Saturday, 27 August 2011


There is a great continuity throughout excellent things, that is easily noticed to the mind that desires to see, to the mind that can see. Enlightenment is a wonderful term, though it has taken on a dubious and inconstant meaning. For the common person the term enlightenment might bring with it notions of the Eastern religions of Hinduism, or Buddhism in all its forms. For a more eurocentric mind the term enlightenment might bring to mind 'The Enlightenment,' or positivism and Darwinism. However, these things do not possess or predicate enlightenment. Enlightenment was not birthed from loins of the religious, nor of intellectuals. It is not an accident of their beliefs, their thoughts and ideas. Enlightenment is something that happens; to be enlightened is to be illuminated with the truth.

So, we must naturally wonder what the purpose of enlightenment is. Why does it happen, and what if it does not happen? What are we to do once we have been enlightened? The light itself is pure, but it comes to us in variation. Whoever sees the light sees the same thing. Let me show however, if I may, a reason for the vicissitude and variability of enlightenment. For, not all who are enlightened are enlightened in the same way or to the same extent, neither do they agree on all things. Imagine that you, being turned away from the sun look into a pane of glass and seeing the sun. Is it truly the sun you see? Are you not rather looking and seeing the sun's reflection? Or imagine those who fixate on sun dogs. If they don't know what they are looking at, is it not possible that they might be confused? Further, if we look upon the sun itself at it's zenith, do we truly see the sun? Or is it not more correct to say that we see the sun's rays? And those who look upon the sun at dawn are likely to see a different sight than those who look upon the sun at noonday or dusk. All the while, the great light itself, the sun, remains unchanged and constant. And while it seems to changes place through the sky throughout the day and the seasons, it never leaves it's perfect place at the center.

Is it any wonder then, that if we should be so prudent as to liken the Truth to the sun, and understand the variance we seem to see in the sky, that we quickly and innately begin to understand why the enlightened do not always agree, and that they are not all enlightened to the same extent? Therefore, let us continue to use this picture for a while. Now, knowing that they all look upon the sun, someone imprudent might say," They are all just different views of the same thing!" In a way they are right, but they leave off the greater portion of knowledge when they make that declaration. Will we not all agree that the one who has seen the sun best is the one who has seen it on the clearest day at a perfect zenith in the center of the sky, when it is at its highest point in the year? Of course we will all agree very quickly. We will say so, even in spite of the man who has seen the sun many times larger as it rises over the ocean or the desert, because we acknowledge that its light is diminished, and for that he sees the sun larger, but because he sees through far more atmosphere which has dimmed and magnified it.

So, who is that man? Who is the man who has seen the sun at it's zenith on the longest day? That man is the one we can trust above all others. We are certain to find him in agreement with the others, because what they know in part, he knows in it's entirety; and because they only know in part, they cannot agree with him entirely. These other men, they might have the knowledge that the sun is round, and bright, but some of them who have seen it on the shortest day are likely to say that it is not overly hot, and at that point they would be incorrect. So, it's very important not to say," They are all just different views of the same thing!" and leave it there. Not if we are to be in perfect possession of the truth. It is paramount that we find that man.

How can we know who is most enlightened? Is it possible to know, while we are yet in darkness? I say it is, and that the way to know is reason. But it all must begin with the sure faith that the enlightening object exists. "Faith seeking understanding." Now, reason is not reasonable if it is not altruistic. To understand that, we must first understand what it really means to be altruistic, by getting a good, fundamental understanding of virtue. Understanding justice would be the beginning of that. By understanding justice, much of the harshness that one sees as gratuitous and cruel in nature, is revealed in fact to be justice. The understanding of the other virtues leads one to see how justice is kept on their side. Finally, there is a revelation of contingent mercy, the greatest altruism.

By focusing on these things carefully and frequently, and letting them flower in the mind, the human intellect builds a framework of conscience, a schematic for what 'the good,' the enlightening factor, might look like. The mind and the heart will, or ought to, recognize the most enlightened religion, the most enlightened philosophy at its first appearance. Such a person will not recoil from them once they've found them due to the presence of mystery, and not because he is imprudent and over happy. Rather, he will be reassured by the mystery that he availed himself properly to those whom he ought. Look at it like this, if we can once more use the sun as a type of 'God.' The man who sees the sun best looks at an orb, but sees a disk; what he sees is not circular, but spherical. Similarly, the enlightened one looks upon one God, but it is a Trinity of persons. This is not only a great mystery, it is the greatest mystery! The man who has truly found it, will be assured by this greatest of mysteries, because he will know that if he can comprehend it, then it is not God. Just as the man who has seen the sun the clearest knows that if you can gaze upon it indefinitely, then you have not seen it clearly.

As soon as that one is enlightened, he will remember those who are still in darkness. He will be driven by the desire to enlighten them. They are likely to hate him for it, just as a person in the dark immediately exposed to brilliant light will hate the person who threw open the door or pulled off their hoods. And if that man gets into the habit of running around yanking the hoods off of the many, they will catch him and punish him for enlightening them. They have always been this way, the both of them, because the good and enlightened man would rather suffer any torture and even death than to let his kin and countrymen stumble around in the darkness trapped in a miserable existence, comforted and crippled at once by the pleasures of the senses. And they would rather kill him, than let him bring them all to suffering, all at once. That is why they killed Christ and Socrates, and all the martyrs since the beginning.
Whoever becomes enlightened and does this work that his mind and his heart and his goodness which he has gained from God implores him to do is a Prometheus, a better friend to mankind than Prometheus. But we can learn from Prometheus, if we notice that he started out with a little flame. St. Francis of Assisi said," It is better to make a little light, than to curse the darkness." How true! If we can but show them a little light, a flame, we might find them willing to share fire. And if we are patient and pass the night with them, they may even consent to the dawn. That's the gracious way, the patient way, the way for most who are enlightened to share the light. By showing them the light, you show them the whole world, and they can discover wonderful things, wonderful things to do in the light, things that were not possible in darkness, things they did not, could not have imagined. The enlightenment and salvation of the human race is the task of the Church given to it by the Father of Lights through the 'Light of the World,' who is Christ, in the Spirit of Truth. "In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it... the true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world." (John 1:4-5,9) And it has come to pass, and you know that, that Light is the life of men. So, you also ought to know that He came not to condemn, but so that mankind might have life and life more abundantly. You must go to make sure that they have it, working in whichever ways are best.

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Platonic Principles

Principle of Commonality- Whatever several things are F, this is because they participate in or initiate a single idea (form) of F.

Principle of Separation- The idea (form) of F is distinct from all things that are F.

The principle of Self-Predication- the idea (form) of F is itself F.

The Principle of Purity- The idea (form) of F is nothing but F.

Principle of Uniqueness- Nothing but the idea (form) of F is really, truly altogether F.

Principle of Sublimity- Ideas (forms) are everlasting, they have no parts and undergo no change, and they are not perceptible to the senses.

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Monday, 15 August 2011

Mary for Evangelicals

It is tedious to even point out that the veneration of Mary by Catholics and Orthodox is condemned by American Evangelicals. However, because the evangelicals think that Marian veneration and devotion is a matter of idolatry, I'm writing this in the hope that it will provoke an attitude of reason in them. So, I am not here to convince anyone that Mary was sinless, or that she is a virgin. The point of this blog entry is to perhaps reveal to the evangelical Mary's role in the order of grace, so that having laid aside their bigotry against Marian devotion and momentarily adopting a critical and unbiased approach they may arrive through their own reason at a new appreciation for Mary. Hopefully, having a new found appreciation for her, they might be more fair handed when reasoning about Catholics, and what it means to be a Christian.

I used to attend a college house church in California when I was a Protestant Evangelical. One night there were about 20 of us gathered in the living room talking about 'what if's.' One girl said," What if a Christian found the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life? Could they enter and eat?" And naturally, I shouldn't wonder, I said," No, the angels wouldn't let you pass." So she said," But what if you told them that you had the authority to, because of Christ?" At that I said," Then, you would be acting in opposition to the will of God. We all have Original Sin, and sin is death. To eat would be to eat unto eternal death. That is why God banished man from the garden, because in his mercy he was saving man from living eternally in that fallen state and everything that entails." They all agreed 

In the Gospel, we hear the angel Gabriel's salutation to Mary," Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb." (KJV Luke 1:42) The 'Hail Mary,' much denounced, mocked and condemned by Evangelicals is in fact mostly Gabriel's own salutation, the message given to him by God," Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus..." Now, naturally when looking at the bible we take certain ancient things to be signs of new things. Moses says," The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken." (KJV Deuteronomy 18:15) and we naturally take that to mean the Christ.

In Numbers chapter 35 we read about how the death of the high priest absolves all man-slayers in the land and the land itself of bloodshed,"And the congregation shall deliver the slayer out of the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to the city of his refuge, whither he was fled: and he shall abide in it unto the death of the high priest, which was anointed with the holy oil." This we naturally take as a sign, not only for the redemptive work of the Cross (death of the High Priest), but the work of the Church (refuge cities of the priesthood), which is also the work of the Cross.

In the words of St. Augustine of Hippo," The New testament is hidden in the Old." How many times does Christ himself confound the Pharisees and Sadducees by showing how he is the fulfillment of prophecy with the scriptures? How many times does he appeal to Isaiah alone? It is undeniable, that the old was a sign of something else.

When evangelicals think of Mary, they usually just imagine that she was selected by God as arbitrarily as possible for no other reason than that she was capable and willing to participate in God's plan, and that she possessed the genealogical prerequisites necessary to fill the slot. And for this she is to rightly and heartily receive a kindly pat on the head, before she is buried under Pauline epistles and the bulk of the New Testament. She was the envelope that God sent his Word in, and can be disposed of. They give more honor to St. Paul, a reformed murderer than they do to Mary! St. Paul gave us words, but Mary gave us 'THE WORD.' And so some sort of account has to be given for the disregard Evangelicals have for Mary, and their aversion to giving her, her appropriate place in theology.

At this point, any Evangelical or Protestant might be already sliding back into the mire of objections. Again, we aren't here to discuss doctrines that defend Mary's sinlessness or her perpetual virginity; but we are here to discuss Mary's queenship. This, too, has been misrepresented tremendously by fundamentalist 'bible Christians,' as they like to call themselves. They attempt to conflate Mary's natural queenship with the Canaanite 'Queen of Heaven' so they can tell people that Catholics worship demons. And many of you have been hearing that pathetically shabby argument for years now. So, I ask you to simply for a moment repress your prejudices, do not allow your reason to be clouded by passion, and maintain a rigid unbiased attitude. Then, judge for yourselves what the argument bears out. But until then, please don't let what you are reading be drowned out by ready made fundamentalist objections. "It is the mark of an educated mind to examine an idea without believing in it." Plato said that, and I think he has a point.
So, let us look at scripture a little further. "It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed." (KJV Luke 1:3-4) Also, please notice that I have taken the trouble to only use the King James Version, and not the real bible of Nicaea used by the Catholic Church. In this passage, we see the evangelist Luke addressing a certain Theophilus. Now, as many people are aware, the name 'Theophilus' is a Greek name meaning 'friend of God.' This particular Theophilus is also a type of all 'Theophili'... all the friends of God. We can read the opening passage of the gospel as if it were addressed not only to a particular man, not only to a particular kind of man (Christians), but to ourselves, and we can do so without any kind of hesitation. In fact, to do so is only intuitive.

When Christ talks to his disciples, he is also talking to us; that's why the bible is relevant to our lives. Now, I wouldn't try to conflate anything intentionally, so I won't do so here. There is a universal meaning of scripture, and then there is what many Evangelical Protestants are so fond of calling 'Rhema,' that is, a private revelation. In other words, the bible means one thing and one thing only for all Christians, but it might and does have a special meaning for individuals in how it relates to their lives. One corresponds to the communal revelation of Christ in and through the Church, and the other corresponds to the personal relationship one has with God. I would be remiss if I didn't point it out, because in just a moment you will need to have this very thing in mind.

At the foot of the cross the beloved apostle John stood with Mary the mother of Our Lord, and the scripture reads," When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home." (KJV John 19:26-27) What is meant here? Obviously, from a historical and empirical view point, it means that Jesus wanted his best friend to take care of his mother, and not just but he said that Mary was his mother and that John was her son.

Do you think that Christ's words were only meant to suffice some Jewish legal minutia, having to do with ownership, like a improvised last will? Do you think that the Apostle John wrote this down because he thought it would be important for the whole world to know that he looked out for his own mother, as if we wouldn't have naturally concluded, even without this scripture, that someone as holy as Christ wasn't derelict in his duty to family? No, that would be superfluous, and the apostle wasn't trying to boor people with irrelevant facts. It has a deeper significance.
What is Christ's possession on earth? It's the Church; and who did Christ put in charge of the the Church? The Apostles. Mary, like Theophilus, isn't merely a particular person in this passage, she is an amalgamation of the Church at large, the society of all Christians; and likewise the Beloved isn't merely John in particular, the Beloved is an amalgamation of all those who are beloved, Christian individuals. It's also interesting to note that Christ gives his mother to the beloved before he gives his Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and thereby gives them also his Father as their Father. He gives us not only his Father, but his mother, too. Therefore, Mary is the mother of every Christian, in the order of grace.

Christ initiated us into his family first through his humanity, which he received from Mary, by giving us to Mary; and then he initiated us into his divinity, by giving to us his Holy Spirit. Christ's apostles are troubled and ask him at the Last Supper where he is going and he says,"And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." (KJV John 14:4) Well, what is the way? The way is,"...the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (KJV 1 Timothy 3:15) Because Christ says to them two verses later in John 14:6," I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." And the Church is the Body of Christ, and Christ is the head; they are one and the same. He is the groom, the Church is the Bride, and they are become one in the Holy Spirit. We go to Christ the same way he came to us, by the Holy Spirit, through Mary who is the sign of the Church. As long as we abide in the Body we have life. Because he says again," I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (KJV John 15:5) Abide in Christ's Body, abide in Holy Mother the Church, in Mary's example... the perfect 'yes' to God's will.

That kind of brings us back to the beginning, when I was talking about my experience in California at that house Church. Who then can be called the Tree of Life; who is that tree a sign of? It's Mary! She is the Church, and the fruit of her womb is Christ, he is the fruit that grants eternal life, and yet Christ is also the tree because the Church is him, his very body. This isn't the first time we see him doubling responsibilities either! He was the lamb of sacrifice, and yet also the priest who offered himself for us. This is a great mystery! In the mystery of Mary's ontological role we see how truly and irrevocably intertwined our humanity has become with Christ's divinity, through his incarnation, death, and resurrection, and the gift of adoption by the Father through his Holy Spirit. We are all fruit on that Tree, as he is, if we are obedient, because the apostle Paul says," For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." (KJV Romans 8:29) Therefore, Mary is our mother in the order of grace. It is an active role, and because she is our mother in the order of grace, she is also the figurehead of the Bride of Christ, the image of the glory which God has planned for us, the Queen of Heaven. 

But one last bit of argument, for now. The apostle Paul calls Christ 'The Second Adam.' The first Adam fell into a deep sleep and God fashioned for him a bride from his side. The scripture reads," And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (KJV Genesis 2:23-24) Christ's bride was also taken from his side," But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." (KJV John 19:34) The water being baptism, and the blood being the sacraments, which together are the Church and all those who participate in them. The Second Adam's bride was also taken from his side. And she is called after him "Christian," just like woman is called after the man. But who then is the 'Second Eve?' Is it not Mary, as we have shown, flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone? Are we not all her children according to grace, just as we are all natural children of Eve? 

Perhaps, given the time to ruminate these ideas, you will finally find yourself fulfilling your own part in Mary's prophecy in Luke 1:48," ...henceforth all generations shall call me blessed!" Perhaps, you will know that Christ has also given you a mother, and that she is the paradigm of obedience to Christ and what we ought to be. And perhaps, finally, you will not be so hostile to those Christians who do venerate her as a mother, and even as the Queen which it pleased the Holy Trinity to make her, so that we would hope more strongly in his promises.

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Apology For Impartiality

Lately it seems that I have stepped on a few toes by being impartial. I constantly find myself a gadfly, when I am merely looking for someone to commiserate this charged climate with. However, to my surprise, I find that impartiality, truthful critique, and satire are all quite unwelcome wherever it goes. Further, it seems that the truth has a rather inflammatory effect, and I can only conclude that this is because some see the truth as defamatory, or because they conflate the particular and the general. They heap symbolism on particular cases, and if you tell the truth about the particulars, then they are at your throat as if you attacked the sacred general, and to be honest, I am not like Voltaire. Voltaire prayed for his enemies to seem ridiculous, and that is far from me. Envisioning anyone as my enemy seems contrived, especially these people who are my own kindred in sacrament and blood. But it seems that I've disturbed them, and for that I must give account, which is precisely what I mean to do.

Socrates, the dear man, played with people, and naturally they thought ill of him. Socrates had done more good for the lot of them than any other and helped secure their place in history. The man pulled back the great eyelid of Greece and let the sun shine deep into the recesses of the eye, and the people liked it none too much. Half scarcely thanked him, and the other half wanted to murder him. Socrates never took the time over the years to make an apology occasionally, for his behavior and his ideas. A defense that is. Socrates was the most benevolent of his countrymen and one of uprightness and probity. He was most altruistic with the application of his intellect and his reason, and munificent and beneficent with the goods of his genius, though he was a pauper. It is a shame that the man was so ill thought of, but that is the way of things. At any rate, he might have done better to, from time to time, graciously defend himself in the form of an apology, but he only did so at the end, and to no immediate avail.

Well, I'm no Socrates, and it is unlikely that any of you will benefit so greatly from me as Athens or the world did from him, neither will I secure your place in history. Yet, taking his life as a lesson, it seems like a good thing to take the time to defend my demeanor, and my proclivity to be candid and impartial. Especially, since it is not strangers to whom I will make the apology, but my own friends, who I perhaps naively assumed understand me at all times.

To be fair, I have a habit, and perhaps it is an annoying one, of treating everything the same. I will, without inhibition expose everything without grace and go to reasoning about it. It seems natural that anyone might be offended by such treatment, especially when both our trivial and monumental beliefs are treated as equals. I will talk about politics in the same manner as I talk about religion, and philosophy the same way as I talk about theology. This is because I consider them linked. Likewise, I tend to treat the particular and the general in the same fashion, not that I conflate the two, but that I examine them under the same set of principles. It happens in life that we hasten along, acquiring beliefs and ideas as expedience would require, and we find ourselves allied with certain folks out of necessity. Finding sufficient utility and harmony therein, we take the truth, fecundity, and of these acquisitions for granted and becoming very comfortable with them. We begin to rely upon them and derive our identity from them, and perhaps rightly so, but perhaps not rightly in every case. So, when a pest like me comes along and begins questioning these things without the approbation of those who believe in them, those very people who feel one and the same with these ideas and belief they feel attacked. Further, they are twice indignant, because they sense that it is their own friend attacking them. To them it's as boorish of me as if I were to accost them argue about the color of the sky, and as rude as if I were to tear their clothes off and begin judging their anatomy.

We all are very want to have reasons for what we believe, and perhaps it is my burden to have an inquisitive nature beyond the norm. Perhaps, I am more offended than most when I am compelled to believe something without reasons. It might be the case that for the sake of their comfort alone that those around me would seek to abridge by peering into all manner of things. This is certainly a possibility. Or, also, maybe it is that some don't want me starting down paths they don't have the time, desire or ability to go down. All these might be the case, but it's not vain. I believe that nothing is in vain for those who love God, because," All things work to the good of those who love God." Still, it seems that somehow others have reaped shame and resentment from my inquiries, which is not my intention at all, and I seek to put an end to it, if possible, with this apology.

I am not favorably inclined to being in any one 'box.' I am a Catholic because I think it corresponds to reality, and one cannot escape reality. For me to not be Catholic would be like giving up my humanity. Someone might say I am certainly in the 'Catholic Box,' but to my mind that would be like saying that I am in the 'Human Box,' because they both correspond to the reality of the material and immaterial. So, such a saying is puerile. What I mean by that I have an aversion to boxes is not that I love being unique, or crave being the 'Devil's Advocate,' or that I am so pathetic as to need to be the center of attention and have recourse to being petulantly contrary; rather what I mean to say is, I heartily attempt to avoid being devoted to or defined by the concepts of others. At least insofar as the finer things are concerned. Though, I am certainly not opposed to giving credit where credit is due and agreeing with them on certain things, even many things. I am politically homeless, I don't care much for novelties, I have no devotion fashion, and I find all the divisions made by humans concerning the natural to be tiresome. I am no partisan, and people seem to know that about me. However, when they realize that includes their partisans, they think," What a mentality!" and attack me or try to justify themselves.

I strive at all times to judge no one, and judge everything. As it is written," Judge not..." and also," He who is spiritual judges all things." Things, you see. I dare to say that I have the endorsement of St. Paul, in the matter, and that I am at least trying to do what is right. However, there come times when we encounter certain things that are so concomitant to individuals, and due to the limitations of our vocabulary to convey ideas, it can happen that it is necessary to make statements regarding individuals. For instance, we might observe someone behaving hypocritically and another being honest, and we might say," If put to it I would choose the honest man over the hypocrite." People might scold, and say that you just judged the two men, but do they do so for the righteous man or the hypocrite? Certainly, for the hypocrite! Who knows why, too. Perhaps, because it is expedient for their own hypocrisies. And do they scold you rightly? No, they do not. You were merely making a statement concerning the pattern of behavior explicit in one, you were not damning him, or indicting everyone from his country, family, or religion. Neither were you suggesting that such a disposition is implicit in the later three. It is perception confined to the particular, not shared by the general.

As stated earlier, however, people who feel quite invested in certain groups are frequently inclined to conflating the general with the particular. They take statements pertaining to the particular to be indictments of the general, and throw down the gauntlet with a sense of righteous indignation. They would be very right to, if the two were conflated in such statements, but it is they who are doing the conflating. They would be right because it would be unjust, for obvious reasons. In either case, they might try to correct you or try to silence you, and if you don't fall silent or don't seem so easily persuaded, they might even attack you or abandon you. Then, only after a great labor of pointing out how you are misunderstood and misrepresented by them, will they grudgingly turn away, as if you shamed them or are a troublemaker, when in truth an apology is due you. They who imagined themselves to be misrepresented, who so vigorously demanded a retraction, make no retraction of their own in the end, though it was they alone who did the misrepresenting. That's not very fair at all, but something I've become accustomed to. It seems there is little in this world quite so as rare as an apology. As St. John Chrysostom said," No one has disturbed thee. You have disturbed thee." I find that proven daily by all.

Impartiality is necessary for contemplation. If you would see what really exists, and if you would know what you really know, you must be impartial. Still, expedition is necessary in human thought. We need not set about reproving ever single thing that supports a specific thing. For instance, we needn't reestablish that God is One, whenever we talk about God. We reason it to be so. However, we must be and should be ready with a defense of the same should one doubt, or should the need arise. We should strive to arrive at the truth by reason, even if we arrived there by other means. That is, if you arrived at a true faith because of sheer hope and a leap of faith, shouldn't you later reason about it and have reasons why it is true? Outside of your emotions and personal experiences, that is. Won't it help you? Certainly. And to do this you must be impartial.

I find it disconcerting when people take impartiality as a sign of disloyalty in friendship. Am I supposed to be loyal to them and not the truth? What do they make themselves out to be? Are they greater than the truth? No, and they wouldn't come out and say so either, but because of insecurity and impatience this is precisely what they do say by distrusting or chastising those who think, speak, or act impartially. Impartiality coupled with reason will arrive at the truth, and if they do not stand in that same spot in their opinions and their actions, then they should be obliged to move themselves to wherever the truth may be. And if there is any doubt about what the inquiry bears out, then they should try again, and again if necessary. Further, it is a very sorry and rotten thing, too, if they should begrudge the person who compelled them to inquiry, or compelled them to move by pointing to whatever a true inquiry bears out.

Finally, most absurd to me is sophistry. I am refreshed to have never seen anyone of my friends engage in it, at least that I can remember. Often a person will chime in on a discussion, as though they know something about the subject, and so you question them on what they know, and they turn out not to have the very knowledge they claimed to be in possession of. And being overly embarrassed by themselves, and often feeling stupid, they hate you for asking for the proof, or the knowledge, as though you were a troublemaker! Sometimes, they are so precipitous as to assume that because you were asking them questions, you yourself knew the answer all along and abusively toyed with them for your own amusement, or worse, for the amusement of an audience. They should be angry with themselves! for soliciting that which they did not have. Again, I can say with some confidence that none of my friends have ever been so reckless as to behave this way; at least with me. If they did, I would be sure to see if they had what they claimed to have, and if not I would reveal their ignorance to them. Why? Because that is true friendship. Friendship pertains to the soul, and there is no friendship in darkening the intellect, or allowing a friend's soul to remain shackled by ignorance in the dark, only in enlightenment and maintenance of the same.

Impartiality, sobriety, moderation, inquisition, and unconditional positive regard... these are justifiable and lead to good things. Every friend owes them to one another, as much as one owes them to himself, because," True friendship is one soul in two bodies." And so I am devoted to these things, because they are prudent, kind and owed. Anyway, it's not my desire be a menace; I only hope that we might correct our mistakes, sober up, and gain the grace of true self-knowledge, and see more accurately how far we have to go. And that's the truth of it.   

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Transubstantiation vs. Constubstantiation

In the hope that I may help at least one of you to adore God more perfectly and warn you of a certain grievous error, I'm writing on the heresy of consubstantiation. It can happen that such a notion lingers, cloaked amongst many abstract thoughts, and subverts your faith, loyalty and fidelity to the holy flesh and precious blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ, which is present in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist. The subject does not demand long words, and so, very concisely, I hope to give you good reason against this error which has distracted, however implicitly, a great many of the people from a truer and purer adoration.

Consubstantiation is a heresy, because it is a contradiction. It states that bread and wine occupy the same space as the body and blood of Jesus Christ. But we all know that no two things can occupy the same space, in the same way, at the same time. This cannot be, for the same reason that there are no men who are women, bachelors who are married, square circles, things which are green all over and red all over, or universes in which it is possible for there to be an immovable object and an unstoppable force. God cannot make a contradiction. It has been said famously by G.K. Chesterton that," Orthodoxy abides in paradoxy." Paradox in the sense that there is a seeming contradiction, but not one in fact, as that would constitute a true and philosophical paradox, a fallacy, a lie. Consubstantiation is a contradiction, and therefore a lie, and is necessarily a heresy, because lying belongs to Satan.

Therefore, to the sole end that you may be evermore resolved in giving assent in faith to the most holy sacrament, and understanding more perfectly the object of your adoration, know that after the consecration of the bread and the wine, they exist no more, but that only the true body and true blood of the Lord Jesus Christ endure. The work of human hands, which is bread and wine, no longer remains, but only the work of the Holy Spirit, which is the Eucharist. The doctrine of transubstantiation does not err by saying that two things occupy the same space at the same time; it does not say that the sacrament is as truly wine and bread as it is the body and blood. Rather, this most holy and sacred doctrine, handed down from Christ in the upper chamber at the Last Supper to the present through his holy apostles and their successors the bishops, gives unwavering assent to the words of Christ," This IS my body...," and again," This IS my blood..." Hereby, the Churches of the Apostles, headed by the successor of St. Peter, the Roman Pontiff, propound without guile to all the faithful the mystery of faith. Namely, that God is with us in fact, that the old has passed away, and that he is offered up for our sins and for our salvation.

When you adore Christ, and when you receive him in the sacrament, do not regard mere appearances, but instead, having selected the path of faith in the words of Christ and his apostles, reason with what your faith has given assent to as a fact and know that you are adoring and receiving the ineffable gift of God's only begotten Son. For, if you say," Amen." when the priest says," The body of Christ!" and only believe your eyes, but also allow that it is by some mystically vague and abstract means that the priest tells the truth, then you have not said," Amen." in spirit and in truth. And the time has come upon us which Christ spoke of to the Samaritan woman, that all who worship God must do so in spirit and in truth. Do not eat and drink unto condemnation.

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Reason for Faith In Christ

One thing that deeply disturbs me about the average Christian I run into is why they believe and what they believe about Christ's sacrifice. There seems to be two dominating motivators in their faith concerning the cross. Of course I'm speaking very vaguely and generally. One is the the age old concept," Fifty million screaming fans can't be wrong!" They derive the correctness and truthfulness of what they are going to have faith in from the flock's flagrant certitude. They want to belong to the flock, they want the things promised by Christ, eternal life and all that, and they know that all of that is contingent on their belief in the cross. So they believe, or very frequently say they do, and convince themselves that they do. But if I were to ask them how and why the cross works, they would say," It just does. That's what God wanted, and Christ took your place. The end." To be perfectly frank, that is possibly one of the stupidest answers that can be given and still be correct.

They want to be part of the flock. There is a difference in being analogous to sheep in that we have shepherds, and then behaving without reason, doing things simply because the rest of the flock does them... being 'sheople' if you will. That we are sheep does not mean that we are idiots; it does not mean that we act without reason, or that we have no reasons for our faith. It's this fundamental disconnect that is the reason why the faith of millions is so utterly shallow, and why millions are falling away. They have no reasons for their faith. Pure faith is for things beyond human understanding, for instance," Where did God come from?" Well, we take it on faith that He is from all eternity, but even still the philosophers and the Holy Catholic Church have explained why God cannot be temporospatially conditioned, and why he must come from all eternity. It's the "how" that requires the faith, because we have reasons for the 'why.' We know why! Now, what if you just put the 'why' in the faith box? You aren't taking responsibility for your faith; indeed, you have no real cause for faith! I'm not suggesting that such a person has no faith, only that they are alloying it with ignorance and juvenility.

I had said that there seemed to be two different motivating factors; the second one is guilt. Somewhere, someone told them that Jesus died for their sins." Well, that's nice! I can go on sinning, then!" And then they say," No, no, no. He died BECAUSE of your sins." which doesn't make the person feel very good. At that point the person who is telling the guy about Jesus takes the moral high ground and guilts a person into living a moral life and buying into this story called the bible. Then, the 'convert,' if you can even call them that, is indefinitely miserable and struggles to conform to this ideology for which he has no real reasons to believe in, and a shoddy faith. But it's ok! It will all work itself out in the end! He gave his heart to Jesus! Or did he?

The problem here with both of these is that they are born from fear. Anyone's faith may be partially derived from certain fears, the knowledge of necessities if you will, and what will happen if they aren't met. But they are also derived, primarily derived from love. Love has to be there at the beginning when something real and good is created, because love is the creative element. Pope Benedict XVI recently said," In the beginning, there was the creative word. In the beginning, the creative word --- this word that created everything and created this intelligent project called the cosmos --- is also love." That is why a man and a woman come together in love and marriage, which is the unity of love, to create; that is why children should be conceived and born in wedlock. That's why sex is reserved for married couples. True love is supposed to be there, and love does not take, and love is patient; love is most of all prudent. When we take up a faith in the cross we become a new creature, recreated.

Pope Paul VI said in April 1974's Good Friday Address," The mystery of innocent suffering is one of the most obscure points on the entire horizon of human wisdom; and here (Christ with Pilate before the Jews) it is affirmed in the most flagrant way. But before we uncover something of this problem, there already grows up in us an unrestrained affection for the innocent one who suffers, for Jesus, and for all innocent people -whether they be young or old-who are also suffering, and whose pain we cannot explain. The way of the cross leads us to meet the first person in a sorrowful procession of innocent people who suffer. And this first blameless and suffering person uncovers for us in the end the secret of his passion. It is a sacrifice."

The holy father, Pope Paul VI, was addressing what is called theodicy, the problem of evil. Someone asked the philosopher Diogenes 2,300 years ago whether or not God existed, and Diogenes replied," Oh, I don't know if he exists... but he should." Think about that for a moment," I don't know if he exists... but he should." Why does he say that? Why would he say that? A pagan philosopher, a man who lived like a dog? Because, he saw the suffering of the innocent in the world, he the saw suffering that cannot be explained. He saw evil. He saw the wicked prosper, and escape justice. Diogenes saw what we all see, and said aloud what is whispered perpetually in every human heart, begging us to have faith," I don't know if God exists... but he should."

Christ establishes and exemplifies our notion of innocent suffering, that is, wrong suffering. When we become aware of innocent suffering we become aware of guilty suffering. We weigh ourselves against him and see what we deserve. We don't imagine hell, we don't imagine butchery is what we deserve. The first thing we imagine that we deserve is the abstract bitterness of this life. We see why things are the way they are, why we suffer; we see the cycle of our own actions. With this comes repentance for our sins. But we also see a glint of hope that our innocent suffering does not go unnoticed, and that it means something, specifically in Christ... that our individual suffering means something special to God and humanity. Then, we think of the soul and we imagine that if these things be the case with the body, they must be the case for the soul. It is then that we understand heaven and hell. It's then that we make the choice with the whole man, the whole self, body and soul, to live for Christ. It's right then that we realize the generosity, the benevolence, the munificence and beneficence of God, as St. John Chrysostom (the Golden Tongue) was fond of saying.
Those are all very fine notions and words, but how does Christ's sacrifice pay the debt? If a man could take another person's place in punishment, then it would be 'man for man.' For instance if one man was to be put to death for murder, and another took his place, would all murderers go free, thereafter? No, only the one whose place was taken. So, how then can Christ, one man, pay for the entire human race? Does that make any kind of sense at face value? No, it doesn't, and that is why the majority of Christians just pretend there is no inconsistency here, and ignore this paradox as if it didn't even exist. They ignore this glaring, most obvious problem, and because of their ignorance and laziness have no real reason for their faith. Again, I do not say that they do not have faith, only that it is alloyed with ignorance and laziness.

So, how does this paradox vindicate itself? Could they tell me? Some could, for certain; can you? Stop, and think about it, do you know 'why' it works? Do you have reasons for your faith that Christ, one man, has the ability to die for all men? Think good and long on it; you just may find what a superstitious creature you are. We must put superstitions away from ourselves. We aren't simpletons! The paradox vindicates itself in this way: Christ is the God-man. His divinity is united with our humanity and our humanity is united with his divinity. His humanity takes on the same traits of his divinity (because they are one), particularly that it is not confined to space or time; it is omnipresent and omnipotent. It is eternal. His humanity has the ability to suffer infinitely for (that is, on behalf of) a finite amount of human suffering, which is the whole sum of all human misery from the first man to the last. He has the ability to pay an infinite amount of debt. Every moment of his life, exists now and everywhere. So, Christ can and did die once and for all, for all mankind. That is how the argument vindicates itself.

We know 'why' and have reasons, but do we know 'how?' No, that is the mystery of faith which the apostles spoke of so often, that we know why but not how. It is the how that requires faith. It takes no faith to say," 1+1=2" The reasons for our faith are deductive. They are in perfect accord with each other. It takes no faith to say," This is why." That requires reason, the very thing which makes us human. That there is a 'how,' and that it is accomplished and done... this takes faith, and is divine. Sola Fide, faith alone, is a heresy. WE need faith and reason together.      

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Sunday, 12 June 2011

The Charismatic Renewal- What's Wrong?!

Today was the holy feast of Pentecost, and I noticed that people weren't too excited about that. That is in large part due to the arrogance of many Catholics, who seem to make the Holy Spirit the third wheel. The Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR), however, is also to blame. In the United States of America if someone starts talking about the Holy Spirit working, all the sudden Catholics clam up and shut down; it's an instantaneous effect. They are ready to be mocked for the namesake of Jesus Christ, for His Eucharist, they are ready to profess that God is their Father. But the Holy Spirit is a danger zone, a vague amalgamation of everything mystical, unbelievable and gooey about the Christian religion... and is to be treated as quickly as possible and never more than as necessity would demand.

This is not primarily the fault of the CCR, but I will show what I mean. When people hear "Holy Spirit," most of them think," Power of God." as opposed to," God." Their concept of the Holy Spirit is contaminated by the bombastic and heretical displays of "the Holy Spirit" in Protestant communities. When a Charismatic Catholic says something like, "We want the Holy Spirit to show up!" Everyone goes," Oh, Jesus Christ! REALLY?" That's because they suddenly think of a Protestant televangelist crying profusely into a microphone, or babbling in "tongues" between points during his sweaty, loud, sales-pitch of a sermon. Or people get a mental image of someone "laying hands" on people and them being "slain in the Spirit." Or they remember some obnoxious Protestant friend, acquaintance, or family member telling them that they don't have the Holy Spirit and need to get a "real, deep, personal relationship" with Jesus Christ, and then they will be baptized in the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues. Finally, perhaps, they remember some deranged Protestant, or charismatic Catholic accosting them to tell them that the Holy Spirit has a message for them, or a prophecy.  

Catholics don't like to talk about the Holy Spirit for the exact same reason that Catholics don't like to have the scripture quoted to them. Protestants have hijacked the scriptures in their mind, and now the scripture, especially the Old Testament, belongs to "the heretics." Again, Catholics aren't comfortable with these things for the same reason many people aren't comfortable with sex. They make absolutely wrong associations with sex and it becomes something that will always be a little bit dirty.

In the average Catholic mind, but especially in the average traditionalist's mind, very one is doing fine and being Catholic until the Charismatics show up. And to be perfectly frank, that's because the Charismatic crowd is aging, which makes it easy to write off their strangeness as senility and naivety, but also because they are weird! That's right. I said it! Many members of the CCR are weirdos; many don't pass for normal, not by anyone's standards. So, being a Catholic and having the CCR around is kind of like going shopping at the mall... with your mom. You're there, trying as hard as you can to look surly and jaded so that everyone thinks you're cool. Then, all of the sudden, a piercing voice cries out from across the store," Hey! Is this 'COOL???!" You look up to see your mom holding the most uncool article of clothing in the whole store, and all the blood drains out of your face, as your worst nightmare comes true... everyone knows that you're related.

But here is the thing. There are two reasons why this has happened. There are two reasons why the CCR is dying out and why it is treated in this way by the laity and the priesthood, alike. The first reason is the most natural reason, which is wantonness. Many members of the CCR want to seem special by being able to have direct experience with the divine that they can lord over each other, and their fellow Catholics. That is precisely why the CCR is viewed like a mole on the Body of Christ by most Catholics. It's because the CCR has made itself into an auxiliary to the Church, instead of making the Church charismatic. They are constantly in need of convincing parishes that they need charismatic groups. That's a hard ticket to sell, and when it comes down to it, very often the people who want those groups either don't get them, or they have to resort to pointing out the fact that it is their right, and that they have the support of the bishop. That's terribly, terribly sad.

The reason that happens is because the CCR people come together to do "charismatic stuff" and talk about "charismatic things," but they aren't giving their charisms away. Here is exactly what I mean by that: It's as if they are set on fire, and they keep coming back together so that they can have a hotter fire; that's the wantonness I was talking about. By hotter, I mean that they keep coming together primarily to have a more intense experience with the divine. However, this means that the fuel get's burnt up; the CCR movement dies and goes away, because of wantonness.

As Catholics, we know that the sacrament of marriage points to the relationship of mankind with God. It is intended to exemplify for us that blessed union we have with God, through His Holy Spirit, by the will of the Father, and the sacrifice of His Son. One of the strongest elements of marriage is sex. We engage in sex, or we should engage in sex because we love our spouse, not because we love sex. If we engage in sex with our partners because we love sex, don't we reduce them to an object? Don't we do violence to their dignity and their humanity? And if we do harm, don't we know that whoever harms is more harmed than the one who was harmed? Absolutely we know that! We know it from the scripture, from the Church, and from the philosophers. Now, if we have an immature and selfish sexuality, and love sex instead of having sex be a means of love, will we not start doing anything to obtain that gratification? Will the person no resort to masturbation or pornography, eventually?

Well, that's what is going on with the CCR. When they only come together for the "experience" of the Holy Spirit, and not because they love the mission or because they love the Holy Spirit, they are doing violence to the Holy Spirit of God. Further, they are creating deep wounds within themselves that are not easily healed. What if they obtain a few of these experiences, but then later are faced with the reality that they cannot make God act? Won't they feel rejected, and won't their faith suffer? Won't they do what all addicts do, and try to find a way to make it happen? Won't they resort to formulas to make the Holy Spirit "show up?" And won't they keep coming back to the same place to get their fix? Yeah. And who's to blame? Not the Holy Spirit.

Unfortunately, many members of the CCR and many CCR groups are perpetually trapped in this cycle. They are engaged in a form of masturbation, and just as a sense of shame accompanies the one type, it also accompanies this type. This is another reason that CCR members often turn away from the community, and into their own created community. If they were not ashamed, they would not be turning inward, as if to take blows on their backs. This is how the CCR becomes and remains an auxiliary, instead of going out and sharing the gifts, soberly.

The second reason that the CCR gets treated so badly is that they have suffered greatly at the hands of the progressive movement. This is twofold. On the one hand, in the eyes of the Progressive agenda, the CCR is a legal catalyst for change, to bring about their own warped agenda. To their perverted outlook, the CCR is a godsend that is meant to level the playing field and make the priesthood and laity indiscernible from each other. This is a sort of "ecclesiastical Marxism." It's as if they wish to say," We can wield the Holy Spirit as good and better than the priesthood." The problem with that, of course, is that one does not 'wield' the Holy Spirit. We are wielded by Him. Another permutation of this error is that some in the CCR can tend to look at the priest a power source, a covering for their mission. The problem with this is that they are, and must be, participating in the mission of the priest. A priest does not, for instance, participate in the mission of a parish staff; rather, the parish staff exists solely to assist and facilitate the mission and vocation of the priest. The priest isn't a "spiritual battery" on loan from the diocese.

So, these things are a problem, but not nearly as bad as the one I'm about to mention. I had said that the final reason was twofold. Well, the other half of it is that false ecumenism has infiltrated the CCR. There has been a  woefully lamentable copycat culture in so much of the CCR on the individual and community level, and the people they're copying are the Protestant Evangelicals. There is nothing that the Roman Church despises more than a novelty, and that is what the CCR has largely reduced itself to: a hackneyed novelty, borrowed from those outside of the One True Church. Protestant praise and worship music is found there, raising of hands, "words of knowledge," prophesying, a disorganized and Protestant species of prayer (seeking to manipulate God into action), etc. Further, as in similar Protestant prayer groups, the leadership is top heavy with laity, and that isn't necessarily the fault of the lay persons involved. It's a problem created by the reality of the CCR's image; for a priest to get deep into the CCR, and in some cases to have anything to do with it at all, is vocational suicide. If you're priest that holds "healing Masses" or hangs out with the CCR, you're branded a freak by your confreres, they'll turn their backs on you... and so will their parishes. So, their backs are put against the wall and are forced to opt for either extremely limited 'obligatory' involvement or none at all.

There is a lurking notion amongst many charismatics that the Holy Spirit cannot work without chaos. That is a purely Protestant notion, and it's based on the idea that chaos leaves open room for the Holy Spirit to do whatever it wants to. The best way to describe this phenomenon is to call it a paradoxical formula for making the Holy Spirit "show up." That's no good, and it's un-Catholic. Our greatest revelation of the Holy Spirit is in the Mass, a very organized entity to be sure.

This copycat culture arose because they were jealous of what they thought the Protestants had, as if the Protestants have something which the Catholics don't. They have forgotten themselves, that we are the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church in whom the fullness of the truth abides. That wantonness pops it's ugly head up again. There is a big, big difference between spiritual wantonness and spiritual hunger. One thing many in the CCR don't realize is that first of all, and I can speak from extensive experience, is that Protestants tend to embellish and fantasize about the activity of the Holy Spirit in their own community. If a person get's sick, Satan is attacking them! It's not because "brother so and so" ate bacon for the last 20 years and is dying, now. And if brother so and so stops eating ten pounds of bacon a month, begins exercising, and gets a new lease on life... THE HOLY SPIRIT DID IT! If their church faces closing down, it's because Satan is fighting against their community. It's not because their pastor was a dope and told everyone that their church was 501C3 status for the past five years when it wasn't, giving out tax write-off forms and the government wants its money, now.

In many ways, the CCR is envious of nothing other than the assertions of a juvenile faith, and a juvenile interpretation of phenomenon. However, to go a little further, the Holy Spirit works in an extra-ordinary fashion amongst Protestants, for the very reason that they don't have what we have. They don't have a sacramental faith like the Churches of the Apostles do. The Protestants "need" what we might call substitutes in place of the sacraments, because without them they cannot justify their faith, because there is no substance to it. That's the big disconnect. Many CCR don't realize what they are jealous for.

The CCR is rejected by most Catholics for the same reason that Catholicism is rejected by most people. Most people have a faulty understanding of Catholicism because a Catholic with a faulty view of Catholicism gave them that view, or an immature Catholic didn't know how to present reasons for their faith. Sadly, most Catholics don't seem to know what the Catholic faith is. Similarly, most people in the CCR don't seem to really know or understand what the CCR is. If the CCR has no sense of itself, it will go away, because,"... the Holy Spirit is not the author of confusion."

Many in the CCR lust for the mystical and miraculous experience of the divine. But just to highlight why that is wrong, St. John of the Cross,"... considers any desire for private revelations and visions to be both unnecessary and an insult to God's providence." ( The greatest thing that the CCR can set before its eyes is the fact that they are meant to be a "renewal." They are a harkening back to times past, in the early Church when the Spirit was strong and to be seen everywhere in actions. They've only to remember how Catholicism became great.

The whole purpose of the CCR is not to create little enclaves of extraordinary involvement with the Holy Spirit, but to ignite a movement within the whole body of Christ, the society of all Christians that will heighten the level of involvement with the Holy Spirit and draw back to the true faith the lost sheep of the House of Israel, the Church, and to strengthen those who are already strong. The purpose is to not only have greater hope, but to be a visible sign of and reason for it.

Does anyone in the CCR imagine that their purpose in existing is to making it so that everyone in the Catholic Church raises their hands during worship, prophesy, speak in tongues, etc? No! That is not the purpose. Earlier, at the beginning I said that it was like the CCR was a bunch of people who were on fire, and that they preferred to burn together; that they were selfish, without meaning to be. They exist to facilitate the ministry of Christ. Recall the scripture and the words of Christ," I have come to set a fire in the earth, and how I wish that it were already blazing!" The CCR is not doing this. Sure, they wish that the world was blazing, but what are they doing about it? Praying? Worshiping? And in what manner? Is it a Catholic manner? And is this really what they are supposed to be doing?

Don't we know that it is through works that we must advance the kingdom, too, if not more so? Does the CCR avail itself to the Spirit of Charity through good works, or primarily through enthusiasm and prayer. Perhaps, it is best to hear St. Anthony of Padua on the matter, he says plainly what I hint to, namely that the CCR should be manifesting a more intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit, manifesting the Renewal more through works. I am no one, but at least hear him, because he was a great miracle worker and the very kind of man that the CCR member wants to be," The man who is filled with the Holy Spirit speaks in different languages. These different languages are different ways of witnessing to Christ, such as humility, poverty, patience and obedience; we speak in those languages when we reveal in ourselves these virtues to others. ACTIONS speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak. We are full of words but empty of actions, and therefore are cursed by the Lord, since he himself cursed the fig tree when he found not fruit but only leaves."

He continues," We should speak, then, as the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of speech. our humble and sincere request to the Spirit for ourselves should be that we may bring the day of Pentecost to fulfillment, insofar as he infuses us with his grace, by using our bodily senses in a perfect manner and by keeping the commandments. Likewise we should request that we may be filled with a keen sense of sorrow and with fiery tongues for confessing the faith, so that our deserved reward may be to stand in the blazing splendor of the saints and to look upon the triune God."

The CCR must not be a movement of lip service, seeking only to be warmed by the light, but not seeking to warm. The CCR must not be wanton; it must not forget itself and its Beloved. The CCR must not be a light that shines inward, or it is darkness; it must shine outward. The heart and purpose of the CCR is of divine origin. It must be stewarded, it must be faithful, or it will be punished. It will suffer the way the Church has with the Great Schism and the Reformation. It will suffer death. The CCR can and should look to precedent in the early Church for itself, and it should rid itself immediately of all adulterations, and copycating of what is happening amongst those deceived by heresy. These are hard words, but it is the hard truth of it, and I don't think I'm deceived in saying so, nor that I deceive anyone by saying so.

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Satan's Argument

I firmly believe that Satan's expulsion and that of 'his' angels was the direct result of an argument. By that I mean that Satan is a wayward logician, an irrational philosopher. I have often wondered what was said. Lately, I've been thinking on the question again, and I think I just might have it. Of course, this is complete assumption, but I imagine that you might agree.

I believe that Satan was in heaven the opposite of what Socrates was on earth. Socrates went about perpetually asking," What [IS] virtue?" When no one could answer, a lot of people assumed that he knew the answer to his own question, since he was so skilled at asking the question. Others hated him, because they pretended to knowledge they did not have and Socrates possessed a profound ability to reveal just how empty headed sophists are by doing nothing other than asking the right questions. Socrates did a great service to the world by his pursuit of philosophy, and made other humans better.

Satan, I think went around in similar fashion, asking," What is evil?" The answer being," Evil is nothing, but rather the lack of something." To which he would say," If evil is nothing, then nothing is evil! I can do no evil because I do not know what it is, because I cannot know nothing." Or something such to that effect. Just rough ideas. So, he may have fashioned himself into a proliferator of false enlightenment, a fake abolitionist from the chains of  "what may and may not be done." He pretended to give a greater freedom than the Creator gave when He bestowed freewill. He pretended to reveal something more dazzling than the truth itself. And who knows, perhaps Satan believed his own philosophy if only for a moment. We can be certain though that he knows his error, now, having been ejected from heaven's height. He lost the argument.

When Satan lost the argument, it's because he controverted the incontrovertible God. Christian theology agrees with Jewish theology that the angels were created on the first day, when light was created. And this belief is very interesting in itself and would take a long time to talk about, but I'm going to assume that everyone understands intuitively why this belief is held... intellect and light are predicated of each other, "angel of light"... so on. Man was finally made and when he was created God said," Let us make man in Our own image and likeness." When God did that, Satan is not far off.

Suddenly, Satan had the opportunity to take vengeance on the image of God. Satan, out of his bitterness for losing that argument, attacks mankind, on God's account. Look also at what the Serpent said to Eve," Eat, and your eyes shall be opened and you will be as God." She ate from the Tree of the "Knowledge of Good and Evil." There is something to this concept of 'knowledge of evil.' It's almost as if Satan venomously states to God in all of this," Oh I know what evil is, huh? Well, fine, so... do... they!" Satan consigns man to his same fate, through deception, calculating against man's freewill.

Anyway, obviously, we could go on forever on this subject, but I'm interested to hear what you think about these ideas. These ideas, give way to many other ideas, and well... that's exiting. 

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Monday, 30 May 2011

Protestants, Rabbinical Judaism, and Samaritans

The other day I was talking to an old friend, a Protestant. He had called me with a question that really had him confused," How can Jews reject the Gospel and Jesus Christ when you can show them point by point the cause and effect, the prophecies, and the parallels of Judaism and Christianity? It just seems like bold denial!" I started by pointing out that it's easy to look at it from where you are, but the other side is doing the same thing. When we read Isaiah 53 we see Christ, when Jews read Isaiah 53 they see all kinds of things.

I started talking to him about Church history, and said," As a Christian, it is important for you to not separate the history of the Jews and the Christians. It is one Church history. When you look at the Old Testament you are reading Church history." When the Law was given to Moses the people of God became two classes, the priesthood and the laity. The Levitical priesthood had a specific role to play that no one else could perform, in the way the Hebrews approached God. Of course, anyone could approach God in simply prayer, but the Law was the context of Israel's relationship with God, and it could not be realized without a priesthood.

Early in Israel's history, after they took possession of the 'Promised Land' we see the Judges, we see prophets, we see king David and many other kings, as well. Finally, Israel found itself being chastised by God and was exiled to Babylon. It was during this time without a temple that Rabbinical Judaism was created. Without a temple, the priesthood could do nothing; Israel was left naked with nothing more than its scriptures. The Jews began to look towards their scriptures as the source of life and they became a scripture culture. Private, yet institutionalized interpretation of scripture became the new center of faith. It wasn't the sacrificing in the temple, as before. They couldn't even begin to fulfill the Law, because of their limitations.

I was once at an interfaith dialogue meeting and it was supposed to be civil, but things got a little wild. There were Christians of every denomination there as well as Catholics and Jews. It was hosted by the Beth Israel synagogue in my city, and a few of their congregation were in attendance who seemed bent on quarreling; they were dyspeptic to say the least. They began blasting the speaker, who was a Catholic priest. I think they took the venue to be an apologetics forum, which was not what it was supposed to be at all. They began vehemently attacking the notion that Christ had fulfilled all the commands of the Law, which wasn't even one of the points the speaker was making. In an attempt to simply silence them so that we could get back on track, I said to them," And how do you do it? Do you really think you fulfill the Law by reading your Torah and attending the synagogue?" And the most argumentative one said," But there are in the Midrash interpretations and in the Talmud statutes. If you throw in a 32nd of the challah into the oven on Shabbat this fulfills the sacrifices which the Law demands." or something very similar to it. My quick retort was," Your oven is not the temple, you are not a priest, and that is not in the Law." It became very silent.

But this is a perfect example of the popular Jewish view of their own religion. Their Midrash and their Talmud are equal to the Torah, though they would never admit it, because the Talmud and the Midrash have interpretive powers over the Torah. These two are direct products of Rabbinical Judaism. They are the commentary on and interpretation of the Torah by rabbis going back hundreds and hundreds of years, but they are not the Law. What should come to mind is Christ rebuking the Pharisees," Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."

Christ did not come condemning the Law or those who follow it. At every point where Christ came into conflict with the Pharisees and the Sadducees it was over the imposition of rabbinical pretexts onto the Law and onto the people of Israel," You lay heavy burdens on men's shoulders and don't lift a finger to help them." But it is important to note that Christ did not condemn all the innovations of the Pharisees, he even said that some of their traditions were beneficial to keeping the Law. It was when the rabbis replaced the Law with their own statutes that Christ came into conflict with them.

Rabbinical Judaism may be seen, I will be so bold as to say that it should be seen, as a fulfillment of God's promise to blind Israel so that it will not see. The fog of merely human interpretation, uninspired interpretation of scripture led to the conflict between Israel and its Messiah. Rabbinical Judaism is perhaps wholly responsible for the inconsistency between what they imagined the Messiah would be and the reality of what the Messiah was, for Israel's inability to recognize it's Savior. It is very hard to imagine that Christ would have suffered a similar fate had he appeared during the time of King David, or during the time of Joshua or any of the Judges. There is a theological disconnect, a philosophical disconnect and a historical disconnect between the Judaism of the Old Testament and the Judaism we see at the time of Christ in the 1st century, just as there are huge disconnects between 1st century Judaism and the Hasidic Judaism of Germany in the 18th century.

Remember that Judaism up until the time of Christ must be viewed teleologically as Church history. Christianity begins the exact same way as Judaism did; there are two visible classes: the priesthood and the laity. Christianity was an apostolic entity from its first inception and remained to be so, exclusively, until 1517. In 1517 Martin Luther began the 'reformation,' so called. You'll remember that the shift from old Judaism to Rabbinical Judaism was the shift from a sacrifice centered form of worship in the temple to a scripture centered form of worship in the synagogue. Originally, they had the scripture so that they could practice the Law, that is to say that scripture was only a means to an end, but they started practicing the Law to appease and accord with the scripture as if it were the end itself. History repeats itself in Christian history at the moment of the reformation. In Martin Luther's own words," Worship used to be addressed to God as a homage. Henceforth, it will be addressed to man to console and enlighten him. The sacrifice (Jesus Christ/ the Eucharist) used to have pride of place but the sermon (biblical interpretation) will supplant it."

For the Protestants, Christianity became something it had never been before. The Church was no longer "the pillar and foundation of the truth" as we read in 1 Timothy 3:15, but the scripture became "the pillar and foundation of truth." Before, Christ,' the True Vine,' had been the source of righteousness in the form of His body and blood in the communion, but now it had changed and the bible was the source of righteousness. A great and terrible confusion occurred in the Protestant mind and the words of God (the bible) and the Word of God (Jesus Christ) became synonymous, and their adoration was misplaced. Before, one apostolic institution, founded by Jesus Christ, had through divine inspiration expounded truth and innovated holy tradition; that institution was the Catholic Church. Now, everyone would interpret for themselves and innovate by themselves. Sola Scriptura was born and with it Protestantism, a "Rabbinical Christianity" if you will.

The Churches of the Apostles are to Christianity what Judaism was during the days of king David, and Protestantism is to Christianity what Judaism was during the time of Christ, and in many ways it is worse off. At least the Jews had sacramentality during the time of Christ; most Protestants, on the other hand, have 'rid' themselves of the priesthood and have reduced the communion to a mere ordinance and a sign, it is no longer reckoned to actually be 'the Sacrifice.' They have no sacramentality, beyond baptism, by their own admittance.

This division is almost certainly a punishment to the Catholic Church as was the 'Great Schism.' But leaving this aside. There is another way to show the difference between the Catholics and Protestants with Scripture, namely with the Samaritans. The Samaritans broke away from Israel and chose to worship the true God in a way that was not permitted by the Law; they chose to worship in the North at their mountain and were cut-off from Israel for their stubbornness.

Often Catholics are confounded and put to shame by the zeal, good works, and piety of Protestants, the very people they esteem to be ignorant of and vicious towards the Churches of the Apostles. They can't figure how they can be so Christlike while so many, if not most Catholics are stagnant, self-centered, and secular. Of course the Protestant is very desirous to answer that question and would say," It's because we are right!" But that is not the case; rather, the Protestant is a sign to the Catholic, just like the 'Good Samaritan' was a sign to all of the Pharisees and Sadducees who listened to Christ tell the parable. The Samaritan put every caste of Israel to shame by his charity, but the value of the parable comes from the irony of the fact that the Samaritan who was wayward, unclean, and cut-off from Israel was a better person than they who were part of the chosen people and yet refused to love their neighbor.
Christ uses the Samaritans on more than one occasion to shame the Jews; however, it should be enlightening for us. It was never intended to make Jews want to be Samaritans, rather it was meant to remind Jews of what they were supposed to be.

Christ in his ministry tells his disciples at first to avoid the Samaritan towns. He first sends his disciples to the Jews, because salvation is of the Jews. This happens today with the Catholics and the Protestants, Catholics start doing something, then the Protestants either catch on or get it after the fact. Case in point, the Charismatic movement. The Holy Spirit first gives revelation to the Holy Catholic Church, because salvation flows from the Church and its sacraments which Christ instituted, and then the separated brethren get their graces in an extraordinary way.

The big difference between the Protestants and the Catholics can be demonstrated through the conversation of Christ with the Samaritan woman at the well. She said to him," Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." to which Christ answered," Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews." The Church is and must be the Church of the Apostles, the same Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ. Salvation is not found outside of the Church. Christ does not have several brides, but one Bride.

Notice that Christ is not telling the woman that she is damned, or that she does not obtain salvation, he is only telling her as a matter of fact that she is ignorant of the whole truth, because she is separated from Israel. He does not accuse her of idolatry, neither does he withhold his miraculous ministry from her or her village, but stays on with them teaching and doing miracles for several days. He does not give the Samaritans the same hard time that he gave to the Syro-Phoenician woman who plead and plead for her child, but recognizes them as separated brethren of Israel. Martin Luther said," We are compelled to concede to the Papists that we have no knowledge of the scriptures apart from them." and because they have no revelation of salvation apart from the scriptures, salvation is from the Church. This puts Protestants squarely in the same position of the Samaritans in relation to the Catholic Church who would be analogous to the Jews.

When I talk about how great the Catholic Church is with Protestants and how happy I am to be a Catholic, I never do so cloaked, I speak freely and candidly. I'm never sly, and I am completely open, congenial and free with them. Because of this they feel more free to object, and for that I'm glad, so that I can talk with them freely and with confidence just as Christ did at the well with the Samaritan woman. When all is said and done, the one question in the end is often," Well, why be a Catholic? What is the benefit? I don't see it. If we are both one in the same Christ, if we both have salvation, and if we both believe in the bible why do I need to be a Catholic?" The answer to that question is simple: they need to be Catholic for the same reason that it would have been better for the Samaritan woman to be a Jew. To be a Catholic Christian is as superior to being a Protestant Christian as being a Jew is to being a Samaritan. Surely, no one would argue that it was better to be a Samaritan than a Jew! Were there any Samaritan apostles? Did Christ reveal himself through the Samaritans? No. Salvation is of the Jews. Salvation is found in Christ's Church.

Truly, Protestants, if their faith is true, are saved. Truly, they are incorporated into the body of Christ in the resurrection. Truly, the Holy Spirit works powerfully through them, even now and in such ways that put many Catholics to shame. And certainly, that Samaritan woman who had faith was superior to the Pharisees who hated and doubted Christ, but does anyone think that she was the equal of any Jewish woman of similar faith? You know that isn't the case. We work for the same wages, but when put to it who would you rather be? A son or a hireling? Who would you rather be? The Prodigal son, or the son who was always loyal to his father? Don't think that the Prodigal son was a better man than his older brother; his older brother only had a bad attitude! To be the loyal son is far superior, than to be prodigal out of ignorance and only then return.

The Protestants are the one sheep, and we are the ninety and nine. That is why we must strive to bring them in again, where they are safe, where they have the life giving sacraments, and the perfect doctrine of truth, because we already know how happy it makes the Father to get back that one sheep. Because we know they need the Eucharist. There is no use and no point in hating or being at useless enmity with the Protestants. Pray for conversions amongst our separated brethren. And if you are a Protestant reading this, and if today you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your heart. God be with you.   

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Greatest Revelation of God to Humanity is Humanity

To love God more I learned theology. I refuted countless heretics and put them to shame, but I did not learn how to love God there. I merely learned to love winning. I did not propagate the love of truth, only indignation against lies. No one loved me more, and neither did I love more, though many men hated me more. I was not comforted, and my longing worsened. My love of winning had swollen my pride. I learned more and became more fluent in theology than most people ever dream to be, but I did not earn by pursuit of it that which I wished to obtain. I had been certain that if only I understood God I would not offend him, that if I observed His beauty I would love him and not betray Him. Imagine my horror when I had exhausted the intellectual and theological offerings of our fathers, and was still a wretch.

I reasoned, then, that I had understood what was acting, but I had not understood what was being acted on. I hadn't understood the relationship. So, I became a philosopher. I learned the truth about what the difference is between what I think I know, and what I do know. I learned even more intimately about God, which made me happy. All human activities and the ways of angels, and the cosmos were exposed to me and nothing was beyond the apprehension of my reasoning. I knew what men meant to say when they did not know how to say it, what they meant to do when they failed to do it. I knew better what they were loving than they themselves did. But though I knew better that which they loved, for all my knowledge and understanding, it did not produce love greater than theirs. These who were ignorant of what the good really is, of who God really is, why He is, and themselves loved in a way that made me pine to be like them. Just as we all seek to love as children do and to be pure as they are, so was I seeking. There were simple answers for everything, and yet I was not simple. Beloved philosophy did not make me love, but she showed why everything I learned in theology was. She gave me a reason for all the foolishness of the Gospel.

Before I did not lust, because God said not to, not because I understood why it was evil. I did not curse because the scripture said not to, and not because I understood cursing to be evil. I forgave because it was obligatory, or because I wanted to be forgiven, and not because I understood that the welfare of my neighbor affects my welfare, not because I understood that they suffered more greatly for doing evil than I did suffer for having it done to me. Before, I thought that man was ignorant because he was evil; I did not understand that he is evil because he is ignorant. In all this blind, juvenile obedience I had no thought for myself, for my emotions, for my needs, my wants, or my desires. As selfless as I was, I had no love and it profited me nothing. Theology had taught me to do what was right, but it was She who taught me why I ought to do it. And so, like the ancient philosophers, philosophy gave me this much, if it did not make me love: I learned to do without the law and with no one to make me, that which other men do only out of fear of the law or because they are forced to do so.

I understood, then, that if I was to love God, to truly love God, and to have a pure life I must love. I must love through actions. In order to love 'Love,' who is God, I must become that which I aimed to love. Theosis, I understood, was my aim. As He is an all consuming flame, I too must be set on fire, not in order to be destroyed, but to become flame. To love in the act. To love all that I see, by having a pure look. I knew that if I did not make myself into love, then the Love of God would destroy me in it's inferno. For the eternal embrace of God is to the righteous person perfect homeostasis and peace, because the two flames become one through Christ in the Holy spirit, and to the evil person that same embrace is an unrelenting torment.

I had sought God, I had sought His face, because I believed that if I just saw Him I would be cured. Blessed be, I was not self-deceived in thinking this. Only I only saw dimly, in theology, and in philosophy. At last I saw, and knew in truth that my clearest revelation of God was my human neighbor. I knew that if I saw God it would be love at first sight, all-curing love. And so, I knew that I must love my neighbor, because my best revelation of God is His image, mankind. God is best loved when we love mankind.

God was too terrible a thing to gaze upon for me; a worm like myself would shrivel and burn at His appearance. But like Perseus, I gazed into a reflection and was able to look upon a lethal sight, he a hideous gorgon, but me Beauty itself, who is God. Man was that reflection I gazed at, and if I looked into that mirror and detested all that I saw, then in truth I hated God. Purity comes from love of neighbor, as does prudence, as does wisdom, as does all virtue and happiness.

Now, the great adventure is to learn how to love. That is to say, to learn who to love and in what way, and at what time and to which extent. Who should I strike out of love, and who should I embrace. Who should I confront and who should I defend. Who should I give to and to whom should I turn my back. And many other similar questions there are. A life figuring them and acting them all out is not wasted. Truly, without love, you are nothing.

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Friday, 6 May 2011

St. Augustine-On Time

In discussing the creation of everything physical, Augustine asks,” What is time?” Answer this question as would Augustine.”

Augustine would say that time is a logical construct that conditions and expresses the perceptions of created things. That is to say, as Augustine did, that man is temporally conditioned, but God is not. He grapples right away with the substance, if I may say substance, of time,” What is it?”

            In order to answer this he has to figure out where it begins and where it ends, and so he looks quite naturally to the creation itself, because God alone is uncreated and time is not God. So, Augustine knows that he will find the answer in those things which are created. He asks of God,” How did you create heaven and earth?” He, in his meditative style, takes a hard right and says that if God were to grant him the boon of being able to speak to the prophet Moses, surely Moses could tell him!

            Yet, here he make’s a hard left as if to say,” No, only you can teach me God!” He makes this hard left by pointing out that only God can educate him by use of the language ‘mentalese’ necessary to understanding the answer. He says that if Moses did know the answer and could tell him it wouldn’t profit him at all, because the answer would be in another language (Hebrew, perhaps) and to Augustine would be nonsense syllables. 

            Here he makes the differentiation between the ‘outer’ physical ear and the ‘inner’ spiritual, soulish, or mental ear. That is, the mind may become aware of something in the tangible realm through external sensation, but sensation does not mean ‘understanding’ in the mind. After external sensation, the interior sense affecting (acting upon) the sensation, translates the knowledge into ‘mentalese.' Finally, God speaks to us or we use our reason and thereby give assent to certain things and reject others. So, what happens, according to Augustine, is that a thing is sensed, Moses’ voice in this case, by the outer ear. Then, the interior ear can make nothing of it; id est, it cannot be translated into mentalese. Ergo, there being no way for Augustine to make sense of what Moses would tell him about the creation and/or creation itself, he cannot apply his reason to it in order to give assent. But even if Moses was speaking the same language as Augustine (Latin) so that the sensation of Latin could be translated into ‘mentalese,’ then as may be discerned from the above, God would still have to teach Augustine’s soul in ‘mentalese’ in order that he could give assent to Moses’ words which would have been translated by the inner ear. 

            Therefore, Augustine comes to it again and declares that only God can teach him the answer; all this only in the hopes that if he understood “how” God created everything, he might then use his reason to understand “what time is.” In doing all this, Augustine is making the assertion that God is the only being that teaches us from within. He’s in part declaring this, because he needs an answer that gets beyond creation.

            It’s this ‘getting beyond creation’ that Augustine comes to next in his thoughts. He addresses the issue of ‘framework.’ By framework I mean {s-t}space and time, the ‘stuff’ of creation. He notices that questions addressed ‘towards’ things of {s-t} which would make sense, become nonsense when addressed ‘about’ {s-t}. This brings us back to what he noticed at the beginning: that he, Augustine, along with all other men, is temporally conditioned. He realized that things made sense for temporally conditioned beings inside the frame work of {s-t}, but that outside of the framework of {s-t} things made no sense. For instance, to ask about the beginning of things ‘in’ time makes perfect sense, but to ask about the beginning of time makes no sense, because it predicates a time before time… which is nonsense. This is why he believed that God, who is not temporally conditioned, who ‘teaches from within,’ would have to bypass his temporal conditioning, so that Augustine could project his assent onto that which God (Holy Spirit) had revealed upon temporally conditioned things, i.e. creation.

            From this he constructed a schematic, or rather elaborated on Christian ‘truth,’ by stating that there was a temporal realm and an eternal realm. He had to figure out how things “were” in both of these realms. He postulated, or rather asserted, that the only things which really exist are in the ‘now.’ They’re really real, really happening, really being. The ‘now’ was or seemed to be predicated by the past, and the future was anticipated by the now. Further, the past was collapsible into the present, or ‘now,’ through memory, and the future was collapsible into the present through anticipation. That they could be collapsed meant that they ‘were.’ He explains this by stating that everything that is, was, and will be a ‘now’ is a static point in God’s view in the eternal realm. In this way, God is in all time, and yet timeless. 

            The things which follow necessarily from Augustine’s conclusions that the only things which really exist are in the ‘now’ and that all ‘now’s’ are static points in the eternal realm is that time is a mental construct designed to measure the non-existent portions of time. Time is a proverbial ‘zero’ designed to give us a set of reference points between events. You can’t measure what doesn’t exist, yet that is precisely what we do with time, if all that really exists is in the ‘now.’ 

           Each ‘now’ is self-destructive and pregnant with the future. I would attempt to improve upon that merely by stating that each now is the “self-destructive child of the past that is pregnant with the future.” But it is self-evident that even this is temporally conditioned, because in the eternal realm, according to Augustine, each “now” is an independent static point. 

            If we participate with the constructs of the eternal and temporal realms that Augustine lays down, we see that it is inevitable that time really is only a mental construct. This is because if the past ‘is not’ and the future ‘is not,’ then the present is not temporally conditioned, but only a static point. This theory satisfies that God is always creating and never in flux of any kind; He is always creating ‘now.’ And if now is all that exists, then time which includes more than ‘now’ must be a logical construct… like ‘zero.’
"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~