Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Be Still

To fully comprehend Catholicism and all that it encompasses one has to be able to view our faith philosophically. My favorite writer, G.K. Chesterton recognized Catholicism as the largest of all realities and that it encompasses everything. Many Christians today have a concept of God and faith which is narrow and confining. Much of that blame lies in two things: secularism which has adopted the philosophy of Kant- that all knowledge is the work of man and thus God is not a necessity. When it comes to things like inspiration or contemplative thought- they are considered a waste of time. The other is Protestantism which has turned Christianity into a myriad of man-made beliefs that on some levels border on the outrageous. Protestantism was the perfect type of Christianity for America and capitalism. It had no problem with the work ethic of rugged individualism and today the larger churches resemble corporations, money making enterprises. When you shrink God into a "personal individual relationship God " and a "once saved always saved" faith, then it is easy to mesh the secular world with the Christian world, because frankly, not a lot of conflict arises. The slavish capitalistic mechanism, that is what we call "work" in America finds little time for contemplation and thus finds little time for God. Most people (and their children I might add) that I know are on this treadmill of work, business and social commitments, and what is known as leisure is really just a part of the 7 day week of perpetual activity - it requires effort, timing, and work, yes work. There is no mindset for true leisure, that is the easy, relaxed condition of just being a creation of the Creator and pondering just what that means. That is why I began this post saying to fully appreciate Catholicism one has to be philosophical. If engaging God is just another activity, like shopping, working, going to a sporting event, or sitting at home watching television, then He will remain small and just another of the perpetual activities scheduled around all the other things in your life. People are afraid of two things: silence and being alone with themselves - the precise place where one can encounter God. In those moments of contemplation, the Holy Spirit can find you and instill within you, that which can transform you, that which cannot be found elsewhere: the grace of God, the taste of the Divine. Psalm 46:10 reads "Be still and know that I am God" The Hebrew word for still is "raphah" which can be translated slack or let drop. We can appreciate the largeness of God when we stop competing with Him, when we resort back to our tininess and that comes from silence and being.

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