………………………………..

There is being grateful and there is also being unafraid. There is learning how to live and learning how to die.

Gratitude feeds into fearlessness. To be fearless is to neither fear punishment nor a lack of life after this one.

This world is bizarre enough for it to function in the way it does–the wonder we get from this experience is the first cause for belief in God and, therefore, the gratitude we give to him–the oddity of this world also includes unseen realities that affect the visible world.

We are not characters, we are the stuff characters are made out of. Characters seem real, because they are, but are real only in their dependence to their creators.

Dr. Jacobs, Joseph’s church history professor, once told him, “Is church history the study of movements and ideas or of saints’ lives? I would argue that to give into the study of ideas is to give into the wheezing threats of a dying objectivism. There is, in the pure lives of holy saints, a kind of clarifying fire that cleanses our notions of history, time, and our own progress through history, not as slaves to movements, but as slaves still to Christ.”

Loreena Mckennit wrote a song called Skellig, about the monks there:

O light the candle, John
The daylight has almost gone
The birds have sung their last
The bells call all to mass

Sit here by my side
For the night is very long
There’s something I must tell

Before I pass along

I joined the brotherhood

My books were all to me
I scribed the words of God

And much of history

Many a year was I

Perched out upon the sea
The waves would wash my tears,
The wind, my memory

I’d hear the ocean breathe
Exhale upon the shore
I knew the tempest’s blood

Its wrath I would endure

And so the years went by
Within my rocky cell
With only a mouse or bird
My friend; I loved them well

And so it came to pass
I’d come here to Romani
And many a year it took
Till I arrived here with thee

On dusty roads I walked
And over mountains high
Through rivers running deep
Beneath the endless sky

Beneath these jasmine flowers
Amidst these cypress trees
I give you now my books
And all their mysteries

Now take the hourglass
And turn it on its head
For when the sands are still
‘Tis then you’ll find me dead

O light the candle, John
The daylight is almost gone
The birds have sung their last
The bells call all to mass

Humans are a people of mysteries, transcribing them for one another over generations. The nature of these mysteries, however, has changed. I don’t pretend to know all the ways they have changed, but I would guess that the “mysteries” are no longer demonstrations of our ineptitude, but rather our perceived understanding.

David Bowie once said, “Nietzsche’s Gay Science, where he said that God is dead, was a culmination of all the previous thought of the previous century. In the late 19th century, people were so aggrandized with their own sense of science and the aftermath of the Enlightenment and how man himself could improve the world. And then, of course, it led to things like Nietzsche saying God is dead and it led to Einstein’s discovery of time and space not being what we thought they were, and Freud in understanding another kind of human inside the human–all these ideas culminated in the idea that everything we’ve known before was wrong, everything. So, we start out in the 20th century with this clean slate–we are now the gods. And the greatest thing we could do as God during that century was create the bomb. That was what we were good at doing. And I think that, in itself, in the ’50s and ’60s the repercussions of what we had done by standing in for this idea of morality created by ourselves our fix on what we should be doing in life, that we’re still living through that chaos right now; we have no spiritual lives to speak of, there’s quasi-new religions, but there is no direct sense of what our purpose is anymore…are we mature enough to accept the fact there we are not going somewhere, that there is no gift of immortality at the end of this (if we evolve)–if we evolve enough, you know, we might not have to die–I mean, that seems to be a reach from the past…Maybe we have to live one day at a time–because if we could do that, maybe we would be serving some great thing.”

So after all this, our purpose is to live one day at a time, without a progression connecting our days to some prolonged and sustained goal. If this idea is the popular one, it overthrows the ancient idea of mankind’s teleology. Will we, as rationalism dies, come into a post-purpose world? Where the mysteries we share are no longer about purpose, but instead about causes for things? Will mankind be seen as one big result of causes?

In that case, will we be able to find out what caused us, if mankind keeps naturalism without purpose? Inevitably, won’t we still then come back to God, the first cause?

Our purpose is to be grateful to our cause, since we are the result of love. The function of movements is to move us back to this, as they do so well.

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