Tag: atheism

Prayer Urgent

Prayer Urgent posted in Eleison Comments on January 14, 2017

When the Titanic began sinking in 1912, it is well-known that the first lifeboats to be launched were not filled to capacity because not yet enough passengers took seriously the stricken ship’s doomed condition. But as the full truth became widely known, so the rest of the lifeboats each of them had more than enough people wanting to get on board. Now, the sinking of the Titanic was a mirror of God held up to the modern world, but by no means all people alive today believe that, and so the lifeboats of Catholic Tradition are being emptied rather than filled. Nothing like enough souls are yet grasping the full truth of our doomed condition to be doing what they need to be doing – praying urgently.

Here is how a friend from Switzerland puts it: “In our country as elsewhere, every last trace of Catholicism is disappearing, and the (once very Catholic canton of the) Valais is no exception. Everything needs to start all over again, while the enemies of Truth are more numerous every day.” Can anyone say that this description does not fit his own part of the world? Certainly it fits England! In a poll of 1595 English adults taken on December 18 and 19, only 28% believe in God while 38% are positive atheists. A little under two years ago those figures were 32% for the believers, 33% for the atheists. It is clear that the disbelievers are pulling significantly ahead. Poor England!

But why is belief in God so important? St Thomas Aquinas explains in his Treatise on the Angels: just as all Creation proceeds by an overflow of goodness from God, so this goodness in creatures seeks to make its way back to the Supreme Goodness of the Creator, each in its own way: vegetable and mineral by a natural inclination, animals by a sense inclination, most perfectly men and angels by an intellective inclination of mind and free-will (1a, 59, 1). Thus human beings come from God to go back to Him, by the right use of their mind, the mind being “inexcusable,” says St Paul, if it pretends that it cannot recognise God in His Creation (Rom. I, 20), and by the right use of their free-will, to choose Him rather than refuse Him. Alas, sense attractions draw most men away from God (1a, 63, 9 ad 1).

However, to be drawn away from Him is not what God meant men for. Every single human being that He created, He meant for Heaven (I Tim. II, 4), and to all men He gives grace sufficient for them to know Him and love Him and so get to Heaven. Heaven is therefore what every man is for, whether or not he accepts the fact, and if he refuses it, he is blinding himself and can have no understanding of what life is all about. It would follow that all such men who are leaders in any domain are ultimately the blind leading the blind, while all such followers are the blind following the blind. “I am the Light of the World,” says Our Lord Jesus Christ, “he that followeth me walketh not in darkness” (Jn. VIII, 12).

Then he who refuses to follow God, let alone Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church, walks in darkness, and the obstinate preference today of global “Westerners” for more and more darkness is preparing a terrible Chastisement, comparable only to the Flood in the time of Noah. As then men had so “corrupted their ways” (Gen. VI, 12) that God had to intervene with the Flood to prevent absolutely all men from choosing to go to Hell, so too today the corruption is so terrible that God alone can interrupt it.

But men can always pray, and prayer still works like nothing else still works. For it is easy to imagine, amidst millions and millions of souls turning to Mammon and away from God, how He positively watches out for, and listens to, the fewer and fewer souls that turn to Him. The hour is to prayer, through his Mother, the prayer of the Holy Rosary, fifteen Mysteries a day, if that is at all reasonably possible.

Kyrie eleison.

Flowers Teach

Flowers Teach posted in Eleison Comments on June 23, 2012

If flowers speak (cf. EC 255), then they can also teach: the value of time, the justice of God, the harmony of grace and nature.

For instance, if God exists and he is not unjust by making a soul’s whole eternity depend upon its choices made during one brief life, even lasting 90 years, then it stands to reason both that every moment of that life counts, and that in every moment (even if not always with the same force) God is appealing to us to join him for eternity. That is why it makes sense that he should be talking through the flowers and through every other gift of his creation, because what soul alive can truthfully say that it has nothing and nobody to love? Even the most rabid “atheist” has, say, his dog or his cigarettes. And Who designed dogs and tobacco plants, and kept them reproducing down to our own day?

So just before he dies the “atheist” may still claim that he at least was never spoken to by God, but in the instant after he dies he will grasp in a flash that for every moment of his waking life God has been appealing to him through some creature or other around him. “Am I now unjust,” God might ask him, “if I condemn you for every remaining moment of my life, when for every moment of your life you have been refusing me? Have what you have chosen. Depart from me into . . .” (Mt. XXV, 41).

Conversely, take a soul that has profited by every moment of its life to love the great and good God behind all the good things it has enjoyed, and that has even recognized the permission of his Providence behind all the bad things it has not enjoyed. Then who needs to be recognized, or famous, who needs to appear in the media, or to fill drawers of vacation photographs, in order to give meaning to his life? Small wonder that in past ages talented souls could bury their talents in a cloister or monastery in order to devote them wholly to the loving of God. For indeed every moment of our time is of measureless value, because upon every moment hangs for good or ill a measureless eternity.

Moreover, that flowers speak can help us to make sense of another well-known problem: how can non-Catholic souls be condemned for not having the Catholic faith when Catholic missionaries never reached them? Whatever mystery is here may at least partly be solved, humanly speaking, if one recalls that it is the selfsame God who creates flowers and instituted the Catholic Church. Thus if God’s Providence never allowed for Catholic truth to reach the ears of a given soul, nevertheless that soul will not be able to plead that it knew nothing of the true God, and it can be judged on what it did know, for instance the beauty of cloudscapes, of sunrises and sunsets. Did it, beholding them, say with the pagan Job (Job XIX, 25), “I know that my Redeemer liveth,” or did it say, “Well, yes, that’s nice, but now let me visit my neighbour’s wife . . .”?

In fact a number of complaints that men have today against their Creator arise even with Catholics, because many Catholics are, like everybody else today, more or less cut off from Nature by their urban or suburban lives, and their “spirituality” becomes correspondingly artificial. “Woe to anybody who has never loved an animal,” somebody has said. Children are close to God. Watch how naturally children love animals.

Great and good God, grant us to see you where you are, deep down everything and everybody, at every moment.

Kyrie eleison.

Doctrine Indispensable

Doctrine Indispensable posted in Eleison Comments on October 9, 2010

I can remember Archbishop Lefebvre in 1986 being surprised at how few followers of Catholic Tradition seemed to grasp the enormity of the all-religion love-fest at Assisi, but such is the corruption of our times: ideas and truth are of no consequence, because “All you need is love.” In truth, all of us need, absolutely, both doctrine and love.

Doctrine is not just formulas of words. Those of us that have the inestimable gift of the Faith know that upon our short life in this world hangs an eternity of unimaginable bliss or horror in the next life, and we know that this is the destiny of all men, whether they believe it or not, Limbo for unbaptized innocents being the one exception. It then stands to reason that unless God is cruel – vain wish of many a poor soul seeking to justify its revolt against Him! – He is offering to all souls at all times the light and strength they need to gain Heaven and avoid Hell, if they wish. But when a soul does not have the Faith, what form can that light and strength take?

Let two non-Catholics point towards the answer. Dr. Samuel Johnson, 18th century giant of English common sense, said “When a man is tired of London he is tired of life.” In other words, behind the hurly-burly of daily living in all its daily details, a man is forging day by day a general attitude towards life. And Count Leo Tolstoy in his epic novel, War and Peace, says, “To love life means to love God.” In other words, a man’s general attitude towards life is in fact an attitude towards God.

Of course many a modern soul will deny vigorously that his attitude to life can have anything to do with a “non-existent” God, but God is not the less sustaining in existence both him and all the objects daily surrounding him, and God is giving to him all the time the free-will with which to love or hate God within and behind them all. Thus Communists are meant to be atheists, yet Lenin once said, “God is my personal enemy.” Communists, as such, hate life and hate God.

Then what is the right attitude to life and to God? The First Commandment lays it down: to love Him with all one’s heart and mind and soul. But how can I love anybody without first having some knowledge of him? The right attitude to life and to God presupposes at least some faith or trust in the goodness of life and/or of God. Thus when unlettered souls come to Our Lord in the Gospels to ask for a miracle, frequently he tests their “faith,” or praises it and rewards it, when he grants the miracle. What faith? Faith in him. But who exactly is he?

That is for lettered souls to formulate, in doctrine. This doctrine of God may be polished down the ages, but it cannot be changed, any more than God can be changed. It is the on-going corrector of our attitude to life and to God, for as long as we wish to be unimaginably happy and not unhappy for all eternity. Catholic doctrine is truth. God is Truth. Truth is indispensable.

Kyrie eleison.