Communication Failure

A common atheist: “La la la la, I can’t hear you, God”

At my last appraisal, I was told to attend a course on “root cause analysis” so that I might become the hospital’s “Inquisitor General” in the crusade against clinical mistakes. I am not sure such a course is necessary, as in fifty years of life, and twenty six years as a doctor, I have already learned that, barring natural causes, most bad happenings occur due to misunderstandings between or even within persons: Communication Failure.

Communication involves both transmission AND reception. Reception requires attention in order for the message to be received. It also requires remembering, for if the message enters one ear and goes out the other, then communication hasn’t effectively taken place.

Transmission, attention, reception, memory.

So what is my Catholic take on this subject?

Well, the Word of God has been transmitted since all eternity. We know from the Old Testament that it is a good Signal that was picked up even by the pagans, but better by the Jews. The Signal became even clearer when the Word became like one of us and walked amongst us. That Signal should have been hard not to receive, but then one must not forget that there is a third party who is trying very hard to jam it.

Our attention to the Signal is prone to suffer from distraction. We can blame this on things like pride that tell us no such Signal is necessary to us, or worldliness which drowns out the Signal with worthless noise. I am sure you can work out the other distractions.

Reception requires a receiver. It may surprise you to know that everyone who has ever been conceived possesses one. It is built into our very soul, by our maker. Sadly, it has been sabotaged by the agency of the third party mentioned above, but it is still able to work if the Signal is strong and close by. The beauty of the receiver’s design is that it can be fixed by a download direct from its manufacturer, available on request, and can only be broken again by careless handling. A reset and retune of the receiver is also freely available when the need arises.

Memory is essential to retain the transmitted Word/Signal and put it to work. Human memory requires either one very strong Signal, or frequent repetition of a weaker one for it to work. This depends on reception conditions, and receiver quality.

A prophet is someone with a good receiver who receives the Word “loud and clear”, has it burned into memory, is changed by it and changes others through it. A more ordinary person may have to struggle their whole life to get the gist of the Message, before he realises what he has been missing. Think of a radio ham working hard each day, to hear that faint but alluring station, only to realise that it comes from his own loft!

And the voice of the sender is that of the Lord, Emmanuel, God with us.

Oh yes, we are not receiving this Signal from afar, It is coming from the Kingdom that is always right here and now, amongst us, until eternity. Amen.


About Brother Burrito

A sinner who hopes in God's Mercy, and who cannot stop smiling since realizing that Christ IS the Way , the Truth and the Life. Alleluia!
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12 Responses to Communication Failure

  1. toad says:

    Burro‘s photo of himself, above, as an Atheist vainly trying not to hear The Word of God is very convincing, and rather beautiful..

    Toad, in his lurid past, as a tool of the media, has dealt with several stories of people who received messages from somewhere out there , and assuming it to be “The Word of God,” took questionable steps as a result.
    .Often the recepients were convinced thse messages were from God himself.
    Sometimes, as in the case of Abraham ( a bit before even Toad’s time, to be sure) the content of the message was to go and kill someone.
    Peter Sutcliffe, who went and brained several wicked prostitutes with a hammer on receipt of a very similar message from, as he said, The Almighty, is another that springs to mind.

    There are many others.
    The point being, how do we know where these messages come from? Is it wise to listen too closely to the voices in our heads?


  2. Mimi says:

    Excellent post, BB!

    Pay no attention to that nay-sayer Toad, who is, by his own admission, a tool. 😉


  3. toad says:

    A tool indeed, Mimi. But everyone, including yourself, needs a tool from time to time?


  4. johnhenrycn says:

    “Justice and truth are too such subtle points that our tools are too blunt to touch them accurately.” Pascal


  5. toad says:

    “Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would merely amount to another
    form of madness.”

    Toad’s fave Pascal quote.
    He (Toad that is, not Pascal) also has a very blunt tool, sad to say.


  6. johnhenrycn says:

    Blaise Pascal, 1660, Pensées Section II, No.82, The Misery of Man Without God

    The meaning of this aphorism is multifold, but one I’ve heard and like is: A great distinguishing feature of the omnipotence of God is that our imagination gets lost thinking about it.


  7. toad says:

    That’s a new one on me, and an excellent thought at that. I take it to mean that “..the proper study of mankind is man.” Also, as we know, said by a Catholic.
    Into the quotes file with it!


  8. johnhenrycn says:

    This exchange entre nous has become a bit garbled. Best to leave off and start afresh another day. Happy New Year, Toad.


  9. toad says:

    Igualmente, JH.


  10. kathleen says:

    The pic above is not one of our Brother Burrito! (We on the Team of CP&S know what our handsome BB really looks like. ;-))

    A very HAPPY AND BLESSED NEW YEAR to all our wonderful readers and commenters.


  11. Brother Burrito says:

    Of course it isn’t me!

    My front teeth are fluorescent brown, and are full of fillings.


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