Book preview: Letters from Baron Friedrich

January 3, 2009

Raimund S. sent us a note today about a new book he discovered:

I just started reading the book “Letters from Baron Friedrich von Hügel to a Niece.” So far the book looks very promising. The following quote of Von Hügel is in regards to enlightenment society but I think it is just as relevant today:

“The eighteenth-century ideal was the smug, comfy, utterly material domestic life. Is that the final end of man in Christianity? The decent, comfortable married man? No. No. Christianity is not that. The whole world would reject that: no primitive Christian would look at it for a moment. Christianity is a heroism. People seem sometimes to think it is a dear darling, not-to-be-grumpy, not-to-be-impatient, not-to-be-violent life; a sort of wishy-washy sentimental affair. Stuff and nonsense! Christianity is not that. Christianity is an immense warning; a tremendous heroism. Christ teaches a great austerity. He teaches renunciation: the life of the Cross. He was not comfy. He had not where to lay his head. He was no rigorist, yet he tells us to die to ourselves, to take up the Cross, to follow him. Is that all comfy? Christianity is coming back to renunciation, and to a right asceticism and austerity. That is what Our Lord teaches. If you don’t see that in the Gospels, I don’t see what you see.”

Letters from Baron von Hügel to a Niece. Gwendolen Greene, Editor. Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, 1955


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