I just downloaded Boethius’ The Consolation of Philosophy. The work was written in the 6th century while Boethius was imprisoned by the Arian Emperor Theodoric The Great. It is perhaps the most influential philosophical work of the Middle Ages (the “zeitgeist” in which I live, if you’re into that terminology). The patroness of my rational thought, Edith Stein, does not disappoint.
The single most striking aspect of the author’s approach is that he explains the goodness of God through the lens of philosophy rather than theology. While in his prison cell, Boethius had a vision of a Lady in an old, dusty, worn-out robe. He recognized her as Lady Philosophy, and the tattered dress was symbolic of how philosophy had been so forgotten, tossed aside as it were, during the Dark Ages. Clearly, we are in a new, Hegelian-inspired Dark Age today, and Boethius’ vision remains relevant.
In the Fall of 2012, I had a dream that I have not been able to shake. For years now, I have contemplated its meaning to no avail. I knew it was important, but I did not know what it meant. Perhaps now I do.
In this dream I am in a crowded room, filled with laughter, talking, clinking glasses and everything that makes for “worldly” pleasure. Suddenly, the entire room cleared in silence and, staring directly at me, was a woman dressed in a brown robe. It looked like something worn in the early centuries, perhaps around the time of our Lord. She looked at me and smiled. She was good. I knew that. However, I did not recognize her. Then, I woke up.
The image was branded in my memory. I thought it must have been a dream about a saint, but none seemed to fit. The robe was not white, as is so often associated with visions of saints. It was brown, reflecting someone noble yet not divine in nature, not in a glorified state.
At the time I was piecing together my own writings. I never really understood what genre I was writing. I just wrote. Over the past year, I have come to the unexpected realization that what I have been writing all these years is not so much “religious” in substance as it is philosophical.
Now, I believe I know what Our Lord was telling me in the Fall of 2012. That about which I wrote at the time, I did not understand, even myself. Now, I think I do.
Thank you Edith Stein. And Lady Philosophy.