October 17, 2014

Quick Picks



Well now given the roil of current Vatican politics, one can see why Pope Francis asked us to pray for him before his pontificate. Somehow it seems like he needs it more than John Paul or Benedict.

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So I learned the reason old woman often have blue-tinted hair is that as eyes age they can't see blue as well. So hair they think is yellow or salmon. In a book I'm reading one lady doesn't want to change her hair color even knowing this fact - she says it's more important that she see her hair as natural than the rest of the world do so.

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A homilist the other day said that a politically liberal friend of his was angry with God for failing to provide a cure for cancer. The priest's friend was stridently pro-abortion, and Fr. B. told him of an interconnection.

“Human problems require human solutions!” he said. “The fact that we're aborting a million people a year, how does that help solve human problems? By killing the unborn we are killing many brains that could potentially solve human problems like cancer!”

Arresting perspective, especially about how the homilist is so comfortable with disease being a human problem that requires a human solution. “God gave us brains that we might use them,” he often says. It seems a high view of human potential, especially given the almost half the country voted for Obama.

But it goes along with something Heather King once wrote about how God doesn't give us a lot of unnecessary help, or words to that effect.

God certainly doesn't have the “soft bigotry of low expectations” concerning us, and it's like that from the beginning of the Bible (“let us make man in our own image” is certainly God putting a lot of faith in human power & reason). St. John Paul writes in "The Gospel of Life":
The Book of Sirach too recognizes that God, in creating human beings, “endowed them with strength like his own, and made them in his own image” (17:3). The biblical author sees as part of this image not only man’s dominion over the world but also those spiritual faculties which are distinctively human, such as reason, discernment between good and evil, and free will: “He filled them with knowledge and understanding, and showed them good and evil” (Sir 17:7). The ability to attain truth and freedom are human prerogatives inasmuch as man is created in the image of his Creator, God who is true and just (cf. Dt 32:4).
That's pretty potent stuff and seems to fly in the face of Christ saying, “without God you can do nothing.” I suppose "nothing" means spiritually-speaking, in terms of the REALLY important stuff like one's heart rather than curing disease.

It reminds me also of part of a book I read recently titled, "From Shame to Sin" about how sexual promiscuity was seen as sin as the society went from pagan to Christian during the first centuries after Christ. The key issue was said to resolve around free will and a feeling of empowerment - the early Christians believed we have it, while the pagans gave up and excused sexual perversions as part of the human condition, i.e. more deterministic.

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The full context of St Irreaneus famous quote about the glory of God being man fully alive:
And for this reason did the Word become the dispenser of the paternal grace for the benefit of men, for whom He made such great dispensations, revealing God indeed to men, but presenting man to God, and preserving at the same time the invisibility of the Father, lest man should at any time become a despiser of God, and that he should always possess something towards which he might advance; but, on the other hand, revealing God to men through many dispensations, lest man, failing away from God altogether, should cease to exist. For the glory of God is a living man; and the life of man consists in beholding God. For if the manifestation of God which is made by means of the creation, affords life to all living in the earth, much more does that revelation of the Father which comes through the Word, give life to those who see God.

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