Pascal’s Mystical Moment
One this day in 1654, mathematician and scientist, Blaise Pascal had a profoundly spiritual experience. And like a good scientist, he grabbed a pen and paper to document it….at least the best he could. However, instead of sharing his experience with the world, he sewed the paper into the lining of his coat. It was only after his death that it was discovered.
To commemorate what has become known as “Pascal’s Night of Fire” a few friends and I are going to dine in Pascal’s Parisian home near the Jardin Luxembourg. Unfortunately, it is now just an average sushi restaurant. For sure we will read this famous text and talk about all things Pascal. Do drop in around 8pm if you’re in town.
Or, you can recapture this mystic moment yourself if you wait til between 10:30pm and midnight. Turn out the light except for a humble candle. Then read the text slowly and aloud. (here’s the original version in French, si vous préférez).
The year of grace 1654
Monday, 23 November, feast of Saint Clement, Pope and Martyr, and of others in the Martyrology.
Eve of Saint Chrysogonus, Martyr and others.
From about half past ten in the evening until half past midnight.
‘God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob,’ not of philosophers and scholars.
Certainty, certainty, heartfelt, joy, peace.
God of Jesus Christ.
God of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
‘Thy God shall be my God.’
The world forgotten, and everything except God.
He can only be found by the ways taught in the Gospels.
Greatness of the human soul.
‘O righteous Father, the world had not known thee, but I have known thee.’
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have cut myself off from him.
They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters.
‘My God wilt thou forsake me?’
Let me not be cut off from him for ever!
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.’
I have cut myself off from him, shunned him, denied him, crucified him.
Let me never be cut off from him!
He can only be kept by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Sweet and total renunciation.
Total submission to Jesus Christ and my director.
Everlasting joy in return for one day’s effort on earth.
I will not forget thy word. Amen.