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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Cautionary Word


It is the effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense and can’t see things as they are. So said G.K. Chesterton through one of his most famous characters, Fr. Brown, the very English priest-detective.  It’s a comment that some of his contemporaries took arms against but a fair and valid point I have to say, and so for clarity let me repeat it

It is the effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense and can’t see things as they are.

You see, it would be like not believing in something like numbers.  In such a mind addition or multiplication would lose their power and in such a world, houses their structure.

Of course, it’s nearly impossible to imagine a man who doesn’t believe in integers—if he exists I don’t know him.  Though I have met and read of men who don’t believe in God (though in the history of the world it’s just as absurd a thought), and truly such men do live in a world of crumbled and broken homes because they’ve undercut the foundation of life and reason, and they take up the maddening task of re-working the times tables with something other than numbers—that is to say they have to understand the meaning of life without the proper tools to find the solution.

Often times this problem they conclude unsolvable which is, in fact, the only conclusion they can make.  Five times five means nothing if we have no knowledge of what five is.  Thus meaning of life means nothing if we have no knowledge of what life is.  Five is five because one is one five times over.  Life is life because God is God, giver of life.  As five can only be understood in light of one so life can only be understood in light of God.

Here’s the challenge today: the world is so interconnected that the confused minds and crumbling homes of such people become for all of us a confused education and a crumbling society.  So what do we do, we who live uniquely in the truth that God is real and who are able to rejoice in the beauty of each stunning facet of that three word sentence, when the collective voices of atheism and its maddening or more subtle forms are louder and more pervasive than ours?

Be sure your convictions come from the basic truth of God’s veracity rather than whatever is most loudly shouted in your ear lest we pose no threat to the deconstruction of our society and the brokenness of our world.

+ Br. Joseph Michael, CFR
Most Blessed Sacrament Friary
Newark, NJ
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