Friday, September 14, 2012


                                                 (Vision to Reality, continued)

   As 21st century Catholics we prayerfully imagine, think, intend and act in both space/time and eternity.  Vatican II opened our eyes anew to this wondrous truth.  In the 1960's the church was stuck in time and place with its medieval, European-centered, monarchical view of itself and its teachings, and was thereby blinded to the whole world and to eternity.

   By aggiornamento (coming up to date) the council reopened our eyes and our way, not only to the whole, present world but to an unlimited future, and to eternity.  For example, we were again able to see that in an ever-evolving world, God within us was calling to us, not only from throughout today's world but also from and into the future.  We saw that our theological and spiritual Tradition is alive and evolving, and open to new ways of being understood and lived.

   By ressourcement (going back to the sources) Vatican II became truly "radical," i.e., it went back to the roots, to Scripture and the Church Fathers, and injected our faith with renewed insight and energy.  We looked at Jesus and the church with new, evolved eyes, minds and hearts, and saw in a freshly living way the space/time man who is eternal God.  

   And we saw ourselves as expressions of Jesus in this new way.  Putting aggiornamento and ressourcement together, Jesus becomes our contemporary paradigm or model for seeing everything and everyone anew, in terms of 21st century, space/time, whole-world insight with eternal meaning.  In the ever new Christ, we here and now are living a 21st century version of both space/time and eternity.

   The great enemy of our living, evolving, 21st century, space/time/eternal vision and life is the deadly restriction of Fundamentalism in all its forms.  I describe Fundamentalism as "nothing-but-ism."  Fundamentalism reduces reality and truth to nothing but what fundamentalists say they are.  Here are some examples.  In them, we see the spiritual challenges we face in making our 21st century, world-wide Catholic faith real and effective:  

     1.  We have today's church leaders who refuse to open the church to the sensus fidelium, i.e., to the prayerful discernment of the laity, religious and theologians.  To them, the truth is nothing but what they alone say it is.  Their denial of spiritual openness and of the influx of eternity into the whole church has resulted in the theological stagnation and spiritual anemia from which the church is now suffering.

      2.  There are Christians and Muslims who say that the truth is nothing but what they say it is.  Each says that the other religion is of Satan.  Vatican II saw salvation open to all people of consistent good will and love.  The automatic denial of spiritual openness and good will in others leads directly to the uprisings and killings we are now witnessing.   

     3.  Atheists deny the validity of all religion.  Many wrongly identify religion, which is the organized expressions of faith, with faith itself, not realizing how religions can distort faith.  Also, many of today's prominent atheists restrict Christianity to fundamentalism.  I personally have never heard an atheist seriously comment on Vatican II Catholicism.

     4.  Some fundamentalists deny the validity of science.

     5.  Some scientists say that the truth is nothing but what science can discover.  They don't see, for example, that all scientific methods of arriving at conclusions about the truth rely on Philosophy.  And they don't see that the human mind (reason) and heart can so easily and beautifully take scientific insights into eternity and sing that the heavens proclaim the glory of God.  They also don't appreciate poetry.  
     Theologian Hans Kung says that today's scientists need to take theologians seriously, and today's theologians need to take scientists seriously.  (See the EVOLUTION STORY page of this blog.)
     6.  There are materialists who say that humans are nothing but electrically powered, soulless, material bodies, and that the mind is nothing but the brain in action.  They thus deny the reality of the non-material (spiritual) mind and soul, and deny our immortality.

     7.  There are political leaders who say that politics is nothing but winning elections.  Some business and economic leaders say business and economics are nothing but making a profit.  All lock their fields up within themselves, e.g., politics is politics, business is business, and blind themselves to the greater reality of the common good with a preferential option for the poor, sick, vulnerable and outcast.

   With open and joyful minds and hearts, and prophetically fighting against all unnatural restrictions to the fullness of our space/time/eternal humanity and world, 21st century Catholics sing anew with poet William Blake,

                                  To see the world in a grain of sand,
                                  And a heaven in a wild flower.
                                  Holy infinity in the palm of your hand,
                                  And eternity in an hour.

                                  A robin redbreast in a cage
                                  Puts all Heaven in a rage...



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