Wisdom on Wednesdays—The triumph of hopelessness

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St. Isaac Jogues, oil on canvas.

“Those who think entirely in terms of the world succeed at success.  They can never succeed at failure.  But Christianity is the Religion of Failure.  It is the triumph of hopelessness.”  (1928)

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Wisdom on Wednesdays—The Hope

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Noli me tangere (Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection), woodblock print, 1920, 8¾ x 5 in.

“Christianity in the first 500 years of its existence was known as ‘The Love’ in much the same way as it is known in our day as ‘The Faith.’  It died as love and resurrected as faith as it is dying today as faith and is resurrected as a hope.”  (1941)

Wisdom on Wednesdays—As near despair and madness as possible

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St. Paul the Hermit, oil on canvas, c. 1922, 30 x 25 in. (Private collection)
Schmitt’s depiction of St. Paul of Thebes (d. c. 341) being fed miraculously by a raven was probably inspired by a painting of the saint by the great seventeenth-century Spanish artist Velázquez. The enigmatic figure on the foreground is Schmitt’s own contribution.
A version of this painting in brighter colors is part of the Carl Schmitt Foundation’s collection.

“To come as near despair as possible without losing hope—that is the aim of a Christian.
“To come as near madness as possible without losing sanity—(that is, to be as fanatical as possible without losing idiocy) is the aim of an artist.”  (1932)