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October 10, 2008

Comments

Dan Hunter

"an unbeliever who held that the praise and worship of God - especially in heaven for all eternity - strikes even most Christians as a bore and a drudgery, but they do it anyway because it's what God commands;"

Jimmy, that is exactly what I thought, until, I discovered the Gregorian Rite of the Holy Sacrifice of Mass, or the Traditional Latin Mass as some call it, and then it became intense joy and excitement. Finally a much deeper understanding of what the supreme acts of Adoration, Thanksgiving, Blessing and Supplication actually mean!

Thank the good Lord above for the Gregorian Rite!

Leo

Nicely put Tim,

God is the ultimate scientist and artist.

For me, contemplating the natural world, directly or indirectly eg in natural history series like "Life on Earth", often brings to mind the italicised part of Eucharistic Prayer 3:

Father, you are holy indeed, and all creation rightly gives you praise. All life, all holiness comes from you through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, by the working of the Holy Spirit. From age to age you gather a people to yourself, so that from east to west a perfect offering may be made to the glory of your name.
Dan Hunter

Mr Jones,that is
My apologies.
Not Jimmy Akin.

God bless you.

SDG

Terrific post, Tim J.

Dan Hunter: FWIW, both joy and mystery on the one hand, and distractions and boredom on the other, are the common experience of all Christians in worship. One need look no further than the old devotional writers to know that Roman Catholics assisting at the traditional Latin Mass have always dealt and continue to deal with distractions and boredom; and many Catholics including our Holy Father can attest that the true joy and mystery of worship is experienced by Roman Catholics worshiping today according to the standard use.

The Masked Chicken

Dear Tim J.,

It sounds like you and St. Bernard have a lot in common.

As a scientist and musician, I agree that just looking at the universe without and the universe within leaves one speechless. Sometimes it makes me want to reach out with words of praise, but even those are so useless, that sometimes just silence is the only right thing.

Not having someone to praise for existence must make life very lonely. Pity, some people don't even realize that someday the stones will speak.

The Chicken

Rotten Orange

Can I do it too?

Let me try...

Hyperlink OFF!

Rotten Orange

YES!!!!!

I won't even be able to sleep tonight...

SDG

As a scientist and musician, I agree that just looking at the universe without and the universe within leaves one speechless.

As a non-scientist and non-musician, I agree.

It is just staggering, sometimes, to attend to the reality that, in fact, this is all real. I am here. I exist. The world around me is real. Other people are real. Life is actually going on all around me, working, playing, loving, hating, living, dying. The world not a hypothetical, a postulate, a philosophy problem. We are not just playing games thinking "What if?" We cannot endure such reality without existential awe.

Rotten Orange

Dear Tim J.

Beautiful post, indeed. It looked short and simple on the first reading, then I read it three more times and saw profound observations that went unseen before.

...this statement...doesn't go far enough and could leave the false impression that we worship God mainly for what he does, rather than who he is.
God's glory is this revelation of himself, this radiant presence that comes to us through all of his creation.

I, in my ignorance, would say that we worship Him for what only He could possibly do, by the very virtue of who He is. It may seem weird, but I realized I'm constantly amazed by how God can harmonize His omnipotence with extreme subtlety. Not only we are able to discern His presence by contemplating His Creation, but by watching His divine Providence working in our very lives through small things, coincidences, examples set by others, seemingly random choices we make in life that later seem to have a meaning...and much more.

God shares with us the attributes of existence and free will in a completely unnecessary and ongoing act of love.

I think it's fascinating to be able to see how God's Providence does all that in my previous paragraph not only without violating our free will but again by the very virtue of our using it, making it converge with His will. Of course all this is frquently fuzzy and unclear, and demands patience and humility.

I hope all the above makes at least some sense...

On a side note, I noticed that the same unbelieving individual mentioned in your post, in his "farewell" comment made here, questions the reliability of the Bible. I rememberd a book I haven't read myself but about which I heard more than once. In it the author, a Canadian professor of Literature, apparently makes the case that the Bible is the ultimate origin of all the stories in Western literature, therefore it contains all possible stories conceivable by our civilization, therefore it can't possibly be just a human creation. Have anyone of you here read or heard about it?

Tim J.

On further reflection, I wonder if the distinction between "who God is" and "what God does" should really be made at all, or if it is just another case of us humans artificially separating things.

John

I like it that you referred to the universe as "achingly beautiful". I have often felt - especially while in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament - a kind of aching, longing love in his sacramental Presence.

The Masked Chicken

Sorry, for the messed up hyperlink html. Sorry, you didn't get any sleep last night, Rotten Orange :) Unfortunately, there is no song that has yet been written to express the joy at closing dangling html code. Any suggestions? Maybe, "I could have danced all night?" :)

The Chicken

Rotten Orange

Dear TMC

Never mind, pal. In Westworld, nothing can possibly go WORNG...
I think that you would like to know that just yesterday I made a comment on a Blogger blog (!), and before it was saved I got a "Broken HTML code" warning. I had the cance to correct it before it got messed up. Perhaps Jimmy or SDG could see whether Typepad also allow that feature.

Rotten Orange
Have anyone of you here read or heard about it?

That is: "HAS anyone of you here read or heard about it?"

Hey TMC, let me put the blame on my sleep deprivation...

Dan Hunter

"...both joy and mystery on the one hand, and distractions and boredom on the other, are the common experience of all Christians in worship."
SDG:
Ever since my near exclusive assistance at the Gregorian Rite of Holy Mass, three years ago, I have experienced nothing but joy and mystery and absolutely no distraction and boredom.
Granted, the boredom and distractions might happen somewhere down the road, but I highly doubt it.

Before that, for over 20 years I experienced much distraction and boredom and barely any joy and mystery in the 1969 "standard Mass".

May our sweet Lady shine her love and blessings on you on this, the Feast of her Maternity.

J.R. Stoodley

Nice post. The one thing I'd add to complete the picture a bit is that while the beauty of Creation and the external acts of God reveal to some extent the attributes of God (which is to say, the Divine Nature since God's attributes and nature are inseparable), they do so in a very limited way. Ultimately, in this life we can only conceive of God in a creaturely way, attributing images and attributes from Creation to the Creator. To a degree this is necessary, but the mental conception of God that we get is just an icon of the true God. I don't mean a mental image of an old man with a white beard, but everything about how we conceive of God. If we can truely appreciate anything directly about God it is probably in an apophatic way. For example, we can say God is all-powerful, but really we mean that there is no limitations to God, not that what we think of when we think "power" has anything to do with God directly. When we say God is rational that means He is not irrational, that He does nothing contrary to reason, not that He has what we conceive of in our minds as reason. When we say God is good, we mean He has no evil in Hand does no evil, not that He posesses what we picture in our minds as goodness.

The mental icon we produce of God is necessary for our human minds and helps us avoid error and know how to live, but ultimately we should recognize that God transcends such an image. Our intellect can't penetrate beyond the icon, beyond our limited power of thought, but our will can and should. We can love the mysterious One in the darkness beyond the reach of our intellects, apart from all our ideas about Him, and this is the truer love for Him because it is a love for God Himself, not for our creaturely misconception of Him.

J.R. Stoodley

Can ya tell I've been reading "The Cloud of Unknowing"? :-)

Trying not to take myself too seriously here.

It is just staggering, sometimes, to attend to the reality that, in fact, this is all real. I am here. I exist. The world around me is real. Other people are real. Life is actually going on all around me, working, playing, loving, hating, living, dying. The world not a hypothetical, a postulate, a philosophy problem. We are not just playing games thinking "What if?" We cannot endure such reality without existential awe.

SDG, I absolutely love your thoughts here. And some people wonder at the happiness of Christians. Some people don't see the joy or the meaning in anything. May God let them truly experience His existence. Thanks for writing this comment, I may quote it. =) I mean..."we cannot endure such reality without existential awe." Nice.

Bill Q

I remember reading a question of this sort in "Stranger in a Strange Land" many years back. A character pondered that he didn't understand why a God would want to be worshipped. My own thought was at the time, and still is, that it is not because God has a big ego, but because we are designed to be able to appreciate the awesome, and that it is to our benefit when we do so. When I went to U.C. San Diego, I would sometimes go to the cliffs just to stare at the ocean. It always put me at awe, and somehow at peace. How much more can we be uplifted by feeling awe toward the infinitely awesome?

Maureen

God be praised that you haven't been bored or distracted! But it's not the common experience of Catholics through the ages, any more than St. Francis de Sales' constant experience of God's presence without any dry spells is typical. Indeed, boredom and distraction often seem to be a sort of dry spell.

There's a ancient, fun little poem by an Irish monk that's all about how his mind wanders and wanders and wanders throughout the cosmos, when he's in church hearing Mass or singing the Office.

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