Monday, July 09, 2012

Baltasar Gracián Explains It All For You

You can read about this at WDTPRS if you must, but you're already here, and we found it when we woke up and checked the e-mail this morning. So, no, we're not copying him ...

This writer has been reading The Art of Manliness for the last few months now, and it is an excellent reference for the aspiring Catholic gentleman. (Think of Esquire without the thinly-veiled naughty bits and overpriced sartorial selections.) But one item in particular has inspired us.

The Art of Worldly Wisdom or The Pocket Oracle and the Art of Prudence, is a book of 300 maxims and commentary written by a 17th century Jesuit priest named Baltasar Gracián ... on how to flourish and thrive in a cutthroat world filled with cunning, duplicity, and power struggles, all while still maintaining your dignity, honor, and self-respect. In many ways, The Art of Worldly Wisdom is a how-to book on fulfilling Christ’s admonition to his apostles to be “cunning as serpents and as innocent as doves.”

That's right, friends. Only a Jesuit could have written a book like this one.

One of the challenges faced by young Catholic men of a traditional bent, is how to integrate their worship life and personal attainment of virtue with the realities of the world around them, whether on the job, in the neighborhood, in social settings, or in choosing a vocation (be it marriage or the priesthood/religious life). There is the temptation to become too proud, too arrogant, or claim to have too many answers about the world, at an age when one barely knows the questions.

In the case of pursuing marriage, women become disdainful of the "sensitive male," if they're really honest with themselves (and if they're not, run, do not walk, away from them). This does not make "machismo" the alternative either. A guide such as this website, to say nothing of Gracián's work, is the safe middle ground.

The book is available in hardcover, softcover, audiobook, and Kindle, and can be found here.
 

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