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TABLE OF CONTENTS
,page
PREFACE
•. ¥
..............
_ _...................•................
_ v
YOUTH _.......•.......•..........•.......•.......•........ 1
_ _.......•................•.......
A REMEMBRANCE AND A STEP FORWARD ................................•.......••......•...... _ 2
"LET NONE SCORN YOUR YOUTH" .......................•................•....•....•....•.......•..5
. -WITH DIOOENES' LANTERN ..............•.......•....... 10
;•................•.......•.......•.......•...........

YOUTH, BREATH OF LIFE 15


.......................•................•.......•.......•.............•........

A DIRECT LOOK 19
_.......•.......••......•.......•.......•................•.......•.......•.......•.......•.•.....
Ow AGE _ _.......•................•.........................•.............•................•....•
22
IN THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL .....•.......•.......• 24
:..............................•.......•.......•.•.•

GREAT DICTATORSHIPS 34
.....•.......•..................................•.......•.......•.......•.......•..
_.. 34
THE PRESENcE OF THE LIE ....._..................................•.......•.........................•.......
UNDER THE SCEPTER OF THE LIE _................•.......•.. 37
38
THE DICTATORSHIP OF TRUTH .....•.......•.:.....•.•..............•................•.......•.......•..
In the Holy Scriptures _ _ _................•...............•.......•...._ . 40
In the Acts of the Apostles .....•...................•.......•.......•.•.. __ 43
_........•....•..•......
Truth and Originality .......................................................•.......
_ _ . 45
48
Truth and Sincerity .......................•.......•.......•.......•.................................•.......•.•..
Truth and Reality _ . 50
,
I Truth and Ideal .....•.......•.......•................................•.......•...............•..................
52
I THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE GRANDIOSE ....................•...............................•....• 53
I
I Truth and Dreaming _.......•.......
_ _ _................•...............•.......... 53
I Man is Great Through the Nostalgia of Grandeur . 55
I
57
Ex Veritate (From the Truth) ....._....................................................•..............
Copyright © by Romanian Catholic Publishing Co. 1975 I A POSITION IN THE 'FACE OF MYSTERY _..........•....•..... 59
East Chicago, Indiana
I ON THE HEARTH OF LOVE _..........•....•.......•.. 62
.......................•.......•.......•.......
Manufactured in the United States of America THE ABILITY TO ADMffiE _ _ _.......•................•.......•........65
Messenger Press, Carthagena, Ohio I
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69
SELF CONQUEST ....._................•................•.........................•.......•.......•.......•.......•.......•..
ON THE ALTAR OF CONSCIENCE ..............•................ _.......•......._.............•.............. 72

III
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Ii "J'f\I~~.~'oi~;'<.iI~;•••
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IV THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH

IN THE MIDST OF WOLVES ................•......•.......•.......•......•...........................•.......•..


74-
SHORT OF' SHEDDING BLOOD .....•.......•.............•.......•.......•..•....•.......•.......•....•.....
76
79
BEYOND SHEDDING BLOOD ....•.........•.......•.......•.••..••.......•.......•................•.......•....•..

VALOR .....•................•.......•.......•.......•..•.....................•.......•................•................•.............•.....
85
THE STRUCTURE OF' VALOR .....•.......•................•.......•.......•.......•.......•.......•.......•.. 89
93
COURAGE .....•.......•.......•....•.......•.......•......••................•.......•.......•.......•.......•.......•.......•........
THE HALo OF' YOUTH 97
.......•.....••.........................•.......•..................................•...........

H.OMANIAN YOUTH 102


..............•.......•................•.......•.......•................•................•.....
SPIRITUAL THIRST .....•.......•....... 102
-.......•.•.............•.......•.......•.......•.............•.......•.......•..
PREFACE
IN THE CRADLE OF TRUE YOUTH •....•.......•.......•.......•.............•.......•.............. 103
;.•.....•.. 105
YOUTH, CREATOR OF MYTH .....•.......•.......•.......•.......•.............•.......•.......•
107
THE ABILITY TO SACRIFICE ......................................•.......•.•....•.............•.......•........ The phrases in this book - intended for an ageless youth - were
"LEAVE TO DEATH ••• " .......................•.......••......
_ •...•.......•.......•.......••......•.•.....108 \'J1'ittenby an eminent pastor of youth. He had acquired a thorough
humanistic and theological education, and had been raised to the
dignity of the episcopate as a young man .. He died in our days (May
27, 1953) in his spiritual youth, a hero of the faith.
The author of the volume at hand, loan Suciu, became a legend
as a result of his teaching and example. Between 1935 and 1948 there
was no Catholic orator in all Romania to surpass him. His sermons
were rich in vocabulary and imagery and filled with exalted ideas;
they were verbal frescoes comparable in their dynamism and dramatic
impact with the frescoes and sculpture of Michelangelo. That which
Michelangelo produced with chisel and brush, loan Suciu attempted
to do with words.
loan Suciu prepared himself carefully for the task of producing
religious masterpieces through the use of language. His general
preparation was pursued in Romania at the Lycaeum of St. Basil at
BIaj, where he augmented his scholastic progran1 by voracious reading
(his father was director of the library). His philosophical and theo·
logical studies were completed in Rome where, as an alumnus of the
Greek College of St. Athanasius, he was a student at the Angelicum,
there . obtaining his doctorate in philosophy and theology. His lively
intelligence continued to involve him in voluminous reading, and he
had a predilection for the patristic writings which for him were a
treasury of theological thought, of piety and, at the same time, of
rhetoric .. His style of church oratory was actually inherited from mem·
bers of his family; an uncle, the canon loan Coltor, had been one of
the most scintillating orators at Blaj, because of his romantic style.

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VI THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH PREFACE VII

His acquisition of knowledge did not tend to turn loan Suciu into have. been pasing during these last decades. Pursuing his apostolate,
a museum of dry facts. He strove to establish a tie between reading, however, in the midst of a precocious people, he was faced in his time
speaking and living. Returning after his studies to BIaj, as a priest with crises of this nature in smaller measure and was thus able intui-
in the environment of the secondary schools and ecclesiastical center he tively to sense their danger. As a result his writings, although produced
soon gained fame as a catechist, confessor, lecturer and preacher. Peni- three decades ago, are relevant to the needs of our day.
tents young and old came away from his confessional seat anointed with By "youth" the author means not physical youth but spiritual
spiritual youthfulness. His lectures and conferences were heard by the youthfulness. Thus his book is addressed to all men of good will, to all
young with pleasure, and his sermons with enthusiasm. Those who~ who are athirst for truth, for beauty, for nobility; it is addressed to all
sought to listen to his words included not only Catholics but, with who are determined to set out on the road of sacrifice, in a word, to all,
time, Orthodox as well; and he succeeded in securing the distant ad- who would seek and preserve a spiritual youthfulness, regardless of
miration even of the rabbi 'at Blaj who, meeting him in 1937, confessed their years.
to a great desire to hear him, and regretted that the wall separating Would it not be appropriate, then, to seek in these very pages a
the two religions did not permit him to attend his sermons in church.
word appropriate for young people uprooted by so-called culture who
Unquestionably, his most eager listeners were always the young to' roam through this modern life without the guidance of any high ideal?
whom he was an advisor by means of a review (The New Youth) as In these pages might also be found the very words needed to raise
well as a number of other publications. From among these young
toward spiritual heights those of advanced physical age for whom
people he built up an elite group; through these his style of spiritual the life of today has nothing to offer but the spectre of decrepitude.
life penetrated into university circles and areas of public life. Speaking
In his exposition of advancement the author does not borrow from
often to the youth, he himself remained young in spirit; and he re- traditional notions of asceticism but embarks on a direction of his own.
tained this youthfulness even after his elevation to the rank of Auxiliary The human and christian ideal of heroism and holiness is blended into
Bishop of Oradea, maintaining it until that hour in 1948 when he was
a single organic whole. His reasoning is varied and the atmosphere
removed 'from administration of the Archepiscopate of Blaj and from
!' one of towering religiosity. The foundation of this religiosity is Christ,
the sight of the youth, and taken to prison. There he was to step be-
a fact by which both the pantheistic vitalism of Nietzsche and the
yond the bounds of blood and die a martyr's'death for his faith in St.
idolatrous worship of race or social caste are rejected. The book in its
Peter and the mission of his successor, thus sealing his writings with
his deeds. entirety can thus be looked upon as a preamble - a kind of frontispiece
* * * * * such as t4at on Antonio Gaudi's church of Sagrada Familia in Barce-
lona '- to a vast theological exposition which the author has not yet
The image of Bishop loan Suciu, however, did not disappear from written but has taken with him to God. We wonder if there will be
among us at his death. It has remained, alive and ready to speak out anyone to complete his work.
from generation to generation by means of his writings. Among these The final chapter in the book, "Romanian Youth," may be
his last volume, YOUTH, which was first published in Romanian at puzzling at first sight. It comprises the concrete application of the
Oradea in '1944, occupies a prominent position. By publishing this work's ideal to the Romanian youth between the two world wars known
English edition of his volume we pay homage here in the United States to Bishop Suciu through conversations, through the sacrament of pen-
to the author's apostolic spirit; but at the same time we desire to do a ance and through deeds. In a way the chapter represents the author's
service to the American youth of today which is passing through a spiritual testament to the Romanian youth. The content of this chapter,
none too mild ferment. Although written with a view to the years on however, is valid not only for the youth of Romania but for young
the threshold of World War II the volume YOUTH remains a most people everywhere, any time. It is thus suitable for American youth as
timely work because of- its prophetic spirit of prognosis and counsel. well.
Living in Romania some years ago the author certainly did not live The style of the book harmonizes with its content, pulsating with
to see the crises through which the young people of the western world the spirit of youth. The phrases have a pastel freshness, yet are riot'

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VIII . THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH

hurried improvisations of the pen; rather they were developed grad-


ually from reading and reflecting and out of contact with the young.
Thus the book emerges as a tapestry consisting almost exclusively of
collected or created maxims. The concise phrasing is often embellished
with poetic imagery which reveals a glimpse of the brilliant author who
was Bishop loan Suciu. Without being spun out to the end in tedious
fashion, his thoughts adapt themselves nevertheless to an unhurried sip-
ping, to reconsideration and to complementary ideas of the reader.
The text however is also based on contrasts between light and
shadow. Characteristic is the contrast between youth (light) and poli-
tics (shadow). This opposition between youth and politics evoked.the
discussions which occurred in Romania during the interval between the YOUTH
two world wars. Presentient of the second world war's fury and of all
its .consequences for Romania and eastern Europe, the Romanian youth
of the time concerned. itself with seeking means of defense. It is this «] write to you young men because you are str-ong and because you
very preoccupation that is captured in the book. One might ask whether have conquered the evil one" (First Epistle, St. John 2, 13-14).
the depicting of this contrast contains a forecast of the defective post- I have set forth to describe the fount·of heroism and to discover
war politics which must bear the responsibilityfor so much suffering the sources from which it springs as well as those which foster it and
in ,the world. In any case, today's youth wiII also know how to appre- assure that it shaH endure.
ciate the value of political activity, which by overcoming temptations
could be a source of great and beneficent deeds - in other words, can I have found
of heroism. Youthoutis that the qJJalitiesof
the age during which youth constitute
heroism theand
grows, essence
no-
enter into the sphere of YOUTH. where does heroism appear except through the fostering of the spirit
The book merits bdng placed, therefore, in the hands and .the of youth.
libraries of all, of whatever age; it even deserves to be the foundation The spirit of youth gives growth to heroism. "Do not believe him
of a library for those who are young in spirit; it is worth being read. who says that youth is a time for distraction and for pleasure: youth
more than once. is not made for having a good time; it is conceived for heroism" (P.
In conclusion, I should like to. express my deep appreciation to Claudel) .
Professors Enea and Renata· Motiu of Detroit and to Professor Charles When an era is about to crumble, youth is present whencver there
Carlton of Rochester, N. J., for the difficult task of translating the. is need and lends its shoulders in order to prop it up.
prescnt volume from Romanian to English, a task they fulfilled with When great ideas lose their way and are isolated like leaves which
understanding and love. Thanks are .extended to Mr. Louis Daraban have fallen from branches, young people run to take them in their
of Los Angeles for his revision and correction of the text, as well as to arms, in order that the world may have the possibility to drean1 and
Rev. George C. Muresan for proofreading the text. contemplate the glades of paradise; and poetry makes its way through
Msgr. Octavian Barlea the regions of black clay and cold drizzling rain in order to kindle
Apostolic Visitor for Romanians in the hunger and· t1)irst for the bread of life.
United States of America When the temperature falls on earth and it is not possible to
find any fuel to drive the cold from one's soul, and when icicles form
The author made many notations after publishing the 1944 edition curtains at our windows in the direction of the light, then the friend
of his work, containing ideas he intended to introduce in a subsequent of fire, youth, comes in haste and with a smile, bearing in its bosom
edition~ These notes are included in the ptesentedition and are identi-
fied by an asterisk~ 1
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3 'Ii
2 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH YOUTH .~'
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a flame whose absence had caused our blood to chill. For, if the world We listened to him. Many of our dreams were born on the lips
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lacks fire, we cry out for youth in desperation. of the venerable Bishop. We listened to the feats at arms of a soldier ~
When, tired by so many beginnings and oppressed by so many of the Lord ... But we knew from other sources the martyrdom of I,:

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disappointments, frightened by so many sacrifices, we feel the dread his youth. Sewn into a sack by some nonbelievers, thoroughly thrashed '1

of death which follows the tracks of our gloomy hearts, we cry out and then thrown into the sea, he was miraculously saved by some
to a youth which is full of hope, without the burden of "experience," fishermen. Pursued during a time he had gone to administer the Holy f
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without the heredity of disappointments. It rushes like a fresh wind Sacraments to a dying man, he was locked in the home of a Christian
of optimism which revives the exhausted and lifts up the forehead of and the house was set afire so that he might be consumed Eke a grain
those without courage. of incense in a huge censer. At the very last moment he managed to
When the splendid life and the eternal values of the spirit have escape, suffering burns, however, and with his hair whitened from
need of sacrifice, of the life of man in, order to continue, then youth is terror.
present and is happy to die for the ideal, for it alone does not believe in No one and no thing was able to fetter his apostolic. zeal and his
a death which destroys. youthful elan.
When the world cries out for heroes and for saints to uphold the Now, in the majesty of his eighty years, he bore the halo of all
collapsing columns of mankind, to stop the fatal progress toward un- those wounds, the sweet yet harsh crown of all the abuses endured for
escapable aging, and to change the musty· limbs' which have decayed Christ.
with sin and with doubt, in the stormy silence the voice of youth is . As the images of so many tortures and struggles which had con-
heard. sumed his life and hastened his old age rushed before our eyes, charm-
I am here! ing our imagination and captivating our hearts, there surged within
And the world breathes relieved. us a great tumult of life, and a manly fervor roused our hopes to the
To the spirit of youth has been given the strength to conquer the very peaks of our souls, while the elderly and venerable Bishop blessed
evil one. Here is heroism, here is the beauty of the life to which you us with these words, plucked from depths of blood and tears:
are invited by Providence. "Life is beautiful, my children. Life is beautiful!"
We felt he was blessing our youth, a youth that makes Efe beau-
tiful. We also felt he was bewitched by the light of the poetic thoughts
A REMEMBRANCE AND A STEP FORWARD
of grandeur in which our years were immersed, deeply touched by the
sincerity with which we worshipped the Truth, and enchanted by the
A venerable Bishop had gathered us around him in the calm
sparkle in our eyes, our inebriation with an unconfined desire to do
shade of a fig tree with broad and sparse leaves. It was at the height
glorious deeds.
of summer, at noon. In the mountains, in the. full solitude protected
by woods, we heard only the usual song of the crickets in the trees. I thought of the young scholar who asked Jesus to show him the
Amongst the majestic trees and the valleys alive with sparkling brooks, way to eternal life, and how the eyes of the Lord, while looking to
even silence itself was hushed, it seemed, so as to absorb avidly our him, warmed the young man's heart that was so dear to Him. There
conversation. must have been great beauty in that soul to have captured Jesus' love!
Taken by devout astonishment, our young seminarians' eyes kept "And looking to him, He loved him."
staring at that image with the silvery beard. Beauty is the creator of love.
He was the august and mild image of a confessor of the Faith! And beauty was the youth of that scholar.
'On his forehead glittered vestiges of the epic of his suffering for So great and so holy is youth tl).at,Jesus chose to die YQung,with-
Christ; the pious heroisms of youth were imprinted on his face. The out knowing maturity or old age,'leaving,indeed the years of Hi$ child-
years had spun on his holy face a veritable chronicle of tales to the hood and His youth as an example, to be followed at the risk of in-
glory of his old age. curring eternal conderimation by failing' to emulate His example.'
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4 THE SPlRlT OPYoUTH YOUTH ·5
t,

Yauth is so great and so holy that "he who was beloved by Jesus"
was the youngest among the Apostles; and to youth alone was it per-
mitted to rest upon His bosom when His entire inner Being so burned
Ii "LET NONE SCORN YOUR YOUTH"

These words af St, Paul must have resounded in the ancient warld,
with love for aJl mankind at the Last Supper. I where youth was considered a simple "inebriation of life," which was
Youth is so great and so holy that, having quickly reached perfec- ! expected to pass quickly. St. Jahn Chrysastom5 preached to. a world
tion, it condemns prolonged and unjust old age, and being pleasing still full of pagan memories, exhorting it nat to. look at age but to look "
to God it is snatched by Him from the midst of evil and removed from
I at the saul. Did nat Daniel, as a young man, judge the two libidinous rl'

earth? For it is given to earth to make life beautiful and worth living. L old men? Did not David, in his yauth, conquer Galiath, while in his ,.~
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Youth is so great and so. holy that God wants it only for Himself, old age he lost his head to Bethsheba? Was not Solomon in his yauth . t·:

as an offering sacrificed to the Lord from the life created by Him. 81. imbued with wisdom, while in his old age he let himself be weakened W

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Ambrose urges us to give ourselves to God from the time we are young,
I by idol warship and lost the gift of. the Holy Light? i
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otherwise He might become displeased with us as He became dis- It has been necessary to say to a world that has grown old: respect
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pleased with Cain who. failed to sacrifice to Him the first fruits, the .yauth and do. nat scam it. ~
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offering of the earth, keeping them rather for himself and electing to Youth is so. decisive for the rest of a man's life that the Holy Spirit ~
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give God the other portion. And He loved Abel, because he sacrificed t urges it an to. proper habits, so that not even in old age will it be
to Him the first fruits of the flock.2 f' diverted from them. "If I do. not become holy in my youth, I shall i'
In the Old Testament God considered the affering of sacrificial never become haly," Gabriel Dell' Addolorata used to say to. himself,
1 as· did athers like him.
animals past their prime as an offenSe and He refused to accept gifts f
I.
All ages before the caming of Christ praised the beauty of old
burdened by years and old age. He accepts as a gift of special love /
the sacrifice of youth. age. Philasophers, law-givers, and priests were aU old and considered
as so-called wise men.
I
Youth is so ~reat and so holy that 81. Augustine, commenting on ! When in the books of the Old Testament youth was praised,.it
Psalm 118, verse 9, writes: "In youth we recognize the new man, in
the aged man we recognize the ancient man of old," considering that
youth alone could be the abundance of life that overflowed into man-
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referred to. the quality of "aId" wisdom in yauth. Cicera's "De Senec-
tute" is also. a voice fram antiquity, pleading in favar af this apinian.
Christ palished and imbued all His worthy disciples with the spirit
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kind through Christ.


Youth is so great and so holy that the same St. Augustine main- r
l of youth. Until then, peaple expected anly vices from youth. From
tains that we are going to rise again on the last day just as we were in I' that time on a rebirth into. yauth was cansidered an essential condition
yauth, "even if we die in old age; or as we would have been in yauth l for life. The world was then overwhelmed by this spirit af heavenly
had we died earlier."s beauty, which penetrated and changed even legendary ald. age: the
I spirit af yauth, the spirit af an eternally yaung Gad.
"Blessed be you, young men," St. Phillip Neri used to. say,"because
yau have time to. do. goad." He laaked at yauth with religiaus eyes and I A Japanese intellectual, converted to. the gaspel af Christ, con-
I
knew how to. see in it nat a vulgar net of vices, but rather the urn af ! fesses his surprise in the presence of the spirit af yauth which is faund
the future and the vessel af ardent virtues. in every stage of life af those who. fallaw Jesus. And he wanders:
"We cannot praise yauth enaugh; it is so. beautiful that we spend "Why is it that pagans grow old and become exhausted so. quickly
aur lives waiting far it as weJl as regretting its passirig."4 I while Christians. maintain until death their strength of unending
hape? Far us pagans the sight af an eighty year aId man, who. is still
making plans for the future as though he were only twenty-five years
1. The Wisdom of Solomon, C. 4, V. 8~20. aId, is something extraordinary .. ' For us, a fifty year old man is ald."6
2.. "Liber de Elia et Ieiw1io," C. XXII.
3. "De Civitate Dei," Lib. XXII, C. XV. S. "De Poenitentia, hemi1;· III."
4. Madelein Danielou: "L'Education selon l'esprit," p. 20. 6. Kanse Cutchiamura; "The Spiritual Crisis of a Japanese."
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6 THE SPIRIT OF 'YOUTH YOUTH 7
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An erudite physician was tremendously impressed by the fact that imagination, which appears to us to be youth dominated by the spirit [:
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. the popes, who ascend the throne of St. Peter generally having already of youth. Yo:,

reached sixty or seventy years of age, give the impression of renewed I believe that we must align ourselves with those who recognize if.
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youth, or of an uninterrupted youth 'which is prolonged to the age of the merits of youth. "Almost an great things have been carried out
eighty or ninety. He who is close to. Jesus is close to youth itself. by young men" (Disraeli). Ostwaldt, in "Die Grosse Maenner," di-
I t is a sin of base defiance of the spirit of Christ to scoff at youth, vided great men into Classicists and Romantics. The creative power
as did the one who uttered the following frightful words: "I would like of the latter attains its peak in youth and falls off gradually. Nearly all
to spit on those twenty years ofmine."1 great inventions and discoveries have been made in youth, the age in
The prestigious myth of youth does not spring forth with certainty which devotion to imagination and dreams is at its peak, says the well-
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from what one knows, but rather from what one is. Youth has as its known scholar.
banner the verb "to be," not the verb "to know." And yet it is chastised Is not one of the most significant historical visions that of Rome
for this. founded by two youths nourished by a she-wolf - Rome, who destroyed
But, is it not a fact that the major error of our civilization is in and plowed Carthage under, whose' god (Moloch) fed on children
emphasizing what we know, not what we are? (Ibsen). God defined burned alive? So does a world rise, and collapse!
himself to Moses in the burning bush on Mount Horeb as "lam who More images follow one another in the history of our people,
am," and not through knowledge or experience. God cannot have ex- carrying along with them a wave of ideals. A handful of young intel-
periences. We can believe without hesitation that "the spirit of initiative Lectuals just out of school, led by Nicolae' Balcescu7a who was only
of youth is worth as much as the experience of old age" (Me Kuorr). twenty-eight years old, planted the spirit of 1848 beyond the Carpa-
thian Mountains. ~
The Old Testament regards old age as indicative of great strength
and of victory over time. In it, motherhood is also considered as a di- When Avram lancu7b called the meeting of that Sunday after
vine blessing. Virginity was an unpenetrated mystery, a state not un- Easter in 1848, he was no older than twenty-four, and his tribunes were
derstood by men. just about the same age.
The New Testament begins with a flowering of fertile virginity, Aurel Vlaicu,7c the conqueror of the sky, was also a young man
beyond any human understanding, and with a pervasive spirit of youth- when he invented "Ia mouche folie," as his flying machine was called
ful renewal which stunned the wisdom of the old. abroad.
Without denying the honor of motherhood virginity is given to us Mihail Kolganiceanu1d was writing the history of the country when
as a fertile mystery - "he who can understand, let him understand" _ he had. just finished secondary ~chool. Alexandru Odobescu,7? at the
through which we conquer the flesh, crush the signs of time, deny the I'

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enchantment of vanity, and prove the supremacy of the spirit and the 7a. Nicolae Balcescu (1819-1852), historian, politician, leader in the War r

absolute value of Heaven. of 1848. Principal work: History of the Romanians Under Michael the
Brave (1851). II
The New Testamerit, without relegating old age to oblivion, offers 7b. Avram Iancu (1824-1872). "The Mountain King," leader of the Roman-
to us the spirit of youth, as mysterious .as virginity, alone capable of ian army revolt in Transylvania (the Western Mountains) 1848-1849; in '!
believing in love, of beginning anew without doubts, and of persevering 1852 lost his mind asa result of the political maneuverings of the Aus- i!~!
without indifference. trian Imperial Court.
7c. Aurel Vlaicu 0880-1913), engineer, aviator, inventor-constructor of an ~'
Christ grants us this enchanting and impenetrable parable of love
and of dreams, of hope and thirst for life, of freshness and sacrifice _ original plane; lost his life in a plane crash,
7d, Mihail Kogalniceanu (1817-1891), Romanian statesman and writer with ~
the parable of this expert of the ideal, of this prisoner of the creative nationalistic and traditional bent. Began publishing his works while still
a student. Leader of the Moldavian Revolution of 1848, foremost politi-
cal figure of Prince Cuza's time.
7. Quoted from Ed. Lavergue in "Voici III France de ce Mois," 194Q, No. 7e. Alexandru Odobescu (1834-1895), Romanian Minister, University pro-
9, pp. 32-33. fessor, member of the Romanian Academy,' scholar and novelist.
.~
.1'


\ .!
'I
""

8 THE SPffiIT OF YOUTH. YOUTH 9


't
[:
Ir~
age of seventeen, was writing about art with the seriousness and Middle Ages and· during the Renaissance, when the prerequisite of ~
understanding of a mature man. At the age of thirty, Nicolae Balcescu the Condottieri was administrative and political prudence. Italy was :~
gave us the historical work which remains a model of harmony and overflowing with young men. Giovanni delle Bande Nere became a :1;:

~.
perfection to this date.s
..

victorious captain at the age of sixteen, and when he died at twenty- :~


In other directions we find youth working and creating in phi- eight had already attained fame. !~
\1
losophy and science. Is it not surprising that under Louis XIV, the so called Sun King :q:

Pascal, while only twelve years of age, cr.eated mathematics - (1638-1715), the average age of those admitted among the immortals :!i
g
"He invented it," as his older sister,Gilberta writes. At sixteen he com- of the French Academy was but twenty-five?
,\1

posed his learned treatise on conics. At nineteen he created the calcu- The famous Danton, a minister at the age of thirty-three, wrote
lating machine. At twenty-three he proved the weight of air, correcting the following message to the president of the legislative assembly: "A
one of the greatest errors of ancient physics. reflection founded· upon experience and upon study of the human
Descartes discovered the method of applying algebra to geometry heart seems to prove that at the age of twenty-five we are more suit-
when he was twenty-three. Leibnitz at seventeen wrote a thesis con- able for public office than at a more advanced age, if we have the
cerning the principle of individuation, while at twenty-three he wrote preparation and the necessary knowledge.. What is true is that man
"De Arte Combinatoria." He was only eighteen when he discovered then is prey to many passions which overwhelm him, and he even gives
the elementary ideas in philosophy which led him to the discovery of in to their violence, but that very violence maintains the fire of his
truths through a simple logical combination such as in mathematics. genius which enhances his ideas and gives to his character that force
At· the age of twenty-five Berkley composed "The Theory of Visions," and energy necessary especially in time of revolution" (L. Barthou,
while Hume at twenty wrote "The Treatise on Human Nature." Schiller Danton) .
wrote both theatrical and philosophical works while still in his youth. Montalembert, at the age of twenty-one, founded the newspaper
Youth is related to beauty and power. "L' Avenir" in order to defend the liberty of the persecuted Church
Goethe began "Faust" when he was very young. Corneille, with as also the first Free School, "a fact more valuable than all his rhetori-
his "Cid," at the age of thirty began a new system of aesthetics. Racine cal vigor," and therefore succeeded after thirty years in achieving free- Ii!i
at the age of twenty-three gave the masterpiece "Andromaque" to the dom of teaching and in saving Christianity in France.
i
world. Bernini sculptured his most beautiful works in marble between it
St. Charles Borromeo became a Cardinal at the age of twenty-two (I'

the ages of seventeen and nineteen. In our own times, at the age of i
and reformed the degenerate life of northern Italy. Blessed Peter of
nineteen the Spaniard Francisco Palma produced such a famous sculp-
Luxemburg became a Bishop at the age of fifteen, and then became a
ture that by twenty-two he had already become a professor at the
Cardinal; and he died at the age of eighteen, having spread the love
Academy of Fine Arts in Malaga.
of God and of the great virtues in Lorraine, Paris, and Avignon. St. :1

At a time when many young people are only dreaming about lit
Casimir, confessor of the Faith, father and defender of the poor. and
scouting or about military school, Alexander started out on the path the wretched, ended his earthly exile at the age of twenty-five. St.
of conquerin·g the greatest empire on earth; and Joan of Arc began
Eusebia died at the age of twenty-three, after having been a model
her marvelous epic at the age of eighteen. I:Iannibal's name was asso- :(1'
:t
abbess at the monastery of Hannay .. St. Theresa of the Baby Jesus,
ciated with horror by the enemy at the same tender age at which Titus
the Little Flower .,of Lisieux, died at the age of twenty-four, leaving
took over the siege of Jerusalem. us the freshness of' a smile which will never vanish. There have been
Clovis at the age of fifteen built France,· and Napoleon, with his
so many holy youth that if we removed them from the "Lives of the ,'j.
twenty-five: year old generals; molded in an enthusiasm of power and ,I:
Saints," from Martyrologies, from the Calendar of the Church, the
of ~outh a Europe tha;t had been unhinged. Towards the end of the world would seem irremediably condemned to sadness and to the
philosophy of darkness. ;~
8. Cf. Oct. Goga:HMustul·carefierbe". The Cult of Xouth, p. 19.5. Me-
hedi~ti : Hpopo~ul;"·p. 11S: . Take away the faith which youth has in life, eliminate that con-
11:

ill
.',1
10 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH YOUTH 11

tagious freshness which comes from its being and which is dissipated have sought to mobilize youth in favor of their ideology, itself totali-
on trifles and things, set aside the energy and enthusiasm which con- tarian. The age of youth would follow the age of the child, and the
quers the inertia of the dead, push away the hopes which anoint de- proud rule of youthful enthusiasm would take the place of childish in-
pressed hearts, overlook their optimistic vision of the future; suppress nocence. War-like agitation is itself stirred by youth, and battle has
the taste for truth and the religious fury with which youth persecutes begun under its banner.
the herd of "whitened sepulchres" and assaults the temples of lies, and Others seek a new youth which is not of the spirit of youth but
you will see how decay will descend with ugly wings upon the shrivelled rather of flesh and blood; youth which shall not be bent over books
faces of men; how necessary it will then be to consider the problem of pursuing the sterile path of reason, but one in which the irrational -
spiritual excitement which no one will be able to solve, not finding synonymous with creative - shall dominate; a youth whose blood
under the heavens, even among the constellations, any fuel which could would be its own banner and which would accentuate the word Life
be a tolerable substitute for a rejected and scorned heart of youth. and not the word Spirit. For in the struggle between Logos, the. ex-
The smell of crypts would reign over all of nature then, and all pression of the Spirit, and Bios, the expression of Life, they seek victory '!i'
about us. In a full and silent night all the lyricism which makes life for the latter and attempt to reorganize a world which had been or-
breathable would freeze. All the cascades which nourish the epics of ganized logocentrically.
the world would fall silent. This biological concept of youth is a sublimation of the simple
And when youth is dead and death itself should be deprived of its bourgeois concept, raised to a demonic level. Youth then becomes a
poetry, then who shall ever again console us in this grey life? For life simple somatic form, a tone, a mere chemical equilibrium which re- " ~
:'l\1

and death need some ~ind of poetry in order to be bearable. "Youth sists death and reason.
considers life to be pure gold, while old age is attracted to dross" (Car- This kind of youth says to itself, "We are the flame, we are the
penter), and it is this dross that suffocates life. barbaric originality, we are the challenge to scruples and to the sensi-
Today, as always, the respect and honor which we accord to tivity of the conscience, we are proud seriousness, we are those who
youth is a special and necessary form of respect for the nation. have escaped from the "row of sad mummies" and have attached our-
selves to a life on the black list; we are the heroic delegates o£ the
myth of the Twentieth Century."
WITH DIOGENES' LANTERN I hear a voice among the others: "What good is it to exchange
one error for another? Let us seek pleasure, for we are only twenty
As tenants of a world in collapse, whipped by the pestilence of so years old" (R.enan). Corrosive laughter is its calling card; it is bour-
many deadly heresies, we aspire to the return of a divine spirit, and geois youth. Completely controlled by vice, this type of youth has given
in its absence we seek to invent myths of redemption. Thus was born itself over to comfort and to a full table. Vaccinated with alcohol and il
;1

the myth of youth, a new idol which has come to join the dangerous licentiousness, it indulges every extravagance; it seems to have lost its Ii

flock of idols that have made the modern world a collective energumen . central purpose, caring no longer for anything but the superficial. With I:

The myth of youth should be the justification of youth in itself, no center, yet with a universal periphery. . ~
[j

through faith in itself, and through sincerity toward life and its promises. This is the youth stigmatized by Mihail Eminescu9a and Alexandru I

Youth must be brought to light as the only fragment which has re- Vlahuta9b, a youth with a special predilection for maligning all that is
mained unexploited by Divine intention and Divine powers bestowed enlightened courage and heroism; a youth immune to risks and the
on the world. In some Latin countries such as Spain and South Amer- sublime giver of goals. They are "a generation of blockheads living
ica, being young was synonymous with being right.9 The infallibility of at the surface of their being and at the heights and depths of their
youth should be born from its purity of intention. Totalitarian states
9a. Mihail Eminescu (1849-1889),poet laureate of Romania, author also
9. Augusto Durelli, "Essai sur les Mentalites.Contemporaines/'C. V. p. of several political articles.
101 ff. 9b. Alexandru Vlahuta (1858-1919),poet, romanticist,novelistand journalist.
13
12 THE SPIRIT~'OF YOUTH YOUTH

appetites .... in place of their hearts - nothing" (Rene Schwob). tendons engaged in the fight with the inertia of matter, do not say to
Nothing lives in this type of youth but one vocation: to become spokes- yourself before this athletic youth "I have found the true youth." While
men for public amusements. Closed to any gentle 'invasion of the spirit looking at their limbs; do not cry out with tears, as Mylo of Cratodid,
and of fortitude, it believes itself to be the nobody suddenly called forth "Woe, mine'have died!" for that is not true youth.
into the limelight. Full of the amorphous qualities of extinguished en- The terrible desire for violence does not create youth, and neither
thusiasms, it raises all moral disasters to deification. does the wild zeal of vulgarity.
Speculators and dilettantes, they indulge in a kind of professional The deification of this kind of youth made Gilson write: "Among
reptilism, only in order to be eternally enthroned in pleasure and honors. all the idols whose cult poisons us, among all the models followed with,
Is this not a monstrous kind of youth? "You are a monster when you ardor by those who wish to be modern at any price, the cult of youth
have a soul like a calculating machine in the service of a machine for today is one of the most absurd and most dangerous." These are dan-
pleasure" (P. Bourget). gerous narcissisms.
Full of mercenary aspirations, their only thoughts are usury and Diogenes' lantern can go out in the midst of those souls, young
business. Nonetheless, they still retain a verbal enthusiasm and a taste only in the physical sense, who have exhausted their own orbit and
for the vocabulary of uplifting sentiments, which caress them and de- on whose faces you find the names of heroes who have been entombed.
ceive them for all that has miscarried in their soul. Even their pulse is As a receptacle of so many _stupidities which have been sanctioned by
senile, and everything in their hearts reflects old age, the philosophy of today, this type of youth totters slowly on the roads
The bourgeois youth follows "the passionate founder of ruins," that bear the motto "Excelsior" and drags itself behind on all the paths
sprung from a myth of youth, because it hungers for the peace sus- ascending towards the light, in all places of sacrifice, as bastards of
tained by two columns: money and pleasure, the "old cadavers of courage, hybrids of major sentiments, and mulattoes between great de-,
ancient fireworks," sires and base compromises - a youth ready for heroism and for death,
Can you then wonder about Kierkegaard's words, "It takes two but by proxy only, deprived of the fiery seeds of ideals and love.
men to create one," or about Ibsen's confessional, "I see only stomachs, Let us return to a youth which is not just an aspect and a frag-
heads, and hands, but"not one man any more on earth." ment of the total man and which has no value unless it goes beyond
itself in maturity;l'O -to a youth whose spirit is a true anthology of
"The yoke of a double slavery does not weigh more heavily upon
youth than that of the senses and of money, to which I too am yoked. major uplifting virtues, a youth not in the temporal s-ense, but in the,
Not to feel the wasps of my unhappiness, I try in my sleep to become spiritual, which does not end in old age, but rather challenges the
deaf to the whirlwind of pleasures, whose saturation gives me back the ravages of time and makes death a condition of prosperity; a youth in
lamentations of my soul. Oh, Heaven! Let me go out of this chaos, so which all the great moments of Christian history and of the nation
are summed up.
that I may enter a new order of universal gravitation, let me submit my-
self to eternal laws. This is what I beg, and together with me, all of Cicero advised us long ago "to resist old age ... and to combat
my generation! My age and my soul are lacking in belief. Without it it just as we combat an iJIness."ll
we shali perish. My soul is sad and an unknown spirit devours it. I Let us, therefore, bring the people close to the spirit of youth,
wish to rise and I cannot. I want to, but I am afraid, as I catch a the only thing which has maintained faith and enthusiasm and heroism
glimpse of the stream of renunciation and of suffering which still separ- on earth (R. Da,utry). Just as false youth, by trying to replace fate,
ates me from this new life" (Andre Lamande) . leads mankind on to a bath of blood and of mud, so the spirit of youth
However, if you travel towards other locations carrying the lan- and the youthfulness of the soul will redeem it and will make life worth
tern of Diogenes, and you were to behold the dance of muscles in the
arena, the slender cutting of space by a running body, the disappearing
living. I
of distances under running feet, and an entire arabesque of gestures 10. R. Dupuis, A. Marc: "J eune Europe," p. III.
and sporting figures stretched out in space like a new cathedral of 11. "De Senectute" ,c. X.

I
j:~
14 THE SPIRIT OF'.YOUTH i
~
To say "make room for the spirit of youth" is synonymous with ~

I
making room for well-founded hopes, for optimism, and for courage. iJ

In a world which is without hope, there is no. room but for the spirit
of youth. Where hopes falter, listen to the spirit of youth and, more i"

than that, shelter in its bosom your battered hopes. It will never create .~~~
hopes and optimism, but it will refresh and sustain existing ones. ~
We must give the spirit of youth an outlet in the life of the world,
.~~
~
so that it will expand in every field, especially in the social and religious.
But by the spirit of youth I mean that which is youth eternally. Let us
not adhere to that which is only temporarily youthful, such as the
momentary effervescence of blood and muscles, but rather to its eternal YOUTH, BREATH OF LIFE
elements. We are not going to find anything more actual. "Only that ~
which is eternal is actuaI."
If you would like to know if you are still young in this sense, or «Iuuenes dicuntur quia iuuare possunt"
if you ever were, ask where your heart is. Is it with those who are in Michelangelo wrote: "Non ha l'ottimo artista aIcun concetto, che
the first line, with those who. fight and give of themselves unspairingly un marmo intero in se non circoscriva" - "The best artist can have
spurred by a great and real "dream," with those who believe, with those no thought, which cannot be circumscribed by a block of marble."
who hope, with those who love? If your heart responds with a clear Everything is within the block of the life of youth of the spirit of
and sincere "yes," then you are a worthy temple of the spirit of youth, yo).lth, and the best artist of life could not find anything magnificent
and you are part of the only aristocracy that can still save the world. which is not contained in the spirit of youth. 1~
i!
As long as you can not know the eloquence of granite, the hymn The spirit of youth is not just a refuge of the world grown old,
of steel in fusion, tlJ.e happiness of the sharp, cutting sword of the a bath which it needs, an artificial medicine which amongst many
~i
,j
will, as long as you do not know how to bring out of the quiver of your others can enliven and cure it, but rather a condition which is neces-
spiritual strength a "yes" or a "no" which shakes your very being and sary and essential for the salvation of the world. "Either youth shall
which sets on fire your destiny, as long as "dreams" and hopes do not save the world; or the world shall not be saved."n
know you except as their grave digger, until that time you shall be irre- For the world sins against the two great and holy realities: the
mediably lost for youth, even if the smile of only eighteen springs ap- spirit of childhood, without which we cannot save ourselves, and the
rl
pears on your face. spirit of youth, without which we cannot save others, neither society
t, ~
nor the entire world, just as we cannot save ourselves without heroism.
Our social organizations have made many experiments but they II
;'~
"
have not experimented with the spirit of youth. Frequently, the great :I,!

and scrupulous concern with which societies surround the young, squan- ~~
Ii..."'1
.:...

dering their powers on various exercises, from sports to songs and work, t~'
~.

to literature and politics,' only divert its sacred, spiritual dispositions, ~,

the authentic seeds of heroism, and its effect was not a creation of fresh '.
i,
energy, with a consciousness of a mission and of a responsibility, but
ri.~.
~~,
(>.;
"J
12. Henry Pate, "La Jeunesse sauvera Ie moude," p. 30, ed. I. Ferenezi et
i~j
~
Fils, 1933.
~!~I
~ill
15 i~
t.k
,~
f;~
~~
f~
ill

r:~
.\;~

~
I II
17
16 THE SPIRIT OF ,YOUTH YOUTH, BREATH OF LIFE
I;!

!
the fom1ation of an isolated civil minority (Maulnier). Merchants have , We need this privilege of youth today. "In crises like those in (1
(~

i~
rented the arms of youth and tried to graft their decayed ideas to the which we live, young people have some advantages over men who are
,
vigor of the spirit of youth; but who, other than Jesus Christ himself, [.
older: that of being new, that of being free" (Abel Bonnard). Even if ;:\
·t

has had the unheard of temerity to build a destiny and an aim for nations find, at every crossroads, Caesars who dominate and lead them ii,

the soul of youth? Within the modern "city" only the circus, - the with maces, nevertheless they still seek only prophets to enchant them
"circenses" - has been allotted to youth. I and to guide them· through their enchantment.1o This desire and ;1

But now, in this general old age, when even errors and vices have groping for prophets is nothing other than our organic cry for the new
grown old, we lay claim with a powerful cry to the spirit of youth. and free youth.
"In the time of our youth, there is often in us something which is I Over the last spasms, over the last glimmerings of life, over the !
better than we ourselves, better than our best desires and pleasures,
better than our convictions and consent. Our soul is at its best at
last cadavers; who shaIl raise hopes, who shaII appease the dead?
Youth, from whom heroism and holiness spring. "The time wiII come
I
that time."ls We have only to command that these riches come to light, l when, for the salvation of the world, we wiII need a handful of heroes Ij !
r
in order to build with them a world in which there wiII be room for and Saints, who shall reconquer it ... "17 The world which wants
happiness and hope. innovative eyes and free souls feels that only heroes can cleanse it from
Father M. D. Forestier, O.P. used to say that the characteristic [ the filth that besmears it.
feature of youth brings a fresh outl()ok on things. We need these new Just as the oak is hidden in the acorn, and power in 'muscles, so
eyes which contain something of the eternal freshness of the eyes of the may heroism be found in the spirit of youth.
(
Lord, . whose look rejuvenates men and things. "A new generation Each organization is the organization of its heroes, just as the
brings something new. This new thing constitutes its value and not its Church is "the Church" of its saints. In the same way, each people
civil status Or its "biological" age which is the most fragile among all
privileges.14 We need this newness contained temporarily in a genera-
I is the people of its youth. It dies at the same time as its youth (Giro-
doux), and in it both heroes and saints are buried. But we "need young
tion and eternally in the spirit of youth, because "true youth does not men not only to prevent the end of the world, but also not to let it
mean to be young, but to remain young, to become eternal beginning r become dormant and lost in routine" (Monsignor D'Hulst).
with youth," according to what Mauriac says.15 Where shall we find these young men dominated by the spirit of
We see around us, with more and more astonishment, how men
are fettered in loathsome errors, and how imprisoned they are in their
I youth? Who are its blessed bearers? Or let us say with the poet:

passions which create discord, so that it seems that only' an earth- " ... Is youth the story of the greatest falsehood? Where are you,
shattering quake would be able to split the waIls of the prisons and to vision? Where shall I caII for you? Where shall I seek you? Are
r
smash the links of the chains. Only legends remain from tradition; you just the song of the flute? If we seek you, if we love you, are
you just the dream that can never be told?"18 ~
from the inheritance of our forefathers only vices are recalled. From
i!
ancient wisdom, the spirit of resistance to good and to evil is repeated, t And then, do you wish to give flesh to a ghost? To make concrete
ij
and perhaps we have been left with the outlaw - thirst for freedom., the substance of Utopia? To give a framework to a shadow and dimen-
Youth brings with itself this gift into life: freedom. No pact, no sions to a delusion? :~
contract, no wrinkle of nerves holds it to the old forms of feelings and t
The Spirit which once walked over the waters, and gave himself \1

thoughts. It' is uninterrupted freshness, a perpetual "invention of it- to us later under the guise of tongues of fire, will be able to reanimate 1\

self" which laughs at fom1s and more particularly at consecrated the most arid field, of bones, as in the vision of Ezechiel, and wiII be
['
foolishness. 1\

16. Cf. E. Bernea, "lndemn la simplitate" p. S1.


13. Joubert, "Pensees"- "Differents ages de Ja vie," p. 110.'
I
I
I
14. R. Dupuis, AI. Marc, "J eune Europe," p. II. 17. L. Degrelle, "Revolution des ames" p. 1S1.
IS. Raul Rautry, liCe que je pense des Jeunes." 18. V. Carianopol,. "Scara la Cer," p. 71, Ed. UniversuI. 'I
1\
'I
i!
~I
t '1
18
THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH

able to give the spirit of youth to the old'est being and to the gloomiest
chaos. '

Father Gillet said that "art is the command which we give to mat-
ter to reveal Beauty and Truth." With a powerful wiII and faith, let
us give the order to our soul, as to a prime matter of all virtues and
heroism, to reveal the face of the eternal youth which we bear within
ourselves, and which most of us alienate at the age of sixteen.
This is the supreme art - ars artium - which God demands
from us.
Make steel bear fruit from you; the lawn of paradise with which
you are adorned shall bestow all its beauty. Remain in the path of A DIRECT LOOK
the spirit and do not fear that youth wiII ravish your old age and per-
haps the tomb.
Raise yourself, pillar of the new world, since no one or thing is In his youth Marshall Lyautey had a custom for a week every
as close to heroism as youth and its spirit. year of entering a Monastery of Trappist Monks, in order to perform ~
an "intense meditation" within himself, because the heart of a youth ,
of twenty seemed impenetrable to him. This reflection within one's I
;j
own soul is a sign of the beginning of youth. We become young through ~
;'1

1
meditation and through questioning our destiny. J
A leap beyond the hiIls of childhood, a smashing of the horizons ,
i
'I

sanctioned by tradition and by custom, an eagerness for action beyond


II
the limits - in this way youth steps into life.
l!
When you realize at the spiritual level all the qualities which youth
I
II

of any age possesses, you have become the bearer of the soul of youth.
To live on the ethical level we find that which positively characterizes I~
youth on the psychological level to be synonymous with having the
spirit of youth. To transform psychological youth into moral youth is
to become young. When the youth of age coincides with the youth of
I
h

the soul, then we have the truth. An old person can be as close to the
spirit of youth as one young in years, just as there is old age in terms !
of years old age in terms of wickedness and spirit.
We consider true youth as a spiritual state, as a climate of the
heart, which realizes on the moral level the positive qualities that youth-
I ~
ful age possesses on the biological and psychic level. That is to say, a ~
zest for life, an abundance of vital energy, a freshness and exuberance
for life, a vigorhnd a smoothness of nature, a reserve of energy yet un- .~

touched and of uncommitted powers.


Here are a few classical descriptions of youth, synthesizing its
qualities, beginning with that first known to philosophy, that is, Aris-

19 I
I
.i~
I
"

iI
~I
I~'
21 ~
20 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH A DIRECT LOOK I~'i
~';I
t~
!!~i
!,w,

totle's. "Youth has indeed the distinctive character of being full of they pursue; visions to them seem realities .... Carried away by the
!~;
Wishes and of feeling capable of accomplishing everything that it de- sweetness of their never ending expectations, they imagine that they're '\ig
N,
!t.~;
sires. Moving and trembling in their desires, ready also to become dis- giving up everything if they wander from their great plans."21 "Ii

gusted, young people wish with an extreme ardor, and just as quickly Lacordaire describes for us a more romantic aspect of youth: i!~
:{(:

they become tired. Their WILLS are the most alive, but without "As we barely come into bloom on our eighteenth birthday, we ,feel \11

rtl

strength and without duration, like the thirst and hunger of sick people. weighed down by desires which have as their object neither the body, ~"
They are passionate in fury, in their vivaciousness, and always ready to nor love" nor glory - nothing, actually, which has a form or a name. !"

"\:
ii'
follow the impulses which dominate them. Masters to a very slight de- Wandering in secret solitude, or trrough the luminous crossroads of a J.!

gree over their hearts which dominate them, AMBITION does not famous city, the young man feels burdened by desires without any goal; 11

~
allow them to bear scorn and they become infuriated over the slightest he becomes estranged to the realities of life, a prison in which his heart ii

is suffocating, and he seeks impressions which shall form and possess ~J


idea of any injustice which may be done to them. They prefer honors It
"'
"
and triumphs' to money, they care nothing for riches, for they have not him _ vague and uncertain things, from clouds, from sunsets, from ~'I
1*'

yet known want. With ease they dedicate themselves to HOPE, be- autumn winds and from the fallen leaves of the forest." .~

cause youth, like an inebriated person, is in fern1erit, and because it , No less concise is the description of Fr. Didon, ,O.P.: "Youth is m
iil
i
has not yet suffered failure. Youth lives especially on hope, since hope the age in which we dream great dreams; the age of generous illusions IJ

"

has as its sole object the future, just as memory feeds on a past without and of fiery loves, of lively passions and of easy enthusiasms. It is the ~
illl
return ... Young people are GREAT in SOUL and magnanimous, age of impetuous vigor which knows no obstacle, the age in which we
'!~;
because life has not yet diminished them;' and they do not know the believe more in good than in evil, in which hopes know no limits nor :;~\

pain of need ... This age, like no other, loves FRIENDSHIP, because disappointments. Youth is the age in which we adore something, the
it takes pleasure in the COMMON LIFE, and, not judging anything true Lord or the false gods, the age in which we die happily for what \i!
Ai
according to the measure of one's self interest, does not associate it's we adore, without reasonings and without regrets."22 Jj,
:~'I;

friendships with it. This is the way youth is."19 In a similar way, F. A. Vuillerment says, "Youth is the age in
In another place he describes young people as being mdreCOUR- which the horizons seem to be without boundaries, guilded by the fire ,
ti
AGEOUS than at any other age, and having an EXALTED SOUL. of the rising sun, of an existence which appears long. It is the age dur-
They would always rather do NOBLE deeds than useful ones. Their ing which everything is animated by the sap of spring, when the vigor
of life bursts into bloom in fresh colors. It is the age of noble enthu- "
lives are regulated by moral character rather than by reasoning."zo Bos- ;r
siasms, of proud enterprises and of generous aspirations. It is the age "~~~:'.
tl<.
suet, in his panegyric on Saint Bernard, has a similar page ful! of elo- .~!
quence. "Shall I tell you what a young man is at the age of twenty? in which the spirit opens to serious and great thoughts, the heart to
What enthusiasm, what impatience, what an ebullient fury of desires! chivalrous feelings and the will to pain, struggle, and sacrifice. I t is
This power, this vigor, this warm blood similar to sparkling wine in the age in which we find a burning need to march fOlward, to work, ~
him, does not allow anything smooth or measured '... This verdant to climb, to create, to give of ourselves and to commit ourselves."23 .r;·
;';
,.,

youth is agitated violently by, all passions .... Everything is put into True youth can not be defined by ,its remoteness from death. Here 'i:i'
execution with incomparable warmth. It stil! has nodiad any exper- and there, children are closer to death than young people are, and even
more than old people. :'~
;tt:
ience of the malice of the' wodd,or of the adversities we have encoun-
tered. For this reaso'n it imagines that disappointment and disgrace do Should we define youth through the span of life opening before :.;1'

not exist. Feeling powerful and VIGOROUS, it drives away' fear, and our steps, through the "amount of future" which it contains? The old '1
'\£
man does not have less life ahead of him than the child in the cradle,
everywhere its sails are spread to the wind' of 'HOPE, which fills it
and guides it ... They believe that they can catch 'and hold ev'erything
21. Bossuet, "Oeuvres Oratoires," I, p. 404 sq., ed. Abbe J. Lebarq .
'I
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19. Politics, II, XXII. Ii 22. "L'Education presente."
20. Rhetoric, II, 12. ! 23. "Mission de la !eunesse contemI1oraine"p. 9-10.

I ','I'

II
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.,
22
THE. SPIRIT OF YOUTH A DIRECT LOOK 23

he has eternal life untouched by the shadow of death. In this case, the the old person reflects.25 He doesn't live in the world of hopes, nor in
measure of the future is very relative, and even impossible to explain. the world of powerful reasons for living ..
Leon Bloy says, "The older I get, the longer my future becomes." Youth is the feeling that life begins with you. The soul in which
Should we consider youth as a function of the years, lived from the the ideal is fermenting and the great goals of life eloquently give their :fi

cradle to the present moment? The years by which we shorten our life password, is a young one. Youth keeps its hopes, cultivating curiosity :1

;l
cannot represent youth, which implies a fulfillment of life. You cannot and trust.
~
~
show what you have through what you have lost, unless you know in Old age is cold and calculating, more inclined towards pessimism ~
advance what you had. Subtracting from life the years that have been
lived will tell me that I am young only if I know how much longer I
have to live.
and skepticism. It is the state of a tranquil and satisfied soul.
Youth is enthusiasm and LOVE, which penetrates the entire range ii~
.~

1
Youth does not depend upon the years already lived, nor upon the
of spiritual warmth, beginning with admiration and ending with adven-
ture and sacrifice. Optimistic and devoid of bitterness, it is an uninter-
il~
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11.
"amount of future" which is still at its disposal, at least presumably, rupted burning within one's self. Youth is UNSATISFIED and NON-
.~
nor upon the vast span of life left prior to death. I believe that the old CONFORMIST, and these feelings make it reject the words "stand h
person who lives in the shelter of the Light, and in the cradle of Eternal stil1." To be petrified is the domain of old age. At odds with tradi- 4
Life, is younger than the lad who is discouraged, exhausted, without tions and forms, you recognize youth by the behavior of the relentless
hopes and without ideals. The intensity of living faith and sincerity, op- and dogmatic iconoclast. J~
timism, capacity for sacrifice, disregard for all that which is transitory Old age is stingy with its possessions, it is miserly also with life.

~
d
and common rejuvenates any old age.24 Birth, arteries, joints untouched Exhausted, it takes life easy; in the absence of the vigorous sap ~
by rheumatism, muscles, and smoothness of skin can no longer be used that could give its blood some rhythm, it protects the little strength it "

as criteria of youth. :1

has, arid measures its efforts by its inner pressure. '~

Youth knows only how to be prodigal with life, and generous with J
.~
everything that belongs to it. Its only ambition is to give. To give ~
OLD AGE health, power, life. No age is so willing to die as youth. For youth,
Death does not even have a real substance, it is only an accident of life,
j:~
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~
whose importance is connected with something else; with the holy 4i
Through a deliberate contrast with the content of old age, we *
can discover the characteristics of youth.
Old age is full of RECOLLECTIONS; it is Janus with his face
cause of the ideal. While the old person is reflecting about himself, and
about his own things, the young man cultivates altruism and combats

~
%

,
towards the past. Burdened with the things of the past, it has the role egotism as he would a monster. ~
'd

of a chronicle and not of a gospel, and its conduct is one of an historian, Old age, ready for appeasement and compromise, resigns itself ~
easily and gives up without a struggle.
not that of the prophet. The elderly man is an historian, not an apostle.
Youth is fulJ of PLANS, it is Janus with his face towards the future, Youth does not want to know halfway measures, and symbiosis be- ;;
~J'

inventive to a point unequalled in "dreams" and in Ideals; it does not tween good and evil, between right and wrong, between sensible and
vulgar realities and the invisible but real and sublime ideal. It is the
.
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t',
know the burden of experience. Youth has the features of the pro-
phet and the apostle. Fettered to the future, it does not feel indebted to age which is most hostile to resignation. It is the season during which ~
the present moment. the blood sings revolt rather than submission and acceptance, because i~
ia
it lacks to a certain extent the power of self-conquest, and because
Old age is .the feeling that it is too late; that the game has been
life can be disclosed by resisting and conquering obstacles. Youth is
1
played, that the scene belongs to another generation from now on. ill
It is a lack of desire for work, it is"indifference. WHAT'S THE USE? absolute and totalitarian in what it demands and in what it gives. J
"Old age is satisfied with little, youth asks for much" (Joubert). 1
24. Cf; Ch. Peguy, "Le Porchedu mistc~rede la deuxieme vertu" p. 200-1. 25. A. Maurrois, "Stiinta Fericirii," p. 180, 205.
1
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24 THE SPIRIT' OF YOUTH A DIRECT LOOK 25

Old age is prudent. It does not expose itself. . It is not proud and A problem preoccupies him. A question burns his soul. A longing
loves peace and tranquility . . consumes him. He seeks to find the ideal of
. life and the man who will
Youth is pride and bravery (Cicero). Haughtiness to the point point his finger to it. He also dares to ask a question about destiny.
of cruelty, daring to the point of presumption, boldness to the point He is simple and clear. He does not proceed indirectly, he does not
of temerity, bravery disregarding any prudence, and "arte militare," use emphatic phrases or affected pauses.
enmity for all that is idleness and to all comfort and luxury. This is Our youth wants the ideal of life. He thirsts after a certainty to
the way youth reveals itself. which he could connect the deeds of youth. He seeks the answers to
questions which' wear out all the philosophers and whose observation
remains useless, collecting dust on library shelves, with their childish
IN THE LIGHT' OF THE GOSPEL answers immobilized on their pages for centuries and milleniums. In
truth, youth is the age in which all life's great problems are posed
"And behold, a young man came to Jesus and said, 'good teacher, simultaneously (Jean Lacroix), an age inquest of teachers.
what shall I do to inherit eternal life?' "26
I ts longing does not know the ridiculous, miniscule proportions
The evangelist Luke calls him a ruler. Probably he was a young of every day desires, or of the typically sentimental sighs over a creature
man of the aristocracy, distinguished, with fine feelings, well-mannered,
or an imaginary dream. "In each adolescent, there is a sublime mo-
sensitive. It is probable that he followed the Savior for a long time, ment."27 Oh, if you could only catch this moment, and not let it pass
and his pure heart lingered not without some benefit upon his words ,close by your life like a useless wandering meteor, but rather fix it as a
and deeds. As the text of the Gospel also shows, the anonymous young star upon the vault of the cathedral of your life. Then, and only then,
man did not recognize the nature of the divinity of Jesus. He stopped, spiritual youth will be enduring in you.
though, with admiration of Jesus the man, .the enlightened Teacher,
"The sublime moment" occurs when desires walk the narrow, steep,
convincing, authoritative, closer to the divine than- any other ancient
and difficult road of the full life, without lies and mirages. When,
prophet. Admiration, confidence, yearning, all of these tapers of the
with a prolonged and renewed effort, you lift the ideal above men,
candelabra of life caught fire in his nearness to Jesus. But above all,
admiration. ,above the world, beyond duty, beyond fatigue, and beyond death.
When nothing from all that which is heroic and titanic repels you, but
Here begins true youth: "The most profound feature of the
on the contrary, draws you closer and enchants you.
youthful soul is its ability to admire, to be overcome, to give of itself'
(Congar, O.P.). , The youth in the Gospel had a marvelous desire, to gain eternal
life! He wanted nothing other than LIFE. What is life? Does he not
Ernest Hello places it among the roots of eternal youth. Admira-
tion conceals unknown. powers, true sources which it arouses. It gives have it? Does he not find it in the quiet, comfortable, bourgeois life,
which begins at dawn and which the dusk and the quiet nights under
birth to thousands of splendors. Admiration resembles' a revelation, a
conversion. It is the great power of renewal and revival. Admiration the stars cannot take away from him? Full of life, he feels void of life.
sends us forth to the cradle of spiritual youth. It opens up the proces- Not all life is LIFE. Is Life that which is gripped in a transitory use-
sion of faith, of yearning, and of other feelings of youth. lessness running towards death, life in tune with the finite, life
with the stale taste of mustiness? No! That life is not LIFE, and does
The young man of the Gospel, with his soul.full of this emotion
of having discovered a great thing, surprised also by, the act of the not satisfy him. fie is young and he wishes a higher life, which does
Savior embracing children, is encouraged, draws closer, and asks him not drag its days and tremble on the sidewalks, in fields fuli of snakes
and in libraries full of empty words. He wants that life which is eternal,
the question which has, been consuming his soul, after he has ap-
proached him in a flattering way, not the usual way to speak to a which goes beyond any kind of obstacle, smashing any horizon and
Teacher. scoffing at any threat posed by the ravages of time.

26. Mat. 19, 16. Mark 10,17. Luke 18, 18. 27. A. Maurrois, "La Jeunesse devant notre tempsi" p. 25.
.

26 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH


A DIRECT LOOK 27

The sublime moment which is spiritual YOUTH, is a thirsting of all mortals, without much fatigue in ascent, without much risk in
after Truth and Life, with a sincerity which overturns hypocricies. It following it. I have kept to it and it does not satisfy me.
does so with an assurance which will not accept the hesitations of skep- Youth wants something more original, more exceptional, apart
ticism.
not only from what is vulgar, but outside of what is common. The
Pilate's lips were devoid of the sincerity of the heart, and of a heart
atmosphere of great mobs of people does not fill its lungs. It is too
longing for truth. "Quid est veritas?" "What is truth," was the ques- prosaic there, and it feels born for something greater. "Ad maiora
tion of this government official who had gone through the schools natus sum," our young man thinks to himself, and he asks Christ for
of the masters of the old wisdom. The question was not the offspring an overabundance of light, a lifting up above the common, deeds which'
of anxiety or the flower of fire of a long and inner turmoil, but rather are not at the disposal of everyone, something which shall engage bold-
the posture of a man fed up with philosophy.
ness, which shall quench his daring and which may kindle the spirit
But the young man asks: "What shall I do to inherit eternal of risk and appease the fever for noble adventure.
LIFE?" He asks for the supreme ideal on its way towards realization, It is not at the age of twenty that you become adapted, that you
without any possibility of shrewd casuistry. What should I do, rather accept, and that you resign yourself. You have stopped being young
than what should I think or feel, because the deed is the fulfillment of when you have begun to believe in satisfying limits and in comfortable
the idea and of the heart. It is the evidence of metaphysics, the trans- positions (E. Brunteau).
lation of a conviction.
"Youth thirsts for a total engagement, to find therein enthusiasm,
Youth does not measure distance, nor does it measure time. It optimism, and the vital sensation of existing."z8 This spiritual state
refuses to recognize stages. It takes no pleasure in any unit of measure- compels the young man to say "AmpIius, Magister" ("More, Master").
ment. It rejects logical space from error to truth. It recognizes it He senses his still available energy and unemployed powers for life:
but youth does not feel its burden. It ignores the psychological gorge "What is stilI lacking in me?"
from doubt to assurance, and does not even want to take into account It is an aristocratic feeling of curiosity and words full of hope. For
the distance from idea to deed. Youth wants the eternal. For what are as long as you remain faithful to these things, you are a member of the
all things which are not eternal? Can you place any value on things family of priceless people with young souls. How easily the flame finds
whose monograph ends with dusk? How can you admit duration there, its way in these hearts! How freely the Cherubim of enthusiasm bustle
where you can consider an end? (Cicero). about in them while the lion from the escorts of the Chariots of
Youth has no business there. It does not stop on the horizon Ezechiel gallops freely within those limbs. Youth is the only palace
only to strengthen its power for something greater. Even if it is obsessed of life which has no waiting room for great ideas, they enter without
by the presence of the reality of feelings, a metaphysical thirsting has being announced and without even stopping at the doors that have
mastery over youth, and forces it to inquire beyond that which is visible been bolted shut.
and limited. "What is still lacking in me?"
The young man in the Gospel wanted no other dwelling except in I have fulfilled all that men have been able to give me as rules
eternity. Nowhere else did he feel well, nothing was able to contain for life and virtue. I have fulfilled that which God requires of all men.
his youth. For him, the vault of heaven and the vault of time cannot I am at the end of the Old Testament but the cup of my heart is not
be the vault of the cathedral of life which he wishes to build. A pilgrim full. I am stiIL,missingsomething, I sense it, I know it.
towards worlds of eternity, he seeks LIFE with enthusiasm. This faith and courage are captivating. He wishes something new
Jesus said to him: "If you wish to enter into life, keep the com- in order to commit his boldness, because "youth is the age in which
mandments." daring is allowed" (H. Bordeaux), this evidence of promise of a life
The young man then said to Him: "I have kept them all from stilI strong and stable.
my childhood, what is still lacking in me?" He asks of the Teacher a new beginning, new possibilitiesof being
Behold the path towards the Ideal of eternal LIFE! It is the path
28. H. Massis: ','Les idees restent" p. 14.

29
28 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH A DIRECT LOOK

more than he is, for youth does not have the conviction of the end, to have, you have entered old age .. Nothing burdens and bends people
the consciousness that everything has been done. As long as there re- more than money.
mains the possibility of greatness offered by God, it cannot rest. "Nihil Do you wish to be entirely young? SelI and give everything you
actum si quid agendum." "What is stilI lacking in me?" ... How can have. In this way, you will free yourself from the burden of tens of
I go beyond myself? How· can I greet myself: "You, the one of the tens of years. You must know: "the enemy of spiritual youth· is the
I; verb to have." Spiritual states born from property, from one's zeal
past, you are small and base in comparison with what I am now?" r

I am available, Teacher, to go ahead. Is it not a fact that youth t for gain and for pleasure, are criminal acts against the spiritual youth;
is the imperative of the verb to go? Did you not speak to Joan of Arc The essential thing for your youth is the endeavor to keep yourself
through those miraculous "voices": "Go, daughter of God, go!" and I far removed from that evil reality: possessions.
in this way you define her youth through a vocation? As long as you Be generous, and give away what you have. Give to those number-
are ready, you are still young. The attachments that make you grow I less poor people. Give to the wretched, especially to tho'se who are
old, are attachments to all which is temporary and perishable. more miserable, 'to those who do not have the happiness of even know-
How beautiful youth is! Desire provides its name and measures ing how to beg. All of your gestures should outline but one word: gen-
its frontiers. It has no other frontier but life and eternity. erosity. The poor are always with us: give without limits.
Splendid view, that of the spirit of youth! Christ was delighted, TAKE UP THE CROSS! You have the right to only one piece
and a warm quiver gripped His heart. "Looking at him, He loved of property which does not hann the spirit of youth: the Cross, the
him." The Evangelist 11lUsthave remembered this because it was spirit of sacrifice. Your only possession; the possession that St. Paul of
something unique. Tarsus spoke so proudly of, shall be this series of partial deaths joined
The Heart of the Teacher responds to true· youth and to its by life. He who is suitable for the Cross, is suitable for youth, for a
great desires with an accent of joy and love. Christ was enchanted profound and fertile life.
by what was beautiful. And what is more beautiful than a genuine Your steps of progress in the spirit of youth can be seen from
young desire? The name of Daniel the prophet is a characteristic of your growth in. self sacrifice. With each embracing of the Cross, the
his youth, "vir desideriorum," the man of desires. light of the candle of the icon of true youth increases.
Jesus does not expect the passing from wish to the great achieve- And
ments. He contemplates it, and is filled with joy. What a great bless- FOLLOW ME
ing of creation is youth! if you wish to remain young. I shall anoint you with a gift of
I reflect upon the wonderful words of H. Lacordaire: "The fore- youth without age. Place your feet upon the path I have walked, but
head of the young man is the brilliance of the brow of God, and it more especially, copy my thoughts and my love..
is impossible to look at a young spirit upon a pure face, without being Follow me. Let the dead bury their dead, you must hav.e only
taken by' a sympathy which also includes love and respect."29 It is im- thoughts of life. I am the God of those who believe in LIFE, the God
possible to remain cold next to a great and beautiful desire, for youth of the armies fighting for the good, the God of poetry and of enchant-
burns within it. At the end of every desire, we can see the smile of God. ment. I am the God of those who believe in love, the God of those who
Jesus said to him: " ... Go! Sell everything you have, give it to sing.
Follow me. I am the God of lilies and of steel, of the gentle breeze
the poor ... Then come take up the cross and follow me."
You are young, but I shall give you eternal youth, the spirit of saturated with perfume and of granite. I am the God who listens
youth, a young heart and soul. Listen, you cling to something which with fire as to Elijah the prophet.
makes you grow old: possessions. Youth is the living out of the verb, Follow me. I am the God who renews your youth, like that of a
to give. When your .life has become the psychic exercise of the verb, young eagle, the God who makes your youth happy.
The program for the spirit of youth was mapped out, and the rich
29. "Deuxieme coni. de Toulouse," 1854.. :. young man was"invited to carry it out fully.·
·30 THE SPIRIT OF Y OUTE A DIRECT LOOK 31

"Then, becoming gloomy· at these words, he left sad, for he forgiveness, a spritely joyful hope which gives wings to life, so that it
had many riches." flies towards the towers of the cathedral where people worship, these
As though he were gripped by a black spell, our young man things are youth even if one should be eighty."31
changed his face after the image of his heart. Attachment to possessions Ceasing to be young, he has remained without any trace and
nurtures grief and sadness. The leaves of the tree of youth suddenly without name in history.
became covered with frost. However, what trace of light was left by the youth who had five
The young "lord" was not ready. He did not know his own heart loaves of barley and two fishes, because Jesus took his loaves and fishes
completely. But now he recognized himself. The days had passed and fed them to the hungry multitudes.32
him by. The years had covered him with mud, with an odor of the Because of the generosity of this "boy", the crowds were well fed.
past, of that which has been lived, of that which has been used. Probably, there were many men and women who brought their own
Enthusiasm has quieted down, and nothing prods his pure desires food, but the apostles did not dare to ask them for any. They appealed
any more towards the world accessible only to the spirit of youth. Love, to youth. What belongs to youth belongs to everyone. No one doubted
having been wounded, hides in a cellar of silence, in front of which that the youth would not hold back the food sought by the Lord for the
aU the ideals can walk, alone and useless. No one inside asks them benefit of the multitude. When Jesus asked them if they had some
anything, no one even recognizes them. Ideals are like foreigners in food, they replied that they had five loaves of barley and two fishes,
lands without youth. The blood which was to bring them life has the entire possession of the youth, with the unshakable assurance that
become frozen. Just like a tallow candle without flame, youth has the spirit of property is not part of the spirit of youth.
become rancid. Youth does not say anything. Its words do not have a place in the
Gloominess and sadness, the real products of old age, have pos· verses of the Holy Gospel.
sessed his being, being reduced only to an appearance of youth. He re- It is present. Only this! It is flesh, it is bones, it is blood, it is
vealed instead a senile soul. His youth was destroyed by its adherence nerves and muscles, it is soul.
to riches. It is present. And its presence is an offering. No one asks it who
More obvously than anywhere else, here it is proven to us that it is, what it wants, where it comes from, what it feels, what it thinks
youth is measured by the verb to give. The young man in the Gospel, ... I ts presence is an answer to everything.
who measured his desires with the verb to have) the unconscious grave It is present, and in this way it makes itself evident. In this way
digger of the soul of youth, revealed himself to be old. "A man who it affirms itself. It is young, hence you know what to think of it.
places the concern for his career before his enthusiasm, is old, even if You know what scope and what purpose it has " ..
he is only twenty. Older yet is the one whose ambition is wealth."s'o It proves simply through its presence that the spirit of sacrifice
Youth is that state of the spirit which does not end in decrepitude and the spirit of community are present.
like great rivers end in the black and dirty estuaries. ~t is life which It is present, and its presence is an offedng. No one interrogates
does not change into the inevitable "earthly disappointment." it, because all understand it. ;1

Youth is the state of the spirit, refractive to disappointments and "Hilarem datorem diIigit Deus," God loves a cheerful giver. The ~!
:l
pessimistic regrets; the heart adverse to a sadness which could dry out gift of Youth becomes fertile. Christ takes them, blesses them, and :t
;~
bones. performs the miracle of the multiplication of bread. Abundance
it
Youth is ease of detachment, together with generosity of giving. makes its appearance as a consequence of its gift. ";1

The joy of youth springs from this. True youth is giving without bargaining, and without economic
,I
"Bitterness and sadness which discourage, bad memories which preoccupations. Banks and usury wel'e not invented by young people. ;
wilt, all of these are old age, even if one should be only twenty. On )~
the other hand, a full and generous magnificence of forgetting and 31. Ernest Hello: "Contes extraordinaires," d. Pierre Guilloux: "Les plus .!j

belles pages d'E. H." p. 164.


30. A. Maurrois: "Les jeunes devant notre temps," p. 29. 32. St. John, 6, 9-11; ::1

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33 11"1
32 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH A DIRECT LOOK

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Interest, as the result of sacrifice and generosity, was invented by the The desire for independence, the primitive thrill of detachment I\,
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Creator and is the only occupation of a commercial nature that the and disinterest, the courageous walk towards adventure, the thirst for
;\:\
spirit of youth can get along with. a new life which is full, varied, and unknown, are all characteristics of
"Qui non speravit in pecunia et thesauris," - who did not place a young soul. The flexibility of the spirit, the promptness with which :i1
o
:h
their trust in money and possessions - this is the definition of the things are decided and completed, belong to the domain of the spirit
martyrs; of the confessors, and of the saints. It is the word used by the of youth. What is more admirable and more youthful than this; "I
Church. shall get up and I shall go ... " and getting up, he comes. Exhausting ~
:~;:t
delay has no place here, where the will starts action with haste and the q
The rich man reveals to us the thirst for the truth of youth.
:ir;~
The generous boy reveals to us the spirit of sacrifice and of gen- perfection of a faultless mechanism. :'}
';1
erosity of youth. No one has been able to tame the vigor of its wild inclinations.
'Yl

The Prodigal Son, the youngest of the brothers, reveals to us a Advice, tears, honor, human respect have been unable to oppose him
and divert him, only the humiliation, in which he has fallen by refus-
thirst for the life of the young and the spirit of adventure.
Driven by the youthful desire for adventure, he goes far away.S3 ing to direct his thirst for life with the spirit and desire for Truth.
}J
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He did not wish to be restrained by the harsh eyes of his father, or to The irony of the situation, like the irony of laughter and of words,
be softened by the moist look of his mother in the extravagances he drew out his dormant sense of dignity. This is one of the most difficult
".1,

wanted to devote himself to. He goes far away with his entire inherit- trials of the spirit of youth: the offense of irony because it is the noisy ~*,
:k
ance. He wants to taste all the fruits of life, to quaff all the pleasures and public descent from dignity, and youth dreams of heraldic dignity. ~I\,
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through' every pore' of his being. The rich young man was wanting in adventuresome courage. He "j
1~:
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Who drives him away from the family hearth? Who forces him was wanting in independence and in the spirit of generosity and sacri- ~t
into exile into an unknown world? What goal pushes him over land fice, which the boy with the fishes and the loaves of barley, and the i:'~
•..','
and sea, over valleys and mountains? What does the Prodigal Son prodigal son had. 1~
fl
seek? What does he want? He had, however the
jt
Power of Admiration" the Taste for Truth, and a Desire for
He needs neither heavy books nor the quiet assurance of the home
of his youth, nor the monotonous peace of life taken in well"defined Greatness. r
1\

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...
forms. He wants independence, a break with habits which have become The boy with the loaves of bread and the fishes is known only for
old. He.wants new mornings, original pleasures which have so far his altruistic power, for k
!\'

been foreign to his experience. He wants to see fences fall and horizons The Spirit of Sacrifice, and Unconditional Generosity.
;1
"The son who strayed" began his life with a genuine youthful dis- ,~{
disappear in flight: He is'unsatisfied.
)
,I(

The young man knows the noble torture of the feeling of dis- position, but upon the course of a dirty river. Youthful in him were 1\.. 'I,

..
~~I
satisfaction with life, the noble torture for an all-consuming life which The Spirit which is Ready and Scornful, the Desire for Adventure,
~r:I'

would give him the sensation that he dwells on high. Dissatisfaction, the Leap into the Unknown, a Thirst for Life.
in fact, does not make him a rebel, but rather an adventurer. After all these things, can we still deny that the spirit of youth is
'~j
the home of heroism? There is more than a simple connection between "
The world begins with him and he wants to begin it anew, and t
without old witnesses. He revives each sensation; he subjects each new them. More evel1 than a kinship of blood, there is an inseparable ~
experie~ce to appreciation. He wants an inventory of values through joining of substance. w'
"

experience and through living; a tremendous risk, which will turn him I The spirit of youth is the cradle and inspiration of heroism. \

tJ'

from the body to the soul, from sensation to idea, from the wrong ad~ "
Ij
if'
venture to the right life.
\
~]
\(!
I'
33. 'St. Luke, 13, 11-32. III
',1

t
A~·.(.
I
GREAT DICTATORSHIPS 35

In many countries, the leaders of the people have appropriated


for themselves the opinion of Voltaire, expressed in October 1736, in a
letter to Thieriot: "We have got to lie like the devil ... not with
timidity, and not just up to a point, but forever and with boldness."
The mania for lying has become a true pleasure. "Man enjoys
lying, and he enjoys being lied to. And when no one and nothing lies
to him anymore, he falls apart" (T. Arghezi). The cult of appear-.
ances, the rei'gn of vanity, an egomania crowned with the tiara of pride
impose upon men the need to disguise themselves, and to show them-
selves different from what they are. Thus the whole relationship be-
GREAT DICTATORSHIPS tween falsified beings becomes a pretense, and the world becomes an
immense mass of liars and hypocrites, who oppose truth with the same
horror that a starless night feels towards the light.
THE PRESENCE OF THE LIE In this way the "world" has been conceived, this agglomeration of
maxims and principles, which undermines the terrain and the founda-
We all bear a mysterious affinity to the lie, as we discover a sinful tion of Truth. It is a world for which Christ does not pray, a world
affection for the "father of lies." As a matter of fact, the "father of that prolongs forever the hour of Barabbas and the "kiss of Judas,"
lies" has already been named also the "master of this world." the antechamber of hell and the raging organ of an uninterrupted litany
A betrayal of God, and also our betrayal, the lie is born in a world of blasphemies, curses, and lies. This world is a senate of the emissaries
without love and without humility, like a mushroom on a dung heap. of hypocrisy, and is "a world which is not revolt, but rather acceptance,
"Everywhere man does nothing but lie ... Truly practically every and above all acceptance of the lie,"35which serves as the constitution
of the foundation of its existence and its deeds.
contact of one man with another involves hypocrisy and lying."34 "The
lie sits at the table with the King" as Alexander Vlahuta wrote, but Everything in this "world" conspires against Truth. Error and lies
have access everywhere and there is no place in this world for Truth.
also contrives the politics of the beggar. We live under the regime of
People lie without self interest, without passion, without fear, and
deceit, The dictatorship of the lie is so lasting, and we have grown so
old under it, that we do not realize how imbued we are with lies, and without shame. They lie from self-love, from vanity; they lie as they
how natural it is for us to lie. Living on the slope of the lie, it breathe, because lying, in this world, is the same as speaking.
A sinner lies, but at the end he can tell the truth. When the world
takes a conscious and costly effort for us to climb up this slope towards
the Truth. No wonder that the Spanish politician Donoso Cortez con- lies, however, it continues to lie. The truth becomes a lie in contact
sidered men to be possessed by a real hatred of Truth. with the lips of the world. When it tells the truth, it either considers
it to be only an opinion, or it uses it as a shelter for lies. And "nothing
Illusions, affectations, hypocrisy, cunning, artificial gestures, exag-
gerations, impostures and deceit are the planted ambassadors of the deceives with a power and an authority to be feared more than truth
lie in human society. Politics itself has become a superior technique of evilly spoken."36
the lie, with the aim of exploiting others all the more. Huge factories Truth, bu(more especially sincerity and truthfulness, appear in the
of the lie work night and day to scatter throughout the world impon- world like some poor minor creatures, forced to nibble their bread
derable and venomous falsehoods. under the eaves of the palaces of the lie. Nobody cares about them
except irony, which has been given the task, by the bankers of organized
34. Max Nordau: "MinciuniIe conventionale ale civilizatiei noastre" (The hypocrisy, of humiliating their splendor.
conventional lies of our civilization), Bib/. pentru toti, pp. 370-371.
35. Bernartos: "Journal d'un cure de campagne," p.' 312.
34 J6. E. Hello: '<L~homme:' pp. 108-118.
36
THE SPIRIT OF 'YOUTH GREAT DICTATORSHIPS 37

It seems that today only saints, sons of saints, and simple bar- of truth within it, said Lacordaire. By diminishing truth, we diminish
barians still tell the truth.
life, by strangling the truth, we also throttle life. He who said "I am
"Fear of what is false, disgust for what is bad, burning horror of Truth," also said "I am Life." Whoever will say "I am the lie," will
lying are probably the rarest feelings among men" (E. Hello). It is not also say at the end "I am desperate death." If we accumulate lie upon
too hard to find them in a sporadic way; but it is a miracle to find lie, we come to a heap of corpses, because, in spite of oUr whole legion
them in a state of virtue,. or in a state of permanent disposition of the
soul. of militant denials, we still remain the unchanged children of Hunger
for Truth.
An Indian wise man placed life under three signs: illusions, disillu-
sions, and mortifications. The life of the modern world operates under
only one sign: under the sign of the lie and its innumerable deriva-
UNDER THE SCEPTER OF THE LIE
tives. The innocence and, the lyricicismof illusions have given way
to the crime and the prosaic of the lie. At first the world begins by adoring what it sees, and by denying
The lie is the most energetic and virulent factor found in growing what it does not see: this is the first step towards idolatry. This exclu-
old. It undermines the foundation of the feelings that carry the spirit sion of the Invisible brings with it a furious attachment to the elements
of youth. It destroys the power of admiration, it kills desire, and ex- of this world that appeal to the senses. The negation of the Unseen
tinguishes enthusiasm. Because of this, men who belong to the un- begins with preference for the visible; thus we must not believe that the
natural environment of nightclubs and cabarets, appear to be as old denial of the unseen world is just a simple error. It is an error caused
as the pyramids, when they are taken away from their bottle of alcohol by haughtiness and passion; it is therefore a lie, through which we de-
and from licentiousness. They appear horribly old, old beyond com- ceive ourselves, in order to deceive others. One after the other all
pare, it seems, even by the usual right of respect accorded to the old. truths end up in bondage, as St. Paul says, and only lies enjoy freedom
of circulation.
Respect no longer recognizes them, and ancient honor and traditional
veneration open their eyes in vain to find the image of their patriarchal The pulpit of truth is replaced by the pulpit of the lie, \vhile news-
qualities forever gone. papers become scandalous loudspeakers of impostures.
"The world is old age" and growing old. We enjoy the banquet of the visible world without interruption.
The soul feels a void in the form of boredom. Enthusiasms stumble
The lie has organized the world in such a way that, for the truth
and faint, one after another, like fleeting ephemeric desires and powers.
to find a place for itself, it has to come out with sword in hand; and
with the sign of the Cross on its forehead. Moderation hesitates to show its face, and man feels exhausted and
worn out. "Boredom is the flower of the lie, whose fruit is despair."
Truth can no longer stand, except at the side of manhood and Boredom affirms the absence of God, and gloom and weariness
courage, and it can make headway only under the protective escort of can be considered powerless sighs after the Unseen.
the martial virtues, and of fighting qualities.
To drive away boredom, the Lie invents "idols" which are intended
If the lie were to be haloed only by old age, it would be bearable, to fill the void of the spirit. I tpreaches scepticism, a diabolical form
but it is betrothed to torture, madness, and death. There is a secret of resignation, for not even idols, lies as they are, decorated with songs
affinity that links all lies, and everything ends in despair and madness. and consecrated with rituals, can deceive the soul of man forever.'
The lie is by nature noctambulist;. any light wounds it. It strolls A life founded on lies disappoints all expectations, and puts a stop
through graves like the possessed mentioned in the GospeL When you to the most naive' and most lyrical dreams.
have tasted all the depths of the lie, "altitudines Satanae" (the depths Finally comes Philosophy, with its haughty air of infallibility,
of Satan) as the Apocalypse calls them, then the world is revealed to putting the Lie and its derivatives into a system. It is in this kind of
you as a huge void, in which nothing is heard .but the screeching world in which are promoted as well as universal slaughter, the mad-
screams of hearts begging for death in a delirium of desperation. The ness· of the manliness of a tragic existence, and as the bravery' of
degree of the superiority of life in a creature is determined by the height suicide. The dead cover the path of the lie.
38 THE SPffiIT· OF YOUTH GREAT DICTATORSHIPS 39

The need f<>rillusions is born out of .the selfish denied of the in- Here is the spirit of youth, which will eradicate the citadel of the
visible world. The negation of the only consistent reality forces the lie from life, and which shall not have peace while a drop of the blood
soul of man to seek its foundation and strength among the floating of the offsprings of those vipers, who were frightened and threatened
islands of dreams and phantoms. The soul can no longer withdraw by Christ's powerful words, still runs in the veins of the sons of men.
from the feverish search of something unchangeable. In the absence of "Woe to pharisees and HYPOCRITICAL scholars."
the true Unseen, it creates for itself the unseen element of illusion and The spirit of youth cannot stand doubt, this politeness towards
of the lie. When its own philosophy no longer satisfies it ... perhaps error and lie. It wants certainties and affirmations. "The nature of
. . . who knows ... it hastily fashions idols for itself which are no less the young man is a hurricane of affirmations," a psychologist observes.
misty than ghosts. As a spiritual state, doubt is foreign to youth.
When truth perishes, lies come to occupy its place, leaving their Youth believes in the power of reason: it is a dialectician and
products there. This is the history of the world under the scepter of an intellectual.
the lie! "mentire et mentiri!" (to lie, and be lied to). Then everyone "Youth considers the lie one of the most repugnant forms of cow-
.is happy because, if truth does not keep quiet, it becomes boring. The ardice ;"37 and since it is a confession of the most miserable humiliations
world does not have the courage to accept life as God offers it to us, and debasements, it does not want to make peace with it.
and therefore, it falsifies life through lying and finds that only the "Weak persons cannot be sincere," La Rauche - Chefoucault
lie leads to "happiness," because it leads to nothingness, while truth writes.3s And then how would the spirit of youth be able to endure
leads to God. Every truth pursued to the end ehcounters the Fore- hypocrisy, when youth is strength itself, a river of power, and the source
head of the Lord, just as walking along the path of any virtue ends in of energy? Youth is characterized through an abundance of power,
the Heart of God. Every lie pursued to the end encounters, after the hence sincerity is a normal prolongation of it, while the lie collapses into
first death, the second Death in eternity. For hell is nothing other impotence and spiritual old age.
than the sensible state of the kingdom of the lie which has attained Brotherhood with the truth requires a habitual detachment from
apotheosis and maturity. one's self, the courage to defy the power of humbling one's self in a
Who shall save us? Christian way, and an aptitude for disinterested deeds. These are
given to us only.by the spirit of youth. Lie, says Decroly, is the mani-
The spirit of youth awakened in us by God! It begins the crusade festation of the defense instinct, while youth is a fighting and attacking
against the lie,· for it is the volunteer of the Truth.
assault.. If you want to kill youth, put it on the defensive. Lie has no
place here. Those who have grown old and the powerless in spirit
are the friends of the lie. Youth, never!
THE DICTATORSHIP OF TRUTH Only those who are late in arriving on the pathways leading up-
wards to the ideal, feel the necessity for lying. Only those who have
((The mission of our generation is to erase hypocrisy from life". failed, those who have been stranded, those who have been shipwrecked
I suscribe to these words of Ortega y Gasset, and moreover, I say from the goals which ought to have been attained, feel the need to lie,
that the assault upon the lie and upon hypocrisy is the mission of the But youth is the path forward, a moving towards goals. By definition,
Spirit of youth. youth is brotherhood with the ideal.
The revolt against the lie, the rebellion against all sorts 6f tyranni- The man who lies is one who wants to get along with appearances,
cal hypocrisies, of duplicity and of artifice, seethes within the youth of who wants to deceive values, who desires compromises with evil. The
today, enhanced by the spirit of truth. It feels and it sees "that souls
spirit of youth removes all of these from itself.
thirst for "a truth which nothing shall obscure and no one shall deform.
Man is tired of lies, of conventions, and of all those external forms and
emblems which have been substituted for the profound realities of 37. Pierre Mendousse: "L';\me cle l'adolescent," p.189.
life ... He wishes to live without the diaphram of the lie" (Berdiaeff). 38. "Maximes" CCCXXVII.
I
1
I 41
40 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH GREAT DICTATORSHIPS
I

The man who is free and unfettered, affirms and defends the The third had written: "Women are the stronger, but the strong-
truth. The one who is pure, is able to face up to accusations and can est of all is Truth!"
stand firm in front of reality. The spirit of youth is the spirit of free- One at a time the young men explained what they had written.
dom and a clear conscience. St. Clement of Alexandria defines the The last one was a devout young man who feared God; his name was
spirit of youth, and the spirit of childhood in connection with truth and Zorobabel. He explained:
falsehood. "Oh, men! Women are strong! The earth is large, and the heaven
Who are the young "qui celeriter currunt ad veritatem?" Those is high, and the sun is fast on its course ... but the. Truth is even greater
who rim with haste towards truth? and more powerful than all of them!"
Who is young? The one who is devoid of deceit and cunning, the "The whole world entreats. truth, and the sky above praises it, and
one who is far from simulation, the one with a soul that is upright and everything shakes and trembles; in it you cannot find a single grain of
straightforward, "doH ac fraudis expers et remotus a simulatione, rec- injustice.
toque et erecto animO."89 "Wine is unjust, the emperor is unjust, and women are unjust.
Only the spirit of youth can stand the magnificent dictatorship of All sons of men are unjust, and all their things are unjust; truth is not
truth, only the spirito! youth unhesitatingly carries out of the most found among them, and all perish on account of their injustice.
dreadful crimes that of preaching the truth and of following sincerity. "But only the truth is strong and remains forever, and is alive, and
In no stage of life do you find more pronounced enmity toward has power for ever and ever.
the ideal of the cunning person and toward hypocrisy, than in youth. "It does not look at man in the face, and it is not partial, but does
It likes an open heart and a crystalline frankness. "Young people are what is right ....
the deadly enemies of charlatanism" (E. Bruneteau). They hate tor- "This is the strength, the power, the kingdom, and the glory of
tuous ways and crooked looks, intrigue and calumny. They aspire to a1J times! May the God of truth be praised!"
a straight lifelike a flight in the sky and would give much to have As he stopped speaking, all the people with one voice began to
a transparent bosom so that their intentions can be verified. shout: "Great is the truth and more powerful than anything else!"
Praised by the emperor, young Zorobahel thanked God Who gave
him wisdom.
In the Holy Scriptures. This marvelous apology of Truth is the ·work of a young man en~
In the holy Scriptures we have been shown the promulgation of lightened by the Spirit of God.
the primacy of truth, the unmasking of hypocrisy, and the end of the The Lord has entrusted youth with the promulgation of the su-
lie. This is what God wishes youth and its spirit to be. premacy of truth; to youth this holy mission was given.
In the second book of Ezra, chapter 3, verse 4, we read the follow- StilI youth must unmask hypocrisy.
ing story: Three young men from the guard of the Persian Emperor In the story of Susanna/o we discover that God entrusted His
Darius made a wager about who could write the wisest saying. The bet spirit, the enemy of the lie, to young Daniel, against the two elders of
was around the question: what is the strongest thing. "The winner was his people..
to be second after Darius, related to him, and was to receive other gifts These "worthy" old men, judges of Israel, sought to conceal and
and rewards." Each one wrote a note, sealed it, and placed it upon enjoy their impure appetites behind a venerable image. Inflamed and
the pillow of the Emperor. tortured by debauchery, they were burdened twice: with the burden
When the Emperor awoke, he opened the notes and read them. of their age, and with the burden of sins. Their "biological youth",
The first had written: "The strongest thing is wine!" their power of satisfying the animal element within themselves, formed
The second had written: "The Emperor is the strongest!" a contrast disgusting to the eye and to the thought, while their gray
hair was shading the light that should have come from their virtue.

39. Pedagogus, Liber 1. C. V. 40. Cf. the story of Susanna in DanieJ, 13..
43
42 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH GREAT DICTATORSHIPS

Grown old in evil, they cast their predatory eyes upon the gentle breaks down only under the sharp gesture of the knight, that deter-
and beautiful Susanna, and to her they offered violently the compan- mined defender of tortured and humiliated truth.
"I am innocent of the blood of this woman" (v. 46).
ionship of the~r epidermis, as once did Satan to Eve in the Garden.
The pure woman, "in order not to sin before the Lord," resisted this Guilty is he who knows the truth, but hides it under the bushel.
sinful offer .. Guilty of human blood is anyone who does not shout the truth from
The old men then passed judgment on "the sin of Susanna" using the rooftops.
a slanderous accusation of· sin with some young man, and they con- Guilty is anyone who does not defy the lying world, by proclaim-
demned her to death. They accused, they judged, they condemned. ing the truth, and by making himself its prophet -:-. guilty of the rape
of innocence, of beauty, and of goodness: things which are to be cher-
Debauchery led to the lie, and the lie led to the death of the inno-
ished more than human welfare.
cent". Debauchery, cruelty, and lying can still cause ·an unbaptized
Daniel turns to pass judgment on the liars. From all our life, only
child to grow old .
the youth synchronizes promptly and fully with the truth and its im-
. All the people were baffled. The lie here wore the toga of a judge,
peratives.
and injustice stood under the patronage of venerable old age. The lie Daniel executes without delay. Politeness and indulgence in the
made itself King: it dictated and therefore executed innocence, gentle-
face of hypocrisy and lies are treason. For this reason he speaks to the
ness, and beauty. The lie became the servant of disorder, it. defended
two old judges one at a time, and when they have been exposed as
debauchery and gave a voice to cruelty. The lie forced toward death
liars and hypocrites, he says : "You have iied enough to lose your head;
what was gentle, beautiful and innocent.
for the angel of God has received the commandment to cut you in
This was the work of the two old men.
two" (v. 55-59).
Who could defy ojd age, unmask hypocrisy, and call a lie a lie? The true messianic mission of youth resides here, in the gesture of
"And when they led her off to be killed, God awakened the holy exposing the lie, and of removing hypocrisy from the world. "The
spirit of a YOUNG MAN whose name was Daniel" (v. 45). The only revolution for which I could work well is the revolution carried
spirit of youth! Upon the hearse of cruelty, the lie had created the out slowly by the search for truth," Guehenno said.
funeral procession of innocence taken to its death. But the spirit of I God brought forth the Holy Spirit in the soul of the young man,
I
youth placed itself between the lie and the death of innocence, stopped in order to unmask the lie, proclaim the truth, defend innocence, and
I
evil, broke the lie, and returned beauty and innocence to life. condemn hypocrisy.
The procession of the lie had one more step before it arrived at The mission of youth is to bury the lie on earth, among all men.
the grave, in which the one who "hoped in the Lord" was to be buried,
\
but truth was hiding nearby, imprisoned by the apparent worthiness
of old age. The holy spirit of one YOUNG MAN struck hypocrisy In the Acts of the Apostles
right in the face with a mighty blow, and was able to free truth.
God dearly loves the spirit of youth of .His Church, and harshly
The light had gone out in the lamps of the people. Justice seemed
stunted in the soul of the old men, and then YOUTH came along with punishes those who· alter its aspect.
The Christianity of the first· morning of the Church, was pene-
its spirit and set in motion both light and justice, those twin daughters
of truth. trated by the spirit of marvelous youth. This ~pirit became apparent
The spirit of YOUTH is present at the trial of a civilization clad through: first of all obedience to the invisible God, rather than to
visible man;
in lies and hypocrisy, and made evil by deceit, and it must set free the
renunciation of wealth, by a serene disposition towards sacrifice
light, and stop the siege of the night. It must thwart hypocrisy, cry out
and suffering ;'1
for truth, and proclaim the rights of beauty and innocence ..
The lie, with its pretense of being a prince of life, and a pillar of
order among men, cannot be slapped down without violence. Its mold 41. Speech of Pope Pius XII on the occasion of the Jubilee of 1942.
'I'1
,

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44 :J
THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH GREAT DICTATORSHIPS 45 i,_~
.. f

courageous preaching of the Word of Truth, convinced of the new paradise of Truth, as did Satan into the old paradise of pleasures.
victory of Christ; '; ~
And He entrusted this mission to YOUTH.
aspiration for an eucharistic and hierarchical unity, which be- It is the intention of the divine plan that youth shall rise against
comes more and more perfect. big and small lies, and shall work for the creation of an era of sincerity, .:i"

The qualities of the spirit of youth were sometimes grafted with in which the scum of lie, the falsity of duplicity, and the hideousness
difficulty upon the rusty old habits which had sprung from a paganism of hypocrisy will be buried. :};
that inspired suicide. J
The spirit of youth must conquer our aging dwelling, because the ':i.
.,i
Anariias and Sapphira conspired against the spirit of youth of this life of the truth is a superior life, like the life in the fresh climate of
young Church: the pledge of the future success of her mission in the the mountains. It is a life in which the stunted slaves of the lie cannot ~
world.42
resist, because they lack the vigorous energies that are instead abund·
"}
The Christians were selling their lands and putting the money at ant in the spirit of youth.
the feet of the Apostles, to be used for those in need. Ananias and
Sapphira freely sold their land, but they conspired to hold back the
Truth and Originality
money received from the sale. Goaded by the old concerns for pro-
perty and for attachment to money, they preferred to take comfort in In the last chapter of her marvelous autobiography St. Theresa .,i"
the physical presence of the money. They defom1ed the spirit of of Avila writes majestic words of truth: "So you know what it means
youth between them, and in this way they hid the truth and lied to to love me truly? It is to realize that anything that doesn't please me :I

Simon Peter. The price received for the land was not the same is a LIE."48
sum that was deposited at the feet of the Apostle. A goodly portion God is the substantial and eternal Truth, identical with Himself.
was held back and hidden with a lie. He is the one who IS. All truths are rapport, resemblance, com-
Peter said:
parison, identity with the ideal type; all impose a nearness to some-
"Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?" thing, an attachment to an ideal, a comparison with an established
When he heard these words, Ananias feIl dead. rule. Only God is personified Truth, whose thought is equal to His
"AND THEN THE YOUNG MEN GOT UP, they wrapped substance, whose substance is infinite, whose mind is the measure of ~.J

Ananias in a shroud, took him out, AND BURIED HIM." all created things. .!
And the same thing happened to Sapphira, his wife. All things are true as long as they are in conforn1ity with His .;:!

God has entrusted youth with the mission of burying the lie, and thoughts or His divine idea. ;:1

;1
of interring the liars. Proud gravediggers of the carcass of the lie, the Truth is the conformity of a thing with divine idea, the model on :1

which a thing was created. ,j


young will hasten to deposit under clumps of earth, everything that
falsifies life, and infringes on the spirit of youth. Things are true if they resemble the primary model from which
Youth makes war on the aristocratic and polished graves. Cap- they have sprung. AIl that is authentic in things is this resemblance
tains of the truth, heroes of the sincere life, the young isolate the lie, with the divine idea.
so that it may die of starvation (for it lives on the sap of truth), and Things can have two gradations in truth: they may resemble a
then bury it.
higher divine perfection, or the resemblance may be unchanged and
"A great fear fell over everyone" the holy Book writes. But youth the features unruffled by the intervention of the creature.
cannot be otherwise: it must rise up against the lie with the cruel tools In this way, the plant is truer than the stone, because in addition
of death.
to simple existence, it has life too; the animal is more true than the
The Lord punished this lie harshly, for it tried to steal into the plant, because in addition to life it also has sensation; and more true
than animal is man, who possesses, in addition to sensation, the spirit
42. Acts, 5, 1, ff.
43. C. XL, Vol. II of "Vie Spirituelle," p. 342.
46 THE SPIRIT 'OF YOUTH GREAT DICTATORSHIPS 47

which thinks and wills. Truer than man is the angel because it's Only youth does not accept becoming a fossil. Between the mu-
spirit is intuitive and unalloyed with matter. This gradation in truth seum and life, it chooses the latter, because of the freshness that it
follows in confom1ity with a higher and more proper divine quality. enjoys, and of a disposition for invention which keeps it working unin·
Another gradation in truth is that which springs forth as a result terruptedly.
of the identity or deviation from identity with the divine idea. A man "More or less we are echoes, and we repeat without wanting to,
is more true if he translates in himself, in his life, in his thoughts, in his the virtues, the defects, the movements, and characters of those with
feelings and deeds, the idea of man: if he translates it not only in whom we live," writes Joubert, while Kant speaks about the facsimile
the way of deducing and abstracting it from a knowledge of the nature of men who are nothing more than parrots, 'without any roots in a spiro,
of man, but rather in the way God grants it to us. For this reason, a itual foundation.
saint like Francis of Assisi, who lived the idea of 'man known through In this old world, originality is considered to be a pathological
the revelation of Christ, is more true than Plato or Goethe, who real- case, and everything conspires towards its destruction.46
ized an idea of man through their philosophical reasonings. More true The Gospel, however, imposes as an imperative the words: "No-
is he who lives guided by reason than he who lives following sensations lite conformari" ... "Do not be like the image of this age."H
and passions. More true is he who lives guided by reason enlightened We have the urgent duty to be original.
by faith than one who walks along the wandering paths of pure reason. To be original! What a word hemmed with charm and emotion
We are true through the resemblance that we have with God. for any young man! The desire and taste for originality belong to
We are genuine when our. free lifetranlates into ideas and deeds this youth. When a child shakily aspires to originality, one should know:
resemblance. there YOUTH appears.
In this sense, A. Gide wrote: "The, only drama which, in truth, Originality has also a common meaning, and it is confused with
interests me .. ' is the struggle of the entire being with what prevents eccentricity, with baroque gestures, and with the tireless discovery of
him from being genuine." aU sorts of harsh sounds and paradoxes.
The whole' exercise of freedom is a combat action against the It is not enough to bear no resemblance to the surrounding world,
parasitic and anarchic elements which tend to deform us, and it is an in order to' be truly original.
architectonic action of life, of our essential qualities, for a resemblance To be original means to remove from yourself everything which
all the more intimate and full, of the original image. It is the torturing prevents you from being authentic, to put aside all of the muddy de-
desire of being "true." posits left in the riverbed of your life whose silt covers up the first
When St. Augustine wrote: "The more you remove yourself from image of your being. It means that you are to come back to your first
eternity, the more you depart from truth,"H he meant a departure from image, by an uninterrupted effort to give clarity to the image after
the idea of man, which God reproduced in Jesus Christ, and at the which you are created, and to accomplish the mission which was en-
same time, a departure from the divine ideas, magnificently hidden in trusted to you in this world.
the essence of things. The more original you are, the closer you shall come to God, that
We, consider life "true" if it follows the rule and the measure of first and original Icon, in whose Image you were created.
the divine law to which it conforriIs,15if it, follows the moral ideal We are not mass produced. Each of us is a tremendous invention,
that guides our free deeds. an unexpected novelty. We bear within us depths which astonish even
The more we aspire to create for ourselves a true life, the more the impenetrable depths of the oceans. Perhaps because of this, some-
we come closer to beauty and to our original image. one once said that we never manage to know one another, we remain
The effort to live in truth coincides with a striving for originality. instead people who are irreducibly alienated in a hostile world.

44. '~De Mendacio ad Consentium," liber unus, C. Vn;.


45. St. Thomas Aquinas: "Summa Theologica," II, II. Qu. CIX Art. 46. Madel. Danielou: "L'education selon l'esprit," p. 18.
II ad. 5. 47. St. Paul to the Romans, XII, 2. •" ',.~, '., .I'~' • ,~.
I

48 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH GREAT DICTATORSHIPS 49


I
Originality means nearness and obvious resemblance to the Truth, both spirit and matter, and it does not consist in hiding with modesty
whose expression we are in this world. It means casting out the arti~ the lower stages of the living matter, but in preserving the conscious
ficial vestments of lies and passions, which prevents the soul from being I harmony of the ego within and without.
the effigy of divine thought. To be sincere is· to maintain "psychological unity:" that is to
To be original means to dominate and to remove everything which say to work as you think, and to think as you work. It especially is to
I
is illusory and fleeting,· and to give priority t@.the eternal elements maintain "ontological unity," that is, to judge according to the truth,
within yourself. and to work as one should.48
To be, through desire and wiII,.through effort and sacrifice, that I Deeds should be the image of convictions, convictions of the image
which you are through your "essence," means to be original, and also of truth, and truth should be the Holy Face of the Eternal One ..
to· be "true." Sincere is h~ who allows truth to walk free and majestic, without
You shall remain a wonderful revelation in the world, for as long I any retinue of deceptive jokers and lackeys, from the mind to the heart,
as you find your true self, with continuous spiritual deeds, so that you and from the heart to the lips and into deeds, in one and the same pro-
may come closer to the design God had for you. cess.
Read the lives of the Saints, of St. John Vianney, of St. John ·1 Sincerity is a reversible phenonienon: the deed confirms the heart
Bosco, of St. Theresa of Avila; read the Fioretti of St. Francis of Assisi, and the convictions, and the mind and heart claim the deed. For "In
and you will discover the most original human beings, and at the same the. soul of man truth is called sincerity" (Wagner).
I
time those who are the most free and spontaneous. Confess the truth, reveal your soul the way it is, in life and in
The saints are the least automated beings, and yet the most novel action, as much as it is needed, and when it is needed: this means to
and inventive; not enslaved by convention, tied to no need, free from I
be sincere, said St. Thomas Aquinas.
earth1ynecessities. They seem to improvise everything in their lives. Reveal your soul the way it is, not in the evil that you suffer and
T~ey move in the unexpected and the unforeseen, always marvelous that tortures you, not in the temptations that attack you and that are
and masterful, living a life lifted beyond the sky, in which the image I your enemies, not in the marginal thoughts of the insane, that pass
of Christ appears, the everlasting Truth that they reveal to the· world. through your mind and that you chase with indignation, not in those
They are the most original, being the closest to Jesus Christ, the passive intimate thoughts that reveal to you that you are just an un-
I
exemplary Truth of their lives. worthy. mortal, but reveal your soul the way it is, in its original image,
Youth is also this way~ It is as refreshing as a gushing fountain, and in your personal will. Sincerity is the quality of the person, not of
the individual.
with an indomitable aspiration for originality, because it has fonned I
a brotherhood with Truth. A sincere person is possessed by a truth which holds his entire
being, without being trapped in reserved compartments. Sincerity
I changes our being into a crystal, in the midst of which Truth reigns.
Truth· and Sincerity
We are original to the extent that we allow the thoughts of God
It has been said that sincerity is the virtue of the present genera- to penetrate us, and to the exten't that we conforn1 to them.
I
t!on and that youth has attributed to itself the mission of blinding the We are sincere to the extent that we allow our upright and pure
world with the truth. It is the only art that youth reserves for itself. thoughts to penetrate· us and to the extent that we conforn1 to them
Everywhere sincerity· is proclaimed, in the nan1e of a "vital" phi- I in words and in deeds.
losophy. We preach the freedom of the subconscious, the bringing into Equality of resemblance between action and thought: this is sin-
the open of the instincts as the only original forces, and the exhibition cerity or moral truth ..
of our somatic and biological being, without any scruples of ethical or I
social nature, yet this is called .sincerity.
Sincerity, however, cannot exist except· in a being consisting of 48. P. Ortegat: "Philosophic de la religion," p. 143-144.
I

I
50 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH GREAT DICTATORSHIPS 51

Sincerity is so priceless that the lie has found hypocrisy in order to Judas saw nothing but the mute valley of the Gehenna, a fig tree on
resemble truth. It has been said that "hypocrisy is the homage vice the edge of a precipice, and a rope to caress his neck. He was so old
offers to virtue" (La Rochefoucault). that instant death should have come galloping to take a life that could
Youthful sincerity is born from the unshakeable adherence to the no longer endure, burdened by the reality that was decaying in his
truth. body.
The noble Jacque of Shakespeare's comedy, "As You Like It,"
said: "I have often reflected in my mind on all the things I have seen,
Truth and Reality and from this comes my profound sadness."
This means that he gained experience. "And experience makes
Someone once said that one of the most condemnable supersti-
you sad; a madman who could cheer me up would please me more
tions of our time is to consider that which is more base as more.real.48a
than an experience that made me sad," replied the young and beauti-
Hence the mania for reducing everything to the vulgar, and for finding ful Rosalinda.'u
a great satisfaction in this practice. There is a reality which makes people sad - that which belongs
Real is what remains after appearances have been abandoned. to the tangible, the prosaic, the common experience, the laboratory and
Real is everything that does not need imagination, fantasy, or statistics. The reality which was the end of Judas, was the reality sum-
passion in order to exist ..
marized in the words of Ecclesiasticus: "V ani ty of vanities, and all
Real is what is capable of touching our faculties and persuading is vanity." Truth is not revealed to those who are lost in this sea.
them to a valid reaction.
Youth is characterized essentially by as great a departure as pos-
Understood in this way, reality is a sister of truth, because it has sible from this reality. In a certain sense, youth is the age of the exal-
an ideal type to which it conforms: the one that exists in the mind tation of the spirit and of contempt for the body.~o
and the will of the Creator.
This character of the spirit of youth is also a feature of grown
Any reality which does not persuade our faculties of something man, as Thomas Carlyle says: "The character of every man who is
spiritual and noble deserves neither the name of Truth nor of reality, truly great consists in always coming back to reality, in any place and
but rather of thing, ·fact, or experience. in any situation, so that he may build on things, not on the appearances
I t is a realism which makes you old, vulgar, and base. Judas was of things."
a realist: He judged and followed the facts of a man "of business." When we hear, therefore, that youth suffers from an inflation of
. Immersed and steeped in a world of appearances and the immediate, the imagination, that it has at its disposal "the benefit of illusions
the man from Keriot, faced with the failures of the mission of Christ, which are peculiar to it" (Fr. Mauriac), that it has a special "capacity
wished to save what could still be saved, and to "limit the damages." for being deluded" (Th. Carlyle). We should understand the youth's
He looked directly at appearances and accommodated himself to them. facility to detach himself from the world of appearances, and its ability
Appearances, the play of deceptive passions, the base reaction of to direct itself toward superior realities; we understand the power of
faculties, ih the face of certain alleged realities, had brought Judas out following the thoughts, of walking on the paths of the ideal, of being
of the world of true reality, debasing rum in the universe of realities refractive to depressing experiences; we understand the capacity of
without name. It is here he grew old vertiginously through an accel~r- penetrating into the world of creative truths, which require the en-
ated wearing out of the being, so that, if death did not come suddenly gagement of the forces of dream, of life and sacrifice.
like some natural end, an inner force made him walk crazily toward it.
Anyone who pleads for an ideal pleads in favor of youth. To find
48a.* "La realite physique n'epuise pas tout Ie reel ... L'art nous rende a purpose in life which surpasses it, but which can be served by life's
presente l'intimite des choses; l'amour nous rende presente l'intimite
meme d'une autre person; la mystique nous rende presente l'intimite
meme de la puissance creatrice" (M. Lavelle: Le moi et son Destiri, 49. Act IV, Scene 1.
p. 26). * '. SO. Jean Lacroix", in "Medicine et education," I-III,
f
~:
i.
r
r!
i:
52 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH GREAT DICTATORSHIPS 53 H
i'l
'I.!
;'j
:.{

earthly means, is to find a source of youth. If no ideal ties you to life, and the good, without piety for the ideal. You can progress only in "./

if blind instinct dominates you, then you can no longer be true. To disproportion between what you desire and what you have, be-
be true requires that you confonn to a moral ideal. tween what you are and what you would like to be; disproportion
in favor of the desire and the will, which suffocates and overcomes
Truth and I deal what you have and what you are. Any advance slows down with adap-
tation; any attempt to get out and succeed is paralyzed by a complete
equilibrium between thought and realization, between desire and oc-
In an old monastery abandoned by the monks of St. Dominic, a
complishment. The spirit of youth is by nature the power of realiza- .
young scholar, teeming with intelligence and ideas, was being guided
tion, the zeal of giving human life to the ideal. Youth is nothing other
by an old monk who was explaining the age-old building to him. The
than the powerful and pleasant resonance of "great dreams." Without
young scholar was a veritable encyclopedia, full of archeological facts
it, mankind would languish inert on a planet growing colder, crying
and artistic axioms, having no link to his life and no influence on his
out with wails of despair, or eternally asleep in a rain of stars and a
spirit.. On the other hand, the old man with the supposedly smaller
conflagration of planets.
brain was wann and enlightened. Looking at them, the author asks
himself: "Which one of the two was younger, which was older, if youth
consists of embracing an ideal with powerful and invincible grip ?"51
THE DICfATORSHIP OF THE GRANDIOSE
You realize, continuing the reading, that youth was on the side of the
man old in age.
Truth and Dreaming
The philosopher Emil Boutroux defined youth. as "the joy to be
able to regulate your acts exclusively on the future and the ideaL"
The young Joseph, son of the patriarch Jacob, was called by his
.:+
Just like heroism, youth is not conceivable without an ideal; it is brothers "the man of dreams."lilB
defined by one. Youth consecrates itself to the ideal with the same An educator called the dr.eam "moral alcoholism." What dream?
ardor with which it gives itself to truth, the superior reality, and to Of adolescence. The dream heals many disappointments; Are you
sincerity. This ardor springs from the necessity to overcome appear-
blase at the age of twenty-two? Dream; create the ideal. With the
ances and to be true, because truth is the relationship between life and
the ideal. psychological structure turned toward the concrete, will a young wo-
man be disenchanted and disgusted by many things? Dream.
The aversion for the ideal coincides with the decision to live a dull
"A man does not become insane because he is a dreamer." (G. K.
life, to accept a compromise with the immediate, with the sensible, and Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p. 15). "The greatest aspect of the truly great
with the planet of appearances. The person who is indifferent to the
poets is that they were not only completely sane, but also practical in
ideal renounces dreams, poetry, and, finally, greatness.
life." (Ibid. p. 14, frorI} Shakespeare) .. y,
When the epicurean Metrador said, "I spit on you, Fatality, and "Grafted with dreams, as an ocean with stars" (Arghczi). This
I go on my way, singing a beautiful song," he defined his resistance to
is the way youth and its spirit appear to us.
old age, which was overwhelming him, for he was far from being To be able to dream and poeticize is synonymous with having the
young just as he was far from the ideal.
power of idealization and thirsting for greatness.
Striving to be true, to give the face of Truth to the world, is the
According to the marvelous doctrine of St. Augustine, all that
same as the effort to imprint the ideal on reaiity, to mold reality as
fonns the orbit of the world is distinguished in things and signs, "res
much as possible so that it may take on the fonn of the ideal.
et signum." Each creation is an object, but it is also a sign. It catches
I t is not possible to preserve what· you have conquered, nor to
your attention, but at the same time it lifts its interior to something
take a step forward in a world of values without this cult for the. better
else. It is "res," because it captivates your gaze or your thinking. It is

51. P. Bourget: "Nouveaux Pastels;" "Un' Saint," p. 50. 51a. Genesis, 37, 19.
54 THE SPIRIT O~ YOUTH GREAT DICTATORSHIPS .55

"signum," because it leads you beyond immediate perception, which The dreaniing of which we have spoken is distinguished from
is material, to a spiritual content, which surpasses the tangible world. common dreaming, from illusion and phantasmagoria, by a single trait,
The inclination and. ability to reach this world, to surpa~s the but of the nature of a spinal column. It needs neither lies nor deforma-
world of things, and to follow the path of signs into the universe of tions in order to succeed. It is a dream which succeeds, which con-
ideas is poetic vocation. "What I dream is everything for me," said Al quers the hostilities of appearances, and becomes reality and Truth.
de Vigny, because· the dream, the power of poeticizing builds beyond This dream preserves in its nature the capacity of becoming reality,
appearances in the world of essences and ideals. It is not just the even though it occurs outside of reality. This inner strength which
simple power of inventing and creating fairy tales, but also the pre- assures its success snatches it from the world of illusions and phantoms ..
sentiment of invisible realities, of a striving which entered into o~r "The dream," besides this vital strength of becoming reality, also
common experience, and, at the same time, the power of imposing this has an affinity for reality, while illusions and fantasies have no
order of reality on the world. other consistencies but that of revolt against reality. Light pursues
"Youth is a metaphysical age of life, and without metaphysics ghosts and unravels illusions.
it is not possible to live" (A. Huxley). With all the clashing contrasts "The dream" possesses a tropical abundance of ramifications, of
and antitheses, with all the paradoxes which we meet in the soul of the associations, of fertility. It is a creator and an organizer. Illusion, by
young, their desire for the immaterial and the creation of dreams re- comparison, is pale, bloodless, and sterile like the lie.
mains dominant. "If you wish to succeed in life with great accomplish- "The dream" possesses the ability of knowing by penetrating the
ments, then always keep a dream with you" (G. Papini). Only in this particular of things, reaching their essence and discovering the truth;
way can you obtain a sense of working, of suffering, of loving, of living.
it separates from appearance that which is immaterial.
"He who builds under the stars builds too low," said Jung. The The ability to "dream" discovers and organizes the worJd of ideals,
constructive impetus of life, the vital elan (to use the expression of which it wants to· bring among men.
Bergson), has its wonderful expression in youth, as an era of great This "dreaming" is so necessary that we should create, if not
dreams. We cannot imagine"how many things collapse when we bring seasons of silence, at least oases of silence in which it can be cultivated.
the slaughter of laughter and coldness to this powerful world of dreams, "Tace .et meditare!" (Be silent and meditate!) - this must be
of poeticizing! We build for fire and for worms, if we build. outside part of the program of the spirit of youth!
of the heaven of dreams.
A nation without this phalanx of dreamers is destined for destruc-
Man is Great through the Nostalgia of Grandeur
tion. Without these technicians of the spiritual world all the pillars of
the great buildings shall crumble, for only "that which is suspended Looking at these words of the philosopher Godfried Benn, I invol-
from the stars does not move" (Leonardo). untarily make a comparison between the spirit of youth, characterized
"Where are our dreamers? ... " This is not just a question of the by Ribot as having the "stillness of nostaJgia," and the heroism which
poet full of indignation upon seeing the desertion of those who have is the bearer of grandeur on earth. What enters into the formation of
been called upon to be prophets, artists, leaders, but it is the musing heroism is the very substance of the spirit of youth : the thirst for
of a man who sees old age taking over the world. "Where are our grandeur.
dreamers ... ", the discoverers of beauty, of new things full of fresh~ If the progress of the world in any field is the work of the hero
ness, of a new world which seems to break the waves of darkness, the who transforms the world according to an ideal conception, it is the
tireless call of those strive for the kingqom of higher Truths? All this necessity to assume in its foundation, as the Primum· Movens, the de-
will not happen without the spirit of youth, creator of dreams. sire to forge ahead, to attain other heights, to enter all fields in all
What distinguishes dream from illusion? When do we say. that the possible directions.
the imagination of youth is a departure from the real and from the This desire presupposes dreaming. "If it is dangerous for youth
present into a' phantasmagoric and Utopian realm? to dream, it is !TIore dangerous not to dream, because in this way we
56 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH GREAT DICTATORSHIPS 57

would suppress the very possibility of future creation."62 Mankind, the penetrated the room. The ray of sunshine received this property, says
nation, and the Church lean on these dreams like on some gigantic the visionary, because of the faith and the simplicity of the saint.
pillars. The moment you have curtailed all your dreams and have Likewise will your dreams be strengthened aI+dbecome more real
shrunk back from the grandeur of great ideals, at that moment you and consistent than a mountain of granite, through the power of God,
wiII face the humiliating mockery of every generation of youth, you because of your sincerity and your faith in Truth.
wiII be transformed into a receptacle which gathers a1l the garbage I tremble for the fate of a nation whose youth do not have the
tossed out by the Cherubs of Paradise. You will not be worthy of any- courage of the truth, of the dream of the grandiose.· "The youth one
thing . else. should worry about is the youth lacking extreme ideas" (H. Bordeatix);
The writer G. Bernaros accuses the nations' leaders of making the the one lacking the courage to te1l the truth, as God told His name on
grave error of nqt asking very much, of not requesting everything, of Mt. Sinai, with the thunderous voice of His powers, because that youth
not even seeking for the lives of young people: "We want another has resigned its vocation.
general for our sons, not General Not-So-Bad."63
The free dictatorship of truth and of grandeur can be supported
Ex Veritate (From the Truth)
only by the spirit of youth. When God wishes to ignite the world with
the flame of an idea, with the vision of something great, He places it "As you give priority to the soul rather than to the body, so shaH
in the spirit of the young.. you give priority to the truth rather than to the soul, not only in order
Who among the heroes would be able to express something more to love truth more than the body, but also more than the soul."64 The
elevating than the reality captured in the words of a young man: "10 soul captured by this disposition is the one born "ex veritate," and only
son nato con la malattia de1lagrandezza," ("I was born with the disease this soul remains the pledge of the future, the foundation of all hopes.
of grandeur")? "Everything that comes from truth listens to my voice," Jesus said.
Youth is the carrier of the flame of truth at a time when you can From truth comes he who does not build his dwellingfor himself,
no longer dream, when the prophecy of Joel can no longer be fulfilled: who does not take shelter in doubt and discouragement, but rather in
"Your young men will see visions." Youth carries this flame at a time the Truth which saves.
when, buffeted by all the banal vanities of the sma1l life, the manly From truth comes the soul which keeps its conscience awake to
embrace of Messianic convictions will be weakened, at a time when great ideas, which believes in ideas and trusts them.
greatness and grandeur will no longer retain their magic charm. At From truth comes the soul which allows itself to be overwhelmed
such a time the Church and the nation will co1lapse,and the spirit of by the invisible world rather than by the visible one, and which has the
Truth will blow uselessly over the great heaps of relics, without ever full knowledge that appearances are a structure hesitating between
being able· to kindle the weakest quiver of life. nothingness and deception.
Dream, dream in the spirit of Truth, in the meaning of the Gos- From truth comes the man who is dominated by a nostalgia for
pels, bu.t only in a masculine way, without romanticism and sentimental a world beyond earthly phenomena, the man who understands that
embroidery. Dream in the secret depths of your pure soul built on faith, the goods of this world are not the true ones.
and the Lord God wi1lsurely take care that your dreams become flesh From truth come we, if we have the power to animate with spir-
and blood.. itual ideas the world of dead matter.
Catherine Emmerick speaks t6 us about St. Goard, a hermit who From truth come we, if we have the conviction that life encom-
was dragged before the Bishop to defend himself. When he was about passed in the whirlpool of experience is not worth living.66
t6 enter into the presence of the Bishop, he wanted to hang his cloak up . You are from truth when you do not accept the easiest solution,
on a peg. There being no peg, he hung· it up on a ray of sunshine that nor the quickest path, but rather you are inclined toward what is more
·52. P; Mendousse: "L'ame de l'adolescent," p. 130. 54. St. Augustine: "De Mendacio ad Consentium," C. VII.
53. "T"<; grandes cimetieres· sous la lune," pp. 227, 233. 55. B. Barisco: :,"1 massimi problemi," pp. 24-25.
58 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH GREAT DICTATORSHIPS 59

difficult, and you piously approach the place and the heart in which * The Smile
a cross-emblem is planted, because you feel that therein lies the truth.
That soul which is from the truth, imposes silence on all deafening "The smile is not a geometrical figure, nor an adjustment of the
voices, on the voice of hatred and revenge, on the voice of pride and appearance, and even less a lie of good manners.
haughtiness, on the voice of the flesh and the blood, on the voice of It is a gift that we must give to everyone. Our debt to anyone.
earthly loves and the instinct for property, so that over their silence, must be nothing but a smile.
commanded by the wiIl, it may hear the whisper of peace and see the' A smile is not an invitation, nor a temptation, nor a bait, nor
light of truth. an iIlusion; it is not the writing of love or the vestment of melancholy.
That soul which is from the truth, feels banished and enslaved in The smile is the moral act through which we recognize that people
this life, convinced that the waIls of this world shaIl give way when the are worthy of being treated with good will at all times.
heart shaH keep pace with the great ideas of the spirit. The smile is a good heart which dances sweetly on your face, on
That soul which is from the truth, is consumed by disgust and your lips, and in your eyes.
kindled with indignation against anything that is vulgar and banal; the The smile is a moment of divine reflection: 'Everything is good.'
soul which responds harshly to all that is artificial and false, to aII that The smile is the approval of life in as much as it ties us to God.
.is lacking in boldness and fearfUl of sacrifice. A smile is like a big book in which many things are written, good
and bad."
That soul which is from the truth, is horrified by routine, defiant
of human respect and the opinion of the crowd, and knows how to (The Art of Succeeding in Life). *
stri~e with deeds of virtue at the dweIIings of conventional lies.
That soul which is from the truth, attacks humbly but incorruptibly
all the masquerades of the lovers of pleasures and lies. A POSITION IN THE FACE OF MYSTERY
That soul which is from the truth, hates lies and hypocrisy and
does not intend to be mild with either of them. I know of no one who could walk through the guIIies of laughter,
Whoever is from truth, believes in death which is life-giving; mysterious and breathing cold winds..
believes in the darkness of death which brings light; believes that he is Who can rest in face of the laughter and mockery of the Jews
born to know and to love more perfectly, believes in the victory of before the Cross of the Lord Jesus? What happiness can sit next to
ideas over sensations, of truth over the lie, of eternity over time, of good the mockery and scorn with which Herod and his soldiers invested
over evil; he is a soul convinced that faith, hope, and optimism are On him? ... In the absolute one can find a dweIIing, but not in the apart-
an ascending trajectory of the exalted course of Life and Happiness. ments of laughter. "As soon as a man is possessed by hatred toward
The first and fundamental quality of the spirit of youth, is to be God, he no longer can refrain· from laughter" (Paul Clandel). And
"from the truth," which is more precious than the peace of the soul he will laugh at any breath which carries the divine perfume; he will
which possessestruth with indifference and without its true worth. be unable to restrain his laughter before any virtue, from angelic inno-
cence up to docile obedience to the wiIl of the truth.
More dear, more youthful, more close to the truth and to God is
the soul of Augustus Aurelius who cries: "0 veritas, veritas, veritas,
* The apologist did not succeed against mockery.56a What the
laughter of Voltaire did! "Rome laughed, and died" (Bossuet). *
quam intime etiam turn meduIlae animi mei suspirabant tibi!" (Oh
Nothing is as dangerous as the inner invasion of laughter. The
truth, truth, truth, how deeply the marrow of my soul·sighed for you
fear of the laughter of the world, the fear of ridicule turns some people
even then), 56 than the soul of those scribes of Israel who proclaimed:
"We are the sons of Abraham." into swine, but turns most people into idiots.
0, veritas, veritas! ... 56a.*"Depuis que Ie christianisme a paru sur Ia terre, trois especes d'ennemis
I'ont constamment attaque: les heresiarques, les sophistes, et ces hommes
56: Confessions, Liber III, C. VI. en apparence frivoIes, qui detruisent tout en riant" (Chateau briand, Genie
du Christianisme, I, Introd.). *
GREAT DICTATORSHIPS
61
60 THE SPIRIT OF 'YOUTH

Laughter is the shortest, the most vulnerable, and the easiest of confuse the rose which blooms in June and whose duty is to flower"
all the false demonstrations. It is a direct argument, not with the (Wagner). Nor does it prevent the gentle breeze which bears its per-
help of ideas, but with the immediate transfusion of a spiritual state. fume from expanding itself generously over the fields, nor the stars
Laughter is an attack of microbes whose virus has instant effect, from shining like the eyes of an angel on the ceiling of darkness.
Sin cries' out, vice barks, and you hear laughter. TeIl yourself
without aIlowing any reflex movement in defense, other than fear
then: "I did not know that I was so high while they are so low." ,>

and paralysis.
Those who laugh are a paid mob. They are the hired hands of a
A tale in which aU the enemies are aUegedly kilJed by Prince rotten world and have no other wisdom than that which makes noise
Charming would seem plausible if. the hero in turn would be kiIIed by I empty of any music and persecuted by virtue.
the dragon of Irony. Only the presence of a laughter which is trium- You must not shiver when confronted by laughter. The love of
phant over the bravery of youth can give the necessary touch of truth
truth warms you, and because of this fire, ice, shaIl form only when
to any legend. Laughter is the prideful confession of impotence, of
you wish it.
giving no answer, of standing before a greatness that humbles you We read in the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola that he left on a long
and which you refuse to recognize and to which you are incapable of
hard journey clothed in the humble dress of a mendicant pilgrim. His
bowing.
strange appearance and that of his companions formed a damning con-
Irony is the underlining of a contrast, the discovery of a dishar-
trast with the empty vanity of men. Flocks of children went after them,
mony, the pointing out of an antithesis, the presence of a lie, the playing laughing and mocking them. But they, instead of hastening their foot.
of a hypocrisy. Ironic laughter is the creation of a disequilibrium, the
steps, slowed down even more, so that they could abundantly confront
accentuation of an antithesis, and E. HeIlo would say, the establish-
this base laughter with their desire for greatness and love of truth.
ment of a, distance between one who laughs and one who is being Endure the laughter of the journalist and the irony of a crowd
made fun of.
of good-for-nothings. You have access to places of splendor when you "

Ironic laughter seems to say: you are in a world different from ~


have the courage to endure being laughed at because of your thirst :i
"
mine, from ours: you came down from the moon; I look at you from for truth ... your power of dreaming, and your ardor for marvelous 'I
,~

above and from so far away that although I see you, I do not feel you, deeds.
a

for you don't know how to hurl a connecting bridge between you and Laughter is an insult to the happiness found in the spirit of youth;
the world; we are too high and you are too low. it is an attempt at profanation carried out by those whose hearts are
Ironic laughter sees the breach between desire and possibility, be· bent against souls of great thoughts.
.r.~
II'
I,
{
tween the wiIl and goodness, between the flesh and the spirit, and Bend your knees only when confronted by the truth and the good. t
makes it evil. It screams in order to frighten you, but it does not ex- Let laughter be the' raw material of the history of a crown of steel. ~
tend its hand in order to help you, and it never offers you any remedy Woe, woe to him whose presence slaps out at no one or nothing. Woe, l'I
for the helplessness which could be cured. woe to him whose life does not ransack the hideous souls of petty per-
l
.1.
t

Ironic laughter is caustic, it burns everything that it touches; like sons and does not expose them. Woe, woe to him whose presence,
a flamethrower it is agressive and finds its pleasure in wounding others. whose life, and whose deeds set in motion nothing but atoms instead 1
Ironic laughter is pride and scorn of the human soul; it is the declara- of the souls of men. f
tion 6f war on an uneven ground; it is the ferocity which does not liken I 1
I
man to a wild beast of the forest, but rathe; to the Prince of eternal t
II
night.
But you, let the crooked souls and the pilgrims propped on crutches
think that your straight walk is strange. Don't be concerned on ac- I
count of their deformed faces, when through the profundity of your
life you condemn deceiving appearances. "To laugh, ---, this cannot
I
I
I
ON THE HEARTH OF LoVE 63

the' spirit of youth. If you don't have fire and love in your heart, no-
body will ever warm you up, and the world around you will become
an arctic zone, where very rarely you may find a handful of moss un-
der layers of snow. The only flora will be mildew, which will cover
all life, ironic homage of death.
Isn't it true that old people envy the young because of their
carefree capacity for love? Do not search in vain for the hearth of
Love; you will not find it, if you did not find it in the spirit of youth.
In psychology books it was written that 'youth is the age when "a
landscape is a spiritual state," that even "the roots of its intellectual
life are overtaken by emotions" (Barres, Jean Lacroix), and that blood
ON THE HEARTH OF LOVE and love are its essential components.
When youth finds itself in some reflection of thought, it recognizes
itself as ebullient love. It even thinks that it is love itself. Probably it
"La mia natura e fuoco," exclaimed St. Catherine of Siena, and
at the same time she also defined the nature of youth. Vessel of love, is the revenge of the heart against the academic oppression of the
mind. The heart uses its own logic, which confuses all the calculators
of passion, of fire, youth maintains all the hearths of life, kindles their
of measures and, quantities. The truth of Pascal's' quote "Le coeur a
flame that it may not flicker, and pours on them, as the energy that
ses raiSon ... " i~ discovered during the period of youth. The spirit of
will sustain them, the burning pieces of its own heart. youth does not give preference to the heart nor to the mind, but to the
"Without love, everything on earth would perish, and without spirit formed by both of them.
a heart to love, even the sun. would. diminish in power". said Victor
Without a "career of fire" in the spirit of youth, the "source of
Hugo. The world would be a mass of ashes moving in an immense i
light" would not even be worth looking at. "Even the truth needs
wasteland. With the death of love, everything dies.
. Dante ends his powerful supernatural trilogy with the vision of
I ·blood in order to prosper." The ideas which do not pass through the
i
the Love which moves the sun and the constellations: ."L'amor che I heart, and refuse to bathe in blood, are good only for a museum of
I antiquities. Any laboratory or factory, even of colossal proportions, is a
muove il sole e l'altre stelle." At this point he thinks that there is noth- i mockery if it does not have within itself a furnace, or a source of fire
ing else to write. Without love everything would fall into a cosmic I and warmth: It is impossible to work on some objects until they are
paralysis.. I brought into a state of heat.
Even 'science leads us to believe that a universal blackout will i
happen at the moment that "heat" gradually leaves every body. Death, So it is in your life: without the hearth of love, without the fire
diffused all over, will destroy, with a cold grin, all the childish and vain II of love, youth appears like a splendid building full of all kinds
efforts to spark a flint to a handful of moss. I of inventions, but mute in its inertia. In order to call yourself pene-
I
In our hearts, which Scripture calls "very deep," burns a fountain trated by the spirit of youth, you must know how to put yourself in a
of fire. Beside fresh light, in which all young persons who love truth \
state of incandescence. There are things in life which we cannot ac-
i complish and cannot bring to an end once we begin, no matter
bask themselves, the spirit of youth also possesses a veritable "mine of I
flames," which it uses in favor of the arid world. how hard we try, without this state of incandescence, which is charac-
"The world dried up around me," wrote St. Gregory the Great, ! teristic of the spirit of youth, and born out of love.
"and yet it is continuously alive in my heart." Everything brings forth' It is utterly wrong to think that youth is an inevitable crisis, a
leaves, buds, flowers, and trees in the heart of one who is blessed with struggle which one must win in order to accomplish something. How
many parents and educators supervise, as if with a thermometer in
62 their hands, the young around them for whom they are responsible,
I

64 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH ON THE HEARTH OF LoVE 65


!
fearing complications, as if they were at the bed of a person ill with Today and always this fire is kindled by the spirit of youth, the
scarlet fever or chicken pox. The moment the mercury lowers in the only vehicle that carries it in its amlS and in the hearth of its heart.
thermometer, they feel relieved, as if the patient were out of danger, I
When you see a beneficial conflagration, and rush to drink from the
when in reality, in most cases, the "patient" has just entered the herd of tongues of fire which f0l111its substance, you must know that the
mediocrity, persecuted by the angels of God and damned by "the first spirit of youth stood there for a while.
I
and the last" of St. John's Apocalypse. They are then considered quali- Let them speak of you the same words spoken by the prophet Joel
fied, normal, serious, and worthy by a world for whom the eternal (2, 3): "Before him the fire was burning, and after him the flames,
Truth and Life did not waste time to pray, for one does not pray for f
were consuming."
those who become immobilized in a decision to die. But don't we know And let the flame be called the CREATIVE LOVE of better and
that this fever of youth, this fire that we want to control with repug- truer worlds.
nance, in it's mercurial movement is the very fire that maintains the I
rest of the world in a normal temperature? When youth becomes cold,
when its heart coagulates and its fire disappears under the ashes, the THE ABILITY TO ADMIRE
rest of the world shivers with cold, and mankind's teeth chatter (Ber- r

nanos) .
How true it is what Ch. Morgan said, when he wrote that "A
Don't hesitate to change yourself into fire. Those poor candles,
I flame is part of an embrace." A flame is born only from an embrace.
upon which an anemic flame barely flickers, wiIl beg you for a drop ~i
I t is true in many planes of life and of the universe. The flame of "

of oil, "for the light is dwindling," and you will be a giver of flames love especially wiII not be born without the embrace of the ideals of the ;',
and fuel.
I great truths.
"Life of fire, what are you doing on our hearths?" asks the poet
"Hot grew my heart within me; in my thoughts, a fire blazed !i
T. Arghezi in "Prayer." What else but what the love of God is doing
forth" (Psalm 39, verse 4), because we catch fire from the truth, when :·1
on earth:' to give life to dead ideas, to give strength to, the depressed, ~ ~
we think of it through meditation. :
to warnl those who travel on a cold road, to stimulate courage, to in-
We embrace the truth through admiration. We catch fire in :l
'f
spire self giving, to revive the fight, and to strengthen hope.
Only man, according to paleontology, ethnography, and history, I this embrace unexpectedly. The deeper and more spiritual your admir-
ation, the more uncessantly you will burn. It has been said that people
I ~

,~
can rekindle a fire. A gorilla opens its hairy arms to it, and warms itself can no longer be amazed; they lost this ability because of the technical II
like a man overcome by cold, but it can never rekindle the fire hidden and wondrous discoveries which are competing with God, and enrich
I,
under the ashes. Only man has that power. Kipling's Mowgli knows us with "magic knowledge," so that we no longer can be amazed.58
"

:1
that he is a man among the beasts of the jungle because he can use fire. If wonder and ap1azement come from a temporary impossibility to ex- 1
That fire was but an image however, compared' to the true fire com- I plain something, admiration comes from a meditated recognition of a
ing from the look of his eyes, which conquered and bent the emerald
glare of the black panther.
superiority which captures and subjugates you in a delicious and en-
chanting way. If ignorance is the foundation of wondering, wisdom
!
Youth is and remains youth, only if it can kindle the fire in this I; and knowledge create admiration. The many-headed gods of tech-
:1

world, if it can share with this world its mine of fire, and if it wants ~j
nology cannot penetrate the domain of admiration, and cannot hinder
to work in this world with great love. Fire and wisdom appear at the it.
~
same time as man. Where you can see' traces of fire, you must know I The inability to admire is a real internal inertia, or, to use the
,
)
J
that a man was there. "The wisest thing in the world is enthusiasm, philosopher G. Marcel's definition, a spiritual atony. On the other
the most dangerous is coldness," wrote E. Hello.57 hand, the ability to admire gives a real measure to the human soul.59 ,I~
I j
\
58. P. P. Negulescu: "Destinul omenirii," vol. II pag. 91. l'
57. "Le Siecle."- Artie. "La folic," p. 97. 59. H. Pate: "Le breviaire dcs jeul1cs" p. 18.
r
I Ii
11

I,
. ,
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"

~' '.'
...
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.
ON THE HEARTH OF LOVE 67 'f
66 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH i.~.·

Like prayer, admiration is a recognition of true greatness, of


beauty, of goodness, of justice, and of a possibility of being enchanted
by this greatness. Like prayer, it is an ascension of the soul toward su-
perior regions, regions which very often are near us, hidden in things
and people. Admiration is born from this marvelous and spiritual
l virtues which are close to madness, but their madness is true greatness
(E. Dur~heim).
The enemies of the Jews used to say: "Their God is the God of
the mountains," and for this reason they always tried to fight them in
the plains, not on the mountains where they were always defeated, You
meeting of our mind and soul with the face of God, hidden in mortal t too are invincible, as long as you stay on this heavenly height of your
beings. soul, full of youthful vibrations. The true God is the one who listens
The ability to admire presupposes a disregard for what is low, with fire, said the prophet Elias; and He will listen with fire, if you
I
vulgar, and common, because admiration is not only an elevation, but know how to let yourself be captured by the enchantment of this in-
also a penetrat~on beyond appearances, strengthened by the power to visible ecstasy.
see, without hesitation and without syllogistic entanglements; a certain I Heroism begins not only through an act of dynamic emotion, but
value which impresses itself on our conscience. also through an act of high, profound, and true admiration.
The ability to admire surpasses the simple power of knowledge, Youth emanates from the face of the admirer, like a breeze satur-
because it presupposes the moral liberty of being enchanted, and the I ated with the perfumes of a gigantic tropical orchid.
conviction that our destiny is not that of being wise, but of being "I lift my eyes toward the mountain" (Psalm 121, v. 1). The
virtuous and good.GO "Your destiny is to admire, not to know," says heart, the entire soul of youth follows this look. The young know that
Bossuet; and if he curses science, which does not bless life, he curses I
salvation has its beginnings only from above. From there comes fire,
it because he does not know how to kindle the fire of admiration, for from there comes love. Who admires, exalts himself.
"the science that turns away admiration is a bad science" (Joubert). I
To know how to admire means to know how t·o change. This
To know, and yet to allow yourself to be enchanted, is a wonder- transformation is permitted only to those who have learned to admire.
ful characteristic of youth. Only the young, with their infinite spiritual Admiration is an internal action full of ethical values. We are what
reserves, and their natural disposition toward enchantment can actual- I we admire. As Saint Beuve said: "Tell me what you admire, and I
ly enjoy being penetrated and possessed by the truth and the goodness will tell you who you are." Admiration is the cradle of love, and
they have come to know and see. "youthful enthusiasm is nothing but a form of Love" (Wagner), itself
I
., ~
Only what is young in us can admire. The spiritual measure of born from admiration. )
vigorous youth within us is attained by our ability to admire. To know how to admire is to know how to be reborn. In order to
"Go on up to the mountain, and stay there ... the image of the renew a soul, a people, even a nation, take them to the school of admir-
glory of God on top of the mountain was like a consuming fire."61 I
ation of the great values of their ancestors. You stimulate rejuvenation
This is the allegory of the power of admiration: to be able to find a where you revive admiration.
touch of greatness among beings and people, and hence raise your soul A soul who knows how to admire, is never pessimistic. The dis-
I
as on the peak of a mountain. Then you will feel the fire; then you
enchantments of youth have nothing to do with a feeling of, being
wiII touch'the peaks of your soul; and, transported there, writes Bernard worthless in life. They are the product of temporary moods, and
d'Astrog, you will identify yourself with him, whom we call hero" ;62 I therefore ephemeral. Real youth is optimistic, without illusions, be-
like a consuming fire there burns the glory of God.
cause it has the. ability to admire. Old men, skeptics, and pessimists
Possessing this quality, youth feels itself invested with a magic
have a physical revulsion for admiration, and for the philosophy of
prestige, which brings it closer to heroism. From this are born those
virile and prophetic optimism. The moment you let yourself be en-
chanted, you have caught the essential meaning of life, and you have
!
60.' Leon Olle-Laprune: "De la Certitude Morale," p. 348 ss.
61. Exodus, ch. 24, v. 12, 17.
escaped the tyrannic domination of the present, and of ephemeral I
62. "Servitude et grandeur du Heros," in Vie Intellect., April 10, 1939,page
events. You have acquired the granitic conviction that you are not an
124. ordinary foot soldier crawling toward an eternal deception, but the ij
\

!
.:J

~,j
-~~.

68 THE SpmIT OF YOUTH . ON THE HEARTH OF LOVE 69


iJ

legionary, who is convinced that the apotheosis of final victory is that When Love, Admiration, and Aspiration no longer exist in the
rl
of truth and goodness, at the end of each human life, and at the end hearths of our soul, then we can look for coffins, for life is already
;1
J
of the history of mankind. Lift your eyes from what debases you, to dying. And in no way will corpses be allowed to walk among the living. .~:i

what exalts you, for when you learn to admire true heavenly gifts, you Brother,' be hungry, for. hunger is the most real feeling of an or- :'!
I
will gain courage for life, and a taste for great accomplishments. Do ganism structured in youth. How many of us act like the jackal in the
rJ
not contemplate the spots on the sun, through a telescope, but enjoy "Book of the Jungle," who timidly circles the live prey, but, cowardly as q
t·;

the blessings of light in its infinite fluorescence, and the delights of it is, does not dare to satisfy its hunger other than with an old shoe :i
q
warmth in its mending growth. grabbed from atop a pile of trash, at the edge of town ... I would like ·,1
i:!

Surge et sta in excelso! < to see you with your heart and soul hungry for greatness and holiness; ~~
(Rise and dwell in the heights.) , like a hungry wolf, sprayed with burning petrol, running through a
This is the mission of admiration: it lifts you and places you on field of immaculate snow, in order to arrive at the holy fire of love of
high, while beneath you life goes on, vulgar, minuscule, and agitated. Truth, Good, and Beauty.
The act of admiration begins again every morning, and every eve- In a lost island in the Pacific, a priest was talking to some old na-
ning. Montaigne says that his father was accustomed to wake him up tives with words of persuasion, of desire to stimulate conversion, to save
every morning with songs and beautiful music. Through an act of ad· their soul. The natives; discouraged and depressed, just shrugged their
miration in the morning, you can revive youth in yourself, as well as shoulders: "What is the use, father," they said, "the young ones should
optimism, and an enchantment full of real desires. convert, and become Christians: this is good, because they have a soul.
Perhaps the natural inclination toward happiness of the young is But for us, the old ones, there is nothing left but death. We cannot
nothing else but the ability to begin each .day anew with a profound save our soul because it left us a long time ago. This is the reason
and sincere act of admiration. that we languish in this manner."
The ability to admire is like the power to light a great fire within The inhabitants of Jap Island in the Carolinas reaJ1y believe that
yourself; it is a sort of communion full of life, a stimulation that the soul leaves the body some time before death. Aging, loss of power,
quickens you. "The crumbs which fall from the table of God" will and, later, death follow the abandoning of the body by the soul.ij{
meet in that fire causing it to become more combustible. The world, under the appearances of a decaying life, confesses
Admiration keeps you strong and vigorous, so that you will not that it has lost its soul. Only the soul of youth, with its ability for ad-
surrender except to greatness and s"blimity, and this capitulation will miration, can give back to the world its los't soul, and to the soul the
be an engagement, a commitment, a total mobilization, not an inert fire which is dormant under the ashes: love.
satisfaction. There isn't a more authentic source of aging than satis- Embrace the Truth, that you may kindle a fire in this world,' to
faction, just as there isn't a bigger source of melancholy (W. James). which your own people, afflicted by the curse of aging, may run and
A satisfied person is on leave from the field of life, and from the watch be rejuvenated.
regiment of Ideal and Virtue.
Man does not live by bread alone, he lives by ASPIRATION,
admirably writes E. Hello.63 This is the first rousing gesture, born out SELF CONQUEST
of admiration. It is so natural this indispensable spiritual act, that,
without it, your powers become arid, and you will perish by starvation. We cannot give of ourselves, until we possess our own being, full
Plato in his Symposium had some of his guests define love as an aspira- of "materia prima," "prime matter," for a beautiful life. True youth,
.tion to complete the missing part in ourselves, that part which the like heroism, discards the "ego." It is the sacrifice of the individual
gods had stolen and hidden in someone else. ego, and the exaltation of the collective ego.

63. Op. cit., art. cit. page 100. 64. Jesuites Missionaires: "Aux iles Carolines," Dec. 1936, page 10.
70 ON THE HEARTH OF LOVE 71
THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH

During our life time, we are our own trap, and we all become tification, and of Iiberty.65 "The politics of taking everything lightly,"
trapped in the entagled vines of our self love and sensuality. Immo- which will cause our destruction (A. Bridaux), is a stranger to the
bilized by ourselves, we look, with the glare of a caged animal, toward spirit of youth.
\the Ideal: then perhaps we begin to feel the force of an inner storm, All the parasites within ourselves must die, if we want to be total-
generated by our own youth, who would like to destroy the great ly receptive. Any cross - and happy is he who is bothered by the )
obstacle. Cross - typifies the attempt to' awake in ourselves the conscience of
The conscience of youth tells me that I cannot be penetrated by the spirit of youth, and, the effort to destroy within ourselves every-
its spirit, until I am freed from myself, and this "requires a violent self thing that opposes it.
conquest," as E. Psihary was accustomed to say. Renounce yourself" and pick up your Cross, said Christ to the 'f

man who wanted to be young. Forwe retain within ourselves, from the ~.f

As long as we cannot conquer ourselves, we risk being suffocated ;.\

time of our birth, the germs of aging, which must be destroyed through
~i
\
;i:
by lies, begging for narcotics and the care~ of illusions. This is what
self crucification. During the French Revolution, a priest pulled a :}
G. Bernanos was referring to when he said: "I believe only in what is
Crucifix from the wall of a desecrated Church; he held the Cross as :!
of great cost to me." Self love is so very subtle; it works on sensuality
with so much shrewdness and cunning, it takes so many virtuous atti-
high as he could, and demanded t6 be'let through the angry crowd. i
';'~

The people, who at first were screaming and asking for his death, now,
tudes, it even genuflects, only to sway you on its side, so that you will i1
faced with this daring gesture, applauded, and walked in procession
find yourself the victim of its atrocious jaws. Then you find yourself behind the Cross~ :1
in front of the conscience of youth, and see yourself as a handcuffed if
If all our feelings, desires, and thoughts would be arranged in a !f
slave. At this moment, how can you still 'believe in things that do not
procession behind the Cross, we could be considered the builders of a
"cost," and how can you n'ot cut the tentacles of this greedy octopus? it
beautiful life, because we would have the power to give and sacrifice :1
No surge is possible without self renunciation, no generous love. ourselves in total freedom. Do not scorn the Cross and the renunciation
"I'

All the ,enchantments are swallowed by the swamps of our inner con- T
of your life, lest you be a stranger to the spirit of youth.
tinent. Poetry will not pervade us, until the immensity of our ego is After sanctity, perhaps the work of art most worthy of admiration a;
:ri
conquered. in this world is that heroism which receives life from the spirit of youth, It
... (

The philosopher Stuart Mill says that we cannot trust people who I~.i
and, like all works of art, youth too is a perpetual sacrifice.

ii'
",

are not accustomed to deny themselves permitted pleasures, for no one We must" not give any concessions to the three appetites of life "j

can guarantee that they will be able to deny themselves those pleasures !
mentioned by St. John the Apostle. I am not for an association for the
which are not permitted. He foresees the necessity to submit children protection of the aged man \"ithin ourselves, or of the human ,heart. II
'!'
and young adults, in the future, to a methodic training in asceticism, to I am for repentance without conditions and without delay, for self de- ,J

teach them how to suppress their desires, to face danger, and to endure nial without mercenary bargaining.
,suffering willingly. ' Without a systematic denial of natural inclinations and prefer-
1
(
f
All the innumerable sources of egotism must be plucked and de-
stroyed. Who can see something great through the lenses of his own
ences, without,the rejection of minor demands, we will never be cap-
able of true desires.~G "Those who' do not accept the harsh method,
lj
interest? Who can contemplate something sublime, while the thirst of
his own sensations blurs any spiritual pleasure? Pure beauty, not
blurred by earthly whims, can be seen only by those who are free.
never pay for anything" (Alain).
indifference' - the action' of lielf-detachment - has no other
merit than lifting us out of the vulgar ... If, when we can acquire
i
~
'The life of those who are preoccupied only with themselves, is a something, we don't, we give ourselves a thousand times more than I
complicated system of cowardices and capitulations, of shrewd plans what we could have acquired. We can build a diamond cathedral in !
to soothe a never ending cupidity, and to satisfy an infinite ,concu-
piscence. C 65. Cf. Ch. Peguy: "L'Argent," page 48. 1
"J

The spirit of youth is a system of sacrifice, of manliness, of mor- 66. P. Masson-OUl;sel: "Apprends a agir," page' 40.
73
72 THE SPIRiT OF YOUTH ON THE HEARTH OF LOVE

the invisible world, out of all the foregone opportunities of satisfying "Sit ara tua conscientia mea" (My Lord, may Your Altar be my con-
ourselves.61 science) .
Let aU the pygmies of today's world, blinded as they are by some This conscience of the, spirt of youth is an echo which sounds like
myopic fatalism, better yet by some divine curse, and incapable of fin- a music without which life is nothing, an echo of the presence of God
ishing a job which inconveniences them, know that the words of An- within our depths, a real echo, like that of any substance, and con-
tony remain true: "Come then, for with a wound I must be cured" sistent with all divine words.
(Shakespeare). III with a self inflicted sickness, walking convulsed Sacrifice then becomes the realization of a superior harmony, the
epitaphs, those who cannot be free of themselves with a wound, a act of getting closer to the God of all ideals and beauties, the free act
decoration of wounds, will remain old candidates for the morgue, an of a loving and daring will, which consents to its self denial, to aban-
object of horror for the hyenas, and of contempt for the spirit of youth. don itself in order to find the God of freedom and youth.
Every time we cannot conquer ourselves, but attach ourselves to Any sacrifice shatters the limits of the ego. Imprisoned within
the small things that appear new, we hang a millstone around our ourselves, we remain merely nearsighted rickety old men, riciiculed by
neck, and put our hope in ephemeral things. Consequently we adopt youth, and as worthless humor to the children of the street. Through
their meaninglesness, and their ultimate end. sacrifice we regain ourselves, and break the banks of the ego; we de-
The pleasures that you forego by conquering yourself through stroy everything which diminishes life, and then by adding it to the
the hewing of your will power, where do they take you? Do you know Truth, which for us is He, the Living God,' we transform it from
,the drawing rooms or the cellars, where they are sold?, All the sub- light to light into a splendid youth.
scribers to the three appetites are sickly eunuchs. Conquer yourself, Sacrifice is not an amputation, which leaves you crippled, but a
that you may know the iron and the steel, the healthy martial and ath- 'surgical eliminatiqn of what confuses and dissipates the eagerness of
letic joys, and the olympic enjoyment .of a clean and victorious soul life'toward the heights; it is not the suppression of the body, or of its
(P. Claudel). functions, not even of its passions, but their subordination to the direc-
tives of the mind and of faith. It is a therapeutic act meant to re-
vive that which wa~ otherwise destined to be yoked to the hearse.
'ON THE ALTAR OF CONSCIENCE Through sacrifice we prevent the killing of man by the animal,
and the destruction of what is divine in us by ,man.
There are in us two sources of evil, which blur the realization Through sacrifice we confess that the accent of life is not on the
of spirtual growth, and both of them lead to what we call egotism; the" body, hence the body is not the center of life; we also confess that we
egotism of the body, and the egotism of the spirit, the haughtiness of are not ,the point of convergence of the acts of life, and that we are
the flesh, and the haughtiness of life. The soul wants to imagine itself not the source of happiness and love.
either as an angel, or as a beast. And it does not want to become Sacrifice consists in preferring the holy Ideals, in one word God,
what it really is: the image of God. to the rest of the world, for outside of God there is nothing.68
'!The slope toward the 'ego' ", said Pascal, is the beginning of all We prolong life through daily deaths of self denial.
disorders, and the road to aging. With each sacrifice we leave to the next moment, and, to tomor-
In order to enter the dawn of life and the beginning of youth, row, the right to inherit a more beautiful life, and the aura of youth
established as a current of wishes and desires in a clean and profound shining with enchantment.
pattern, like that of the ancient rivers, we must begin with, an act of Do you want to know what constitutes nothingness in life? "It is
sacrifice, prolonged until the end of our earthly life. the passion of enjoyment without scruples, the attachment to the life
The Ego's capacity for sacrifice is proportional with the measure of the sens~s, the burning search for wealth; it is taking serious things
of youth and heroism; St. Augustine wrote these marvelOl,lswords:
68. A. Gatry: "De la connaisance de t'ame," Tom. II, IV book (all 5
chapters) .'
67. H. de Montherlant: "La possession de soi-meme," page 41.
74 THE SPIRrr<OF YOUTH ON THE HEARTH OF LOVE 75

lightly and frivolous things seriously; it is the contempt for man and ever thought of what luck can unleash in man, of what atmosphere
the exaltation of the ego."69 it creates in his heart? Believing in luck seems to rne a belief not in
Do you want to know what constitutes greatness and youthfulness God or your own ability, but in vagueness, in chance ... Luck docs
in life? It is the embrace of sacrifice without calculation, the detach- not bring out the best from the strata of our being; the optimism that
ment from the life of the senses, the disposition to accept inconvenience it creates is not founded on something which can be expressed with a
as a noble discipline, the love for great ideas; it is. getting closer· to beautiful idea, caught in the real universe. The good disposition which
God'through the love for your fellow man, and through the assimila- is part of it, is full of doubts and disbeliefs. But the passivity that fol-
tion of all His intentions. ,lows it is like a cursed laziness, sister of fatalism; with it fades our
striving toward betterment, and our power for sacrifice softens.
Luck is the heroism of the coward, and the genius of the mediocre.
IN THE MIDST OF WOLVES I think that it is also a curse of God, more so than the ancient used
to believe, because, along with the inertia it justifies, it revives in the
Chancellor Bacon noted' that for the common people the small soul an erotic disposition toward mildew. And this is a very cruel curse.
virtues are worthy of praise, the middle ones of admiration, but for the "A hostile world, on the other hand, sculptures yoU."70 Do not be
superior ones, the common people has no understanding at all. Every- perplexed, do not take it in a tragic way, and, above all, do not be dis-
thing that is superior irritates the common man. The entire reservoir couraged on your way to ascension, when you are met by obstacles.
of hatred of this common man is directed against whatever is striving
J for nobility and superiority.
Every blow is like the hewing of a chisel which shapes you, not an of-
fense nor a childish motive for a ridiculous duel. The wind kindles
To be an authentic torch burning with the fire of the spirit of the flame, and the hewing awakens the fire dormant under the ashes.
youth, you must beat the pack of wolves that want to tear you apart. "What does not kill me strengthens me," wrote a philosopher
I t is not enough to remain impassive toward the delirious symphony of somewhere. And God knows that even death, the last hungry wolf,
their laughter; you must confront the dangers, the oppositions; you is conquered by the spirit of youth.
must unmask their plans and avoid their traps. Hence, everything that is against you strengthens you, death more
Something else is necessary: a desperate effort to move the world than anything else. "Life among dangers is real life, great life; it is
from the indifference in which it lies, toward its proper and wonderful the life of sacrifice that brings harvest abundantly" (Pasteur). When
destiny. you wish a young man a quiet life, you curse him. Wish him a lot of
Finally you have to sacrifice yourself for it, to give of yourself suffering, if you love him, and if you want his youth to last forever;
until you arrive to the final sacrifice, beyond which there is no room wish him humiliations, scathing insults; wish him that he may know
for other sacrifices; until beyond there is - sorry - only victory and the bite of oppressing envy, and the burning of ostracism; wish himself
assumption to the Kingdom. deprecation, loneliness, failure.
You must know how to die consistently and repeatedly. You must Never commiserate a young man besieged by obstacles. "You
not bum with every mockery and opposition, just glow a little. Mock- know, mother, that my dangers were always your joy," said Coriolanus
eries and oppositions will be like chunks of coal thrown on the altar to his mother. This is the joy of a mother who sees her son marching
of conscience, burning the fire of love, and sacrificing itself for truth; toward glory, sure of himself, and facing all the obstacles in the world!
You must know that, among the many things that stimulate the St. Joan of Arc said: "I am where the danger is." These words
hatred and the repugnance of the world, the surest one is to have high are saturated with the youth of her twenty years. If you make a habit
principles (H. de Montherlant, op. cit. page 47). of avoiding difficulties and postponing decisions to a better day, that
You must also know that "the world is what it must be for an ac- is not a sign of healthy and youthful life. The person who is slowed
tive being: an organization of obstacles" (Vauvenargues). Have you down in the straight road, and confused about his good deeds, by the
69. M. Blondel: "L' Action," pp. 32-33. 70. A. Maurrois: "La jeunesse devant notre temps," page 36.
76
THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH ON THE HEARTH OF LOVE 77

fear of being compromised, and by the worry of offending the inertia By breaking the vase, notes St. Mark, she poured on the head of
of others, has no knowledge of the manly needs of the spirit of youth. Christ genuine nard ointment. She gave to the last drop.
Virtue needs not blush, if it awakens shame in some one else. "To the p~uring of blood," this is the cry of true youth. True life,
If your walk humiliates the crawl of the lazy ones, don't let it true youth, true heroism begin their accomplishments with this cry. It
bother you, just keep on the right way, the climb toward salvation. is not enough .to forget yourself, you must give of yourself entirely.
Some day you wilI find out that, in each obstacle, in each oppress- You wilI often hear the warning: "Be careful, or you'll crack your
ing burden, there is an angel ready to sing. head open." You should answer:
Whoever runs to help where there is a hard labor to perfonn, runs "So much, the better." Without a head cracked by stones, you
where there is singing. Remember the words of the King of Romania wilI be left hanging somewhere, overcome and paralyzed by fear, doing
Charles the First at the beginning of the war of 1877: "This music nothing. Listen to this wonderful story of youthful spirit, narrated by
pleases me."
Pierre Lhand in "Le Christ dans la banlieu." A priest walks on the
"It is a remarkable fact that neither suffering nor grief, in prin- streets of a slum in Paris, looking for a place to build a small chape1.
ciple, weaken the love of life; on the contrary, they give it a lively At a turn, he finds himself in front of a noisy group of children. Sur-
flavor ... Our true incentives are the need and the fight, and the prised by the appearance of this "crow," the children start running,
moment of victory destroys us again" (WilIiam James). but then they stop, and begin throwing stones. A stone hits the priest
A young Montalembert spoke the foHowing words to the skeptic on his forehead and faUs at the feet of the man of God, with a big
veterans of the French Senate: "To follow Christ I did not choose the spot of blood on it. He lifts it, kisses it, and exclaims to the astonished
moment of Tabor, but the moment He feU under the weight of the
Cross." children: "This wilI be the cornerstone of a church, in this neighbor-
hood." And so it happened: the church was built there, on that spot of
When you have this knowledge, and you feel this way, it is not blood.
your feeling, but that of the spirit of youth within yourself. The whole
I want to have my head cracked open by a stone ... You probably
structure of youth pushes life toward Calvary. Youth is destined to
do not know that blood cements, and that all the. cracks in the walls of
this type of glory. Carried by love, you wil1pass through the wolves, life are repaired with blood. There isn't any cement stronger than
just as Dante, guided by Beatrice, safely passed the three beasts.
blood, and no foundation can be compared with that which rests on
it. Every red corpuscle, every leucocyte is a laborer which carries on
SHORT OF SHEDDING BLOOD its shoulders a burden of health and vigor. What a wonderful sight
it would be, if we could see the work of the billions of hard laborers
in our veins and arteries.
Someone once said: "Youth is the age in which we ignore the
word 'weariness'''. Perhaps it is not very comprehensive, but it is Every construction is paid with blood. The spiritual constructions
very well said. We ignore the word "limit" in faith, in hope, and in are longing for our blood more so than the material ones. Michelange-
love, the virtues which through their mirage give birth to the spirit lo sculptured the scene of Christ's descent from the Cross for Vittoria
of youth. There is no limit especially in the giving of one self. Colonna, and wrote at the foot of the Cross Dante's verse: "Non vi si
I love very much the forceful and great gesture of Mary Magdalen pensa quanto sangue costa" (We cannot imagine how much blood it
at the feet of Christ.. She pours on Him aU the perfwne, the cost of an costs) .
entire year of work; she gives Him aU her tears, kisses His feet, and On every noble act which enriches your being, and which has
hwnbly wipes them with her hair. At the end, after she has given been imprinted on mankind through your sacrifices, you can write this
everything, she breaks the alabaster vase. with the generous inspiration verse, and only this verse.
of the younthful impulse of giving without possibility of reconsidering You will be told: "You cannot change the world, it is useless!" -
what has been given, and the whole house was filIed with the scent of "I will change myself," you shaH reply. In spite of the derisive smile
the perfume.
of depressing experience, the world changes only because some of us
78
THE SPIRIT"OF YOUTH' ON nIB HEARTir OF LOVE 79

have the courage to confront it with our own transfiguration. Some- These are the heights on which the spirit of youth and heroism
one rightly said that the lives of heroes and saints leave us with this meet. The intensity and the quality of the love you gave your life with,
fundamental lesson: "We have to change, and then, around us, many measure both of them. Here they blend.
changes will happen."n We appeal to youth whenever we need great sacrifices, and the
Madness!
baptism of blood. Every revolution, and every war is sustained by
This enthralls me! This is the madness blessed by God, approved, youth.
confirmed, and left to us in the Holy Scriptures, as an example of the On August 25th 1935, in Brussels, the congress of Christian
supreme closeness of the soul to God. AU your eloquent words are only workers was held. 100,000 young workers took part in it. For the
fluorescence of putrid corruption. "Corruption loves itself only" said preparation of this great confession of faith in Christ, 33 young per-
Shakespeare, and where corruption is far away, there is where you find sons, who were seriously iII, offered their lives, dying like saints. Two
love for your feHow man, and the unca1culated giving of one self. The young people, recently married, separated of common accord for the
freshness of youth stays away from certain "wisdoms." duration of six months, in order to give themselves more freely to their
A communist once said: "I do not believe in those who have a duty as young recruits and of soldiers of Christ. Others denied them-
home, a bed, a family, friends ... "72 More than that we believe only selves movies, plays, and cigarettes for a year, to save money for young
in youth that knows how to give of itself, how to sprinkle with blood unemployed workers. A young metal worker, who works all night in
its own drives. Only the vigor of youth knows how to give of its the heat of the furnaces, travels at dawn for a whole hour, in order to
own flesh and of its bones. Nowhere will we find this spirit of youth receive Holy Communiori. The 20 big "l'egisters of sacrifices" of the
without this quality' of unselfish love. And to know how much you young participants of this congress show the inclination of youth for
love, and what is the quality of your fire, find out how capable of sacrifice to the pouring of blood.
devotion you are. In sacrifice "all the way to the pouring of blood," we find the
If the world will condemn you to its salt. mines, like the Christians apotheosis in which the spirit of youth rejoices in a supernatural satis-
of old, do not be angry, as Tertullian says, and do not anger the faction and happiness. Do not be surprised then by the words ad-
Spirit who entered the prison with you.: "Nolite constristare Spiritum dressed to these young workers by Monsignor M. Cardyn: "We do
qui vobiscum introivit in carcerem." The Spirit of youth, who entered not make revolutions: we are the Revolution."
the lions' den with Daniel, the prison of Phutiphar with Joseph,
Herod's dungeons with John, will be with you in any mine the world
will condemn you to.
BEYOND SHEDDING BLOOD
Where there is a beautiful and true youth, there is manly self
giving. If God takes you in fragments, piece by piece, in an extremely Youth, like' heroism, does nof stop at the limits of the ego (P.
painful way, or all at once, does it really matter? You give of yourself Ortegat S.J). It makes you feel· that you are part of those who "can-
all the way, to the very pouring of blood. not help but give." Youth considers beautiful an ideal for which itis
And if you were to be taken to the guiIIotiI1e? You would agree worth sacrificing even in spite of the spilling of one's blood. No other
with Noel Pinot: "lntroibo a.d altare Dei:" I sh~ll go up to the altar period of your life makes you feel that you should die for your ideas
of God, to God who gives joy to my youth. For you know very well (J. Lacroix). Intensive research work of psychologists prove this
that "crime creates shame, not the gallows" (Th. CorneiIIe). At the characteristic of the spirit of youth. The inclination and the readiness
end some will be unmasked by their own. conscience; but, as for the to sacrifice your life is more accentuated in youth than in adults or
"clean" ones, even the shadow of the~r, body wiII be kissed with rev- older persons.
erence.
Youth does not want to believe in death, and considers it, as the
philosopher Emil Boutroux said, "a condition for rejuvenation."73
71. P. Marson-Oursel, op. cit. page 77.
72. The militant Santiago Maurer in "Faux Passeports." 73. "Morale et religion." - Pascal et Ie temps present, page 99.

II
81
80 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH t·
I
ON THE HEARTH OF LOVE

"Life must be very vigorous to be exposed in such a daring way. This kind of death is the most luminous victory. St. Eulalia en-
Contrary to the adult, and especially to the old, who feeling that life t dured martyrdom at the age of twelve. While her pure body was
becomes shorter and starting to slip by them, cling to it with all their tortured by irons, and responded like sensitive malleable crystal, she
forces, and do not want to give up even an insignificant part of it, the cried: "0 my God, how sweet it is to be able to read on my body
l
youth is tota! generosity. Youth is prodigal, in every sense of the torn by iron the history of your victories, written with my blood."
word, whereas old age is greedy. You must be young, at least in your Victory belongs not only to the one who, through his Ideal, has
heart and in your spirit, to be able to give, and especially to give of l an echo in the heart of God, but even to those who seem lost in the
yourself totally."H twilight of humiliation and contempt. In Marseilles, under the rule
Proud judges of temporary death, the young feel that neither the of the Emperor Maximilian Hercules, a young soldier named Victor
world nor the times can measure up to them. They are contemporary I kicked the idol he was taken to worship, saying; "I worship only
only with eternity. For that reason the face of youth looks like that of Christ." Condemned to death, in his last moments of torture, he
our destiny, which consists in reaching, through death, the smile of heard a voice from Heaven; "Victor, you have won. Look at your
beauty, in which the Face of God reflects ItSelf. l
prize: I will make of the victor a column in the temple of God, and
To make of death, through its acceptance, an offering of your life I will seat him with Me, on My throne"
to His service and to the greatness of His Kingdom, to make the last (
Through the giving· of self "beyond the spilling of blood," we
and the most profound personal moral act, it means to give yourself
make the supreme assertion of ourselves, and we show what weare,
completely "beyond the spilling of blood," for the fulfil1ment of life.
through what· we give and not through what we have.
This kind of death means the friendship of God forever. This kind of I
death compensates us for all the deceptions of life, said J. Malegue. Youth can rightly claim these words of the poet: "I come near
Youth does not want to yield this privilege to die to anybody, for the end as if it were spring," but more even than that, it is as if it
it invests it instantly with a power the rest of us strive for an entire I were a polychrome autumn, abundant with fruits for everyone.
lifetime, sometimes without being able· to achieve it. Through it, the How is it possible that one be so indifferent in preserving his life,
adolescent instantly becomes a man, and more than a man, for, in time right at the moment that life is richer in adventures and promises?
of war and of other similar crises, "older men concede their leadership I
Whence com,es this mysterious affinity between youth and death?
to the younger ones." Youth cherishes this privilege, possibly because Can this brotherhood between love and youth compel youth toward
it has a vague feeling that life dissipates and decomposes, while death, the boundaries of death, like the wind of passion? Should we be·
I
and only death, has the power to fasten us to the foundations of lieve that the "instinct of death," described by some biologists and
eternity.16 psychiatrists, stimulates a desire to walk on the threshold of Night?
The more you are giving of yourself, "beyond the spilling of I Or is it possible that life itself, having fallen from a dream to a de-.
blood," the more you are also lifting high the ideal for which you sac· lusion, could ask for its own end, not to belie the poetry f0l111edby
rifice. You confess that there is something worthier than life, to which its images, since it is written that "every poetry has something tragic
the sons of this world cling so desperately. I within itself?" Could the end of this tragedy be death? We under·
This kind of death is not an end, but an apotheosis, it is the stand how St. Francis of Assisicould say: "Blessed be thou, Death, my
manifestation of the "will of transcendence," hence the decision is Sister." Or is it possible, rather, that youth could have a cherubic soul,
made to renounce the sensible and visible world, in order to maintain \
pure like the shadow of the smile of the holy Mother? "To be a phi- ~
!
alive the only substances and values which last forever and· enter the losopher, is to learn to die," said Plato; but youth is much more r
f
I
composition of our happiness. than just a philosophy that can familiarize one with death.
\ II
A thinker once said that "sun and death· cannot look at each i
74. Jean Lacroix, op. cit.page 462. other." Youth looks straight at the sun, this shadow of Truth, and
75. H. Massis:· "Les idees restent," pages +6. \ is enchanted, warmed, and fascinated by it. Do we really think that
I
\ i,
!

82 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH I ON THE HEARTH OF LoVE


83

Thus death is a perfect giving, and a final and complete fulfill·


this youth cannot
to it?
look in the face of Death, and be even' betrothed
I ment.
Whoever lives under the dictates of Truth, has no fear of death,
A beautiful poem begins like this: "He is destined to death, whose
nor of its teachings; on the contrary, he invokes it to cleanse the soul
eyes sometimes contemplate Beauty.'" And the spiritual eyes of youth of the vain lies which encrust it.
\
are unceasingly on the luminous ridges of beauty, "splendor of truth."
Death brings the epiphany of truth and unmasks the lie. This
We can see an analogy of this in the divine vision St. Thomas
is why youth loves it.
Aquinas had during a prayer meeting. After it, he lost· completely any Adults and old men have a revulsion for death, because it is' just,
desire for this life. The fire of the vision burned the emptiness and the like a thief, who can steal even us. Wealth, egotism, all our accounts
illusions of this world. "Write, Thomas," brother Reginald kept tell-
ing him. "Everything I write is straw," answered the saint, after he
I, are alienated by it; and yet, to put it in a better way, we are force-
fully weaned from them. Death overthrows all affections, and cuts
experienced the divine vision. So, what does it matter if death con- off all attachments. All the sweet traps open to give up the prey that
sumes the dried brush of the swamps of life that hinder you anyway? \ gave itself so willingly to them. All the objects of earthly love disap-
"Resignation not to die, but to live" said St. Theresa of the Infant pear forever.
Jesus, at the young age of 24. For it is not a pleasure to live among . Youth is more detached, more available, more unselfish. It has
lies, when you are the herald of Truth . \
nothing to lose. It does not know the heartbreak of departure. In its
Whoever places his trust in lies is afraid of death. But youth freedom, the only obligation it kno~s is its Ideal! And its soul belongs
places its trust in truth. Death cannot cheat it. Any charlatan crumbles more to its object of love than to the body that it animates.
I
at the sight of death, which tears off all the masks glued .to the skin, Therefore death is seen as a gain, which brings youth closer to
and even those fused to the living flesh. Impudence belongs to the what it loves, rather than taking it away from something it could not
gallows. Those who put their hopes in riches, the "lovers of the ephem- \
leave.
eral," will feel the vigorous hand of the thief who shall come at mid- Finally, death is nothing else than an accident of time. With all
night to empty their house of their deceiving treasures. its power of erosion, "the tooth of time" doesn't disturb anything that
Death is a real attack against many illusions that warp youth. I is eternal. It is sufficient to be in accord with eternity, and there will
It is a light which will make us see things as they are. Deceiving illu- be no room for death. Man never again has the feeling and the
sions flee in the face of death, like ghosts stunned by the onrush of
I knowledge of being eternal, as he has it when he is young. The very
dawn. All the haughty derivatives of lies must ·concede. word "death," intended as the end of all things, is an insult when it is
Death comes serene, cold, chaste, and inevitable, like an "alge- addressed to the young. Future and eternity never heard the hooves
braic formula," which puts aside any error and clarifies what was I of the horse carrying the Reaper. Death has no power on them.
obscure. God Himself must have placed in the soul of youth an inner
All the professionals of the "whited sepulchres" feel the need to be tendency of love toward death, not in the nature of a haughty and
. afraid of 'death; not so the,sincere lovers of Truth. blind frenzy, but touched with a superior tenderness, because death
Freed of themselves, freed of .the world, what can death take is a condition for life, resurrection, salvation, progress, and creation
away from them? The rough apprenticeship, the small but testing everywhere. "Amen, amen I say to you, when the kernel of wheat
daily sacrifices, aren't these experiences of' death, in small. but real . falls into the ground, if it does not die, it just remains itself; but if it
doses? Youth has lived this apprenticeship. dies, it will produce another fruit." Do we sow into the ground bad
seeds, wormy kernels of wheat, old and without power? Certainly
In contrast with other sacrifices, death appears as a sacrifice
not, but healthy and vigorous seed, full of pulsating sap.
which cannot be reconsidered. It is the broken alabaster vase pouring
Truth is. this seed, which sustains and multiplies the great values
out the sweet smelling ointment, and filling'the whole house with its
perfume; . of life, and assu~es their duration through its sacrifice.
84 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH

The same mysterious affinity that binds the seed to the earth in
which grow its roots, binds youth to sacrifice "beyond the spi1lingof
blood." With its roots fastened to death, as a sacrifice, youth renews
life. "Nature invented death to enrich life," said Goethe.
Rodrigo, in the "Mocedades del Cid," goes in pilgrimage to the
tomb of St. James of Compostella, and on his way he meets a leper
who teaches him, the hero, what a hero really is: "the only one
whose death will leave the man in· him victorious."
This ability in life to push oneself "beyond the spilling of blood"
is called youth and heroism.
As a conclusion, I will quote this wonderful page of the Amer- V A.L 0R
ican philosopher William James:

"There is in every one of us a deep and irradicable instinct I fear that somehow, at the last judgment, we shall hear an acCu-
which prevents us from considering life simply as a farce, or an sation against us, full of righteous anger made by the fire within us,
elegant comedy. No, life is a harsh tragedy, and only heroism and by the passions of our chosen life.
commends the leading roles. We know full well that the mystery ,We were always at your disposal, powers without fear, chaste
of life is hidden in heroism. ,A man has no value if he is incap-
able of sacrifice. On the other hand, no matter' what the weak- boldness, serene manliness; what did. you do to us?
nesses of a man are, if he is capable of giving his life for a cause "We were ideas changed to flames, truth embodied in passion, and,
dear to him, his heroism raises him so much in our eyes, that we in spite of all our energy, you remained a "prophet for ants!" What
do not think of the rest. Even if he is inferior to us in many as- tempest could move you?
pects, if we hold fast to life, while he detaches himself from it, But the spirit of youth, the spirit of the "good fight," eliminates
just as one would throwaway a flower, we feel that he has an
unquestionable superiority. Every one of us is convinced that we any chance of such accusations. Endowed with aggressive vigor, it is
could easily forgive all our sins, if we could only treat our life ready to build in all the workyard of goodness, but always with wea-
with such detachment. It is a metaphysic mystery, understood in- pons nearby ready to defend them, and, if necessary, to destroy evi!
stinctively even by common sense, that by embracing death we live before it destroys goodness.
the highest, the most intense, the most complete life. This is a Great ideas ride towards action on the power of passion, as if
profound truth, wihch has found a faithful friend' in this world
in aceticism. The madness of the Cross, which our small wisdom on a mustang with fiery nostrils. Boldness looks good only riding on
refuses to understand, maintains a lasting, profound, and vivid youth, said Shakespeare. Youth can bear with this harsh mission of
significance." fight, with its ],!Sualbravura. Just as youth is God's, also "God's are
the fighters of this earth. He is supreme" (Psalm 46/47, v. 10), and
Brother, love sacrifice, love the giving of yourself "beyond the the burden of the fight is full of music that sings to it.
spilling of blood," love these facts which awaken in us the conscious- Youth does not choose to fight, it is predestined to fight. In the
ness that we are eternal and impenetrable to any invasion of aging. arena of life, to youth belong the words of 8t. Ambrose: 76 "Weare
Consecrate yourself to sacred love, and from, it you shall have athletes ... " (Athletae sumus).
everything: the power of sacrifice, and that of your self giving "be- Youth is so well equipped for the fight, that in periods of soft
yond the spilling of blood;" peace it rusts. It could almost say that peace is just a pause between

76. "Liber de Elia et ieiunio," C. XXI, n. 79.

85
86 THE SPIRI~' OF YOUTH 87
VALOR

two wars, if it hadn't given peace the tone of a life of struggle. More- of us die of a slow suicide. We grow old with every wrong-doing, and
over youth has enshrined martial virtues in the temple of peace. The we die partially with every pleasure. Thus our life is cut short by in-
vigor of its fighting soul impregnates the times of peace. But it needs calculable waste and abuse of power. The "good fight" organizes and
a war to endure. Peace, with its desires, its worldliness, its mediocrity, prqperly uses these powers.
its laziness, its cowardly spirit of resignation, "this peace is good for L The good fight is the march of dreams and poetry towards accom-
nothing else but to rust iron, increase the number of tailors, and beget plishment. It is not a burst of frightful thunder which chills the blood,
street singers" (Shakespeare in "Coriolanus"). In this atmosphere like an avalanche of bloody and hallucinating phantasmagoria. The
f
even youth becomes rancid. When the Moor said about himself: f

good fight is a virtue of moderation, but a moderation well capable of


"If there is no war Othello does not feel like a real man. But fighting. In its heart works love.
at work, among the dangers that try an anny, I feel that my I
t
The "good fight" is a quality of youth, and, whether in peace or
war, it is in a continuous smooth activity and struggle. Through it,
spirit finds its own true being" (Act I, III) ['

r youth fights against easy and carefree life, against sly calculations and
he was describing exactly the feelings of youth.. [I diplomatic intrigues, against professional "politics," and the sin of
i lying. Under its pressure, youth risks new actions, it dreams daring
Peace is not an act of weariness, but an act of strength, of energy, I.,

wrote St. Thomas Aquinas. And, perhaps, it takes more strength to [ thoughts, it confronts obstacles, trials and dangers, it revives the cour·
maintain peace, than to stir up and declare a war. In a true peace r age to do things which have extinguished the infantile enthusiasm of
we find all the martial virtues. The reveille soundforyouth should not the romantics, it encompasses nature in a mature embrace, finds its
be the sinister sound of the bell sounding the alarm for a general
mobilization, but the conviction that we must live an intense life, de-
! secrets, and it wants to enjoy only what it has gained with blood and
sweat.
r
tached from the useless crossing of the material tools of death; a con- You, scholarship, work, nature, generosity, purity, beneficial sac·
sciousness that we have enemies in other worlds, enemies even within I rifice,can you not awaken the hunger of heroism in the spirit of
l'
ourselves; the knowledge that we are engaged in a battle which involves youth? Peace encompasses all these things. Try this experiment:
at the same time seen and unseen regions, and enemies which cannot row against 1;hestream of the world, against that massive, glacial, in-
r

be wounded by bullets, nor killed by wounds caused by material vio- different movement towards what is common and vulgar. Then row
lence; the conviction that the fight between St. Michael and the Ser- l against the torrent that flows towards what is evil and base, against
pent continues in our world, where, instead of firearms, the clash is the human cascade into the middle of infection, infamy, and crime.
between ideas, feelings, hearts, and souls; the consciousness that. "we
must preserve with our blood what has been made worthy to receive,
I Finally try to lead towards goodness this huge mass of blubber that
has the stigma of slavery on each forehead .... You wiIIfind out that
with the blood of Jesus Christ our Savior" (Bossuet). The conscience
of our youth is formed by a bright conviction that it has been called
l you will need a straight backbone, a limpid .eye, a decisive step, ,a
I strong will, a great ability for sacrifice, and an enonnous faith. You
to conquer a world condemned by God, a conglomerate of en.emies I will find out that you may have to appeal to an heroic youth. The or-
I
who want the same rights for man as for God, for vice as for virtue, dinary soldier will not do. You will find yourself in a battlefield that
for the assassin as for the benefactor, for the devil astor O)'uist. And I is intangible but painfully real, so much so that you might prefer to
this fight for victory you must begin within yourself. find yourself on the typical battlefields, described so pathetically and
I
"Life is a continuous competition" (Madach, "The Tragedy of i elegantly by secular history.
Man," XIII), but many pauses have death for a companion. Invest- I Peace needs you as a better soldier than any war could. Peoples
ing peace with the martial virtues of the "good fight," you remain the I do not perish because they lost a war, but because they lost a peace.
~
I' ; fighter who quenches his e"ce,ss?fpower in, goo~n~ss.. People ,almpst I A peace in which the virtues of the good fight are not working, is a
r never die of a natural death, ci(a merciless weakness. They die of an
I
masked pilgrimage towards sure slavery, an inevitable cadaverous de-
'II
Ii, abuse of power. It has been writ,ten that people kiJI themselves: most cadence.
t
\

----'

IiIi:
\:"

r
88 THE SPIRIT OF Y OUTU t VALOR' 89
f

"We need, a moral equivalent for war in time of. peace." exploit mines, etc. Cut down in their prime by',the unbearable.pres-
f
Here 'is what youth offers us;' the same good fight in times of l sure, they filled one third· of the nation's sanitoriums. But ,what did
peace that was fulfilled in times of war. If you could ever perform I their leaders care? The country was being built, and the macabre, his-
an autopsy on peace, you would find out that it died of a lack of the f
toricaladventure had its cadres of comrades.77
I
virtues of the good fight, and of a lack of the spirit of youth. I,
'By God's'corrimandment, man is faced with two great enterprises:
the 'fulfillment df self, and the fulfillment of the world. Two worlds I THE STRUCTURE OF VALOR
are open: the world within ourselves, and the' world outside of us. They f

are the world of moral laws, so movingly contemplated by Kant, and One of the qualities of. youth is that it' is against any' type of
[
the world of physical laws. We must form ourselves to the image and decomposition. The fatalist who remains passive in view of the flood
likeness:of God, and we must form the world to our image and likeness. I of pus. that strangles his blood, or ofa lengthy and sly incuba-
We must imprint in ourSelves the'great thoughts of God, and into the f
tion of moral bacteria, can find close to him the "martial qualities"
world our own thoughts., ' ii of.youth, which will shake him and awaken him. They are the miracu-
There are two war fronts, so to speak, on which the worthiest I lous leucocytes of a Nation's blood.
I The ability to feel indignation and contempt is an admirable
things in the world meet: the front 'for the realization of the supreme,
spiritual, moral and eternal good; and the front for the domination r
f
resistance to corruption.
over blind power and realization of a material and temporary wen When a social organization, an institution, a conscience, allows
beihg. evil, ugliness, and lies to remain on the same level with goodness,
In the field of spiritual life we see the Saints as the most authentic beauty, and truth, and does not know how to react and be repulsed by
fighters and conquerors. The virgins, the martyrs, and the confes- the obscene claims of ugliness, the trivial exhibition of evil, and the
sorswere all young. "If I will not be a :saintin my youth, I will ne~er promising insinuations .of lies; it shows signs that it has entered that
be, a saint." This century has lived under the heavenly spell of the phase of numbness that precedes coma.
smile and of the rain of roses of St. Theresa of Lisieux, a Carmelite If you dQ not feel your muscles flexing and the bright blade of
your willsparkling in the scabbard, when purity is forced to blush, when
nun who died at the age of 24. One cannot even imagine ~n aged
saint. There are very few saints who did not begin sanctity in their truth is forced to humiliate itself, when beauty is cast out and forced
youth, other than' those who were converted. Sanctity itself is youth~ to find shelter only in sacred places, then you must know that you
under whose image' beats the Heart. of God. ' . ' are a mere colony of putrid feelings, and that your apparently militant
armor covers an ordinary puppet. The spirit of youth feels a galvan-
. In the field of action of the temporary common good, the best
izing power that transmits throughout the whole being an intensifica-
units are made up of young people. They embrace happily the re-
tion, of all its powers. "Fate calls you, they say, and it makes the
sponsibility of suffering for others. Very easily they come to the con- smallest artery. of your body stronger than the nerves of the lion of
viction that life is action, and nobility is action that goes beyond it-
Cythaeron." Then you win feel that indignation, disgust, and contempt
self. The altruism and the social consciousness of youth assume pro- are not some sort of diabolical hatred, but an effervescent form of the
portions th:at discourage the terrible disease of egotism. In Soviet
fire of love. Because love, a virtue of youth, under this form is also a
Russia, 'in the shadow of the new myth of the creation of the world
militant quality. And love is transfixed by daggers.
by man, the young thirst, more than the other ages, for absolute
"Not only truth, but also love is fun of warfare ... love is the
truth, give' 'themselves to working with an incredible vigor. In 1922
fountain of war."18 Where a true a.nd great love dwells, there is also
their organization undertook the "patronage" of the navy; nine years
later. the "patronage" of the airforce. The young were 'sent to the most
dangerous fronts of work: the cultural front, the economic front, the 77; Cf. Klaus Mehnert: "La jeunesse en Russie sovietique," B. Grasset, 1933.
.front of industrial enterprises; they were sent to cut down forests;'·to 78. Ch.peguy :"L' Argent suite,"p. 182.
90 THESPIRlT OF Y QUTH VALOR 91

an annor pf war. ·Wars in the sec~lar and ma.terial realm proceed from ploma of our spiritual nobility. The decline of this healthy attitude be-
a temporal love and from the passion of love. Wars for aims over the gins with the softening of the conscience and of moral principles. At
temporal and into the spirirual realm, springfrom the love of the spirit. the end, just like some inhabitants of some· African regions, you will
For, at the root of love there is also hatred, just as all the other passions. become accustomed to like only what is putrid, and to consider deli-
Indignation and contempt are there, just as all the other virrues. Love cious only meat that has rotted and is full of wom1S- You no longer
is the god of the heart, but the heart provides the power of execution react to putridity.
over the ideas. "Youth still maintains what the greater part of mankind has .lost.
For this reason youth, the true youth, reacts spontaneously to any _ and this is a great misfortune - the power to feel contempt, disgust,
invasion of evil, of ugliness, and of impudence. Its indignation and and indignation. They, the young ones, are capable of indignation and
its contempt are a crude fonn of combat. hatred, and give themselves violently to the truth" (Francois Mauriac).
A people, .just as any soul, is damned at the very moment that it One of the militant requirements of spiritual youth, when all the
is no longer capable of indignation ·and of contempt. noble feelings are in blossom, is to react decisively to the presence of
Fallon your knees, and invoke all the Powers, all the righteous any spiritual miasma. This is a sign that your feelings have not been
anger of Truth to come and dwell within you: Call the stonn, the hur- worn out by the use and abuse of evil. You discern the enemy and you
ricane, the cyclone, the typhoon to come and live within you. Give take up your position against him.
your arteries to lightning, surrender your blood to the waves, and the Indignation is the act by. which you declare that there is no
look of your eyes to the· magnetic powers.· Finally, seeing yourself as compatibility nor compromise between you and evil. No friendship is
the meeting ground of the Powers, pray that Love humbly· set them possible. It is much more than a withdrawal of friendship, it.is an
all forth on the right way. And just like a trembling King Lear, shout: irrevocable declaration of hostility. You do not want, and you do not
"Arise for· me a great fury!" accept becoming colorless, living in a diminished manner, or as an
Indignation is a virginal virtue. It is the rustling of purity which anonymous slaye in a compact mass of capitulators.
defends itself, and shudders greatly in the presence of evil. It is the Indignation indicates the degree of sensibility to truth and to good-
manifestation of moral resistance to evil and to error;·· It is the high ness within you, and at the same time, their degree of vitality. Nothing
temperature of health~ if you will. How would you judge the moral is.more unnatural to the exuberance and to the vibrant life of youth,
values of a virgin, who, when confronted with a saucy conversation, or than indifference and neutrality. Tell me, have you ever smelled the
a dirty scene, or a vulgar gesture, insteado£ being disgusted, tolerates infected miasma that comes out of the sewers of a big city? Tell me
them, and perhaps even enjoys them? Would you not say: "Woe to again, have you ever inhaled, with all the power of your lungs the
the nation whose young girls have lost the ability to blush?" freshness of a springtime breeze, on a sweet morning, under the sil~
The consciousness of nobility faced with vulgarity, the conscious~ very rain of the notes of the nightingale? Tell me now, could you
ness of dignity faced with decadence, the consciousness of a spiritual remain neutral? Did you not feel that you must make a judgment,
and moral superiority faced· with the impertinent and loud invasion and that without it your entire organism would revolt? Can your heart
of mediocrity, react automatically through indignation, just like a bul- remain impartial if the doctor tells you : "Young man, you have all
let shot in the face of what is base and disgusting. the symptoms of the black plague ... or of leprosy?" I do not think
Indignation makes you realize that· you exist as a healthy and that we have to be told to react to such things. How can we be un-
moral being, as a supenor personality. You can distinguish man. from moved between health and black plague or leprosy, or to something
the animal by his.ability to feel shame. It is a protest against the ex- like: "Yes, the dog has rabies and the scratch is dangerous?" Never-
hibition of carnal actions which makes man feels inferior to something theless you could remain serene, and the rabies could teach you· some-
mysterious within himself. Through indignation, man protests the thing. Be impartial! I am sure that even an alligator would react,
assault of lies on the temple of truth, of ugliness on .thetemple of beau- and shiver under its squamous skin, if it could understand the mean-
ty, of the animal on the sanct~ary of the spirit. Indignation is the di- ing of such words.
92 TIlE SPIRIT OF Y OUTE VALOR 93

On the level of spiritual, so!=ial,and moral values, indignation is sees, you hypocrites j" when He wove ~.,rope into a whip, and threw
a' vivid confession that such indifference, such. neutrality; such im- the merchants out of the Temple .' ..
partiali tyare not possible. 'The heroic mortifications of St. Benedict, of St. Francis of Assisi;
. Just as indignation, born ouf of love, seeks goodness, truth, and and of their recent disciples have fulfilled and stilI fulfill the work of
beauty, so devout contempt is born out of veneration and religious Anger.
esteem towards eternal values. Virtuous contempt is never directed The sermons of St. Ephrem, of St. John Chrysostom, and of Savo-
towards persons, as it is the case with haughty and arrogant contempt, mirola are in the service of "anger" ...
but towards acts, facts, and doctrines; "Who does not have contempt The battles of St. John of Arc were in the service of "anger" .. ' .
for baseness and evil, has made a pact with them." Dealing with evil The Last Judgment will be a liturgy of the "anger of the Lamb/'
is sometimes very fascinating. Devout contempt makes you immune to frightful beyond expectation. And this judgment, together with love,
the influence of evil, and does not allow.any politeness toward it. will seal' and .lock the book of time, so .that time will be Domore. ' ..
Thrust forward your anger, brother, equipped with all the wea-:
Fighting and courage are' justified only if at their origin stand pons of love thrust it over all the lies of life, "to kill," "to tear d.own,"
these twin daughters of love as holy furies of fire: indignation and
"to scatter stones," to· wage war against all the partisans of Satan and
contempt. Much will be forgiven to those who have felt much indig~
his "depths," until one of theElders of the Apocalypse will tel! you:
nation and profound contempt (Monterlant), and little will be for-
"Behold, the lion ... has overcome ... " (C. V, v. V).
given to those who have wasted their life in the disease of spiritual in-
sensibility and in neutrality. They have not tasted of the existence of
the spirit of youth.
COURAGE
"Get angry, but do not .sin" says the Lord. There is a holy des-
tiny for anger in this world, as there is for any great flame carried by "Esto vir" (Be a man)!
the torchbearer whose name is love. "Mala sunt ista," says St. Augus~ It is the command of our Lord God.
tine, "si malus est amor, bona ~i bonus" (They are evil if the love is
Courage is not just the mere subjugation of fear, nor the relaxing
evil, good if the love is good). Do you want more convincing defenders
of the shivers of terror in the face of danger. It is instead the agility
of passion than the doctors of the Church and the Saints? .. Anger
to do good, and the militant action of indignation against evil. The
is 'like the arnlY of the good! old grammarians used to say that this word comes from the Latin verb
"There is a time to .kill .. : a time to tear down a time to "currere," which means to run.
scatter stones a time to rend ... a time to hate there is a
Courage is a military, warlike word, and encompasses daring, risk,
time of war !" So. wrote the Spirit in Ecclesiastes (C. 3, v 3-8),
strength, .and, above all, hope. Someone said that "courage is nothing
a coalition of iron feelings, blessed by the God of all elements and of
else but a great expectation" (Serre).
charity. Can you at least imagine it? This is not the description of a
cave dweller, but of the confrontation between the spirit of youth with .True courage consists not in claiming death, but in fighting
evil and lies, anger being the most mtense and virile vibration of indig- agaist misfortune (Seneca). To want to die is cowardice, to want to
nation. ' live is q>urage (Racine). It is an enormous mistake to believe that
the desire to destroy oneself in death, as a desperate appeal to a death
You are not destined to look only for fragrant spiritual conditions.
whiCh is delaying, because it is waiting for a ripe soul even if on the
The poetic state of the neart is not proper for all the banquets of life.
outside you seem in the middle of your life, is a form of courage. Fatal~
God asks you for a state of baIJad; you have not reached the time for
dessert yet at the banquet of life. ism in the face· of death, escape into death, do not belong to the do-
main of· courage, because they do not· belong to the domain of hope.
"Fulfill the work of angerl" "You must 'want to live, and. must know how to die," said Napoleon.
Christ fulfilled it when He said "Woe to you Scribes and Phari-: This is courage. Once and for all, "we. must refuse to see the grave
95
94 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH VALOR

alla solution to everything." We must not draw back from the grave, without a future and hope, is made up more from the fear of others,
I have said it before, but only after we have conquered death. Before or from a high tension of physical vitality, which· temporarily dissolves
we become victorious through death, we must do everything pOssible fear, by a collective mirage of common bravura.
to become victorious through life. Courage is this effort towards vic- "Illi qui sunt bonae spei sunt audaces" writes St. Thomas Aquinas,
tory through life. quoting from Aristotle, "unde quaecumque nata sunt causare spem
When courage flickers, manliness dies, and with It any distinct sunt causa audaciae"79 (Those who are of good hope are daring; there-
moral acomplishment. A discouraged man is decapitated "a priori." fore anything that causes hope causes daring). Daring people are
When manliness is dead, how Can honor survive? The 111ilitantvir- those who have live hopes, and anything that invigorates hope rein- .
tues of the "good fight" are the guardian angels of moral beauty. In forces daring. When Napoleon 'said that "the leaders are merchants
courage we find the last refuge of a persecuted nobility. In the per- of hope," he understood that this virtue, or, better, vision, is a source
verse world of today even kindness must be girt with a sword. of fearless energy in combat.
Do not become the prey to a quixotic imagination. Courage is a Isn't every sacrifice' that we make an offering to hope? We could
youthful virtue and begins from a very small, apparently insignificant define sacrifice as a painful act perforn1ed for the success of truth and
seed. Begin courageously the fulfillment of your duties, suffer injustices goodness, in ourselves and in others, and based on hope .. Any mortifi-
courageously, and endure for the love of truth. Endure gossip, and do cation "to the first drop of blood," and "beyond the spilling of the
not stray from your road. Have the courage to withstand temptations, blood" is a form of death' in which hope keeps watch and which hope
to forego legitimate pleasures, to go forward unhindered by any impres- resurrects; it is this hope which the Scriptur~s call "full of immortality."
sion that would try to diminish your modest but determined fervor. Courage and danng are sustained in us also by anything that re-
"What is courage?" asked Seneca of himself. "To maintain a moves fear. St. Thomas Aquinas, again, recognizes, among the sources
serene soul and a free spirit in face of danger. I am not surprised that of daring, a lack of experience, especially that of danger, .then an
so many souls today feel themselves more powerful than a death they abundant vitality, and the help of others, especially of God, noting that
despise, more beautiful than this miserable body which trembles and "illi qui se bene habent ad divina audaciores sunt" (those who are
chatters its teeth in fear; they desire to live a spiritual life, and believe confident in God are more daring). Youth has all these qualities at its
in their own immortality." command, like an organic arsenal. Nevertheless hope is the more na-
If this conviction of immortality, this consciousness of truth, of tural for it, so much so that you could consider it its own domain. At
the impossibility of being destroyed except physically, would not be in- the age of twenty man is the king of hope; ... at thirty, if the begin-
herent in courage, as in all the other marvelous qualities of the spirit ningwas bad, he is finished. Life has tamed him" (H. Pare).
of youth, youth would be numbed, and would fall into eternal hiberna- Youth goes beyond the present. It sees what does not yet exist but
tion. We are never completely conquered as long as we maintain the eventually will. It accredits the future and believes in eternity, which
consciousness that truth is on our side (Georges Goyau). Risk is not breaks the boundaries imposed on time, without forgetting the present.
possible.except in the hope that the goal will be achieved. Risk never Youth lives under the conscious hypnosis of the future. It has a sym-
refers itself to the goal, for which you have the conviction Of justice, bolic alliance with the future. The moment you separate it from the
beauty and power, but to the unknown element of some means, of some future, something in it.dies, and it is the most beautiful part, because
difficulties and dangers. it is the most youthful: the consciousness of a purpose, and the roar
Daring, inclination towards adventure, and risk, are all based on of enthusiasm. Ch. Peguy said very well that "... the small hope, - it
a purely youthful virtue; hope and. future. With this invigorating is the one that begins anew every day."80 Not having tasted the "fin-
element, courage and the martial qualities of youth differ from the ished," the "done," it starts, and restarts, and, if it persists, it reaches
blind daring of the idiot with whom Schopenhauer wanted to inter-
mingle them, by calling them the secondary virtues of the subaltern. 79. Summa Theologica I-II. Qu. XIX, Art. II and III.
The courage of the unbeliever, of those without an ideal,and of those 80. "Le porche du mystere de la deuxiemc vcrtu," p. 46.
97

96 THE SPIRIT OP YOUTH VALOR

the future disappears, and, no matter how golden and full of stars the
accomplishment. It would rather begin anew than be constant. This
is the way youth manifests itself. sky above you is, the earth has claimed you.
Ina masterful essay,al St. Thomas Aquinas shows the close kin- Hope should awake before you in the morning, and should renew
ship betw!:en youth and· hope. Youth is the cause of hope for three for you the command of the voices of St. Joan of Arc:
reasons: it sees goodness in the future, it sees the p<>ssibilityof reaching . "Go!, go!, got"
it, a~d .a!"hievingit, and it. sees the difficulty of fulfilling it or attaining
~t".This is to stay that young people are fullof .the future and have
~~ry little of the .present. Just as memory belongs to. the past, hope THE HALO OF YOUTH
belongs to the future .. For this reason the young live very .little on
memories, and a lot on hope; ~'Multum habcnt de futuro, multium vi- "Anyone who stops before he finds happiness, stops before he
vunt in spe." finds God" (E. Hello).
The heart of the young is,a vessel of vigor. From this vigor and You would like to close your life immersed in the view of an
from ,this fever of the heart is born the consciousness of a belief that . aurora borealis. What paths led you to this desire? Only the spirit
you can overcome the diffjculties that interfere with the achievement of youth caresses sunsets with the colors and the hopes of the dawn.
of a' goal. What is not hard and full of danger is· not worthy of ,the Were you faithful to this spi1it? Then all your life was a smile in a
~dventureand enterprise of ,the young. Their heart beats are synchron- vigorous state of happiness.
ized with great deeds, a,nd they cannot sean deeds other· than those . This is the sign of God, when life is 'fulfilled according to His i.:.
,

of, great amplitude. The effervescence of youth is tumultuo,us and eternal plans, and when' it follows in the footsteps of victory: HAPPI-
~ggressive, it. isa discoverer of adventures. and a creator of epics. NESS! .
Lacking experience in limits; boundaries, and oppositions, youth What lyrics are for poetry, and melody for music, happiness is for
breathes an atmosphere of possibility; the impossible has not yet dis- the spirit of youth and for life.
colored its. experiences. Sworn enemy of any obstacle, not seduced Happiness is the great statement: I have succeeded! It is the
by disillusions, it has decided not to believe in the impossible. Thus the ar()ma of the presence of life, it is the solemn introduction to joy.
~
"',

\ i~

spirit..of youth cannot be easily.convinced that something is unrealiz- t


By happiness we do not mean a simple summar)' of noises, an P'

able, and this disposition favors its hope. euphoric expression of mere organic nature, nor the accumulation of
illusions of well-being expressed in the sound of laughter; all these 'are
Postulate 6f future life, the spirit of youth is full of genninative
virtues, whose power of hope sustains its courageartd its call to the r nothing but camouflaged unhappiness. Where pleasure is abundant,
"good fight." It sho"/s itself as a space of large and profound dimen- unhappiness prev~ils. In the depths of every "ego," alone and full of
sions towards a rich moral eternity: "the taste of the future gives it the himself, there is a nervous void, on whose forehead is written "unhap-
\ piness."
mysterious strength of things alive and ftill of 'vision into the future','
Since pleasure is nothing else but the lyric form of the selfish
and leaves' the impression of a prosperous life and- of a multiplication
of spiritual forces'" (H. Massis). ' . expression of lies, like all lies it can end at any moment in unhappiness.
\ . Since egoism is a form of idolatry - egolatria - after a while it
.• This is the real 'future, not the one you are expectiI'1g,full of fear creates a sensation of emptiness and falsity, which turns to unhappiness
and paraliyzed by a coalition Of all sorts, of slothfulness, b';1tthe one through boredom.
\
towards' which. \ve' march, armed with the militant virt~es of youth, Unhappiness is the nonllal state of the spirit of old age. It is an
on the road Of heroism. ' . ariticipation of psychological nature, of physical death, of a black
When you have reached the twilight of your hope~ the horizpn of \
death, without light and without meaning. For this reason Shake-
speare compares unhappy people to candlesticks without candles .
81. Summa Theologica, I~II., QIL XL,..art.' VI. ' .. .' The man wh~,has only looked for himself, has looked forunhappi-
\

I
98
THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH VALOR 99

ness. The caUse of unhappiness is disorderly self-Iove;82 Thinking of thing, and even less than that, if it does not contain eternal ties"
yourself is unhappiness, thinking of others, especially of God, ishappi- (Scherer) .
ness .. Unhappiness is therefore the satellite of self-love; it walks on all Th~re is another type of unhappiness, produced by spiritual and
the roads that lead to the "ego;" and it teaches us that we cannot find corporeal satiety. Unhappiness will follow pleasures; unhappiness will
happiness within ourselves. The entire philosophy of unhappiness and follow wealth: "et abiit tristis" (and he left sadly) says the Gospel.
hopelessness is summarized in the following cynical statement of E. Our appetites are infinite, but our physical means are not. In or-
Renan: "I am a stubborn egoist, barricaded within myself, and I laugh der to bring joy and happiness into your soul through these physical
at everything else."
means, you have to use them, to tire them, to the point of deficiency, .
The writer Flaubert complained in a letter he wrote, that unhap- without ever being able to satisfy your desire. Even if you can numb
piness was overwhelming him. like a waterfall, a river, an ocean. At your appetites, you· cannot satisfy your desire. And unhappiness is
the end hopelessness had become his normal state. Even though he was there, as a macabre corollary to such a life.
born surrounded by many joyful things, he wrote: "I have been a Wealth or money seem to force you to desire everything, and, in
coward in my youth, I have been afraid of life. You pay for every~ that vertiginous rush towards satisfaction, you will find a boring and
thing." ... This timid weakness, this absence. of fire in the service disgusting society, or an inertia loaded with unhappiness.
of a destiny beyond the vulgar "ego," made him the "patron of fail- Once again all the roads which lead towards creatures, especially
ures" of those who live their life uselessly. The absence of sacrifice, of towards ourselves, end up in unhappiness, hopelessness, inertia, and
the spirit of sacrifice, .strips life of any joy. Once again: happiness is death. Happiness is somewhere else, where true LIFE is.
not the fruit of calculated and scheming egoism. Happiness stops at the boundaries of the "ego." Whoever is
Unhappiness is at the bottom of all the dreams without truth, of able to come out of this "ego," and go beyond his own stubborn limits,
the illusions by which you beg a fragment of a lost paradise. You can- shall "enter" happiness. Here, at the frontiers of the "ego," we find
not tamper with truth for a long time, someone once said. You can- the spirit of youth and heroism.
not nourish yourself forever with your own substance made out of As we have seen, happiness is foreign to whatever is against the
phantoms. spirit of youth and heroism. It is foreign to illusions and lies; foreign
Some are unhappy because they have plunged themselves pro- to pleasure and egoism; foreign to wealth and common rea1ity.
saically in immediate reality, which is only transitory and without sub- Happiness is the product of the spirit .of youth, and the halo of
stance. What is the fervor of spring, the panorama of stars, art, music, heroism. Happiness is the confirmation that one has chosen the right
love, to them? No flower grows in their heart, not one impression be- path.
yond the sensible. Captives. in a cemetery of unburied dead, they are Ernest Renan wrote this startling sentence: "Perhaps truth is
wrapped in unhappiness as in a burial shroud .. unhappy." He was thinking probably of the truths of his personal
Condemned to the monotony of a life poor in temporary joys, after philosophy. He could not imagine a truth that could also be life, and
they have explored the empty depth of things, they let themselves be- springtime, and soul, and ideal with magnetic properties for our pure
come overwhelmed by a dominating nothingness. Their existence be- desires. The words of St. Augustine in his "Confessions"83 come to our
comes ridiculous. To walk in resignation among lying and unjust mind: "Beata vita est guadium de veritate" (Happy life is to enjoy
people, is that life? "Who has deciphered the secret of limited life, the truth.). This happiness is a true "reintegration into the optimism
and had read its word, has left the world of the living and is actually of God." Truth will free us from any shadow of unhappiness, and
dead" (Amiel). Thus the wisest men become also the most disgusted. Truth is eternal. The consciousness of this Truth which frees us and
Nothing bright breaks the opaque ceiling of this life. Where is the remains with us in eternity, is happiness. "All happiness is the con-
ideal? Unhappiness takes its place. Truly "life becomes a frivolous sciousnessof the Infinite," writes Hello.

82. IV. Ad. t


St. Thomas Aquinas: "Summa Theologica," II-II. Qu. XXVIII. Art:
83. Liber X, c. XXIII.
r
101
·100 THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH VALOR

others: laughter, smile, jokes, and so on, are merely "symbols of happi-

I
The ideal, which is a glimpse of the absolute Truth, awakens in
us a true therapeutic <:>ptimism,which creates happiness. ness."
Happiness is also the song of fire. Have you ever heard the fire Therefore the spirit of y()uth, golden synthesis of all these ele-
singing? ... Yet within you all the tongues of fire sing the great joy ments, is renewed in true happiness. Youth can use as its own the
of sacrificing love. "Ex amore procedit gaudium" writes St. Thomas philosophy which was attributed to St. Thomas More: "Never work
Aquinas, from love comes happiness. The consciousnessof this embrace against your conscience and you will be happy all the way even to the
between the heart and the beloved is happiness. Happiness' is like 'a gallows."
herald who announces that something great has been fulfilled within With its bright light, youth brings to our obtuse and opaque un-
our soul, in accordance with the superior laws of· God. happiness the joy of Christ's Sermon of the Mountain "gaudium in'
Bergson correctly compares happiness with a light and warmth Spiritu Sancto:" "happiness in the Holy Spirit," the Treasurer of
which permeates us and pleasantly reanimates all our perceptions arid Truth and of Love.
memories, in such a, way that we wonder at our very existence.
In our earthly condition, happiness also 'arises out of· sacrifices
imposed upon us by the spirit of youth. Any sacrifice is a liberation;
and, like any liberation, is joyful. "Who has made his sacrifice is in
a state of happiness."8~ So I ask myself: how is this possible;and where
is this close kinship between happiness and sacrifice' hidden?
Mortification, sacrifice, and all the actions of "divine surgery"
represent a removal of all the elements which oppose.harmonious 'life,
and of the elements of discord and unbalance. Internal harmony takes
place by the elimination of these negative elements. The renunciation
of self and of the world places us in the proper place in the immense
system of life, and the song has no dissonance. The consciousness'of
this internal music full of melody' and harmony, which responds to
our natural and supernatural desires, is happiness. '
The most mortified people were also the most happy. Ascetism
is a miraculous laboratory of happiness, not only because it gives us
freedom, but mostly because it prepares us to be reunited with God,
and "in the soul reunited with God there is an uninterrupted spring~'
(St. John Vianney).
The saints, these persons consecrated to the spirit of youth,' these
supporters without pretense of its power, are the most happy persons
in the world. Sabatier, who himself lacked the gift of Faith; said that
St. Francis of Assisi was the happiest man on earth. Their life, the
most charming poetry of this mass' of mud which is the earth, p'roves
to us that more happiness carnes out of a kiss given to a leper, than I·
from all the banquets that could satisfy your appetites.
Love for truth, denial of one self and of the world, sacrifice "be-
;yond the spilling of blood," are the components of happin~ss. The
84. E. Hello: "Du neant a Dieu" Tome II, p. 149.
I

I
,ROMANIAN YOUTH 103

"Would you like to become a priest?" his father asked him.


"Father," he answered, "can you be a man without knowing theol-
ogy?"
No longer do they look at life from an epicurean point of view,
but from a theological and spiritual one. Opposed to the old doctrine
that teaches how to get the most pleasure out of life, they now pro-
pound the wisdom of getting the most out of theology. Life must be
viewed through theology. Opposed to the technicians of the horizontal
and flat line, and to the wisdom of the dead man, they now comprislJ
ROMANIAN YOUTH the supporters of the vertical and decisive line, and the wisdom of the
living man, standing firmly and looking towards an infinite horizon.
Now we have discovered a forgotten world. It is now evident that
By a natural and spontaneous move, our thoughts go to the whoever does not know religious torment, and a thirst for the unseen
marvelous young people of our Nation, who have created a new epic, "does not know half of life, the most beautiful part; does not know half
that of self denial, and of looking towards spiritual values beyond the of history, half of love, half of goodness" (R. Bazin). This is what we
small circle of oneself, a youth that places the accent of life on the now discover: a theological vision of the world. The suppression of
soul, and its soul in God ... This is the real youth of Romania, the this feeling of this other world, of the invisible world, which penetrates
elite that stands out! and works in the center of the visible one, is a real mutilation of the
A generation is characterized by the 6lement of newness which it personality.
brings into the history of its ethnic community, and it is noted by the In this vision youth wants to find once again its entirety, and to
leaders it loves and follows, by the preoccupations that dominate it, by liberate the eternal youth of the spirit, held prisoner in the depths of
the imperatives that drive it, and, most of all, by its selfgiving without the soul.
bargaining, and its sacrifice without calculations.
IN THE CRADLE OF TRUE YOUTH
SPIRITU AL THRIST
"When we say 'Romanian,' the psychological image which ap-
pears in front of our eyes at that moment, is that of a man whose dis-
There is no doubt that the present youth of Romania places the tinc~ sign is the truth" ... The Romanian is truth ... He does not
accent of life on the soul. You can see a violent detachment from the
have an intellectual or physical hunchback that he tries to hide; he
biologic, and a clinging to the spiritual. The philosophy of the cabarets,
does not have the habits of a weak man; he lacks that stench of
boulevards, cafes, and alcohol give way to the categorical and intran. weakness which is so prevalent a phenomenon of our public life,
sigent priorities of the soul.
under the form of byzantinism and expediency. All the impudent and
Moral values attract youth, and revive its dormant enthusiasm.
evil people, sly and without intelligence, all those who hide a duplicity
I find the dominant characteristic of Romanian youth in the soul
of expression and something hybrid, have no place in the frame of
of a 19 year old lad who, in prison, asked for the Treatise on Dogmatic the "Romanian" nation.
Theology, all four volumes of it, written by His Grace Vasile Suciu,84a These words of Eminescu, written in the article "The Reds" as
in order to study them.
well as in others, lead us to believe that a true Romanian youth must
84a. Metropolitan of Blaj (Romanwn Catholic Church), died in 1935. be possessed by the spirit of youth, by the spirit of love of truth.
Legends, myths, and human beliefs are not enough: there must be
102 Truth;
r 105
104 TH~'SPIIUT':OF Y GmTH ROMANIAN YOUTH

r
The Romanian youth feels disgust when it is faced with the over- This explains the ascension into the unseen by an elite of the young.
whelming discovery of a man without character. It has the feeling that This is the beginning of the pilgrimage towards authenticity and truth.
there is nothing more disgusting than "a liar." It loves sincerity,'moral By detaching itself from the world of the senses and of moral mon-
truth, and spiritual purity. It keeps in its heart the words of the strosity, the spirit of youth has come close to a poetic state, driven by
great teacher of the Renaissance, Vittorina da Feltre: "before any- an unconsciOus metaphysical aspiration. The impulse to work and to
thing else, the world needs people in whose heart are anchored I accomplish is inherent in the nature of poetry. Poetic knowledge is a
inalterably the eternal principles of Truth and Justice." knowledge of a "working type," which has as its goal to create and to ,
For this reason youth is disillusioned and indignant at the sight produce.85 Hence the' necessity to accomplish.
of a "perfidious man." Wounds and errors will not hurt as much as
,* The Romanian youth retrieves from the parable of the "Prodigal
,Son" ... It enters into the act of the child with the five loaves of
the discovery of evil in man, said one of them.
bread and two fishes: it gives nourishment to the multitudes ... the
These young people have ascended the hard path towards meta- I
"Spirit of Community" and action. It feels the appeal of hunger, of
,physics, and a great part of them have cast their anchor in, the the multitude which hungers after the prophets. Now comes the youth;
ocean of the world beyond the sensible. They do not want, to come the youth runs with a basket fuIl of bread and fish (these biblical and
down, no matter who calls them. catacombic images of the Eucharist and Christ) to nourish them:
It is one of the most absurd assertions to say that metaphysics "To work, children and young men." The Romanian youth is in line
yields only a disposition towards ,numbness, a crystallization towards , I with Daniel, in line with those who buried Ananiasand Sapphira.
inertia, and a retirement of dynamic capaCities. Whatever modifies But here they must stay next to Peter ... all of them received the
and transforms the spirit, modifies and transforms the world: It is Spirit from on high. *
enough to read the book of Gonzague de Renold L'Europe tragique I
(Ed. Spes, 1934) to be convinced that there is a very close rela-
tionship betwen the laughter of Voltaire and the revolution 'of 1793, I YOUTH, CREATOR OF MYTH
that there is no separation nor essential difference betwen the pen
of the encyclopedists and the gaIlows. We must realize that the slaugh- Quietly and gradually, lacking a true metaphysics and an ontolo~
ter and the burning in the civil war in Spain have their origin in I gical reality on which to attach its accomplishments, as a tree is at-
Marx's "Das Kapital," a book fuIl of philosophy, and, in a sense, of tached to its invisible roots, the soul of youth has created in its midst
metaphysics. Who built the cathedrals of the Middle Ages? Who a myth and a national mystique. Some young people have discovered
started the Crusades? Who built the monasteries? Perhaps the aus- I in it a real religion.
terityof
,
,
Thomas Aquinas' "Summa Theologica"
, ... ' '' Woe to a natUral human mysticism without metaphysics, and woe
Without realizing it, the masses are guided by a metaphysics,' fl to a metaphysics without true theology! "Mysticism" thus becomes
philosophy, a "belief," an "abstraction," in other words by a "myth."
I an exaltation, an impulse, a belief, but never the state of incandescence
which comes from the embrace with religious Truth. It becomes a
When the youth of Romania was more prosaic, it was more iner.t.
When it became poetic; it became productive. No matter ho\'{ one minor mysticism, whose content is given solely earthly and human
looks at it, every great, action, personal or coIlective,' is' possessed by values; it becomes reaIly a frightful counterfeit of true mysticism. A
some sort of metaphysics. metaphysics without theology is a prelude to a satanocracy.
When this minor mysticism comes down into politics, we have
A great and profound disenchantment, a miiltant indignation can
the quakes of a revolution. It is a fearful risk for mysticism, as it is a
throw you instantly not into rhetorics or criticism, but 'in metaphysics,
sworn enemy of politics. Major mysticism does not find any risk in it.
and, through it, into the ·field of social life. In this' sense Foerster
wrote: "Only the after-world gives us the courage' to see' completely
the present one." This is a true liberation from a reality that disgusts. 85. Jacques et Raissa Maritain: "Situation de la poesie," p. 96, 125.
106 THE SPIRIT oj; YOUTH ROMANIAN YOUTH 107

This explains the fact that the greatest mystics, the saints of God's The nation does not deplete the aspirations of our soul; and we
Church, were also great men of action; St. Peter and St. Paul, St. will never love our nation the way it should be loved, if we do not love
Athanasius, St. Theresa, St. Bernard, St. John Bosco, and others like something greater and holier than it. Physically we can live in the
them ... But minor mysticism is destroyed by politics. This absorp- Nation, but spirtually we must live in God's grace. Many words have
tion of mysticism by politics can occur suddenly or slowly, sometimes been written about grace, but the understanding of it and the living in
even after generations and centuries, having at its foundation not only it· are usually sadly missing.
the experience and the greatness of individual lives, but those of the I We .must turn away from myth and minor mysticism, and return
community. I
to Faith and Truth, in order to remain faithful to the Ideal.
Thus we explain the aversion to politics of the youth of Romania,
an aversion that goes to the point of real horror .. The "new genera-
tion" has defined itself by its opposition to politics, refusing to follow 'I ,THE ABILITY TO SACRIFICE
its actions and especially its ethics. It wanted something else: to create
a new mentality, a state of the spirit which could be born from the The Romanian youth has proven itself true even through its ex-
contact with the soul of the nation.811 I
ceptional power of sacrifice for the Ideal. It has become accustomed to
If "minor mysticism" yields to the temptation of becoming poli- harsh life, and it has taken upon itself the obligation of being strict with
tical, it risks destroying itself, or keeping society in a state of uninter- itself, convinced that the measure of sacrifice is the same as the mea-
,
rupted turmoil, by taking over the religious inclinations that are so sure of victory. In order to be your own master, look only to' the
inherent in human nature. In this case "minor mysticism" rises to a pleasure of the satisfaction of your conscience, aspire to no other
religion, and politics is based on the worshipping of idols. I aristocracy than that of virtue. Do not shirk obstacles, but confront
"We cannot escape God. There is only one alternative: to be- them and surpass them.
come God (through asceticism and love), or to (invent God' ... you The youth of easy living brings nothing to the Nation; youth tem-
cannot escape God: Whoever refuses to be His child, will be His mon- \ pered in suffering uplifts it always. The nation needs only young peo-
key for all eternity. The frightful caricature of divine truths and at-
ple who can suffer and endure.
tributes that one finds wherever God is no longer known and loved, I The freshness with which they look at death is witness of their
testifies clearly to this destiny" (G. Thibon). I
youth. The spirit of youth unites them with death, as in a holy brother-
It is a greater blessing that the Romanian youth has not succeeded
hood. Just like Pier Giorgio Frassati, many of these chosen young men
with realization of myth in politics. It would have then become a
I have thought that "death is the most beautiful aspect of their lives." It
monkey of God, the "simia Dei," as TertuIlian called Satan, al)d the
is a "passing into legend," a "betrothal with eternity," through a de-
country would have become a suburb in a gigantic "citta di Dite" tachment from the earthly and from the ephemeral pleasures of every
(citadel of Lucifer).
I day life, for, "who relinquishes the grave, relinquishes resurrection."
There are disasters full of so much light, which show us such an
This brotherhood with death is much more than a frenzy; it is a "will
obvious divine intention, that we can but see in them a preference and
for trascendency" and excellence.
a special care of God. "The steps of God are those of the times" said I
This willingness to give yourself up to death does not prove your
Lamartine. It is necessary to return to theological metaphysics, to come
closer to the Gospel apd to Christ. Wounded and buried as they were, own immortality so much, but the inul10rtality of the Ideal for which
many heroes are closer to Him. the sacrifice has been made, in the conviction that you gain through
\
death what you cannot gain through life.
Sacrifice and death were to be a confirn1ation of what was to
86.* Youthful Creativity The Rule of the Elders
Lieutenants in action teams. Experience. \
come. Death in itself was more than a hope, it was a prophecy; more
Not guidance groups. Thought* than a witnesSing, it was a victory.
Initiatives. By this traditional sympathy' with death, the Romanian youth'
\

I
ROMANIAN YOUTH 109
108 THE SPIRITcDF YOUTH

has acquired a prophetic aspect, because it has produced hope, and this youth .after which the world is crying? The old dead, and
the mercenaries of sin.
the "prophet," by vocation, makes hope grow.
"Prophecy," writes E. Hello, "is the voice of the ideal which claims H you want to be a flame of the spirit of youth, and do not
want to leave behind a spurious worthiness, and a posthumous sigh for
reality." The entire life of this elite was a voice, and more than that,
greatness, stay away f~om the mercenaries of sin and the old dead!
a g~sture· by which the ideal was inscribed into reality. This youth
Avoid the cemeteries of the living, and do not permit any famil-
believed in an inexhaustible source of energies hidden by God in the
soul of the Nation; it believed that those energies, witnessed by their iarity with them.
own life, would renew the deserving sons of the Nation. The death of sin and of old age is still contagious.
Do not listen to the whispers of the "enemy." His rhetoric is
This youth seems to have the difficult burden· to verify the words
of Gordon: "man in essence is a traitor." Traitor of God, traitor of caustic and more dangerous than the black plague.
We are as old as our sins, because we "have the age of our sins."
his race, traitor of his vocation, as a person and as a nation, traitor
With every sin we recede into old age.
as a brother and as a man, traitor as a co-worker. Possessed by fiery
"Leave the dead," it is the old ones, and the mercenaries of sin.
indignation, this youth shows itself unmerciful to these traitors and
In these cemeteries of the living, with stench of old and wise life, the
especially to the traitors of its concept of life.
Some of the excesses embraced by this youth indicate the vein of death of your heart is prepared, and you are enticed to sin ...
"Leave to death! . , ."
heroism that exists in it. "Children who cannot do mischief, usually
Have the courage to be alone! The one who lifts himself is alone
do not have the energy. to do good" says Lindsay. In this case biologic
youth dominates the ethic. in the beginning, and his loneliness is a reinvigorating prophecy. A
.The renowned American teacher Stanley Hall said that morality new spring comes to every soul which lifts itself into the spirit of
has a lot to learn from criminology. In many cases of criminal acts youth ... But you, "let death bury its dead."
For the very breath which will embrace the mass of lost and mum-
by youth, we can discover traces of heroism.
mified souls with a roar of life, to be regained by resurrection, bears
The motto of one who became saint, "bandit or saint," contains the name:
a reality which gives us something to ponder. Perhaps we bear the
responsibility for so many bandits not being gentlemen, and for so SPIRIT OF YOUTH.
many criminals not on their way to sainthood, that perfect image of
Christian heroism.
Because it is far from being mired in individualism, and is gifted
with a vigorous sense of community; because it is foreign to crystalli-
zation in the mediocre virtues of the bourgeoisie, and is marvelous in
the great dreams that crown it; because it has an enormous capacity
for sacrifice, and is thirsty for an unseen but real superlative, the Ro-
manian youth has only to attach itself with all its wiII and conscience to
the Word of God, in order to be eternal.
It is a worthy experience, to which I call the youth of our nation.

(ILEAVE TO DEATH"

What is keeping you from renewing within yourself this spiritual


youth, from carrying over the depths of evil and ruins the spirit of
.. BISHOP lOAN SUCIU

The

Spirit

Of

YOUTH

;:
," ,·r
";\

Translated by Enea Motiu, Renata Motiu, and Charles Carlton


i

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