No. 30 Beyond the Pagan Paradigm

Secular Pathways

Ours is an amazing, beautiful, and as far as we know, unique planet. From our humble beginnings we have come far. Human achievements are marvellous. As a result, we live in heady times. So much so that today modern man tries to persuade himself that not only is he in command of life, but that he has no need for guidance or assistance from anyone other than himself. That he is the source of his brilliance and knowledge. That there is no need for God, who is just a figment of the imagination. And so he goes his way. Relying on science, ingenuity, contrivance, and force. Puffed up with pride. Pandering to his urges, which often are base: justifying and flaunting his decadence in the name of freedom of choice, and individual rights, in an amoral world where for many, in the privacy of the heart, life is futility dressed up. In fine clothes for the few, in rags for many.

Today, our world is in deep trouble, from natural disasters, and the failure of systems and energies developed or harnessed by man, and upon which people believe they could and should rely for economic stability, prosperity and satisfaction, at least for some. And people are shaken. Confused. And now finding themselves having to reconsider their position. Reconsider their commitment to the popular secular paradigm and to admit that it is inadequate.

The Realism of Faith

Catholics are not pessimists. Nor are we starry-eyed optimists. While we endorse commonsense, and the scientific model of planet earth and the proven findings of the physical sciences, we know that nothing can come out of nothing, excepting by and from God, the Uncreated One. We believe in God, and worship Him alone, Who is beyond human comprehension and understanding. Whom we can only glimpse, never encompass. God, Creator of all that is or ever will be. God the Almighty, the Infinite. Without a beginning or end. Always was, always is and always will be. Whom we know today as All Knowing. All Wise. All Perfect. All Powerful. All Beautiful. Whose creation was indeed spontaneous, and out of nothing. Creation, prompted, willed and sustained by Divine love. An act of Trinitarian love and goodness. [“God gave a beginning to all that exists outside of himself; he alone is Creator.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church paras 290-301)].

Transcendent Reality

The age old paradigm founded in faith and love of God, has to be rediscovered, to afford the vision which could complement and complete secular understanding of life and of the world. Enriching it. Bringing to it transcendent light, where otherwise there would ever be darkness, and despair.

So, we take the visible material world, and see around it more than just the atmosphere (which man impoverishes and pollutes). By the grace of God may we recognise that it is mantled by a greater, metaphysical reality, a) an envelope of unceasing prayer for God’s mercy and prayer, particularly the power and protection of the daily sacrifice of the Holy Mass, healing prayer of at-one-ment for the whole world, led and supported by Mary, Mother of Christ and our advocate, who prays for us, sinners; and b) by an even stronger one, namely, that of God’s loving compassion, God’s all encompassing steadfast love. Always there. And for which people of faith give thanks. This is the message, the spirit and the tenor of the Scriptures. The promise of the Incarnation, the words of Christ Jesus, his life, death and resurrection.

Thus, the world of matter is truly the divine milieu, blessed and being transformed by Christ become human. And so, the ongoing pull and thrust of our human existence, is to the process through which we fulfil our destiny, the putting on of Christ: (a) by growth, and a becoming; a movement from preoccupation, obsession, with the temporal, the physical and the mundane, from thinking and acting in order to satisfy our bodily and cultural needs and desires, (b) towards life according to God’s will. In this endeavour we struggle with our selfish self, and all that tempts us to deviate from, ignore, misread the purpose of our existence.

The Promise

However blind or perverse we may be, consciously or otherwise, a restlessness, an inner voice, drives us to yearn for the fulfilment and the peace that can only come from the Messiah, the Living Word of God, the Eternal Logos, the Alpha and Omega, ever fresh, ever new; and thus for the Kingdom of God in our midst. That coming may be delayed but will not be frustrated by our sinfulness. The final victory, the theme of enhanced vision, will be that of Christ.

[The Lord affirms this, as He did through the prophet Isaiah:

*No god was formed before me, nor will be after me. I, I am the Lord, there is no other saviour but me…. and I am your God, I am from eternity. No one can deliver from my hand, I act, and no one can reverse it. (Isaiah 43:11,13) .

*Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights. I have endowed him with my spirit… (Isaiah 42:1)… I, the Lord, have called you to serve the cause of right. …I have appointed you as covenant of the people and light of the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to free captives from prison, and those who live in darkness from the dungeon. (Isaiah 42:6-7)…

* I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’ (Isaiah 49: 6)…

* Let anyone who fears the Lord among you listen to the voice of his servant. Whoever walks in darkness and has no light shining for him, let him trust in the name of the Lord, let him lean on his God! (Isaiah 50:10)… See, my servant will prosper, he shall be lifted up, exalted, rise to great heights.Škings stand speechless before him; for they shall see something never told and witness something never heard before (Isaiah 52:13-15)…]

Reflection and Prayer

May our response and prayer ever be, “Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus. Come!”