Pascal's Pensées: Week 39, The World is Filled With Fire and Light


The year of grace 1654,

Monday, 23 November, feast of St. Clement, pope and martyr, and others in the martyrology.
Vigil of St. Chrysogonus, martyr, and others.
From about half past ten at night until about half past midnight,


GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob
not of the philosophers and of the learned.
Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.
GOD of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
Your GOD will be my God.
Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except GOD.
He is only found by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Grandeur of the human soul.
Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you.
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have departed from him:
They have forsaken me, the fount of living water.
My God, will you leave me?
Let me not be separated from him forever.
This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and the one that you sent, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
I left him; I fled him, renounced, crucified.
Let me never be separated from him.
He is only kept securely by the ways taught in the Gospel:
Renunciation, total and sweet.
Complete submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.
Eternally in joy for a day’s exercise on the earth.
May I not forget your words. Amen.


This will be our last week with Pascal. Next Friday will be Christmas Eve, and the Friday after, New Year's Eve, I'll be sharing our new Friday series.

As this is our last Friday with Pascal, it's only fitting that we should end with his death.

As I recount in Hunting Magic Eels, when Pascal died it was discovered that he had copied out the pensée above and sown it to the inside of his coat. As should be clear if you read the pensée, on the evening of November 23, 1654 Pascal had a profound, and clearly life-changing, encounter with God. A vision of fire. A vision of tears. A vision of joy. 

Personally, I've never had a religious experience quite as intense as what Pascal describes here. But as I share in Hunting Magic Eels, we have mystical experiences all the time if we were but open and attentive to them. The world is filled with fire and light. 

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