Why we have Lost God
The Primacy of
Matter and the Loss of Faith
We 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 anything.
It is the world we know
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?
Again. And again. And again, as though repeatedly demanding what we
want like a spoiled child will produce it … because it worked when we
were children. Our parents taught us by example, by collapsing before
the incorrectitude of the negative “No!” We always got
what we wanted.
And so did our parents.
Do you want anything — however absurd? Then agitate, demand, and
never take “no” as an answer, however unimpeachable the authority.
Not even from God. Not even from His Church which we hold to be both
the the Bride and the Body Christ. We want to “feel” justified,
be “affirmed” in our childishness, and have our way if
“the other” is unwilling — however clear, however ontologically defining
the principles upon which and in which it exists in se —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 petulance to publicize us, and a venal politician
to “empower” us … until our desires become our laws
— which is to say, until our senses grasp, seize, what
they lust for.
Politics is the venue of power, not mind. Hollywood is the venue of
entertainment, not reality which, despite the protestations
of the senses, is only discernible through the mind and that impetuously
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, for
the other half is spirit … the immaterial soul which is not apprehensible
by the senses, only by the mind, a concept perhaps best expressed by
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 “feeling good about oneself.” Eternity extends before us —
and we 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 suspended. It is a kind of eternal obit that will declare,
somehow inscribe, even monumentally testify to our being long after
it has ceased and presumably never to be read.
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
for the Boston Catholic Journal
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