Some therefore think religion is unreasonable, but is this true? Religious knowledge cannot be imparted like other information, simply by scanning the sacred page. And so it is said that religious experience transcends reason, not in the sense of being unreasonable, but that such experience is not a product of reason. Just as reason does [more …]
Reflections and Collections. Some of this will be my own writing, usually inspired by something I am reading but much of it will be excerpts from things that moved me which I want to keep close at hand to keep the fire burning.
What is it in us that seeks the truth? Why do we seek the truth? How do we find the truth? What is the truth? … According to the Catholic Church, the search for truth – the desire for truth, beauty, justice – is the very presence of God and this desire is what connects man to God and the things of this world to heaven.
Fire, the source of being: we cling so tenaciously to the illusion that fire comes forth from the depths of the earth and that its flames grow progressively brighter as it pours along the radiant furrows of life’s tillage. Lord, in your mercy you gave me to see that this idea is false, and that I must overthrow it if I were ever to have sight of you.
In the beginning was Power, intelligent, loving, energizing. In the beginning was the Word, supremely capable of mastering and moulding whatever might come into being in the world of matter. In the beginning there were not coldness and darkness: there was the Fire. This is the truth.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one….Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket–safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” –C.S. Lewis
After a few perfunctory questions, the crew asks Fr. Carron a question that most modern-day professional philosophers will never deign to ask: “What is the relationship between faith and reason?” This being television, the answer had to be expressed in ten seconds or less. Fr. Carron didn’t need that much time. He said: “It’s an encounter.”
“The Catholic life is to be a “sign of contradiction” in this world. That doesn’t mean we are to be nay-saying curmudgeons. Rather, it means we are to live lives of such inexplicable joy, love, faith and peace (even in trial) that all the normal categories by which non believers try to classify us won’t work.”
And then it really will be, a good day
“Whoever is near me is near the fire.” The Christian must not be lukewarm. The Book of Revelation tells us that this is the greatest danger for a Christian: not that he may say no, but that he may say a very lukewarm yes. This being lukewarm is what discredits Christianity. Faith must become in [more …]
“The desire for God,” the Catechism also affirms, “is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God” (No. 27). The image of the Creator is imprinted in his being and he feels the need to find a light to give an answer to the questions that have to do with the profound meaning of reality; an answer that he cannot find in himself, in progress, in empirical science. Homo religiosus does not emerge only from the ancient world, but he crosses the whole history of humanity.
What JPII was explaining was the basic ways that the modern “paradigm” (to use that word, which he didn’t) is different after Descartes – that instead of ipsum esse subsistens, or the absolute transcendent being, we now think in terms of absolute transcendent knowledge. Thought, rather than existence, has become primary in the modern paradigm. Reason itself, instead of a tool, becomes the very ground from which the tower of babel must be built, as I like to say. “I think therefore I am” reverses the order of things in a way. Existence must be measured and judged against the ultimate ground of thought. And if there is a God, this paradigm suggests, then that God is not absolute transcendent love but absolute transcendent mind.
There are two types of people. Those who say that the decimal notation 0.999… is not equal to 1, and then there are mathematicians who have proven that 0.999… is equal to 1. The Catholic theologian Bernard Lonergan developed a theory of what it means to understand – a theory of knowledge – much like [more …]
The technical and scientific attitude has produced a particular kind of certitude – namely, that which can be corroborated by way of experiment and mathematical formula. This has given humankind a certain freedom from anxiety and superstition, a certain power over the world. But now there is a temptation to view as reasonable and therefore as serious only what can be corroborated through experiment and computation. This means that the moral and the holy no longer count for anything. They are considered to belong to the domain of what must be transcended, of the irrational. But whenever the human being does this, whenever we base our ethics on physics, we extinguish what is particularly human, and we no longer liberate the human being but crush him or her.
Faith is not merely an intellection decision, it is a gift from God received at Baptism, and the soul has to have the disposition (continuity of sanctifying grace) to allow the gift to give certainty to the intellect. This is contrary to Protestant theology which calls for a personal decision to accept Jesus as your [more …]
I wanted to share a few links this morning to highlight some organizations that seem to be doing a good job of “bridging the gap” so to speak, between cultures. I think John Henry Newman’s mission to bring faith and reason together is something that is well represented in each of these organizations. The first [more …]
God speaks to each of us before we are,
Before he’s formed us —then, in cloudy speech,
But only then, he speaks these words to each
And silently walks with us from the dark:
Driven by your senses, dare
To the edge of longing. Grow
Like a fire’s shadowcasting glare
Behind assembled things, so you can spread
Their shapes on me as clothes.
Don’t leave me bare.
Let it all happen to you: beauty and dread.
Simply go —no feeling is too much —
And only this way can we stay in touch.
Near here is the land
That they call Life.
You’ll know when you arrive
By how real it is.
Give me your hand.
In human relationships, as mutual love deepens there comes a time when the two friend convey their sentiments without words. They can sit in silence sharing an experience or simply enjoying each other’s presence without saying anything. Holding hands or a single word from time to time can maintain this deep communication.
Suddenly we find ourselves surrounded by people saying, “Teach us to pray.” And suddenly we become aware that we are being asked to show the way through a region that we do not know ourselves. The crisis of our prayer life is that our mind may be filled with ideas of God while our heart remains far from him. Real prayer comes from the heart. It is about this prayer of the heart that the Desert Fathers teach us.
Preface to the Happiness We have talked a few times about getting along with individuals at work and a passage that meant a lot to me a couple of years ago came to mind. I came across this during that period in my life when I was just beginning to make the transition from a [more …]
–snip– When we have understood about free will, we shall see how silly it is to ask, as someone once asked me: “why did God make a creature of such rotten stuff that it went wrong?” The better stuff a creature is made of – the cleverer and stronger and freer it is – then [more …]
Over the centuries the Church has done enough to make any critical person want to leave it. Its history of violent crusades, pogroms, power struggles, oppression, excommunications, executions, manipulation of people and ideas, and constantly recurring divisions is there for everyone to see and be appalled by. Can we believe that this is the same [more …]
Logical positivism’s position is that the only thing philosophy can concern itself with is propositions. As such, it cuts itself off from the possibility of any encounter with Christ. This type of philosophy deals with “religion” through a method that reduces religion to propositions such as, “God exists” and “X is immoral.” This is how [more …]
Here is the Atom + Eve website, with links to video and transcripts: http://atompluseve.com/conferences/the-origin-of-the-universe/ Dr. Barr also writes for First Things. His article on Hawking (which he discussed in his lecture at the conference) can be found here: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/09/much-ado-about-ldquonothingrdquo-stephen-hawking-and-the-self-creating-universe In Dr. Barr’s presentation, and in this article, he pointed out that a younger Hawking stands [more …]
I believe that scientists like Sagan, Feynman, Hawking and others who have adopted a positivist outlook on the world make a mistake when they reduce Christianity to a mere philosophy and analyze it purely in that way – which is to say, from the outside (as an idea, merely) – from the position of having [more …]
Religion is the product of a love affair, it is not the love itself, rather, it is what has grown out of the love. Like a couple in love who walks hand in hand on the beach as the sun sets, we see this and so we set out to walk the beach ourselves, not understanding the original reason from which that walk was made special. It is not the beach, nor the setting sun, but the love that made the walk holy. So many are walking the beach, thinking that to walk is to love. No wonder so many give up!
An excerpt from Pope Benedict’s book, “Jesus of Nazareth”from a chapter where Benedict writes of the third temptation of Christ and how it manifests to us today. I transcribed it from audio. I have tried not to make any errors.
Less mind, more judgment. With regard to the intellectual faculties, the postulant need not have talents so brilliant as to make him a great mind; but he should have a sound, practical judgment, that is, common sense. “Moins d’esprit, plus de jugement – Less mind, more judgment,” as the French say.
Neither great talents for some certain branches of science, nor piety and the spirit of devotion can make up for deficiency of judgment or common sense. Subjects of medium talents, yet gifted with a sound, practical judgment are generally the best suited for Religious Communities, because they are humble and docile.