From Kierkegaard, a Lenten Thought

And so there is to be found neither in heaven nor upon earth, nor in any relationship between man and man, an exaltation like this, when I turn away humbled and ashamed from my best deed as from a vileness and find repose in ‘grace’.  Let the pagan with his proud neck strike the heavens, or try to–from this humiliation comes the exaltation which blissfully reaches heaven.  Thou canst not worship God by good works, still less by crimes, and just as little by sinking into a soft slumber and doing nothing.  No, in order to worship a man must so comport himself:  he strives with might and main, spares himself neither day nor night, he tries to produce as many as possible of what upright men, humanly speaking, might call ‘good works’.  And then when he takes them and, deeply humbled before God, beholds them transformed to wretchedness and vileness, that is to worship God–that is exaltation.

2 responses

  1. A remark from Weil’s Notebooks that seems to express a very similar thought:

    “Salvation takes place not through an ascending but a descending movement.”

    (This is probably to state the obvious, but Kgaard’s thought here seems to me to speak directly to Weil’s notion of Decreation.)

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