Sunday, January 24, 2016

Processions and Marches

The day before yesterday I flew to Washington, D.C. and back to participate in the March for Life.

Later I came across someone remarking that such a march is a waste of time, adding that one would be better off taking more practical actions. The comment reeked of William James pragmatism.

Marches are rather like latter-day processions, which have numerous excellent precedents - e.g. the processions with the Ark of the Covenant in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Kings 8, the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem.

In the case of Friday's event, for this Catholic the march became a form of public prayer attended by Rosaries and hymns involving numerous co-religionists. This is an old Catholic custom, which has been done for centuries during emergencies to implore Divine aid for all kinds of calamities - e.g. war, plague, famine, storms, drought.

Among the participants the public display of a march also serves as a great reminder that - all the efforts of the popular culture and media to suggest the contrary - we are not alone or isolated in attempting to cure a great evil.

I think a favorable word can be added about a public event that has peaceably gathered hundreds of thousands of people each year for over four decades.

In conjunction with other efforts, a march like last Friday's is a crucial and valuable aid.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Eternal, not Modern

Time is the measure of movement and change. It is partly objective, partly subjective.
* Objectively, time exists whether or not we perceive it.
* Subjectively, we know time only in its relation to movement or activity.

Attributes of Time
(1) Succession: Time’s parts can be realized only one after the other as the past, the present, and the future.
(2) Irreversible: Time’s order of succession cannot be changed. Past time does not come back.
(3) Continuity: Time does pause and cannot be interrupted.
(4) Divisible, measurable: Time represents to us a reality only the continuous parts of which can be measured.

Created or uncreated?
Is time or movement infinite - without beginning? Philosophically, there is no problem with the possibility of time being infinite - without any contradiction, God could have created time to be infinite. By Revelation we know that God in fact created time with a beginning; by Revelation we also know that one day, time will end in dramatic fashion.

We moderns are avaricious about time. The notion of time passing without any private advantage is terrible to us; thus, time-misers that we are, we hoard our hours for mercenary activity and fill our days with even frenetic, mindless activity. Before we’ll do nothing, we’ll do anything; pushing irrelevant buttons is preferable to considering the lillies of the field.

Eternal, not Modern
Give time away generously. Bestow it without counting the cost or tabulating the seconds and minutes. Blessed are the poor in time, for theirs is the kingdom of the eternally debonair.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Augustine Christmas

The maker of Mary, He was born of Mary;
The son of David, He is David’s Lord;
The maker of earth, made on earth;
Creator of Heaven, created under Heaven;
He is Himself the day which the Lord made, the day of our heart, that is the Lord.

He lies in a manger, but holds the world;
He is nursed by Mary, but feeds the Angels;
He is wrapped in swaddling clothes, but vests us with immortality;
He found no place in the inn, but makes for Himself a temple in the hearts of all who believe in Him.

He who so loves us, that for our sakes
He was made in time, through Whom all times were made;
Was in the world less in age than His servants, though older than the world itself in His eternity;
Was made man, who made man;
Was created by a mother, whom He created;
Was carried by hands that He formed;
Cried in the manger in wordless infancy;
He is the Word, without Whom all human eloquence is mute.

- St. Augustine (A.D. 354-430)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Texting Speed

Driving through the parking garage at work this morning, I was behind someone who was moving at a pace slower than I could push my car. “What’s up with this guy driving like my grandmother?” I wondered. When he parked I saw him heads-down, presumably looking at his mobile device. “That’s it,” I said, “he was driving at texting speed.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Good and Evil

Good is the harmony of conduct with right reason and desire that results in happiness. By right reason humans are possessed of the power to give intelligibility to the intelligible - and this not as a matter of self-interest, but because of the intrinsic worth of truth and beauty.

Evil is a negation of the good, whether as a deficiency or by destroying the good. It is not being, but the privation of being; thus, there is no supreme, independent principle of evil. Ignorance - a deficiency of knowledge - is an evil. Murder - unjustly depriving another of life - is another evil.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mercy and Truth

The Catholic Church’s pastoral ministry, when it practices mercy, must begin by remedying the poverty of ignorance, by giving souls the expression of the truth that will save them.