I devote my very rare free moments to a work that is close to my heart and devoted
to the metaphysical sense and mystery of the person.
It seems to me that the debate today is being played out on that level.
The evil of our times consists in the first place in a kind of degradation,
indeed in a pulverization, of the fundamental uniqueness of each human person.
This evil is even much more of the metaphysical order than of the moral order.
To this disintegration planned at times by atheistic ideologies we must oppose,
rather than sterile polemics, a kind of ‘recapitulation’ of the
inviolable mystery of the person.
(In his continuing struggle against Marxism in Poland after the Second Vatican Council,
Cardinal Karol Wojtyla identified the doctrine of the person as the Achilles’ heel of the Communist regime.
He decided to base his opposition on that plank.
In 1968 he wrote to his Jesuit friend, the future Cardinal Henri de Lubac—
John Paul II and The Mystery of The Human Person, Avery Dulles)
(detail of Socrates and Aritstole from the School of Athens by Raphael / The Vatican)
Metaphysics: noun, plural in form but singular in construction
1. a division of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of
reality and being and that includes ontology, cosmology, and often epistemology
metaphysics … analyzes the generic traits manifested by existences of any kind
When it comes to metaphysics, well, it’s all pretty much Greek to me.
get it…Greek?? HAHAHA…
In all seriousness, it is such thinking, those of the various schools of philosophy,
that can push my poor brain to the limit.
That whole ‘if no one is around to hear it when a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?’
Well, duh…yes, yes it does…
I think we call it vibrations and sound waves but I digress.
Why even waste breath and time debating such??
However, man has always debated the world around him as well as debating his
very own interior being.
My son was a philosophy minor…and yes, I thought he was off his rocker.
But philosophy is very connected to the study of religion so I took pride
knowing that he was there to defend the faith of the Triune God in today’s very very hostile
area of thought regarding Christianity.
The pharse Cogito, ergo sum comes to mind…
I think therefore I am…uttered by René Descartes,
But I say no to that thought…it’s more like when I get poison ivy…I itch therefore I am.
That’s how you know.
A physical reaction to and from an outside source…but again, I digress.
I was afforded a bit of uninterrupted quiet time yesterday morning and I actually listened
to a brief podcast offered by the British periodical The Spectator.
The podcast was a discussion between my newest favorite Catholic, Dr. Gavin Ashenden (aka our dear
favorite former Anglican Bishop) and British journalist, Damian Thompson
This is the written intro for the discussion:
Boris Johnson’s package of Covid restrictions announced this week included
a rule that weddings will be limited to 15 people and funerals to 30 –
numbers plucked out of thin air that will have questionable effect
on the transmission of the virus.
You might think that a ruling that affects only weddings and funerals
isn’t such a big deal for the churches, but that is to underestimate the fanatical zeal
of their leaders for implementing, and expanding, restrictions on their own worship.
The control-freak Archbishop of Canterbury, predictably,
seemed quite thrilled by the government’s intervention.
My own reaction, informed by conversations with many clergy outraged by their
bishops’ baffling willingness to accept any curtailment of church life,
was to wonder whether some Christians will be forced to ‘go underground’ –
that is, find a way of worshipping that quietly disobeys their own leaders.
To an extent this is already happening: at the height of the pandemic,
Catholics were holding secret Masses that reminded me of their ancestors’
defiance of Protestant penal laws.
I didn’t report it because I didn’t want them hunted down by their own ‘fathers in God’,
the local bishops.
So that’s the subject of this week’s Holy Smoke,
a very wide-ranging conversation with Dr. Gavin Ashenden of the sort that you
would never hear on the BBC.
What I took away from listening to the discussion was that our friend Dr. Ashenden
finds that this whole control and resist mindset regarding the restrictions
placed on us by our leaders regarding COVID boils down to something quite
We can go out to eat, we can go to stores, we can get a haircut, we can visit a liquor store,
and in limited numbers, we may attend a wedding as well as a funeral…
however, only 15 can go celebrate a wedding while 30 can go celebrate the passing of a life—
odd numbering given life vs death, but I am obviously not in leadership.
And yet…our worship services are being curtailed, canceled, or simply
And therein lies much of the frustration.
Will the faithful eventually find themselves in the underground?
Worshiping in secret?
Shades of the early days of Roman persecution?
Dr. Ashenden notes that it seems
we are either prioritizing the immediate power structures of our day or we
are prioritizing the teaching of the Gospel…and sadly it seems as if it is our power
structures that are receiving the total focus.
The good doctor notes that this seems to be a power struggle between the secular, or non-supernatural,
vs the Metaphysical, that being the Spiritual
Secular vs Spiritual…and sadly— secular is winning.
Here are the links…enjoy exercising your brain…
Yes, it’s time we began meeting to celebrate in secret. I also think we’re going to have to at some point resort to more antiquated forms of communication writing letters and using snail mail, as we are easily tracked using electronic forms. I hope not but it may get worse before it gets better. Seeing the video of that woman being arrested and tased for being outdoors at a safe distance without a mask is one example of the tyranny we’re facing.
Wow. I am impressed. You jumped through many schools of thought in your philosophy discussion, some by mentioning how you felt about Philosophy’s silly side. Don’t ask me to name the schools. I just took classes, not even minoring in it. As for worship, I feel that I am at worship every time I write a post or read someone else’s, like this excellent one. Our church is allowing people to worship, with two services, and most people are staying home, opting for the livestream or totally forgetting God. I like the convenience of livestream, but I wonder if it will destroy worship services around the world. My wife and I do not attend. She has severe kidney issues and I take a water pill. We cannot be shackled to a pew until the service is over. As for Sunday school, I am teaching a class that used to have 20 people attend each week. I have eight attending, including me. The pastor instructed me to take attendance so that if someone becomes sick, we can “vector” where they went and who they contacted. I wonder which disease is worse, COVID or the fear of COVID? For the church, I think the fear of COVID is much more deadly. One good thing during the pandemic is that one of our Sunday school rooms is unavailable due to the excessive outpouring of support for the local food bank, housed and run by our church, but volunteers from the area. We have burst out of the distribution center into the attached classroom. Then again, we’ve added hand sanitizer, liquid hand soap, disinfecting wipes, masks, and other such things that we would have never thought of 7 months ago.
And wow to you Mark— you’ve hit the nail on the head!!!!
“I wonder which disease is worse, COVID or the fear of COVID? For the church, I think the fear of COVID is much more deadly”
Now here is the meat to a new post!!!!!
I look forward to reading it.
Maybe you’ll write it first 🥰
We are in a pickle. I have thought and said for years if we can’t love and worship God in our own secret place we are in deep weeds.
Deep weeds indeed!!!
When we fail to realize that worship is a very personal thing between us and God, it doesn’t really matter where we worship or who with. I am thinking that this time of reset may give us all time to ponder that fact. I still love the idea of corporate worship because it gives us another avenue where we can share, encourage and inspire others. Maybe there’s a lot to be said for the prayer closet.
I agree in that personal form worship as I’m queen of such since I have no ‘home’ church to speak of— but it is the shuttering of houses of worship while allowing other things to open and be available is what troubles me— hair cuts are essential but Holy Communion, not so much—
Easy fix to rid a society of the spiritual— or so they think!
There is still a good sized remnant I think. Even the smallest spark can rage into a huge firestorm.
That it can— oh by the way 🍾🍾🥂🥂to the day!!!!!! 🥰👰🏼🤵🏼
I love philosophy! Especially metaphysics! And how can a tree or forest exist without the presence of God? Therefore, the sound of a tree falling will always be heard.
The congregation where I worship suspended services for a few weeks in the spring. Sermons were emailed to members, and the church musician put twenty minutes of church music on Facebook each week. Then we started meeting again–keeping distant from each other, masks optional (except for the second Sunday of the month, when we all wear masks–one person only attends that Sunday). On the other hand, my daughter got married last spring, and we watched it happen on TV. J.
Amen—without the presence of God…that says it all…thank you 🙂
Julie, tomorrow morning. My post with a link to yours.
My link is your link 🤗
What I meant is that I just scheduled a post for tomorrow morning. You can write and link back to it if you feel it worthy.
I’ve been so caught up on UGA football, I’ve got a short post for tomorrow but I will
UGA had no problem with Arkansas. I do not get ESPN, but my wife watched the game, a loss for Ole Miss, at the dialysis center. I may not worry about much but I worry about Ole Miss. 1) It’s Ole Miss. 2) It’s Layne Kiffin.
Lane kiffin will turn them around, give him time.
Uga was awful- Smart must have read them the riot act at halftime- they had more penalty yardage than positive yardage first half— and played with Qb’s like yo-yos— it will be the longest shortest season of my life 😖
I sure do enjoy your “digressions” now and then. Keeps me encouraged that I can even understand metaphysics – a little bit. 😀
You probably better understand it than I do 🤣
[…] friend Julie at Cookie Crumbs to Live By wrote a beautiful post yesterday. Here is the LINK. When I made a comment, she said that it sounded like another post coming on. I said that I […]
Ooh Julie this was good, really good. I didn’t listen to the podcast yet but you’ve touched upon a theme I’ve thought of often when thinking about the giant train wreck the government response to Covid has been. The battle really is on unseen ground, isn’t it, unseen to the visible eye maybe but our hearts know this tune as one between good and evil. It’s why the pandemic and the riots and weird Marxist cult movements are all intertwined; it’s the same war of good/evil, just different battlegrounds. We have much work to do my friend.
We do Tricia— and you are exactly correct-this is a battle long set In stone
I keep holding on to the Good News that…God wins in the end. They are sometimes the only 5 words that keep me hopeful.😊
Me too…I have to keep hammering that in my head each and every day!