God and in the woes of men, and he gave to nature only what he could not have refused it without destroying it.
    • Pierre Nicole, Essais de Morale (1753), XIII, 390, in The Bourgeois: Catholicism vs. Capitalism in Eighteenth-Century France (1927) as translated by Mary Ilford (1968), p. 118
  • Sins which would terrify us if they were peculiar to ourselves alone cease to frighten us when they are shared. The sinner sleeps soundly when he finds himself surrounded by a multitude, as though God were obliged to spare him.
    • Pierre Nicole, L'esprit de M. Nicole, ou: Instructions sur les vérités de la religion, p. 461, in The Bourgeois: Catholicism vs. Capitalism in Eighteenth-Century France (1968), p. 94
  • Not only do we have no real right to the things of the world, because belonging always essentially to God they can never belong to creatures; but we are also limited by the laws of God in the use of those possessions; for it must not be imagined that God gives them to us so that we may dispose of them as we wish. He is too just to have made such an unequal distribution. These goods being the means destined by his Providence for the subsistence of men, he gives to some more than they need only so that they may distribute it to others. A rich man, in so far as he is rich, is thus no more than steward of God's good things.
  • People want to be Christians too cheaply, and consequently they are not Christians at all. Salvation has to cost, it has to cost everything, at least as far as the disposition of the heart is concerned.
    • Pasquier Quesnel, Pensées, p. 47, as translated by Mary Ilford in The Bourgeois: Catholicism vs. Capitalism in Eighteenth-Century France (1968), p. 84
  • [While] there are worldly singularities, there are Christian and salutary ones, too; and this singularity by which one is differentiated from the crowd who tread the broad path is what constitutes the straight and narrow path of the Gospels. ... Holy things will never be established or reestablished so long as we have this fear of appearing singular.
    • Pasquier Quesnel, Pensées, p. 90, as translated by Mary Ilford in The Bourgeois: Catholicism vs. Capitalism in Eighteenth-Century France (1968), p. 163
  • There are only two loves, whence originate all our wishes and all our actions: the love of God which does all for God and which God rewards and the love of ourselves and of the world, which does not refer to God what should be referred to him and which for that very reason becomes evil.
    • Pasquier Quesnel, 44th Proposition, as translated by Mary Ilford in The Bourgeois: Catholicism vs. Capitalism in Eighteenth-Century France (1968), pp. 118-119
  • Do we have all the hatred and all the aversion for the world which Our Lord requires, and which his example must inspire in us?
Have we regarded it as the greatest enemy of Christianity, an enemy that can not abide that Jesus Christ reigns over the faithful, crying ceaselessly through the mouth of its fans, “We do not want this man to reign over us” (Saint Anthony).
Have we raised ourselves up to that outlook opposed to the world, and have we tried to destroy the esteem and love for it in all hearts?
Have we referred to it with indignation, distance and contempt; and have we made it clear that it is filled only with corruption, vanity and falsehood?
Have we condemned the world's sentiments? Are we opposed to its maxims? And have we made all our efforts to abolish its laws and overturn its accursed customs?
Have we despised what the world esteems and esteemed what it despises? Have we fled what it wants and wanted what it flees? Have we loved what it hates and hated what it loves?
Have we had the colossal aversion to the world's public assemblies, to its spectacles and all its pomp? ...
Have we fled the company of worldly persons, whom the saints, especially the Ecclesiastics, advise us to avoid like the plague, whom one should see only by necessity, and from whom we should separate ourselves as vigilantly as we can?
Have we wanted, in order to render our separation from the world as perfect as the sanctity of our state demands, that the world have aversion to us, as we have aversion to the world, following the example the apostle has given us, “The world is crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).
  • Louis Tronson, Examens particuliers sur divers sujets (1690), pp. 321-322

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