REFLECTIONS FROM A RANDOM WONDERER
It is not often that I get a chance to experience Lectio Divina without knowing where it is going to lead me. I always begin with Philippians 2:5, the eight words that have fueled both my spirit and my imagination, since I began to be aware that there is a spirituality out there which could help me contemplate the Mystery of Faith.
There some mysteries in the physical world and the mental world that I don’t quite get. It is not that they are somewhat knowable, but that humans have not put all the pieces of the puzzle together yet. We are working on it. The same is true for the Mystery of Faith, that great unknowable called Heaven, or God, or Trinity. We know but what we don’t know is greater. If I don’t wonder about the world, the mind, and the Mystery of Faith, I am condemned to wander in the wasteland of “what ifs” forever Here are some of the things I wonder about. What I write below are questions that I would ask, if I just believed in two universes (physical and mental). The answers I have for these questions of wonder are answered by the spiritual universe, specifically by what Christ Jesus came to show us.
QUESTIONS OF WONDER
Like the Fermi Paradox, I wonder why we have not yet discovered any lifeforms out there, much less sentient ones?
The article I read on the subject give all kinds of plausible explanation for Enrico Fermi’s statement, “Where is everybody?” One thing they do not talk about is my concern, “What if there are no other sentient beings out there? Wonder if we are all alone in the cosmos? What are the implications in that? Scietifically, I know that the odds of that happening are low. Dr. Frank Drake even designed an equation to show the probability of life “out there.” Here is for those who like sources. Still, we can only use probability to even state what the problem is.
I wonder if there is not an equation for all that is, physical, mental and spiritual universes of reality. I think there is an equation but it is beyond human capability at this time. It is called the Mystery of Faith, the compendium of all that is. We cannot access it with mere mathematics nor physics, nor chemistry, nor even human logic. We must use faith informed by reason. It is an equation that must incorporate the visible and invisible realities with a measurement appropriate to each universe. We don’t have that capability yet. This is an equation of being on many different levels. We can approach it but not define it (defining means we control what we define). Fermi asked the question, “Where is everybody?” I wonder about the question, “Why is God?” I can only approach this Mystery of Being but not control it.
That brings me to my third concern, “We are not made for space travel, so why are we so hell-bent on doing the impossible?” You may not agree with this hypothesis, and some of my thinking is just to push against those who are too quick to dismiss a spiritual reason. Think about it. We make much ado about space exploration with the certainty that no human could ever reach the nearest star in their own lifetime, and even if they did, what effects would the principle of genetic evolution have on those who survive? These are questions worth asking, even if the answers are obvious, depending which side of the life beyond earth you sit. Doesn’t make sense!
It bothers me that people write about time without confronting the question of when it began or how it began or even why it began. It must be too obvious, which is why I don’t get it. Doesn’t make sense! Can you have matter and energy without time? Can you have a Heaven without time (as we know it). Must time exist in physical time? Is there such a thing as spiritual time? You must read my book, The Woman Who Changed Time: Spirituality and Time. It will take you to places you have never been before.
I wonder about the evolution of the human brain and why only humans have evolved with the capability to choose good from evil, all other things equal? All other species can choose what is good from what is bad for them. Ask B.F. Skinner about choosing what is good and what is bad.They always choose what is good. A dog usually is centered around food its whole life, at least my dog, Tucker, does. Why can’t a dog answer the question, “Tucker, can you meet me on Tuesday at Oliver Garden for lunch at 11:00 a.m.?” and “Do you know what the Original Sin of Adam and Eve is and why it is important for human behavior?” To be honest, I have some friends and colleagues who could not answer that last question. You get the point! We have reason for a reason. We have the ability to choose good from evil for a reason. We also know that humans do not determine what is good or evil, only God. The problem comes when people think everyone that has the right to choose what they want and that everything they choose is right because they choose it.
Is our human ability to choose linked to the archetypal choice Adam and Eve made to select themselves or recognize god is God? Read Genesis 2:16-17. This one of two traditions about trees has to do with the eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. These ancient, oral traditions tease open for us the difference between humans and all other living things as part of a story of first choice. Is this part of a larger, more intricate plan of fulfillment of which we are not completely aware? Seems so simple on the surface is actually a complex reality that we today still have a problem defining to our satisfaction.
I wonder if humans have reason, as far as we know it, for a reason. If so, what reason would there be for me to make choices that impact my interface with reality now and for the future?
I wonder why God allows us to choose to love Him or not. Would anyone who actually saw God as He is, knowing that we would live forever with Him in perfect harmony of the Garden of Eden, ever choose not to be there? Unlikely! God chose to work through nature, allowing us to evolve through the crucible of extinctions and natural low, or not. Our moral thinking of what is good or evil comes from the natural law.
I wonder why there is sin in the world, sin meaning we humans do dumb things that “miss the mark” of what it means to be human. And who tells us about what is natural and what misses the mark? God tells us and later on Jesus shows us, and even later on, the Holy Spirit guides us by the Universal Church he founded to last until the last bang of the Big Bang.
I wonder why so many people who think they know about God, about what Christ intended for us, are based on their certitude that they represent God and are right, rather than on mercy and how to love one another as Christ loves us. Don’t figure!
I wonder why there is only one truth but that many humans have the tower of Babel approach to god by thinking they possess the knowledge of the tree of good and evil. All religions have the temptation to do so.
I wonder why the three great sins of our age, modern idolatry (I am god, the center of all reality), relativism (everyone is their own god), and secularism (God is not relevant in my freedom to choose), have seduced all the nations of Humans, the learned and the weak of will to the exclusion of the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The cornerstone, once again, has been rejected, replaced by each of us, until we combust into dust in the span of our short lifetime.
I wonder how long it will be before we experience another Sodom and Gomorrah event, how long God will tolerate our foolishness, how long will He let us continue down the path of self-destruction as a race? Our hope is in the name of the Lord and we must continuously ask his mercy on the dysfunction of the nations for turning away from His will. Read what the psalmist says about his generation. Nothing is new,
Psalm 80 (NRSVCE)
Prayer for Israel’s Restoration
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might, and come to save us!
Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.
Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
It bothers me that I am not perfect. Each day is a lifetime. I must practice my Faith as lived out as a Lay Cistercian every single day, making things new every morning. The effects of Original Sin, the temptations, the roller coaster ride of human emotions and feelings all take their toll on my Spirit. I am a broken, down, old, Temple of the Holy Spirit, cracked and with many vines growing. Through it all, I am called to prefer nothing to the love of Christ (Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict)
Praise be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. –Cistercian doxology