“Society is all too eager to pass judgments on the authenticity of women’s ways of being but these judgments can get crazy,” — Anne Carson, poet, essayist, and Classics professor
“Eternal beatitude is a state where to look is to eat,” — Simone Weil, French philosopher and activist (quoted by Anne Carson)
What can the founding mother of lesbianism, a 14th Century pseudo-mulier (“fake women”) burned at the stake by the Inquisition, and the daughter of Alsatian Jews and almost a convert to Catholicism tell us about God?
Separated by millennia, Sappho, Marguerite Porete, and Simone Weil all dreamt the same “dream of distance” and “ravishing annihilation” in which the object of their love was both far and near.
Sappho called her Aphrodite; Porete le Loingprés (the FarNear); Weil simply called it “decreation.”
All three attempted the impossible: to “tell” what they know about God — to write the lie that is true.
This three-week mini-study of Anne Carson’s essay “Decreation” weaves together the tellings of three transparent women into a seamless commentary on how to step out of self into a relationship with God.
In this course you will learn:
- The one thing, according to Sappho, that gets in the way of love
- Why a soul would consent to its own annihilation
- Porete’s understanding of why we have free will
- How love for God can keep us from loving God
- Why jealousy is important in a relationship
- How all three of these women lied and all three told the truth at the same time
- Why Weil laughed at the “Our Father”
- Why atheists could be right
What these women have to tell will deepen your understanding of the basic teachings of the Church, especially the Incarnation, Paul’s teaching that Jesus “emptied himself” (Philippians 2:7), John the Baptist’s proclamation that “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30), the purpose of the Crucifixion, and the importance of Jesus’ Ascension into heaven.
Most importantly these women speak to the fact that eternal life is not something that happens after we die, but is a way of living right now.
Follow the links below to being your study.
Sappho’s ecstasy and Marguerite Porete’s submission.
Simone Weil desires “to get herself out of the way so as to arrive at God.”
The FarNear, God as a Being “whose absence fills the world.”