I read a little bit about Blaise Pascal (1623-62) recently for my Spiritual Traditions and Practices class. I kind of have a crush on him! Such a Renaissance man, this guy knew his stuff in mathematics, science, philosophy, and religion. I bet he could also play an instrument and ride a horse and build a fire. I just love this piece that he wrote (my favorite parts on the random Latin phrases); apparently an account of his profound conversion experience:
In the year of Grace, 1654,
On Monday, 23rd of November…
From about half past ten in the evening until about half past twelve,
God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob,
not of the philosophers and scholars.
Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.
God of Jesus Christ
Eum meum et Deum vestrum.
[“Thy God shall be my God”]
Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except God.
He is to be found only by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Greatness of the human soul.
“Righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee, but I have known Thee.”
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have separated myself from Him
Derelinquerunt me fontem aquae vivae.
[“They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters”]
“My God, wilt Thou leave me?”
Let me not be separated from Him eternally.
“This is the eternal life, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and the one whom Thou has sent, Jesus Christ.”
I have separated myself from Him: I have fled from Him, denied Him,
Let me never be separated from Him.
We keep hold of Him only by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Renunciation, total and sweet.
Total submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.
Eternally in joy for a day’s training on earth.
Non obliviscar sermones tuos.
[“I will not forget Thy words”]