I have used the question WHY more in these last five years than in all of my previous time on earth. Why is that? Here are some of my reflections from my Lectio Divina meditations on the Mystery of Faith.
Perhaps the WHY question is the most challenging of all questions we ask about our environment. It is the basis of scientific inquiry but it is also at the heart of the Mystery of Faith in the spiritual universe. In our Nicene Creed that we recite at Sunday Eucharist, we profess what we believe. One of those beliefs is in things that are visible and invisible. The problem with invisibility is you can’t see it. In my three universe model (physical universe, the mental universe, and spiritual universe), one reality contains three distinct aspects of universes, each with their own measurement. You and I live in the physical and mental universes as our platform for existence. The spiritual universe can be entered only by invitation and an act of free will by the individual. We call that belief. We can ask the why question about the spiritual universe but it cannot be comprehended by human reasoning alone. Why is that? The spiritual universe is the opposite of what we humans experience in the seventy or eighty years we have in this earth, if we are strong, says the Psalmist.
When you ask the WHY question, depending on WHY you ask it, you can get different answers, different yet all true. It is like the story of the blind man and the elephant. Read this excellent reflection on WHY by John Godfrey Saxe (1872). https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_poems_of_John_Godfrey_Saxe/The_Blind_Men_and_the_Elephant
Here are some random thoughts about WHY as I look out at reality.
PHYSICAL UNIVERSE — This is the platform for life and contains everything that has a beginning and an end. Humans are included in this universe, in that they are the end product of life’s equation. We share animality with other living life forms, but with one difference. Why is that?
MENTAL UNIVERSE- Using the platform of the mental universe, humans alone ventured into this universe of reasoning and free will. Humans are the only species that can look at the Hypernova in space and ask the WHY question. The Hypernova, for all its supreme power, does not know that it knows. Why is that? Is there a purpose out there waiting to be discovered, not just one of human reasoning and scientific inquiry but one that can satisfy the WHY questions of the human mind and heart? This mental universe, unlike the physical universe, can ask the WHY question, but it cannot answer it entirely. There seems to be a missing element in the equation, one that doesn’t make sense, one that provides purpose as to WHY we are here on earth for a brief time and WHAT is our destiny collectively and individually. I think of this as cosmic dissonance or the unfulfilled element of existence waiting to be discovered, the last piece of a complex puzzle that will make life meaningful.
SPIRITUAL UNIVERSE — That last piece of the puzzle is not from either the physical or mental universes with its limitations and dissonance in answering the final WHY question. In my view of reality, this last piece of the puzzle, one that satisfies the cosmic imbalance and provides resonance to human reasoning and the fulfilment of our human nature is not a thing, or matter, or time, nor even physical energy, it is a person. That just doesn’t make sense, given what our human reason tells us about science, philosophy, medicine, literature, and engineering. You would be correct, if you thought that. It is something beyond our human nature, a solution from the next level of evolution, spiritual communion with a person, but one that does not have a human nature, only a divine nature. Even these words only describe this living relationship, our destiny as humans, it can never define it. This universe is one of reason and free choice, but with a difference. This is God’s playground not ours and we must use His rules to fit that final piece of the puzzle into our view of what is real. WHY would a supreme being, one that has no beginning nor end want us to join Him in a place that is foreign to everything we know about what is meaningful in the world? We must choose to enter it, but to do so takes a password. It is the same password used to create matter, time, space, energy. It is the same password that created mental energy with which we can know that we know and choose what we think is good for us. It is the same password that created the spiritual universe. And what is this password that all humans have to enter into their destiny? It is “Let it be” or “Yes”. In all cases, reasoning created our ability to know, love, and help others. This is not ordinary reasoning like humans have, but reasoning from a living Being beyond our human capacity or capability to even grasp it. It is pure energy, pure knowledge, pure love, pure service by living beings not limited to a beginning or an end. We have WHY answers to the missing puzzle only because of God’s love for all humanity that they share with Him this unknowable power of divine love. There is a problem that God has. How can God tell and show humans what awaits them if they follow the path He has set for them through the minefield of life?
In our heritage, Adam and Eve had knowledge of good and evil and made an archetypal choice to make this Spiritual Universe into their image and likeness, rather than serve God as is their nature. In the Genesis account, it is interesting to note that the only other creature to be featured is the snake or Satan. Isn’t it ironic that the snake wants Adam and Eve to disobey God and become gods of the Garden of Eden like he (Satan) tried to do? Using this as the backstory, in the fulness of human time, God the Son freely chose to take on our nature, as repugnant as that might be for the Divine Nature. (Philippians 2:5-12). Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit by God and responded with humility and obedience, to compensate for the pride and disobedience of Adam and Eve, by saying The Magnificat. This is the Christ Principle for everything from now on flows from him and with him and through him. The WHY of the Christ Principle was to actually tell us and show us in person what we needed to do to become adopted sons and daughters of the Father and fulfill our destiny as humans. Christ is the last piece of the puzzle and he gives each person, each human that same piece so that we can insert it into the divine puzzle and make sense out of what clearly does not fit with the reasoning of the World. When you choose Christ as your Savior, your Redeemer, your Center, you have restored resonance in your life, thanks to the love Christ has shown to those who are faithful to his command. And what is the one command that Jesus, Son of God, Savior, left us? Love one another as I have loved you. Why is that?
That last piece of the puzzle is love, but not just any love. This is the love of the Father for the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We all have been given an invitation to live life with this love as our center. We can only approach the Father through, with, and in Christ. He is our transformer, our mediator, our pontifex maximus, our redeemer, and our savior.
Praise be 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