Why we have
and the Loss of Faith
live in a world of matter.
Matter is the substance of the senses. It is apprehensible.
We touch it, feel it, manipulate it, make things of it, and even destroy
it (yes, I know the principle of “the conservation of matter,” but you
get the point.) It is tactile, sensuous, and often pleasing to the eye,
the touch, and our other senses. It alternately excites us and repels
us. It is what we see when we open our eyes, what we feel when we touch
It is the world we
Increasingly, it is the only world we know. Every other
“possible world” has receded before the incursion of the senses and
the accompanying demand for instantaneity: pleasure now, satisfaction
now, information now, fulfillment
now — and on a broader level, peace now, justice now
and equality now. We have all heard the political and social
mantra that first came to us from the tumultuous and purple-hazed 60’s
by now, and we even know its cadence. The “cause” matters not, for the
response has by now become childishly reflexive:
“What do we want?”
(insert whatever here)
“When do we want it? Now!”
“What do we want?” …
And so on. Again and again, as if repetition will somehow
produce what we want when we cannot obtain it through reason or persuasion.
After all, it worked when we were spoiled children — who, largely, have
grown into spoiled adults.
Our parents, regrettably, taught us by example, by collapsing before
the incessant cries, not for what we needed (which they always
provided), but for what we wanted. We learned that, by making
their lives miserable, they would acquiesce to what we wanted — and
Do you want anything — however absurd? Then agitate, demand, and
never take “no” for an answer, however unimpeachable the
authority. Not even from God Himself. We want to “feel” justified,
to be “affirmed” in our childish petulance —and if we are denied our
desires, then we will legislate them, find some obscure
or unbalanced “academic” to “authenticate” us, a celebrity “in solidarity”
with our grievance to publicize us, and a venal politician to “empower”
us … until our desires become our laws.
we find that politics is the venue of power, not mind. Hollywood is
the venue of entertainment, not reality which is only
discernible through the mind and that inconvenient faculty called
reason that we abhor because it defies us.
The Parallax of Reason ... and Sensation
We do not want reason. We do not want mind. We want sensation
— the stimulation and the satisfaction of the senses! What have we to
do with inflexible reason? With God? With things less than rhapsodic,
with lasting concepts … even purported everlasting realities … with
the deliverances of anything devoid of tactility, before the contempt
of the court of immediacy that governs the senses?
We ourselves are composed of matter — we recognize this even if we have
forgotten that it is only half the equation of our being human.
The other half is spirit … the immaterial soul which is not
apprehensible by the senses, only by the mind, a concept
perhaps best expressed in the German noun, “Geist” that alternately
denotes, “the mind”, “the psyche”, “spirit”, “soul”, (and even “ghost”.)
We are profoundly more than our appetites, just as God is profoundly
more than the mind’s conception of Him. Eternity extends before
us — and we instinctively know it … but we treat it as we treat
time: passing, changing, mutable, pliable to our desires. And for a
while it is so.
But we know that it will not always be so. We sense “ending”. We
intuit that there is a terminus to our being in time and that something
must lie beyond it — even if it is the skeptic's cold, sterile, embalmed
"nothing" that we nevertheless irresistibly perceive as something
in what we persist in describing as “nothingness”. Because we are permeated
with time and insensible (and this is not the same as “inapprehensible”)
to the eternal, we even perceive “nothingness” — despite our
insistence that it is otherwise — as somehow perduring. It is a tentative
state of utter suspension — even while we declare that nothing is
When we lost God — whenever that might have been — we lost our raison
d'être. We do not know it because we refuse to confront it and we
do not confront it because we have not known God, or once having known
Him have repudiated Him, even denied Him, in favor of our own temporal
desires which, like their objects in space and time, will surely
pass. Only God remains. History testifies to this.
Desistite, et agnoscite me Deum: “Be still and know
that I am God!”
Our restlessness is both an invitation by God and the testimony to our
blindness apart from Him.
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
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Totally Faithful to the Sacred
Deposit of Faith entrusted to the Holy See in
opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti
verbum Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum”
know your works ... that you have but little power,
and yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My
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