Léon Bloy

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My anger is the effervescence of my pity.
One sees the world's evil accurately only by exaggerating it.
The avaricious man ... proclaims that money is the only good, and he yields it all his soul.
It is essential that Truth be in Glory. Splendor of style is not a luxury. It is a necessity.

Léon Bloy (11 July 18463 November 1917), was a French novelist, essayist, pamphleteer and poet.

Quotes[edit]

  • Tu seras invendable à perpétuité, l'Invendable, dans tes livres aussi bien que dans ta personne, et ainsi se réalisera tout à fait la séparation, naturellement désirée par toi, d'avec les vendeurs et les gens à vendre.
    • You will be unsaleable in perpetuity, the Unsaleable, in your books as well as in your person, and thus will be definitively realized the separation, naturally desired by you, from the sellers and people for sale.
    • L'Invendable (1909), p. 8

Pilgrim of the Absolute (1947)[edit]

edited by Raissa Maritain
  • Woe to him who has not begged!
    There is nothing more exalted than to beg.
    God begs. The Angels beg. Kings, Prophets, and Saints beg.
    • p. 1
  • Ah! The happy ones of this world who are assured their daily bread—that is, all the things necessary to bodily life—and who, not wishing to know Jesus, have never for one single instant had the idea of suffering for their brothers, of sacrificing themselves for the wretched: ah! indeed! such people are assuredly well qualified to judge me and to reproach me for not having what the world calls dignity!
    • p. 2
  • My anger is the effervescence of my pity.
    • p. 12
  • Unhappy writer, you had dreamt of winning souls and you have won nothing but ears!
    • p. 36
  • You had hoped that the beloved and noble images flowing from your heart would serve as a river to carry to God many another heart! But, as you see, people are afraid of getting wet.
    • p. 36
  • One sees the world's evil accurately only by exaggerating it.
    • p. 87
  • A perfectly true thought, expressed in very sound terms, can satisfy the reason without giving any impression of the Beautiful; but in that case certainly there is something false in its statement. It is essential that Truth be in Glory. Splendor of style is not a luxury. It is a necessity.
    • p. 88
  • Of course the avaricious man of our day, be he landlord, merchant, industrialist, does not adore sacks of coins or bundles of banknotes in some little chapel and upon some little altar. He does not kneel before these spoils of other men, nor does he address prayers or canticles to them amidst odorous clouds of incense. But he proclaims that money is the only good, and he yields it all his soul. A cult sincere, without hypocrisy, never growing weary, never forsworn. Whenever he says, in the debasement of his heart and his speech, that he loves money for the delights it can purchase, he lies or he terribly deceives himself, this very assertion being belied at the very moment he utters it by every one of his acts, by the infinite toil and pains to which he gladly condemns himself in order to acquire or conserve that money which is but the visible figure of the Blood of Christ circulating throughout all His members.
    • pp. 89-90
  • Of the truths which embarrass him he thinks it better to remain unaware.
    • "The Wisdom of the Bourgeois," p. 98
  • The Bourgeois who has religious feelings sees very clearly the absolute necessity of serving two masters at the same time in order to achieve success in his business, which naturally comes before everything else.
    • p. 113
  • I see from time to time coins that are tinted with red, having been handled by a butcher or a murderer, and the sight of that money makes me wonder. As I think about the probable origin of that sign of wealth, I tell myself that that is indeed its true color, the color which it should, which it must have, the color that was doubtless taken on by Judas’s pieces of silver, after which he ceased to recognize them and returned them at once to the egregious scoundrels who had given them to him. These, not recognizing the pieces themselves, did not want to return to the treasury of the Temple money so strange in its color. Everyone knows they used it to buy the field of blood, a generic name which I imagine can be applied to all bourgeois holdings ever since the Scourging and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
    • p. 120
  • The rich have a horror of Poverty because they have a dim foreboding of the expiatory interchange implied by her presence.
    • p. 125
  • The exercise of freedom consists in stripping oneself of one's own will.
    • p. 292
  • You are always on the right side when you are with those who suffer persecution and injustice.
    • p. 293

Léon Bloy quoted in other publications[edit]

There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint.
  • There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint.
    • in Catholic Christianity: A Complete Catechism of Catholic Beliefs Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church by Peter Kreeft (Ignatius Press, 2001)
  • Suffering passes, but the fact of having suffered never passes.
    • Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry, Volume 19, Association of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry., 1984 [Association of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry., 1984]
  • It is the small flock of God. "Whoever receives in my name one of those little" said Jesus, "It is myself who receives." What thinks the one that sticks, that maims, or inflicts to their pure souls more black sorrow than death? (...) The curse of a crowd of children, is a cataclysm, a horror prodigy, a chain of dark mountains in the sky, with a cavalcade of thunder and lightning in their tops. It is the infinite of the cries of all deep, is a not know what highly powerful unforgiving and extinguishing any hope of forgiveness.
  • Love does not make you weak, because it is the source of all strength, but it makes you see the nothingness of the illusory strength on which you depended before you knew it.
    • in Auden, W.H.; Kronenberger, Louis (1966), The Viking Book of Aphorisms', New York: Viking Press.
  • "My secret," he would say to me, "consists in loving with my whole soul, to the point of giving my life for them, the souls called to read me some day."
    • Jacques Maritain, Introduction to 1947 edition of Pilgrim of the Absolute, p. xxiii

Quotes about Léon Bloy[edit]

  • Bloy ... believed that those who are wealthy and who keep their wealth for themselves even as the poor continue to suffer and perish, are in God's eyes the murderers of their brothers and sisters.
  • His violence was the obverse of a charity lashed by incomparable storms, which had reached the end of its patience.
    • Jacques Maritain, Introduction to 1947 edition of Pilgrim of the Absolute, p. xxii
  • Instead of being a whited sepulchre like the Pharisees of all times, he was a charred blackened cathedral.
    • Jacques Maritain, Introduction to 1947 edition of Pilgrim of the Absolute, p. xxii

External links[edit]

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