Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Welcome Back!

I'm sorry I went AWOL this summer. Based on the suggestion of a wonderful friend of mine, I have decided to start this up again. Here's hoping it will come under better auspices...

This being the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, it is essential to note that for any sane person to believe that there's more than what meets the eye. Sticking to what the public saw, the story ended at Three O'clock on Good Friday. However, as Hamlet put it:

There are more things in heaven and hell, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies...

And yet in this decadent age, we are often encouraged to think we're actually fully aware and in total control of anything we happen to dream. Knowledge is power, right?

Well, there are two books that seek to shake us from this false sense of comfort: Nature, and Scripture.

Scripture presents us the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not the god of philosophers (to steal Pascal's memorable line). God is, as the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us, "a consuming fire!" Modern day Hebrews (who know what they're talking about) agree. Rabbi Abraham Heschel reminds anyone who will heed him:

A pious man is usually pictured as a sort of bookworm, a person who thrives among the pages of ancient tomes, and to whom life with its longing, sadness, and tensions, is but a footnot in a scholarly commentary on the Bible. The truth is that a religious man is like a salamander, that legendary animal that originates from a fire of myrtlewood kept burning for seven years. Religion is born of fire, of a flame, in which the dross of the mind and soul is melted away. Religion can only thrive on fire.

Nature does the very same thing, if we have eyes to see it. What kind of Botanist would have foreseen this? And which of them can marvel at it? (I think most, to keep your sanity in Botany...)

It is this sense of wonder that is essential to refute the dogmatic rationalist as well as the post modern skeptic. It is not a question of truth (though Truth can shake us out of this state of indolence and acedia) but of attitude. The spiritual anorexia of the skeptic and the gruel of the rationalist are only shown for what they truly are after a hearty feast of wonder.

This might sound unfair, as it asks the skeptic and rationalist to venture off their "turf" in order to sample something they've never seen before. But this is a false choice, as we've all been (and generally still are) children. We've all marveled at something, or (one hopes) many things.

This journey doesn't start with plunging into the unknown...it calls for doing a bit of backtracking and leg work. It is progressive, and regressive, that we can really explore, with gratitude, all that has been provided for us-from the smallest iota to the highest heavens. From the briefest pause to the presage of Eternity. Per Omnia Saecula Saeculorum.

1 comment:

  1. "Per Omnia Saecula Saeculorum"

    Just that bit of Latin was worth the post! :-)

    The tree thing... scary! It would have been worse if it had been an onion tree growing inside the man's chest!