Anthony Pau Cabrales: journal — I

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

1. While on the 5th Circuit (before appointment to the Court), about two weeks after 9-11-01

[Editorial note: This entry is second in the “crisis of faith” series as generally delineated by Cabrales’ biographers. The series as a whole is seen as nascent “Residence Catholicism,” both by biographers and activist/theologians of that movement. The Vatican itself has emphasized the connection: declaring Residency a heresy, the Vatican cited Cabrales’ journal and his stance in Doe v. Dawkins, the case which redefined abortion jurisprudence in the Suzuki Court, as evidence of Residency’s “contaminated” stance. Of course, Residency began without Cabrales’ input, his journals released, at his request, upon his death. But Residency quickly appropriated them as evidence of its theology in natural, as opposed to Church, action. Some say the journal continues to be used in the underground Protest of the Priests meetings in Africa and Latin America; these have also been banned by the Vatican, but continue nonetheless, with no one actually “attending.”]


           In the din of 9-11 I find myself within the voice of Thornton Wilder. Not by intent; by dismay and happenstance. I do not think Wilder profound. I’ve read most of his works only to forget them, a feeling of calm acceptance in residue. But when I turned to those works I consider profound, I was repelled. I felt betrayed. Betrayed that we could not translate their wonderful words into a world; betrayed that those words did not transform us to that end. What’s the point? Read profundity and nothing happens. Perhaps this is why we can bear the Ninth Amendment. Those marvelous juxtaposition of words do nothing but sell books. Fine; a material benefit which simultaneously insulates the noxious things. Marvelous read–what’s up next?

           On 9-11 I stood at my bookshelves, hearing the profound voices urging me to keep trying, and turned my back. Try what, profound voices? We all know what will happen next. The voices are expunged by my despair. But the resigned silence births something faint. A vague memory. I hesitate, turn back to the books. There is Wilder: “I’m not profound. But I am here.”

           Banal. He’s banal, and he knows it. So he says in his first book, Bridge [over San Luis Rey]: ‘there are times when it requires a high courage to speak the banal.” That’s all there is right now, Thornton–the banal. And we are mute. Is that why you write in your almost greatness, knowing the great would fail us? Perhaps the great write because they cannot but be ineffectual. They write to fool us, those greats, finding a home in their impotence. Then why do you write, not quite great Thornton? Ah, Thornton, you knew: we, the effectual, must be fooled. We must be fooled to be effective. You knew that in the moments of our abyss we would see the profound for what they are. You are a bridge, between them and us. Apart from your prizes, your literary renown in life, your book royalties which faded into your digestive track, apart from all this you found a way to bestow an impersonal love. You told us. At the end of Bridge, you told us:

 

we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living, and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.

 

           You help us forget the profound are fakes. The din of 9-11 will fade; we will endure, the profound will recover. But Thornton, we will forget you. We have to. You’re banal. Yet partly because of you there will be other almost greats to reach out in future abyss. The abyss ever recurs; the banal are ever necessary.

           Ah, Thornton, an extra gift: you help we understand the Church Fathers; and why the Gospels are so often hated.

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

2. While on the 5th Circuit (before appointment to the Court), a few days after the death of John Paul II, 2005

[Editorial note: 3rd in the “crisis of faith” series as generally delineated by biographers. Cabrales ever remained a devout Catholic in public, regularly attending mass and confession (see confession entries, below). His release from Church doctrine remained private, so private that these entries, when published, were occasionally denounced as forgeries. His public silence in personal turmoil endeared him to early Residency Catholicism, especially in Africa, where the boundaries of worship can severe history, family, and life itself. Note that this “3rd” “crisis” entry is some four years after the “2nd” such entry; one should remember that the crisis series is the construction of biographers, not Cabrales.]

           My Pope is dead, so may now perform miracles. Not the miraculous intercession of human to human which changes the world, uncounted, daily. Not the marvel of common belief from afar, strangers’ hands clasping in common stance and balance. No. He shall perform the faceless intercession with forbidden heaven, act beyond human possibility, passively accepted with trembling gratitude. It is the only road to the helpless, the enfeebled. It enfeebles.

           We would not dispense miracles for human use, carefully preserving relief in the vault of heaven. Yet out Lord says in John that we will perform as he. With the Holy Spirit, we counter. Yes, as he, he to whom the dove descended. The living body of Christ on earth is forbidden his miracles. The echo of the captured light waits for death and release. Until then, we hoard.

           We have misunderstood the miracles of Christ. A gathering they were, a gathering for release in the now. Our Lord’s rule was to look under the rocks for the ugliness which hides, for the stinging thing which scurries away from the stepping feet of giants, for the condom hidden there by the immaculate hand which does not those things all do. Now we in hierarchy of white and gold, speaking a tongue not our Lord’s but for centuries the vestige of Imperium, we are the giants which place their feet where they will.

           We cast you out, John Paul, to heaven there to have your miracles imprisoned. You who proscribed, you who saw the collars who spoke too loud, too much, or not enough, you who saw these never come home from the road of ministry; you we cast out, to the heaven beyond reach, your miracles safely distant.

           Already the calls come. That which you touched now heals. Where you stayed a night now is sanctuary for reunion. There is unspoken peace in the gardens you visited. Everywhere miracles bloom, the greatest of all belief afar that they are in someone’s somewhere. Thank you for dying so this could be. Curse you for living so long so it could not be before.

           Where is the kingdom of two or more? Could we endure such kingdom made or lost with a greeting? Perhaps we invented Papal supremacy to save what we could of our Lord’s vision. Perhaps we cannot endure the vision of common miracles he had. So we made heaven to save what we can, miracles in their vault–but there.

           My Pope is dead, so may now perform miracles.

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

3. While on the 5th Circuit (before appointment to the Court), a few days after hurricane Katrina hits the US Gulf Coast, 2005

[Editorial note: 4th in the “crisis of faith” series delineated by biographers, and first of the “Katrina” entries within that series. The second Katrina entry is famous for being quoted in the Papal ban of Residency (entry below) as exemplar of the faithlessness of heresy. Never has a United States Supreme Court Justice so provoked the Vatican to reaction. Yet Cabrales can be neither praised nor blamed for this: he was dead, his words released after his death–to be pursued only by myopic pedants, he thought.]

           Your servant comes to sunder our faith. The mundane tragedies of living are insufficient to your need, Lord; you require coordinated despair, coordinated oblivion, coordinated rage against the tools of your intercession. We ask why and your provide a weather map. Where the fury of Katrina this day? Look. Out there, always, somewhere that fury. Why were we selected? Why so long without selection?

           Your purpose is not ours. You roll through our faith and ask us what to believe. You, absolute, beyond faith, beyond belief, you ask us what we believe. You know our rage but briefly alights on You before transmuted into good works in your name.

           But our faith is asunder. We find so many paths to good works in Your name. Faiths, many faiths, grow strong, vying in good works in Your name. Do you plan the minutia of this miracle? Is it impossible for You not to plan? The raging dead are so brief, even for us. But the miracles of comfort, of hope, of renewal, these human hands linked in chains welcomed and unseen, one hand to another, hope transported via seemingly unending third parties until an unknown one, puny survival of your marvel, becomes recipient. This hope grows when fed, and remembers. You are not Katrina; You are the unseen hands through which hope travels.

           Our faiths grow and we give thanks. Thank you, Lord, for making us blind to Your ways. We are the marvel of recovery; we pull the world with us as we advance. Jesus did not come to annul the wrath of the only God. No: son does not tell the father what he is. Jesus shows us how to use that wrath as tool. He does not intercede; he redirects. Out of this, beauty comes, and the Wrath allows it. For Father and Son, being beauty, rest their differences there–in the beauty of the human chain of hope both abide, and are one.

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

4. While on the 5th Circuit (before appointment to the Court), one week after hurricane Katrina hits the US Gulf Coast, 2005

[Editorial note: 5th in the “crisis of faith” series delineated by biographers, and 2nd “Katrina” entry within that series. This entry is famous for being quoted in the Papal ban of Residency, even though Residency developed after Cabrales’ death. Still, Cabrales’

 

Oh, the populations of faiths your Son has made! These faiths compete for heaven to make.

 

was so popular among Residency theologians that the Vatican identified it as a fundamental denial of Creed. The literary critic Kendal Q. Binmore places this quote (and journal entry) within the overall “crisis of faith” series in his remarkable study, Cacophony in silence: the private journals of the Suzuki Court:

 

Ambiguity balms the lacerations of apostasy. There are always minor apostasies. We don’t want to leave home. Ambiguity lets us linger. Cabrales’ phrase has two senses: faiths compete to make heaven; or compete to be made by heaven. Certainly the Creed is jettisoned in either case. But on this rock lapped by two shores there can still be a heaven. Or not, as you like. So Cabrales stands on this ambiguity, able to profess something of the Faith. An essential element of later Residency Catholicism, which sanctifies the home (of faith) while proclaiming no home eternal. Cabrales’ “crisis of faith” lead him, in later journal entries, to a theological indeterminism quite similar, if not identical, to Residency. He came to view monotheism as a prison of correctness. Whether we like it or not, he privately penned, suicide bombers are, on occasion, monotheists. This catholicism he would not abandon: something of them is in us. Nor would he abandon the people’s love of God in confessional and mass; as in Residency, he refused to deny the tools of faith. So he sought an indeterminate monotheism, famously in his “To God” entry. The present “faiths compete” entry is on this road. A marvel that a man would devote such thought with no anticipation of being heard. Well, not quite: the journals of other Justices record conversations and afterthoughts. Perhaps something of his indeterminism wormed its way into Court jurisprudence. So this book.

 

The entry follows.] 

           Why did you send Jesus, Lord? To mollify us with single belief, without distinction, so without division? No. There is no beauty without contrast. You are a God of beauty, and your works show us how ruthless beauty is.

           Your Son told us, Lord; but we have yet to hear:

 

Don’t get the idea that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but the sword. I have come

to pit a man against his father,

a daughter against her mother,

and a daughter-in-law against

her mother-in-law.

Your enemies live under your own roof.

 

…Unless you take your cross and come along with me, you’re not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:34-6, 38)

 

You have no cross in the Gospel of Thomas:

 

Perhaps people think that I have come to cast peace upon the world. They do not know that I have come to cast conflicts upon the earth: fire, sword, war. For there will be five in a house: there’ll be three against two and two against three, father against son and son against father, and they will stand alone. (Gospel of Thomas, 16)

 

It is not retribution which drives the holy purpose: the cross later comes to further divide. Your Son tells us the cost of his breath:

 

Every government divided against itself is devastated, and every town or household divided against itself won’t survive. (Matthew 12:25)

 

Dissolve. You sent your Son to dissolve the ties of life, a Katrina without end. A Katrina in every breath professing faith, breath of Jesus ever dissolving the world anew. So:

 

I have cast fire upon the world, and look, I’m guarding it until it blazes. (Gospel of Thomas, 10)

 

The sentiment sneaks into the canon:

 

I came to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already ablaze! … Do you suppose I came here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, on the contrary: conflict. As a result, from now on in any given home there will be five in conflict, three against two and two against three. (Matthew 12:49, 51-2)

 

From now on. Forever. Conflict without end.

           Your Son was sent not for the message, but for the effect of the message. Throughout life beauty comes of struggle; you are an evolutionist, Lord. Dissolve faith so faiths may come. Dissolve livelihood so hope may come, so the marvelous assistance of strangers may scaffold the world anew. Let hate dissolve with our certainties, the trick of Jesus–perhaps, Lord, a trick on you: for will not father be against son and son against father? You see, Lord, hate is superfluous in desolation. Out of debris islands of solace can arise; look in delight at what your creatures make.

           Oh, the populations of faiths your Son has made! Speciations and extinctions so quick even we of instantaneous life fail to notice. But you notice, Lord. Structures not of easy solid body but of outreached hands, so subtle as to go unnoticed by the participants. Subtle beauty only You can discern. Subtle beauty product of faith against faith. Promise of your Son fulfilled and lost in the same glance between strangers, between friends. This is heaven, and it is on earth, as your Son said, in every now that is.

           Oh, the populations of faiths your Son has made! These faiths compete for heaven to make.

           There is no conflict between You and your creation. Conflict is everywhere; it is what You are. You are all faiths in conflict with one another. You are the denial, the affirmation, of every one. Your creation has gone astray? How could it not in a world of conflict? A truth so trite is vacuous. Astray is as close to heaven as not.

           Why did You send your Son? To spice the game.

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

5. While on the 5th Circuit (before appointment to the Court), the day after al-Queada in Iraq declared war on Shiites; a suicide bomber detonates in a Shiite mosque, 2005

[Editorial note: 6th in the “crisis of faith” series delineated by biographers, considered the nadir of his faith within this series. Yet a nadir within his faith: at no point does Cabrales abandon dialogue with monotheism. Kendal Binmore (Cacophony in silence: the private journals of the Suzuki Court) comments:

 

We abandon faith when we laugh at it. As long as we confront it seriously, it lingers within us. What we fail to notice, or admit, is that our laughter requires another ground, another faith. Few can laugh in free fall. Scientists are adroit at pretending otherwise, that laughter is without cost. I have found that the quick dismissal of another’s hope hides something. Certainly faiths act as if they are in a closed game, in an arena where judgement is absolute, final, with victory only for one. Cabrales fought this general attribute of faith more than his birth doctrine of Catholicism as such. He knew his birth, so fought there. But he made the remarkable personal discovery that his battle required him to take what he abhorred seriously, not just as a process, but as a faith. This permitted him to link his birth and horrible alternative in common ground, a general attribute which he declared the true enemy. So he finds an unnerving identity between suicide bombing and the End of Days.

 

The 6th crisis of faith entry follows.]

 

           Lord, if eternity is in a moment, if immortality is outside time, how can the suicide bomber be wrong? In a moment the world ceases for those so baptized; they step out of the stream and so are eternal. Has the suicide brought his victims to God? Is he wanting only in his inability to bring all to God? Is there really no war, just impatience waiting for the stepping out? How can the Absolute open itself to us but by snuffing us out? We who are afraid of death, how can we not see that the Absolute’s only solace is in fact death?

           Each of us has an End of Days. What is the end of history but a coordinated End of Days? Suicides, you preludes to God, you are not here to win or lose. You do not walk into houses of worship which belong to none, as separate from our legal worlds as is the quiet of mountains, and as defenseless against those worlds as are mountains; you do not enter the echo of Ka’ba for political gain, but to declare the end of politics. The End of Days has taken your breath; the rule of God’s word is lost, so you walk into the oblivion of the Absolute. You do not want the return of Days never experienced. There is no hill worthy of the city you see. You want out. And in your holy mercy you offer the door to the innocent defilers. In your holy mercy you remove them from transgression. This is the love of the Absolute.

           Absolute, I fear you. I do not want you. I want the endless seed of Abraham, Your promise broken by our Lord Jesus Christ’s prophecy of the End. I tremble at what you’ve done, Jesus. I choose instead the unfinished love of men and women too vast to know. I choose the paths I will never see.

           I stumble in disbelief, Lord. Do not pick me up.

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

6. While on the 5th Circuit (before appointment to the Court)

Cabrales’ interrogation of Jesus, thought written shortly after the 6th “crisis of faith” entry.

[Editorial note: 7th in the “crisis of faith” series delineated by biographers, in which Cabrales questions Jesus’ resurrection of the dead in dialogue with the Savior. The 8th entry in the series is Cabrales’ confession of entry 7 to a parish priest. Residency theologians consider the 8th entry an instance of their core “home faith” doctrine. Kendal Binmore (Cacophony in silence: the private journals of the Suzuki Court) observes:

Cabrales’ disquiet comes not from the incredulity of science but from the consequences of resurrection in Jesus’ own day. He shifts salvation from the individual to the social relations which support individuals, condemning resurrection as disruptive to the latter. He avoids Pauline mass resurrection entirely, speaking only to the documents purportedly detailing the actions of Jesus. Pauline resurrection avoids his condemnation by rising all at once; still, in Cabrales’ critique, this mass rising must condense all action thereafter into a single event. As Justice Rachel Colleen Whitehead says in her journal, “truth is a whole thing, a place where travel is done, for all destinations are already present.” This collapses the ontology of the individual, and Cabrales will have none of that. The ontology of the individual is an epistemology of unknowing. Individual life exists only when entities are underconnected, when direct pathways do not exist from all life to all life (“I choose instead the unfinished love of men and women too vast to know. I choose the paths I will never see. crises of faith entry 6, the “nadir” entry) Cabrales’ (small c) catholicism finds commonality in the underconnectedness of all life, producing his indeterminate monotheism. Whitehead collapses all into God. Strange that Whitehead’s inclusive doctrine is exclusionary, as truth is well defined and so must be accepted; while Cabrales’ noninclusive doctrine is catholic, as no final formulation of God exists. For Cabrales, pure inclusion can motivate suicide bombing, which he is determined to deny. But let us give Whitehead her due; she finds a way to deny such as well within her own thought, as pursual of her journal reveals. A marvel that such opposed doctrines can come to the same place. Perhaps this is why the world endures. Have I revealed my Cabralian leanings?

 

The entry follows.]

           To heal–yes. To nullify hunger–certainly. But, Lord Jesus, why, why raise the dead? They rise–what rises? Am I not my social relationships, a new arm thrust into me with each connection? What of the living when their dead are raised? What does it do to them, to those connected to them? Is it not another way of killing? Do you raise the dead to destroy what lives?

           –I was cornered by those who bade we speak. Sickness elided into the death rattle, no difference to the hunger for miracles. At first they said such a one wasn’t dead; later, it didn’t matter. Miracles role forward, pushed by ever greater demands. I asked them not to tell, but they told, they always told. The demands flooded toward me. I had to die to stop it.

           And rise, Lord Jesus–you rose yourself.

           –I vanished. I was not where I was supposed to be. I was made into one thing, then not there. I must be somewhere, so you say. So I rose.

           And put a stop to the raising of the dead, Lord Jesus.

           –Is not vengeance a raising of the dead? Is not murderous reply the hand of the dead living anew? In memory we incessantly raise the dead. You say raising the dead is another way to kill the living. What do you think memory was doing to my land? I showed my people what it meant to have their desire.

           And, Savior, they did not turn away; they wanted more.

           –Too much, always too much. They said let others pay for my dead. I want my dead now. Raising the dead wasn’t about eternal life, you who are a man made judge. It was about retrieving what was lost. I wanted to show them what that would really mean.

           You failed, Lord.

           –I provided a solution. I vanished. Tomb empty, I was elsewhere. Tomb empty, I was safely beyond the confines of memory. I became possibility, potential.

           But one you raised, he waited in your tomb.

           –Yes, judge. He waited in my tomb, so was not in his. He had vanished from the fetter of memory. To displace memory, send it elsewhere.

           And Lazarus?

           –He continued his life. Backs slouched with the increasing burdens of connection. Lazarus, always Lazarus, was pronounced obstacle to improvement, to hope. Finally, to set the world aright, he was murdered. You are not meant to embrace the world. In my Father’s House there are many rooms.

           Why heal at all, Lord? Why risk resurrecting the dead?

           –Hope dead flares destruction. Resurrection was in the air. I sought the hope in healing, before connections are sundered by death. Before opportunity is birthed by death, opportunity which resents quashing by resurrection. Even so, I warned them to keep things quiet. I warned some to leave their abode. Life displaced by healing, miracles best when safely born otherwhere.

           –Sadducees denied resurrection, denied hope. Pharisees tightly controlled hope through the portal of resurrection. The despair I saw, fuel for young men drowning in memories not their own, refused controlled hope. I, son of Adam, spawn of you men, provided the only solution possible: uncontrolled, sporadic hope through healing, healing which transports from the abode of origin, to refrain from becoming a canker among those who hoped you dead. But you demanded more than my offering. On the cross, crucifixion of ridicule for those I healed, you forced so many words into my mouth. You took what I was and made it your salvation, incompatible salvations–precisely what I tried to avoid. Even my own resurrection, my escape form your memory, you caught with your words. You made me a Pharisee, a recipe for salvation. You turned me into your hope.

           Lamb of God, I disbelieve you. You proclaimed the End of Days. You forced the issue of resurrection.

           –I ask forgiveness. I tried to battle the Pharisees, to break their hold on risen hope.

           And so, Savior, you became a Pharisee, one unable to avoid the End of Days.

           –Yes, and so remain. I am still on the cross, each of me but one ridiculed by each of you. Perpetual resurrection on the cross, floating with nowhere to go, precisely placed in the cross winds of diverse hope, precisely placed into stillness.

           –Now let me go, judge among men. Put your pen down. What have you gained by your interrogation but the very landscape of despair I sought a path to flee? Put your pen down. There are too many words to surmount.

           Unless some made a path of words for flight once you were gone.

           Savior? Savior? Why are you now silent?

[From Kendal Binmore’s Cacophony in silence: the private journals of the Suzuki Court:

Anthony Pau Cabrales was a second generation American. His paternal grandfather was, for all his long life in the United States, an illegal immigrant from Mexico. This grandfather refused to apply for amnesty, steadfastly believing his work alone gave him residency in this land. The extended family lived with this, and there were other illegal relatives on the margin. Anthony knew this grandfather, attending Mass with him as a young boy and adolescent–in El Paso, Texas, Anthony’s home town, where the grandfather later died. Anthony’s mind catapulted him to Harvard as undergraduate and then law student. But, when returning home, he always went to the church he had attended with his grandfather, a poor parish in his grandfather’s time, and in the time of Associate Justice Cabrales.

Cabrales was one of the American Sundered, forced into many worlds, home somehow always in the next world. He lived proto-Residency. Modern deconstruction of the New Testament is mostly, but not uniquely, an industry of American scholars. Anthony was one of these, in his privacy. Perhaps it is the Sundered trails of American life which encourage the ripping and taping anew of canonical text; perhaps these trails allow as well the rather ready inclusion of the previously heretical. If the landscape of Jesus was in his time a sundering, perhaps the sundered of today are most receptive to his tales.

That church of his grandfather is for Anthony the catholic imperative. He returned to it even when an Appellate judge of the 5th Circuit, going there to confess his interrogation of Jesus. This the 8th crisis of faith entry.]
                                        

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

7. While on the 5th Circuit (before appointment to the Court

Cabrales’ confession to a parish priest

[Editorial note: 8th in the “crisis of faith” series delineated by biographers, Cabrales’ confession of his interrogation of Jesus (crisis entry 7) to a parish priest. Residency theologians consider this entry an instance of their core “home faith” doctrine, but Kendal Binmore (Cacophony in silence: the private journals of the Suzuki Court) disagrees:

 

Cabrales’ confession to a parish priest of faith lost, the priest then resident in the El Paso church he once attended with his paternal grandfather, is torturous on both sides of the confessional. The priest really has no business hearing Cabrales, but Cabrales seems compelled to retain some connection to the rituals of childhood. The priest cannot, in the end, forbid his return; there is rather more than a hint that the priest understands something of this anonymous plight. Residency theologians cite Cabrales’ return as evidence of proto “home faith,” where one steps beyond one’s maturing of faith precisely by retaining a home therein, but I think these theologians are shopping for a Savior long after the product has been discontinued. Residency strove for a place in Church Catholic–only possible if that Church is primary. God may take many forms in worship, but there is nothing wrong with Church as form; the forms, so argued the Residents, are not incompatible. I think the resolvatory crisis entry “To God” suggests otherwise–that instances of God may be incompatible. In the present entry we have a different point: faith is neighborless. Sitting in the confessional, he writes

 

In this booth there is no world. I recede into the infinitesimal, neighborless save for the mediated Presence. Neighborless, yet tied to uncountable others through a leap of infinity. This is faith. Solitude meaningful through unseen others.

 

Small wonder the Vatican used this quote as evidence of Cabrales’ “unhealthy” stance, imputed to Residency. The neighborless infinitesimal Cabrales describes cannot be of Mother Church. Mother Church has arms which embrace. The isolate faith Cabrales finds is of a judge on his bench, ever distant from those he is committed to protect. But this commitment nowhere degrades the parish priest or his flock; rather, Cabrales sees the priest as more important than himself. This is core to Cabrales’ catholicism. He sees the home he left as more important than himself, but he is no longer of that home. Certainly Residency could not articulate this and hope to remain in Mother Church. The Residents are correct in saying this entry declares Cabrales’ catholicism. What this catholicism is await further entries; Cabrales did not know himself, which is his courage.

 

The entry follows.]

           When in this city I attend a poor parish, priest’s head stuffed with the unavoidable sins of gut survival, his tongue the tongue of my ancestors, a tongue which supports the Church humbly and silently, just as my racial brethren feed the famished day of business, cleaning its refuse unseen in the night. Here are the faithful of necessity, the Church pure, untainted by discord which creates and destroys sinecures in the name of God. Here God is raw, His priest perpetually numbed by the close Presence.

           I always come to this priest when in this city. This Appellate Judge, important cog in legal machinery forcing anonymity, this man bound by the words of others comes to stand near one who stands near the Presence. There are no cases from below here, only cases. There is no hierarchy of right thought here, only anguish of right in wrong, wrong in right. Here the close case is never finalized; it ever recurs for fresh decision, each occurrence the presence of God. In grace there is no fixed right or wrong.

           Mumbling the Spanish confessional, the priest is rewarded by a voice which makes fate. He knows my voice, his sigh a laugh. He does not face God this moment, a God pleading with humble to angry voice for intercession against His own creation; no, here only the sporadically present supplicant who finds comfort a burden.

           In Spanish:

           “My wayward son is back.”

           “I hope ever to return, father.”

           “I do not understand why. You confess things which seem unreal to me.”

           “You minister to the ground I walk. But for you where could I stand?”

           “You want absolution for all those faces pushed into the mud so your steps remain clean?”

           “Padre, doe not the Church rise on faces blinded with mud?”

           A sigh. “Si, si. I beg pardon.”

           “Padre, I am here because you know. You know the ground supporting us all.”

           Silence. Then: “What are your transgressions, my son?”

           “I have spoken for Jesus, Padre.”

           Bubbling laughter from closed lips. “We all advocate the message. It is God’s grace that we can.”

           “No Padre. I made Jesus speak. His voice flowed from my pen.”

           “A drama? Such license is no sin these days. Are you desperate for transgression?”

           In truth I know not why I do this. My journal entries are private. I know not what I need from this man I deem more essential to life than I.

           “I forced Him to confess his error, Padre. I forced the Son of God to admit he had been wrong.”

           A long pause. “And what did he say, my son? What error did he confess?”

           “He had been wrong to raise the dead.”

           “The risen are as angles.”

           “Lazarus was not.”

           “Jesus loved Lazarus.”

           “He left Lazarus.”

           “Yes, he left Lazarus. And all those he healed.”

           “Padre, if there is eternal life, is resurrection a healing? And healing just before death, is that not a theft of eternity?”

           “I see the pain of this world, not eternity. The Creed tells me what to do. Would you have me advocate suicide?”

           “Healing those who will live, this is a mercy. But those on their way to heaven–is that not tortuous theft?”

           Silence. Then: “God’s kingdom is before us now.”

           “The kingdom is not the throne.”

           “Hubris to approach the throne uncalled.”

           “So we are slaves chained by human pain.”

           “Apostasy.”

           “How can I ask intercession against the death of anyone?”

           “There are others.”

           “To slave a man to others?”

           “Arrogant man. No one knows the contours of willing sacrifice.”

           “Perhaps the kingdom is not composed of selves.”

           “These words are useless to my parish. This parish is my faith. Revelation is in the mass performed–and in these confessionals. If you want to leave Mother Church, leave. Do not impose doubt on others to make your path secure.”

           “Eternity has become a weapon, Padre.”

           “It was always a weapon. You are the terrorist here. Leave.”

           In this booth there is no world.. Only apology to grasp, apology to God. If I severe this chain of faith, I will howl. As will those about me. My faith sustains those about me; silence is a mercy from the doubter. Professed faith props others, a prop they return, perhaps altruism unidentified, their own doubts veiled. Soon the issue of personal faith vanishes; only the consequences for others propels us down the well kept road.

           In this booth there is no world. I recede into the infinitesimal, neighborless save for the mediated Presence. Neighborless, yet tied to uncountable others through a leap of infinity. This is faith. Solitude meaningful through unseen others.

           “Padre, eternity is suicide.”

           “Eternity is release. I have no absolution for you. Others await this booth.”

           Others. Unseen in faith, common or not.

           “I want to return, Padre.”

           Pause. “I am Catholic. The power to bar is not mine.” Pause. “Why return?”

           “I too am catholic.” Does he hear the small “c”?

           Pause. “Your cross is heavy.” Pause. “I know.” Pause. “I will be here.”

           Such is my absolution, coarsely given, in faith catholic.

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

8. While on the 5th Circuit (before appointment to the Court), shortly after the Kashmir quake of October, 2005

[Editorial note: 9th in the “crisis of faith” series, and 1st in the so-called “series catholic,” the latter a (biographer) collection emphasizing the view of trapped, finite lives, without condemnation. The present entry shifts the suicide bomber from a pathology of monotheism to an act of desperate hope, an act of recovery for those left behind. The entry ends with what some biographers call an anticipation of Cabrales’ “To God” indeterminate monotheism:

Become catholic for a day. Let no one direct the weave–enemy, or friend.

 

Kendal Binmore (Cacophony in silence: the private journals of the Suzuki Court) comments:

 

The 9th crisis of faith entry (the penultimate pre-Court entry generally included by editors in the series) transforms the suicide bomber into a tool for a resolution of God. There is no hand of God directing the bomber, for God has no hands in Cabrales’ indeterminate monotheism. Events happen, and these may, or may not, resolve into God, God of a moment. Not in the ecstacy of self destruction, but in the frayed lives of those remaining. Having abandoned the Absolute (entry 6 of the series), Cabrales makes the bomber into a natural force, a Katrina in miniature (entry 4 of the series). Resolution to God is in the aftermath. Those who precipitate the aftermath may be thought of as exiting a resolution of God, becoming a causative element for a new resolution; or they may appear absent a prior resolution of God altogether. It is important to note that a prior resolution of God is not seeding itself into the future; rather, all resolutions of God sunder somehow, somewhere–otherwise an indeterminate monotheism would be impossible. Manifesting God produces an incompleteness. This voids the concept of common humanity, as we shall see in the “To God” entry. Cabrales’ road was hard. But, completed, he finds hope in the very indeterminism which sunders common humanity. He has hope without utopia. Hope for an idea of commonality impossible to realize. No, not hope for people. Hope for people is always derivative of hope for an idea. Such horrible creatures we are.

 

The entry follows.]

           Admit it. Faith thrives on destruction, thrives on devastation, chomp-gulps fear until only morsels remain, morsels isolate from the main meal, collecting a different fate. 87,000 dead in Kashmir, 3 million displaced, meaning homeless, adrift save for the networks they create. The cloth sundered, threads flay, hoping to connect with something, of any color, of any fear, the ideology of desperation’s safe harbor.

           Do not condemn the Fates for cutting the thread of life; they do so to keep the cloth whole. Only in cloth is the thread taught in purpose. No one owns their life. The cloth demands subservience to display its color.

           Taught. Taught denies universal connection for some asserted afar. Universal, local connection bloats the cloth; nothing essential, all lapses, devastation becomes endogenous. The threads of cloth ignore their neighbors. So we produce desperation regardless of surfeit.

           And so, in protest, I am catholic. Deny the taught paths, let others form; deny those in turn. I am catholic, denying Church ascendant, later rebelling to embrace what I turned aside.

           Suicide bomber, you are essential to life, incredulous to the denial of the gift you bring, the sundering of cloth to weave anew. The cloth is taught with far purpose, leaving fear isolate, limbless. This the bomber knows. Regeneration was the only hope; sunder the superhighways which leave you unnoticed; force the flaying threads to wrap around you in desperate love. This you have practiced to perfection. How, you cry, can they not accept the opportunity for renewal? To understand the suicide bomber, look to natural disaster; that is what they emulate, that is the hope they want to create–the hope of recovery.

           Yes, Pakistan, open the Kashmir border to India. Let the desperate grasp pass by the networks of prior desperation. Become catholic for a day. Let no one direct the weave–enemy, or friend. This too the true reply to the suicide. Not to stop, no more so than to stop a quake. But to let the cloth form beyond the vision of us all, suicide, bystander, victim.

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

9. On the 5th Circuit (before appointment to the Court), while on vacation in Europe

A chance encounter with a wooden statuette, eyes large in oval face, pain tempered by a sadness released from this world. It stands, hands clasped to breast, in greeting or prayer, perhaps no distinction in this solitary sentinel. Recessed deep in a hut, a kitchen pantry offering a surround of lit votive candles. Lit, here in this hut, adjacent to a woodland Autobahn. Unlit votives with matches at entrance way.

A car whizzes by. Occasionally one stops, feet descend from purpose to ground, knees stoop to pick a candle, another star alight. Feet retreat, door closes, purpose continues as silence veils its speed. Stars surround this wooden saint, his only light. Does the traveler stop to supplicate protection–or is it pity for the saint’s vigil which motivates the suspension of purpose to make a sun held in palm? Swift purpose distilled into small light, left in anonymity for the anonymous to see. These candles the summed residue of purpose forgotten.

No car stops now. The mist which has clothed my hike is perpetual twilight, votive candles producing shadows on the saint, signs of life beyond his vigil, life come to support his stand, changing artistry unseen by life, save for the occasional retreat of purpose from itself, to place in memory for later use this brush of shadow which leaves no trace.

The mist which has defied my physics these walking hours begins to coalesce–perhaps it’s the approaching night. Drop. Drop drop. My skin a telegraph without cipher. Now a drizzle, becoming more. I look around. The only shelter is the saint. I hesitate, afraid to break the seal of the lifeless, yet enter. Above my head a drumming, accelerating to downpour, each roof ping a sign of protection, a sign of a world drenched outside unknown. Each drum-drop filling a space in hearing, cramming between the other heard drops, until a seamless density arrives, a cacophony so dense music can be discerned. And I become companion with effigy.

Soon the music recedes, quiet always there again is noticed, and I find myself next to wood. Now I know why these lights never fail. I know why no one harms this place.

This Saint, temporary shelter from the world, is no abode, unequipped for the excreta of life. Yet its sanctuary is as real as these cars that pass, cars sometimes stopping to provide light anonymously. This Saint has no single purpose; it sits in a confluence of purpose, none its own. So stands faith, eyes deeply saddened, knowing home is but for a moment, shelter but for a moment.

I could go back, if I remembered the way. But I don’t. I’m not supposed to.

Still, that wooden man climbed into my mind–perhaps for shelter, for a moment. Perhaps he’s already left, his storm abated, and I, wooden by his side, could not know.


[ From Kendal Binmore, Cacophony in silence: the private journals of the Suzuki Court:

 

The “Shelter of the Saint” is prior to 9-11-01, so not included as a “Crisis of Faith” entry by the Profound. True, it proclaims no unbelief. But the saint encountered is not Anthony Pau’s saint. He treats it exterior to his faith, a stranger–yet it provides a momentary solace. Of the pantheon Faith Catholic, yet foreign in a somewhat antiseptic land. The pantheon is full of strangers, the price of Faith Catholic. Here not the dirty saints where solitude is an impossibility, the saints of Mexico and now the Southwestern United States, saints grown in pestilence, violence, hunger. These Anthony Pau knows; not lived, but encountered with a handshake in better times. But in Europe, this encountered stranger of a saint is all alone, yet kept alight in anonymity, kept alight where the fierce urgency of reproduction seems to have left home, permanently. Antiseptic saint so distant from devotees. No body odor here.

 

A pantheon of strangers: this Faith Catholic is the core of later Residency. Anthony Pau does not turn away from the stranger saint, this saint no actor in the plays between farts and sex and love and hope and a small child rocked to sleep. He does not turn away, and is sheltered, for a moment. This is travel in Residency, travel always but a moment, then done. Travel the Papacy ultimately condemned as hostile to Faith Catholic. Condemnation of Residency was condemnation of the pantheon of strangers, something the Vatican does not recognize to this day.

 

Protestants are more universal. They have, in varying degree, the Holy Spirit, which alights as it will and so finds the arbitrary. There are, however, false signs of the Spirit, luring tricksters which must be refused. So each congregation, in each Protestant sect, can sever as well as create ties. Not so in Faith Catholic. The pantheon of strangers is accessible to all; once admitted, a stranger goes where he can, an invitation to all irrespective of congregation. This freedom is what the Vatican fearfully condemned. Residency extended the pantheon of strangers to the icons of others and heaven collapsed. One cannot have a heaven without secured boundaries. Protestants know this; Church Catholic struggles to remain ignorant. Protestants let the Holy Spirit decide, conveniently fickle as it is. Church Catholic is too responsible for that, so excludes with no reprieve.

 

The Papal ban on Residency is a slight of hand repudiation of Vatican II. No longer does the Church

 

look with sincere respect upon those ways of conduct and of life, those rules and teachings which, though differing in many particulars from what she holds and sets forth, nevertheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. (Vatican II, Declaration on Non-Christian Religions, n. 2)

 

No. Truth is no longer a light but has become a sun, engulfing our petty distinctions into oblivion, using these distinctions to stoke its furnace. Truth is to be avoided in Faith Catholic.

 

Before 9-11, Anthony Pau saw in that hut that strangeness is the only means of travel. His crisis of faith will come when he realizes he must make his own faith a stranger, a stranger to shelter his travel of a moment. 9-11 showed Anthony Pau Cabrales that monotheism was no universalism. Later Residency sought a universalism among strangers. Denied by the Pope, we seldom walk the pantheon these days, its stranger saints flickering toward darkness as the candles, one by one, burn out.]

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

10. On the 5th Circuit (before appointment to the Court), after an abortive attempt by several hundred members of a Shia apocalyptic group to “take” Najaf, possibly to assassinate or capture Grand Ayatollah Sistani, 2007

[Editorial note: in late January, 2007, several hundred members of an apocalyptic cult camped outside Najaf, ostensibly to participate in religious pilgrimage. One day, before dawn, they descended toward the city, purportedly to either kill or kidnap Grand Ayatollah Sistani, resident therein, thereby hastening the return of the 12th, hidden, imam of Shia doctrine. Intercepted by Iraqi regulars, a firefight ensued. After several hours, the regulars requested American air and ground support; it is unclear whether the insurgents would have been defeated without this aid. Some insurgent casualties were found paired, two men having a leg tied to one another, making it impossible to move without consent of both, a precommitment of valor, a forced courage. Within days the event faded as high casualty suicide bombings again erupted in Bagdad. The following entry, 10th in the “crisis of faith” series as delineated by biographers, is generally considered the last pre-Court entry of that series. Kendal Q. Binmore, in his Cabrales as alternative to Paul’s gnostic populism, calls the entry “God’s condemnation of existence.” “The gift of life sunders, fractures, God; thereafter God seeks either to recover Itself or flee from Itself. Recovery is our destruction, flight our hope.” (Binmore, …alternative to Paul…; see also his Cacophony in silence: the private journals of the Suzuki Court.) The 10th entry is God’s recovery. The final entry in the series, “To God” (“A Dios”) is our recovery through God’s flight.]

God marching on God, to collapse God into Itself, to escape the curse of space which separates God from Itself. Apocalypse the only redemption; not for us, we the persistent infection of space born but unbearable to the Absolute, but for the Absolute Itself. In war the loss of distinction which brings the collapse of space, apocalypse reaching for a point singularity which will draw all else inward. A gnosticism, a populist gnosticism, where all are granted the gift of death without exception. Pauline, with life and death one.

They came clothed in doctrine to be abandoned in success, success a silence without audience. They came in pairs, hobbled to one another, legs tied in common goal to make two breaths one. Three legged creatures of two mouths chanting as one, desperate resolve to form singularity before its time.

God marching on God for release. Wailing for relief from the vision of One where nothing is said but all ever hope to say. God comes, begging a mercy killing. If Apocalypse is impossible at least remove me from its wanting. See how I come, immolating myself for ready execution, limbs tied together grotesquely, mind dulled by the fevered words of my need. Take me in rehearsal of what I cannot make. Smash my mind, bring oblivion–until my need arises in them again to resurrect this impossible hope, resurrection itself a severing of the Absolute, space leaching singularity, completeness, incomprehensibility, dry.

And we, God, oblige.

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

11. On the 5th Circuit (before appointment to the Court), while on vacation in Europe, after viewing Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Barcelona, 2002

I stand in the interior of Gaudi’s faith and wonder what he believed. Above, a piecemeal ceiling reveals a terrible gold/blue beauty of wings which, with shifting eye, become gaping, hovering mouths. The God YHWH Shibboleth, who uses for purposes not ours. Terrible, silent, purpose incidental to the happiness of men.

Gone the fabulous exterior of the nativity, there only to draw one into this interior of morally neutral power. Standing here the cathedral becomes a locus of power, uncolored by any emotional palette. The outside draws you in, it’s only function.

This ceiling changes everything. Once viewed I see the stained glass windows differently. They begin in earth colors of brown and green but rise to clear white, deep red. Abstract at their height, what supports them is mere entry, a way to the top. Did Gaudi see himself as a ladder to similar end–not an understanding or knowledge, but a means to move forward to knowledge? Was the goal entry into the terrible, consuming purpose of God, leaving Church behind?

Those old photos of Gaudi and his Cardinal–is that love of Church or use of Church? Cardinal as dead as Gaudi, now a saint, still working for the reification of Gaudi’s imagination. Yet Gaudi forbade direct investment by the Church in his cathedral’s construction; only donations were to be accepted, donations by individuals, by secular institutions beyond the body of Christ on earth. God’s terrible purpose is to absorb all people; or so Paul’s epiphany says. The Church, secular, limiting institution in hiding, is ultimately in God’s way. So Gaudi employs the piety of Church as base, base to be discarded, then builds through direct absorption of the people–through donation.

A remarkable faith this, that building will be propelled by God’s terrible goal of absorption far after Gaudi’s death. When complete, this cathedral will not be of the Church. It will stand apart, orphan to innumerable donations, including those of tourists with neither purpose nor faith, a tiny portion of tiny life called individual existence.

This transformed economic necessity into the absorption of God. Of course the Church could not finance the building; so he forbade it. The Cardinal becomes a saint because he supported a project beyond the Church’s means. So he became part of the terrible, silent purpose; and, as always, the Church appropriates him after the fact. His sainthood has nothing to do with being a Cardinal; rather, he employed the happenstance of being a Cardinal to greater end. The Church ever appropriates the shells of past absorption, mistaking bones for spirit, relic for reality. And in recognizing past saints, they blindingly block present saints. Yet without their archive of memory, present action would ultimately go unnoticed. So the Church is not of God but a curious necessary refuse of God’s absorption. Gaudi must be on his way to sainthood, so adroit at employing this instrument of obstruction called piety.

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

12. On the Court, evening, at home

Yesterday I spoke to Benjamin of the mouths of God on the ceiling of Gaudi’s Cathedral. Blue-gold beauty consuming us in our paralysis of awe. He “ah-ah”-ed me and walked down the hall.

Today he pops into my outer chambers. My clerks eye him dubiously. I am with them, they relieved; let the boss respond.

“Anthony!”

“Benjamin!”

A pause. He looks around, perhaps wondering why he is here, or where here is, then, startling himself, removes a small book from his shirt pocket.

“Ah. I have this for you. A translation of Rilke’s Duino elegies. Good thing it’s a translation. This means we don’t know who wrote it. More than usual, that is. Here’s the beginning of the First Elegy. I always read beginnings.

 

“Who, if I cried out, would hear me

among the angels’

hierarchies? And even if one of them

pressed me

suddenly against his heart: I would

be consumed

in that overwhelming existence. For

beauty…”

 

He interrupts himself: “See, talks about beauty.” And continues

 

“For

beauty is nothing

but the beginning of terror, which we

still are just able to endure,

and we are so awed because it serenely

disdains

to annihilate us. Every angel is

terrifying.”

 

He closes the small book.

“Terrible beauty! Rilke wrote the Elegies underneath a painting of Picasso. He demanded that seat. Picasso worked for a time in Barcelona. Gaudi’s Cathedral is being built in Barcelona. There is connection!”

Silence. My clerks look at one another. They can’t wait for tomorrow’s lunch time gossip. Better: maybe they will be impeachment witnesses.

“If beauty so terrible, why prize that which would destroy us? If beauty so terrible, why strive for its creation? What we emulate? And why?”

“God, Ben.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know.” I really don’t.

“If God is speaking to us, do you think he would place his Cathedral only in Barcelona? Where is his Cathedral, here?”

Ben looks up, at the ceiling.

Silence. He starts.

“Oh. There is the law. I was looking for it when I saw your door open. Must find it.”

He’s gone.

My clerks supplicate an explanation with their eyes.

“No, no, he’s not psychotic. I spoke of Gaudi’s Cathedral yesterday. As for finding the law, I don’t know where it is either, anymore.”

Their laughter will be subdued tomorrow’s lunch. Their boss, the devout Catholic, his mumbled his crisis of unbelief.

In this evening I shall go outside and look up. And see no stars. They have been erased by our resplendent strivings for success. To dim the uncaring beauty beyond our reach.

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

13. On the Court, at home, several hours after entry 12

I should have gone to bed hours ago; we have a hearing in the day. But I have stood hours this night trying to discern the few stars left to us. As the hours advanced some of the lights about me went out; others dimmed. A few more stars appeared as our efforts finished for the night. Terrible beauty returns as we retreat.

What do we emulate, Ben?

Brightness.

Of stars?

Maybe once. Now, not. Now we emulate the brightness of one another. To outshine the other is to extinguish the other, the only way to be seen. What remains is a brightness hiding the distant.

Oh, we are fools. We think the stars acts of God, so create our own boiling suns, singeing each other in the glory of advance. Singe, or worse. This, we say, is beauty’s price. But it is not the catastrophic heat of the close star which is beautiful; it is the distant effect. It is not the twinkle of a solitary star which commands but the mass of such stars. We have it all wrong. Beauty is not enacted; it is by-product. It is use for which the star has no use, use for things not of its realm. The distance-revealed pattern of entities which would consume one another if truly close. And all we do is burn one another in emulation of stars, in emulation of human stars.

There may be beauty in this, at distance, for some. That is the terror of beauty. It cares not how it is created.

So Gaudi, those blue-gold mouths on your ceiling: a warning to not become what you think you see. To contain the stars is to destroy. It is the ceiling which creates the mouths; it is the cathedral of faith which creates the mouths.

I go to bed, turning off my lamp. Tomorrow, once again, I become a sun.

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

14. On the Court, in chambers, otherwise undated

In the hall, that corridor of battle which connects private worlds, the figure of Benjamin Suzuki approaches. As fierce Japanese avatar. Where is my cross, recognition that pain at least occurs if not cured. A useful defense to finger in my pocket when the avatar comes. But my childhood cross is not with me. I have entered the greater world armed only with memory.

Suzuki stops by my side.

“Why parables?”

“What?”

“Why Jesus speak in parables?”

Deteriorated verb tense speaks of an important moment. If you want it, that is.

“The stories stay with the mind. In a time of mass illiteracy a necessary inventing–perhaps even today so. The parable allows thought. Leads to discussion in small groups, thereby forming local leaders. Ambiguity is resolved and stewardship, of a weak sort, created. But weak can become strong in a moment. Or so I have meditated.”

“No.”

“No, Ben?”

“Well, not only that.”

“Then what else?”

“He didn’t know.”

“What? He didn’t know what?”

“The answers. He spoke in parables because he didn’t know the answers. He needed others to try and figure it out.”

“It?”

“Yes, it.”

I laugh.

“Maybe we should speak in parables too.”

“That maybe the answer he sought, Anthony.”

Off he goes, avatar become Ben. I have someone else in confrontation. Not this confrontation of the parables, but some confrontation, all confrontations.

Where is my cross? One should not leave chambers absent the armor of childhood.

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

15. While awaiting confirmation to the US Supreme Court

You say the kingdom is wherever two or more meet in your name. But Savior, is there contention in heaven? How often do we meet absent alliance against another? Is this why you gave us Armageddon? To ally against something beyond the human? To make a heaven beyond the human, using the very human. It has yet to work. Must we await the reality of the prophecy?

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

 

16. On the Court, before appointment of Suzuki, at home

 

I have been going from monastery to monastery, from village to village, wilderness to wilderness, searching for God. I did not marry, did not have children because I was searching for God. I would hold a slice of bread in one hand and a fistful of olives in the other, and though I was famished, I always forgot to eat, because I was searching for God.

 

Nikos Kazantzakis

Saint Francis

 

God is not in the hunger. God is not in the isolation, the loneliness. Nor in the wandering. There is no piety eyes to sky, olives dripping in one hand, bread crumbling in the other. There is no piety in looking the fool, except in this: the turning away. Turning away from what sustains locally, turning away without expectation of alternative. All the mumbling, all the prayers, all to keep the smell of simmering meat at bay. What do we expect God to do? Open up a heaven denied to all but I of momentous saliva? I protector of the flee, I the unsocial, I who strives to be nonhuman using human means. If you will not ostracize me I will ostracize you, my brothers in creation. I will show Infinity that I am not of the multitude of creation. I am already near heaven; let me in.

 

Hopeless. One need is as another’s. It is in the turning; God lies in the turning. Infinity swallows us, whole immeasurable bits, as we turn from our need which fills the universe. How else can we experience the Absolute?

 

Have children. Eat well. Smell kindly. Turn turn, turn in place, turn without hope. Let no one keep you from spinning, let them marvel as you perform your role while escaping yet trapped. Turn, turn, watching the uneasiness to fear as you fail to wander away. This the kingdom of heaven on earth, available to all at identical price, irrespective of social position. This kingdom of heaven where God dwells through our absence.

 

Sometimes we see these spinning tops. Why do we fear them? They perform as required. But they remain, spinning about us, wobbling that never falls, promise of laugh withheld. We fear not one of them; we fear two. Released from the needs we impose, the needs we embrace, what will two do upon encounter? Creation unfettered by the necessity of others; a terrible thing. We fear the creation of God.

 

Perhaps that is why I go to confession. To stay the occasional lilting spin. Use me not, Lord, I am not ready.

 

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

 

17. On the Court, at home

 

[Editorial note: This entry, written while Cabrales sat on the full Suzuki Court, is considered archetypical of the “Court Triumvirate” by Kendal Q. Binmore, a confluence of Justices Cabrales, Mitland, and Suzuki. See Binmore, Cacophony of silence. Compare Cabrales’ “To God.” entry (#18, below), which Binmore sees as the first full articulation of Cabrales’ (Binmore’s labeled) fractured monotheism]

 

“Holy ascetic, I have set out to find God. Show me the road.”

 

“There isn’t any road.”

 

“What is there, then?”

 

“There is the abyss. Jump!”

 

“Abyss! Is that the way?”

 

“Yes, the abyss. All roads lead to the earth; the abyss leads to God. Jump!”

 

Nikos Kazantzakis

Saint Francis

 

You asked us to hide your miracles–not an act of a political Messiah. But life cannot be hidden, growth cannot be hidden. Spite will come, tearing down walls to climb over another’s house. You asked us to flee once healed, to abandon our lives, to cease to be in the community record of travail which keeps the demon spite elsewhere. God’s imperial rule, you said, is already here. Heaven is before us, spread upon the earth unseen. You never left heaven. You have never traveled. Travel is something only the blind do. The abyss, the absence of road, is the absence of travel. Jump, and find you are anywhere, everywhere is anywhere.

 

Flee once healed. Spite is for the stationary:

 

                       Congratulations to those who know where the rebels are going to attack. [They] can get going, collect their imperial resources, and be prepared before the rebels arrive. [Gospel of Thomas, 103]

 

Be prepared by being elsewhere. Flee pathless:

 

“A chasm to my right, a chasm to my left, and I standing between the double abyss, on a piece of ground no wider than a footprint.” [Kazantzakis, St. Francis]

 

A path is just another’s footprint, a place to set your fear. Footprint set on footprint set on footprint–until the first, sitting on nothing, that nothing the cause of fear. Ground no wider than a footprint, so crowded with others jostling for the greatest balance –this is Credo, meant not as abode but resting stop.

 

Take your healing elsewhere, leave the network which made your loss. Jump! Jump infinitesimally and slam into heaven’s domain. There is no talk of resurrection in heaven; such talk is a knock on doorless wall. Flee with your healing to infect an elsewhere. That is God’s domain: the perpetual flight of the cured. Monotheism? In these flights are the Father. Tell me, how many Gods singular are there?

 

Whoever knows the father and the mother will be called the child of a whore. [Gospel of Thomas, 105]

 

Thomas Merton, you saw it, you said it, and even got an Imprimatur to seal the obscurity:

 

This the mercy of God revealed to us by the secret missions in which He gives Himself to us, awakens our identity as sons and heirs of His Kingdom. This is the Kingdom of God within us. [New Seeds of Contemplation, #6]

 

Jostling on the trip-wire of Credo, our task not to aid each other in balance, but shove each other off. And this supreme spite, sole command of Credo, becomes our abyss; for in my shove I real backwards, unbalancing myself, plummeting as well. Such is the Gorgon head of God, a head without face, the pure body just down this tentacle, if you can hold on. The point, of course, is to be flipped off. For your own good. Well, someone’s good, in some somewhere.

 

Come Jesus, take my hand. Let us wrestle ourselves into abyss. Credo will remain. You’ll still be here. And so will I.

 

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

 

18. On the Court, at home, written shortly after entry #17

 

[Editorial note: This entry, popularly called “To God.”, Kendal Q. Binmore believes to be Cabrales’ first full articulation of “fractured monotheism,” although Cabrales himself never employed the phrase, saying, rather, a monotheism with multiple singular Gods (entry, below). See Binmore, Cacophony of silence: ground of the Triumvirate, 3. Anthony Pau Cabrales’ release to God and 5. Cabrales’ God; cf as well editorial notes to entries 8, 17]

 

God utters me like a word containing a partial thought of Himself.

A word will never be able to comprehend the voice that utters it.

 

Thomas Merton

New seeds of contemplation, #6

 

A Dios. To God. To God, away from us. Not away from sin. Away from our control, into an unknown. Not to force others to our view. Not to believe others will come to our view. But to expect–expect–that the releasing act, A Dios, will create something foreign. Something different. Resolution through displacement; victory obscured, not removed, by difference.

 

To God. God the unresolved, the difference yet to be. From God. The nexus created, from multiple points, from God, is God in conflict with Itself. To God. The resolution which lets God go on. These resolutions are not without conflict. Prior resolutions of God flow together, but not in balance. The mix is contention. Extinction, more or less delayed, is nonetheless ever with us. Resolution to God is, over time, one more way to die. This a monotheism, a monotheism of release. A monotheism with multiple singular Gods which asks only for the staying hand. If God is omnipotent, there is no need of victory.

 

Such is the Peace of God. Peace in movement, in travel, in resolution blissfully necessary beyond our ken. The Crusading Papacy had the germ, displacing local competition afar. But it demanded return, fixed itself into monestrous truth of consumption. Knights traveled expecting to return to what they were. The miracle of the Crusades lies in the homes left, not in the well traveled rampage they became. Their lesson is straightforward: what is released should not return. So God experiments with Itself.

 

Suicide bomber, you regress to the Crusades. You demand return from your flight–not to God, you would take from God, even as you begin from God. You are an experiment monotheism has abandoned, has surpassed. We were once like you, but no more. Or not.

 

How to combat you? Perhaps by asking how we might still be taking from God, returning when we should not. This the faith of monotheism: that these free resolutions to God beyond our site will somehow quell thirst for the frozen certainty of destruction.

 

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

 

19. While on the 5th Circuit, before appointment to the Court, a few days after 9-11-01

 

[Editorial note: This the first entry in the “crisis of faith” series as delineated by biographers, comprising, with entry #1, above, the two “Thornton Wilder” entries beginning the “crisis of faith” sequence. Entries #2-8, above, commonly complete the sequence, although a few commentators include entry #11 as well; cf editorial notes associated with entries #2-8. Entry #9, Shelter of the saint, is the only known pre 9-11-01 entry; the present entry, #19, seems to begin Cabrales’ journal pulse, consequent of 9-11. See the endnote to entry #9 for Kendal Q. Binmore’s view that #9 is an abortive beginning to Cabrales’ crisis of faith, requiring 9-11 for summation.]

 

They wondered whether at the second coming of Christ to Jerusalem, Peru would be long in receiving the news.

 

Thornton Wilder

Bridge of San Luis Rey

 

So Thornton Wilder in Bridge (1927). Set in the early 18th Century, the distance contemplated slows the hand of God. The Second Coming, that for which Church endures, that which in anticipation sustains our Catholic hierarchy of all inclusion, might not be known to all, orphaning pieces of preserved faith, Pope dissolved, his minions continuing to genuflect. For with the Coming, preservation is done; in trust we know not what to expect. All we have achieved, mostly well-fed, advances in faith and renown, gone. Our upward path no longer there. Our brothers in extended network not there.

 

What if, in Wilder’s Peru, a humble faith thinks the Coming done? Should he wait to be informed by a dead Church? Or should he dissolve this distant limb not cognizant of its death? Should he rebel, deny the rites, bring the blessed end for which all wait to his distance-denied land? Should he not make his land one with Christ inhabited Jerusalem? But all he–we–know of it is a desolation from the present.

 

A worse speculation for this humble faith: the coming may never be announced afar; desolation at the center–at Jerusalem–may remove the means of communication. We sit, waiting for a message, finally fearful that silence is its only content. Another silence, removal of the present, is that for which we wait. Heavenly silence produces earthly silence afar, trapping the distant in a faithless earth where ritual has become void.

 

So why not create the heavenly silence in the far locale? This is what Church fights; but it cannot gainsay the time has come. The humble speculating faith may be a madman or the finger of God. When the Coming has arrived there will be no difference.

 

Sitting here, in the endlessly reflected wail of 9-11, voice bouncing off voice, fueled by the roaring streams of media which dare say nothing beyond the destroying moment; sitting here I tremble to think we have witnessed a Second Coming. Not for us; for the suicides. They bring their Allah to us, they bring the Peace of God in descent and we, in that silence, wail to fill the space.

 

No reply. The desolation which is heaven knows no earthly means. Sit before the created silence. That is the message which will never hear reply. We have that message. But so do others. For we live not in 18th Century Peru. If only we did; we could at least argue with the humble faith–no, friend, the time is not yet; wait a week–the mail shall come.

 

From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, Associate Justice

 

20. While on the 5th Circuit, before appointment to the Court, vacationing in Barcelona, after watching Cataline castellers make a human cone-pyramid, 2002

 

[Editorial note: in Catalonia, local competing groups train to form castels, “castles,” ascending cones of people several tiers high, each tier tending to be of younger individuals to reduce the accumulating weight. A young child climbs up the storied bodies, standing atop them all in triumph. Miniature plaster molds of completed castels are replete in tourist shops.]

 

 They climb over themselves for our benefit, bodies pressing together, inward, force of existence concentrated to defy gravity, that which tears us down to make place, that which lets us walk by binding us to earth. Those of greater history willingly at base, those less burdened by the weightless recurrence of memory climbing atop, each level release from past, until at summit innocence held high to greater sky, we defying place through those who know not yet how large world is.

 

Clap for us, no individual ascending, only a we, only a we which feigns escape from earth by using earth against itself. We ascend the sky not some Babel to recover heaven, ascend only so high as grounded eye can gaze, wanting no God to let us in, only travelers to notice in their journey, travel mystery enough for the culture bound.

 

Our little hope scurries upward upon our being, we pressing inward in a circle to make a people, or at least an emblem to that end. Near top our hope falters, tumbles down our bodies, you audience gasp loud, what do you expect to see if tumble is all the way to ground; hope tumbles down, arm midway in ascent shoots out, past refusing failing, shoots out, recovers hope, hope scurrying upward once again to peak, standing little tall, arms stretched high, triumph traveling nowhere, you audience cheering until memory is replaced by the next show.

 

We shed ourselves top down, triumph dissolving, feet on ground we slap our backs, congratulating our nation, back again to our before.

 

Such a nation: something triumphs, but no where a who.

%d bloggers like this: