The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Beautiful Mind

I've been pondering sin this week. Not comitting sin. There's no need to dwell too long on that as it's a daily happening in my life. Rather I've been thinking about the condition of living in a fallen state and the ever presence of evil. It seems as I have grown more aware of the splendor, beauty, and love of Christ in my life there has been a heightening of my recognition of that which is not of God. And these are not external things. Any true look into one's conscience, habits, or general thought patterns will reveal the very texture of sin and at the same time point to the foundation of hope, which is Our Lord.

These internal characters of our fallen state I liken to the hell that is lived by one suffering from schizophrenia. One movie I really enjoyed was A Beautiful Mind. The movie is based on the true story of Dr. John F. Nash, a Nobel Prize winning mathematician who suffers from schizophrenia. Throughout the movie we learn that many of the people in Nash's world are figments created by his disease. He moves through various stages in dealing with these imaginary characters who appear very real to him. His embracing of these shadows nearly destroys his life, and it is only when he comes to grips with the fact that not all that he sees or feels is reality that he is able to find peace with their continuous presence.

In the same regard, sin is like that in our lives. It's potential is always there. We cannot think it out of our lives. We give the characters in our world names like Lust, Pride, Envy, Sloth, Gluttony, Greed, and Wrath. Our coming to grips with these elements is first recognizing that they are a distraction to the true reality which is the Kingdom of Heaven. They seem real, even enticing, but they represent a false reality.

Look at the billions of dollars spent on entertaining Lust. Our culture has made porn stars into acceptable celebrities, and one can barely surf the Internet without encountering a link to a site that promises a party for one's concupiscence.

Pride? Oh, he has his following, too. How many relationships do you know of that have been ruined by this wicked foe of God? How many wars have been fought where pride was the root cause of the conflict?

Christ came to deliver us from these fallen realities created when we were evicted from Eden. It is part of our ontology that we have these actors in our lives. Like Dr. Nash, we must recognize that these characters of sin are very real images, but that's where they stop.

It is not easy. As our associate pastor mentioned in a wonderful homily he delivered yesterday, our culture used to have the Christian mind at the forefront of its decision making. Everything from how laws were written; how people treated one another; and what was taught in school was done using this mind. That's not the case today. Our society has changed its mind and now has distorted the truth and supplanted humanism for Christian thought.

Said another way, our American mind has embraced these characters of sin; these figments of truth; and given them legitimacy. In this fantasy world lust of the flesh; the lust of the eyes; and the pride of life underpin our decisions.

How long will this last? It's difficult to find any culture that has been able to sustain itself for long using moral relativism as its foundation. My own opinion is that it will take a few generations to get us back on track. Lord knows the Babyboomers won't fix it. The tragedy is that there will likely be some societal disasters along the way. We may indeed have to hit bottom before we can push our way back up.

Christ called each of us to come to Him as a child. Children may sometimes enjoy imaginary friends, but they're not the same ones we adults lend credence to. Perhaps purgatory is a final letting go of these fictional leaders so we can finally run to Our Lord free of the burden of giving attention to the constant voices of sin.

When we meet Christ it will be with His beautiful mind.


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