Fibonacci: Science and Poetry, Part 1

beach, seashell, Spirals

There is order in the created world, both seen and unseen.  As a person of both faith and reason, I know that some aspects of this order can be discerned – while some will always remain Mysterious to the limited human brain.  When science documentaries show the collapsing and exploding of stars, the forming of galaxies, the wondrous growth of life on our blue and green planet, some people see this as proof that God, Our Divine Creator, doesn’t exist.  I, too, once drew this conclusion – but how to do so now is beyond me, for all of my eyes are open.

If there is order in the universe to be discovered by scientific methods, then the universe must have been ordered.  And if it has been ordered, then there must be an Orderer.  Hello, God!   Continue reading

Food of Prayer

 

I have rather hated the stereotype that religious people need religion as a crutch.  Prayers, Scripture, faith itself, they say, are all wishful thinking that bring comfort to the elderly, the poor, and the disabled.  “Poor things.  Let them have their church.”

fingers praying

For me, religion has been much more of a challenge than a comfort.  It was in the beginning and it is still now.  But, it would be foolish of me to push away the comforting and consoling aspect of faith just so that I won’t fall into prejudicial people’s stereotypes.  When turning to God intentionally, with my whole body, mind, heart, and soul, it is good and it is right to receive from God some solace.  No one loves me more than God loves me, no one delights in me more than God delights in me, no one cares about my joy more than God cares about my joy, and no one else has my eternal life in hand but God.  Knowing this, to whom else would I turn?

Lately, for almost all of 2017 so far, I have been in need of solace.  I need comfort and, for me, that means that I need wisdom.  I need a glimpse of the big picture so that, in faith, I may know what is right and have peace.  I need a full relationship with God.  I freely admit this.  Does this mean, then, that religion has become a crutch for me?  Well, if I am lame, don’t I need a crutch?  Would the atheistic-minded naysayers of the world have me crawl or lie motionless on the ground?  The mistake that nonbelievers make is in thinking that they are not crippled in the limitedness of being human.  They are limping, crawling, or not moving at all – and they don’t even know it. Continue reading

Not Just Anyone Can Truly Serve the Poor

This is addressed to the true believing Christians out there who make daily and tremendous sacrifices to bring Christ to others.  It is especially to those among these ministers (lay ministers and those who are ordained) who see people who do not believe in God helping the poor and feeding the hungry and wonder….  Catholic teaching understands that Salvation is not automatically denied to people who do not profess belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior – if a goodhearted person is living every day seeking and serving love and justice, doing those things that Christ tells us to do, then Salvation is open to that person.  This can lead some to wonder what’s the point of spending time in worship and devoting oneself to religious doctrines and practices – and the many sacrifices that Catholic Christians are called to make in the name of Jesus – if any non-Christian who does truly good works can get to Heaven.

To you who are feeling doubt I say, in the words of our Lord, “Be not afraid!”  I do believe that as long as we lovingly serve the poor, we will be saved.  We should ask ourselves, however, “What is service of the poor?”  Yes, there are people who do good things, acts of charity, who don’t believe in God. They are giving the poor a service, a very important service: food, clothing, shelter, work, a kind word, patient attention, a friend to call on for any of these things – but are they raising the soul of the poor person to God? By doing good works, people are uniting themselves with Christ, knowingly or unwittingly, because Christ is the source of all Goodness.  But – are they uniting the poor people that they serve with Christ?

We must love one another with our whole selves, as Jesus loves us.  We cannot be like those at the end of time who go to Jesus and say “Lord,  Lord,” and he replies to them  “I never knew you.”  Infinitely better for him to say to us, “I was hungry and you fed me,  I was thirsty and you gave me drink…  Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

In truly loving one another with our whole selves, as Jesus loves us, we can, through our faith, mercy, and love, unite others  with Christ.  This is not something that any nonbeliever can do.  So, to those of you ministers and good Christians who are struggling, I say…

Who is peering into the depths of a homeless teenager’s soul to tell her, to show her, that God her Creator loves her beyond compare and suffers with her every moment in order to bring her deep, peaceful joy that never ends? Who will do that? The answer is you. Only one who deeply loves God, who “spends time in worship,” who has an intimate, daily, conscious relationship with Christ our Savior can fully know, love and serve God – and only that person can give to the poor what the world cannot give. Only you.

Is Faith Necessary?

As an atheist, I came to know the existence of God – not through something that somebody told me or something that I read – but through silence. In silent contemplation of the natural world, I became aware of infinite presence. Intellectually, I reasoned this to be the Uncreated Creator, the Uncaused Cause, the Infinite/Eternal Source – that which everyone calls God.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

“The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality “that everyone calls ‘God.’”  [Para 34]

Knowledge of God’s existence can be self-evident and it also can be reached through reason. We could say, then, that faith is not necessary for this kind of knowing God. But… is this truly knowing God? No. It is merely knowing that that which we call God exists. This is important, undoubtedly, but it is not nearly enough. If we are to be truly and fully human, then we must come to knowledge of God through personal relationship and intimate interaction with Him. And that is why God chooses to reveal Himself to us – this is the foundational belief of the three great religions of the world: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Through the prophets and His Word as written in the Hebrew Testament, (or, as Muslims believe, through Mohammed and the Qu’ran) God gives something of Godself to us, revealing to us what God wants us to know. As a Christian, I believe that God reveals Godself finally and most fully, through the Incarnation of God’s Word, who is Jesus Christ.

– This post is not to argue who has God’s true Revelation and who does not. This post is to underscore the fact that, if God does not reveal Godself to us, then we cannot come into intimate and personal relationship with Him. We can say that we believe in the existence of God – but we cannot say that God is loving or that God is merciful without God’s pure gift of Revelation and its counterpart gift of faith. It is not certainty that is required for our union with God – it is faith. To take a leap of faith is something purely beautiful and exquisitely profound – so much so that God veils Godself in the deepest Mystery in order to elicit this response from us, giving just enough of Himself through Divine Revelation so that we, in wanting more, may fly….

Without Revelation and our response to it, which is faith, conclusions could be drawn that the Creator is an impersonal “God” and we would be merely deists. Or, left to our own imagination, we could worship creation instead of the Creator and continually invent a plethora of gods and religions. (After becoming aware of the existence of God, I, myself, tried to invent my own religion.) But, God does not want this for us. God made us for Godself and seeks union with us, knowing that our hearts are restless until they rest in God[1]. Therefore, we are not left with reason alone. Through Divine Revelation, God speaks to us. And, through faith, we listen.

© 2015 Christina Chase

[1] St. Augustine, Confessions – “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”