Did you know that Nietzsche and St Therese stayed in the same hotel in Paris and may even have been there at the same time? It was during Therese’s pilgrimage to Rome that they stayed in a hotel, and this is where she saw an elevator and compared it to God’s grace bearing us up to heaven.
For Therese’s feast day, today’s post to the Archived Articles section is an article that compares the life and philosophy of St Therese and the nihilist philosopher Frederich Nietzsche
If Friedrich Nietzsche met Thérèse Martin how would the conversation go? He might explain the death of God and the inexorable rise of nihilism. Therese would say “the good God’” was not dead, but only man’s false ideas of God had died. When he explained how morality was discovered by each person Thérèse would reply that each person did indeed have to discover morality–but in a radically personal way. When Nietzsche explained how the great ones had to give up fitting into dull society, had to give up attachment to all material things, Thérèse would point out that this is precisely what she aimed to do by becoming a Carmelite.
When Nietzsche explained that this process of negation and discovery of true values was the process by which the “superman” came to be, Thérèse would point out that the “superman” is what Catholics call a “saint”. When she cries, “Sanctity! It must be won at the point of a sword!” or “You cannot be half a saint. You must be a whole saint or no saint at all!” She gives the world her own version of the “superman”–one who has overcome the dull conventional beliefs and behaviors and risen to another dimension of humanity altogether.
Go here to read the whole article.
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