Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Random thoughts, some intelligent, some... not much

1. Transcendence and sport

Man, as a being made in the image and likeness is a being open to transcendence. Animals are not open to transcendence. Plants are not open to transcendence. Only we have the ability to not only conceive, but to also to experience that which draws us entirely outside of ourselves and into contact with the absolute spiritual horizon of being.

I have certainly experience transcendence several times in my life in the face of love, self-sacrifice, the Mass, the Eucharist. However, many do not open themselves up to perceiving transcendence as such.

I was at the Saints - Vikings game Monday night. I was at the Monday night Saints home-opener against the Falcons after Katrina. Reggie's punt returns against the Vikings, Gleason's blocked punt against the Falcons -- these were events with the potential to jar to the most secular individual, those most numbed to their intrinsic transcendence, into awareness of the horizon of being. Man, woman, and child forgot about themselves, lost themselves in the euphoria, hugged random strangers. Against the Falcons, the city, a unity, as a body, experienced real hope for the first time since Katrina. A meaningless event, a spectator sport brought the body of man in New Orleans back from the edge of despair.

I don't intend to exaggerate the importance of such events. These are not deeply meaningful transcendent events as the birth of a child might be, but each time I experience them I am struck by the very real transcendence of the moment and of humanity. There cannot be transcendence without the Transcendent. These very experiences of losing ourselves in communion, in hope, are experiences which can remind us of He who emptied himself for us so that we might Hope in the face of death and despair.

2. Presidential Debates are pointless

I really don't have a lot more to say, and I really don't mean quite as broadly as I made it sound, but watching and listening last night to the two men who are vying to be "the most powerful man in the world" in a "town hall" setting nearly made me sick. The VP debates had more substance. I can get more honesty and integrity from a high school student caught cheating. I am not at all excited about either candidate.

3. When Voting Season rolls around Catholics forget about the Seamless garment

I am so tired of hearing whom I generally respect reduce the election or being "pro-life" down to one or two issues. I am so tired of hearing those Catholics tell other Catholics that they HAVE to vote for this candidate or that one, or else they will in sin. What frustrates me so is that people are often people who know Church teaching on this. They know it is morally legit to vote for a candidate who supports an intrinsically evil act as long you are supporting him/her in spite of their position on said issue. Nevertheless, when it comes time to vote, it is a sin and a crime to vote for Obama in spite of his position on abortion and ESCR or McCain in spite of his position on war and ESCR. Everyone has the right and the duty to inform their own conscience on the Truth and on the candidates and to make a free and informed and prayerful decision according to their own conscience. No one has a right to say anyone must vote this way or that.

As I have said in my series on Being a Catholic in America, we are called to be pro-life, but this does not mean we are merely anti-abortion. It means we are in support of a consistent ethic of life, a seamless garment which upholds and respects and demands respect for human life at all stages. This is consistently talked about, but rarely lived out. Instead people focus only on abortion and only on the Republican platform to end abortion by legal and judicial means. However, the Republican platform does little to nothing to help those who are in difficult situations, situations which may make abortion seem like an attractive alternative. Furthermore, an unjust death is an unjust death. It should not matter whether a person is killed by an abortion, for ESCR, in an unjust war, by Capital punishment, etc. We should not and must stand for any of these. We should be outraged at all of them.

Where are the seamless garment Catholics?

4. Who are prophets?

The OT prophets were, generally speaking, neither of the priestly class nor of the ruling class. They were set apart. They preached the Word and Will of God, called for repentance and purity. Each and every Christian is baptized priest, prophet, and king. We, as Church, as the Body of Christ, are called to be set apart, to be a prophetic witness to the Truth and Hope and Life we've found in Christ. Why then do we turn to the media for truth? to Obama/Biden or McCain/Palin for hope? to money and consumerism for life? Too many of us remain more American than Catholic. This is not acceptable. Dare we witness to Christ? Dare we take up our crosses and follow Him?

5. Interesting stuff...

Katerina wrote a great post entitled "Knowledge, Freedom, Conscience and the Politics of Incompetence:
my Case Against Obama… and McCain."
I strongly suggest you read it. It was part of the inspiration for point 3, above.

A synod on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church is currently taking place. Stay tuned. We won't won't see anything groundbreaking, but, when you are talking about the Word of God, its always good stuff.

This blogger is also doing some interesting and related writing on peace, war, non-violence in the OT. Check him out.

6. Thesis...

I am currently researching and will be writing my thesis for my MA in Theology. I will be exploring how non-Christians might be saved. Specifically I will be looking at the dispute between Rahner and Balthasar on this issue. Although it probably will not specifically play into my research or writing, this is connected to my thought on non-violence. The Body of Christ has ascended into heaven and into eternity. The Church is the Body of Christ. The Church conists of the Church militant (those (explicitly ?) within the Church on earth), the Church suffering (those in purgatory), and the Church victorious (those in the Heaven). Vatican II asserts that non-Christians can be saved, thus even if a person is not part of the Church militant explicitly, he may become part of the Body of Christ in purgatory and eventually in heaven. [This is not entirely precise, but it is sufficient here.] We must not wish or commit violence against the Body of Christ or anyone who is or may be part of the Body of Christ. We do not know who will become part of the Body of Christ. Therefore we must not wish or commit violence against any one.

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