Emptied and Exalted – Palm Sunday, 2016

 

CP&S has previously presented sermons by Father Michael Chua, now of the parish of Jesus Caritas in the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

Father has prepared an exceptionally good sermon for today, Palm Sunday. He speaks of the two “processions” described in the two Gospel readings we have today.  One is an exaltation, where Christ rides from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem on a donkey and is acclaimed by the disciples along the way. The second “procession” is one of emptying, where our Lord proceeds from the Praetorium to the utter humiliation of Calvary.

It’s interesting that Christ came down a mountain for exaltation but went up a mountain to His abasement.

Father ties all this in with a meditation on the hymn (which pre-dated St Paul)  in his Epistle today to the Philippians about how Christ emptied himself to be finally exalted,  with the suggestion that we need to do much the same in our daily lives. He even gives us a pointer (involving leaving little notes to ourselves in our two front pockets, no less) on how we may achieve this, as suggested by a late eighteenth century Polish rabbi, Rabbi Bunim of P’shiskha.

… but the two processions also provide us with a greater contrast. They take different directions – literally, there is a downward movement, from the top of the Mount of Olives to the gates of the City of Jerusalem; and then there is an upward movement, from the Praetorium to the Hill of Calvary. Figuratively, these two directions point to something much more profound than movement between geographical and archaeological localities. It speaks of the vocation and mission of Christ. St Paul, in the beautiful hymn we just heard in the second reading written to the Philippians, provides us with the two major themes of the path chosen by Jesus, his descent and ascent point to the emptying and the exaltation. In this V shaped piece of poetry, St Paul maps the coming to earth of Jesus Christ, his hard hit at the rock bottom of his death, and God’s raising him again so that all creation sees who he is and has been all along. In His humiliation He was exalted; in His exaltation He would be humbled.

It’s a minor masterpiece in my opinion. Please read it all at Father’s own blog.

Father concludes:

…we remember once again the promise of Palm Sunday, and we remember that this world and universe was created for our sake. And never, never, forget that it is for our sake that the Son chose to humble and empty Himself so that we may be filled with everlasting life. With that assurance, let us accompany Jesus to the cross.

 

 

 

About GC

Poor sinner.
This entry was posted in Bible Exegesis, Biblical Reflection, Devotion, Humour, Hymns, Lent, Living Catholic lives, Sacred Scripture, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Emptied and Exalted – Palm Sunday, 2016

  1. toadspittle says:

    Very nice painting.
    The arrival of the Messiah clearly caused quite a stir, then days later, He was tried, convicted and killed. Shame no contemporary accounts of such a hugely significant event exist. They might have been revealing.

  2. Robert says:

    Toad you are forgetting (conveniently) that the Jews attempted to air brush the Messiah out of History. Josephus (History of the Jews ) expressly writes of Jesus. Josephus was with the Romans and witnessed the ploughing of Jerusalem into the ground and the dispora (as fortold by Our Lord).
    As Our Lord pointed out even if one rose from the dead they wouldn’t believe.
    God in this mercy provides Hell with the means of reparation (fire) but the inhabitants there are entrapped by their own free will.
    That glorious Day of the King about to free His People and open the Gates of Heaven. Holy week runs like Genesis (Creation) through to the Triumph over Death!

  3. toadspittle says:

    “Toad you are forgetting (conveniently) that the Jews attempted to air brush the Messiah out of History.”
    That’s a very good point, Roger. Maybe they did. Although, if the Jews didn’t believe Christ was the Messiah, why would they bother going to the trouble of trying to do wipe him out of history?

    “Josephus (History of the Jews ) expressly writes of Jesus. “
    I gather this is roundly regarded as a 3rd Century forgery. But the whole Josephus/Jesus business is complex and messy, and I have no idea. It seems Josephus never suggested Christ was the Messiah. But then, he wouldn’t, would he?

  4. kathleen says:

    This most certainly was “an exceptionally good sermon” for Palm Sunday, GC.
    Father Michael Chua has used a profoundly meaningful (and unusual) interpretation of the two “processions” of Our Lord… and that we can imitate too through Father’s idea of the two contrasting “notes in our pockets”. Wonderful!
    Definitely something to take home with us to remember… and to ponder on in the future in the highs and lows of life’s journey to God.

    P.S. Could do Toad some good too, instead of his broken-record whining!
    Toad, you have had this “no contemporary records” (of Our Lord) complaint of yours replied and explained to you perhaps twenty times (at least) since you’ve been commenting here; one very good one in particular was a detailed response from The Raven – don’t you remember? If the Gospels themselves, and the witness of the Apostles and thousands of disciples is not good enough for you, than nothing else would be either. I refuse to jump onto your eternal merry-go-round anymore. A pointless waste of time!

  5. toadspittle says:

    “A pointless waste of time!”
    Very true, Kathleen. But at least I show an interest. or have done, until now. But I’m beginning to agree with you, and the moderators ‘s comment yesterday.

    “If the Gospels themselves, and the witness of the Apostles and thousands of disciples is not good enough for you, than nothing else would be either.”
    In fact, it probably would. Depending on what the information contained, of course. it’s just that, as a lying, biased, ex-hack I have a penchant for a second-source for stories.

    Meanwhile, you are right, and we all should get back to happily slandering the pope.

  6. Michael says:

    I must second Kathleen’s comment at 18:50 yesterday – this was an excellent sermon indeed, and I found the idea of the two notes in pockets very helpful. Also, I know this pertains to another thread, but I also found the reflection on Saint Joseph and the Benedictine vows (obedience, conversation of habits, stability) extremely useful, especially as I’d just been reading a book on the latter – connecting these to the life of Saint Joseph was a beautiful way of bringing out the heart of Benedictine spirituality. So, in short, many thanks to all the contributors!

  7. toadspittle says:

    “….and we remember that this world and universe was created for our sake. “
    What? What! What!!?
    Countless billions of suns, planets, comets, moons and galaxies – that came into existence billions of years ago – for the sole benefit of one single, miserable, vicious, murderous, species – on a wretched, chaotic, shabby, unstable little planet?
    Billions upon billions of creatures evolving and becoming extinct for millions over millions of millennia – before “Homo Sapiens” had even existed for the pitiful few thousand years it has so far?.
    And all for us, and us alone, the only beings who actually claim to be Made in God’s Image (or so they tell us) – including Donald Trump? Crikey.

    I was intending to keep my mouth shut from now on, but this is the most absurd, preposterous and arrogant assertion imaginable.

  8. kathleen says:

    Toad @ 6:22

    But at least I show an interest. or have done, until now.

    I disagree, Toad. You have shown absolutely no interest in following the painstaking steps of patient commenters like Michael, The Raven, Jabba (long ago) and others, besides impatient K, to lead you bit by bit through reason, evidence, common sense, and of course all that the Catholic Church has always taught that comes from Our Blessed Lord Himself, the Apostles, St Paul and the Doctors of the Church… to finding the faith you say you seek.
    You have occasionally, I admit, started off down the path, only to balk at the ‘door’ every single time of finally opening yourself to God’s voice, acknowledging the very real reasonableness of Faith, humbly accepting His great love for you – He Who has never stopped calling out to you from your infancy to let Him into your heart, asking you to “pick up your cross and follow [Him]”. For this you were made. So why such resistance?
    But no-one can make that (giant?) step for you, or IOW, do your ‘homework’ for you; it must be you, and you alone, who eventually gives his “yes” to God.

    I might have said I will no longer spin around with you on your eternal ‘merry-go-round’, arguing the same old things over and over again – that is clearly “pointless” – but you remain always in the prayers of us, your friends.

  9. kathleen says:

    Toad @ 9:47

    I know – staggering, isn’t it, Toad? All this made just for us fallen creatures, you and me, Man, “everlasting man”, who is the culmination of God’s creation in the whole Universe. “Arrogance”? Not at all. The Truth. Limitless love from God – Who is Love Itself.
    Even before the Redeemer took Flesh to suffer and die for our sins so that we would not undergo the eternal death our sins merited, the psalmist looked up at the stars and cried out: “what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou dost visit him?…” (Psalm 8).
    Yet what is beyond the powers of so great a God, Who sees even when a sparrow falls, and Who has counted even the hairs on our head?

  10. Robert says:

    Toad
    The Fathers of the Church
    Pre-Existent Christ whose Soul; was Created before Creation. You do not see Creation you see only what is visible (including materially visible infra red ultra violet etc..) You also see the nurseries of stars etc..
    However a History was written into Creation just as the Wine at Cana (which never existed before) had a history built into it (that includes weather, soil, harvesting, fermenting) BUT it had just been CREATED.
    Real knowledge is Spiritual and the Material is like an illusion because it is dust!

  11. Michael says:

    This debate gives me an excuse to post an excellent video on the fine-tuning of the universe:

    Given that the evidence presented here supplies very strong grounds for the Argument from Design, and that this is only one out of several compelling arguments for the existence of God, all of which complement and reinforce one another, I personally think that any complaints or misgivings one might have about the ‘God hypothesis’ are, whilst not to be ignored, certainly not of enough import to challenge a confident belief in Theism.

    The arguments for the truth of Christianity, and more specifically the Catholic Church, of course presuppose and build upon this. But I do find it striking that so many today not only blithely accept atheism, but also consider it the more justifiable position to take.

  12. GC says:

    Dear Michael and kathleen, thanks for backing me up in my opinion that this was a rather fine sermon.

    I think it was almost perfectly designed and expressed to provide his flock in the north of our city with a means to meditate very fruitfully on all the events of Holy Week just started, to join in all the liturgies with fervour and to improve their lives into the future. Any shepherd of souls could hardly have done much better in a sermon at this time.

  13. Robert says:

    The problem Michael is this world is a Fallen World because of Original Sin. A world of Death and Finite not Eternity. Materialists and Rationalists constrain debate and discussion within their own very narrow confines. Actually Aquinas answers the necessary questions.
    Satan’s intent is to reduce the prayer and penance and the Masses. Satan is a Liar and a Murderer and is a condemned chained Creature (Angels were Created).
    The Bible doesn’t set out to prove the existence of God because each and every Man has that knowledge within them!
    What should be a self evident fact is that a 100 years off Satanic influence will produce an explosion of materialism and Idolatry, coupled with an attack through radical and derision on the very basis off the Faith. Convince Man that He is a Animal and out goes morals and instead we have beastility.
    Our Faith is being tested to extremes! Masonry? What you see is an illusion, scratch it and study it you find an Infinity of layers, l;ayers with layers sucking its adherents every deeper. Visible Darkness! These layers are evidenced now in Rome!

  14. kathleen says:

    Robert @ 18:59 yesterday

    “The problem Michael is this world is a Fallen World because of Original Sin”…. Etc.

    Agreed, Robert, and Michael I’m sure would too. The interesting video he posted (that I have just watched) was in response to Toad’s refusal to see the wonders of the vast universe as an amazing act of God’s Creation where He has placed Mankind. Nor does Toad even believe God’s greatest final act of Creation was Man! Toad denies (or perhaps I should say he chooses to deny) that Man was created “in the Image and Likeness” of God, or the Words of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the unique and exalted place God has given Mankind out of the greatness of His Love.

    Toad’s attitude of negation (and that of all atheists’) to the supreme gift of God: to open the doors of the Kingdom of Heaven to ‘everlasting’ Man (via the way he chooses to live his life, i.e. in the exercising of his own Free Will), is the height of ungratefulness and rebellion.

    P.S. Dear GC, so sorry we have rather derailed the important subject of Father Chua’s marvellous sermon. Although I think his idea of the “two notes in the pocket”, reflected by “the two processions” of Our Lord, could in fact fall in quite well with the two opposing ways we can choose to meet God’s great gift to us:
    1. “Speak Lord, your child is listening!”
    Or:
    2. “I shall not serve!”.

  15. Tom Fisher says:

    He was tried, convicted and killed. Shame no contemporary accounts of such a hugely significant event exist.

    We can say with certainty that within a few decades of 30 A.D. there was a community which focused its entire existence and sense of identity on the events of the passover of (probably) the year 30. It’s true that we only learn about the founding ‘event’ through the witness of this community. But it seems reasonable, even from a perfectly ‘rationalist’ perspective, to infer that something of significance occurred, and that it must be reflected in the earliest texts of that community (Mark and the early epistles of Paul). And that’s to put it with the minimal possible apologetics.

    The New Testament texts are close to contemporary by any reasonable standard for ancient history.

  16. Tom Fisher says:

    Toad you are forgetting (conveniently) that the Jews attempted to air brush the Messiah out of History.

    What do you have in mind here Robert? Christian writings were produced and copied all around the eastern Mediterranean during the first and second century. Any attempt at ‘air-brushing’ would have been impossible, and self evidently unsuccessful

  17. toadspittle says:

    1: Tom, I’m not saying Christ’s life didn’t happen. Just that it’s a pity there isn’t more independent evidence of it.

    [A moderator: one paragraph deleted. Toad, if after all this time you still think that you decide the aims and goals of this blog, then a big surprise still awaits you after all this time]

  18. Tom Fisher says:

    Michael,

    re your video: I’ve always been a bit baffled by attempts to apply probability to a world that we only know of one instance of. Literally any given state in a complex system is unlikely, and only states which permit one to speculate about that fact will ever be speculated about. But that truism is entirely neutral with respect to design.

  19. Michael says:

    Tom @ 07:11:

    I don’t really see the problem here. Firstly, we make assessments about the probability of known things compared to other instances of the same thing that we don’t know of all the time.

    Secondly, the point being made about fine-tuning is that we do know that if any one of the various highly-specified conditions for life were altered even by an infinitesimal amount, life wouldn’t be possible – this isn’t based merely on probability or inference from a known case to an unknown, but on the discovery by observation, experiment, calculation, etc that these conditions are what exist, and that if they weren’t so, things wouldn’t hold together as they do.

    Furthermore, when you say that ‘literally any given state in a complex system is unlikely’ isn’t that part of the point the video is making – namely that the extraordinary complexity of the universe, and the life that exists within it (i.e.; the complex system itself overall), is itself extraordinarily unlikely? The basic point then made is that such a complex system either came about completely by chance, was in some way necessary, or was intended to be that way by Someone.

    This point can of course be made about existence per se, without reference to any scientific evidence, but the video is simply making the point that if the conditions we do experience were changed even by the tiniest, tiniest amount, the universe as we know it, and life within it, would not be possible. It is of course possible to postulate a set of different highly specified conditions that might theoretically permit life of a different kind, but then we’re into multiverse territory, and that brings it’s own problems.

  20. toadspittle says:

    If we like to nominate whatever brought the world into existence as God – then yes, God made the world.
    Surely we can all agree on that?
    But that doesn’t provide a suitable reason for not eating bacon sandwiches on Fridays.
    In my opinion.
    “Literally any given state in a complex system is unlikely,”
    Agreed, Tom. And the world is a pretty dismal place – whoever, or whatever is responsible.

  21. Michael says:

    Kathleen @ 12:14, March 22nd:

    To be honest, I was just using the debate as an excuse to post the video🙂 Also, to be fair to Toad’s original point, the data presented in the video could actually be used in favour of an argument for man’s insignificance – given how staggeringly complex and delicately balanced the universe is, it could seem churlish, based on that data alone, for any one species to claim any particular privileges.

    Thankfully though, this is not the only data we have to go on. I don’t want to go into the various argument’s for mankind’s unique status, as they’ve been gone over many times here already without success, and to repeat them would be futile. All I will say is that the evidence here is compelling, even when one doesn’t take into account special revelation, and that humanity’s ability to recognise significance, grandeur, complexity, meaning, as well as our own relative insignificance (which is indeed an essential part of Christian anthropology, as your quotation from Psalm 8 above alludes to) is itself an argument for our uniqueness.

    I find the idea that we are just like any other animal, or even that we only differ from other species by matters of degree, and that these differences could be resolved over time somehow, to fly in the face of honest experience myself. But I can see how contemplating the awesome grandeur of creation might at times lead one to think us utterly insignificant. I just think a few minutes sensible reflection on the matter should correct such a reading of things.

  22. Tom Fisher says:

    (Michael, I’m interested in this stuff, and what you may think. Please take the following as food for thought, it’s not meant to be abrasive.)

    the video is simply making the point that if the conditions we do experience were changed even by the tiniest, tiniest amount, the universe as we know it, and life within it, would not be possible

    Yes, but as a general principle, if any given initial conditions were to have been different (from however they may be), any given result would, or would not, not occur.

    It seems exceedingly unlikely that a universe would exist in which people asked existential questions. On the other hand, any universe in which people exist to ask such questions will, by definition, be such a universe.

    Probability simply can’t be applied to this kind of situation. We have nothing for our concept of probability to ‘get a grip on’.

    And even if we do conclude that a designer is needed to set favourable conditions, that seems like a description of a complex agent which would in turn demand an explanation. — I don’t believe that God can be reduced to a physicist, and in that sense I don’t see the argument from design as being helpful

  23. GC says:

    kathleen @ March 22, 2016 at 12:14

    Although I think his idea of the “two notes in the pocket”, reflected by “the two processions” of Our Lord, could in fact fall in quite well with the two opposing ways we can choose to meet God’s great gift to us:
    1. “Speak Lord, your child is listening!”
    Or:
    2. “I shall not serve!”.

    Dear kathleen, I suppose we have to remember that this was an idea from an 18th-19th Jewish rabbi.

    Judging from the general impression I have of Judaism, it does encourage, or at least allow its adherents to engage in business pursuits, the professions and affairs of state, as we all can see; often to become very wealthy and powerful. I am not sure the rabbi’s “note” about “how the world was made for you” was specifically encouraging the acquisition of wealth, status and power, but it’s possible and not logically excluded. Muslims also often judge success in the world as something God wills for believers – even something that God rewards right-acting and right-believing Muslims with.

    Catholicism, on the other hand, does seem to encourage humility and asceticism and prizes poverty, at least “officially”. Which is not to say that many Catholics also have not had wealth, position and power.

    I tend to associate Father Chua’s use of the idea “the world was made for you” with the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. There we are encouraged to employ our talents actively to reap returns for our Master. Talents, of course, are capacities we have for acting in and on the world. It is in this sense, perhaps, “the world was made for you”.

    Here’s hoping any of this makes sense.

  24. Tom Fisher says:

    It is of course possible to postulate a set of different highly specified conditions that might theoretically permit life of a different kind, but then we’re into multiverse territory, and that brings it’s own problems.

    I think it’s a mistake to try and read probability, or indeed expectations of any sort, into the information we have. If our universe is the only one that exists, then its particular details are no more or less likely than any other. The multi-verse is a redundant hypothesis from this perspective. Any given state is as likely as any other. A universe with intelligent life doesn’t require a special explanation, although it will be the only kind of universe where the question is raised

  25. Michael says:

    Tom @ 09:35, 09:56:

    Don’t worry, I only take your comments as being abrasive when they display the customary ‘spike’🙂

    But on to the matter at hand. I acknowledge that to speak of probability in terms of comparing possible universes, even though this is a perfectly legitimate exercise in and of itself, is not actually helpful given that this is the only one we know to exist. My point here though, as above, is that this is not what the appeal to fine-tuning is actually doing – it is saying that on the basis of observation, experiment, calculation, etc, we have found the universe to ‘run’ according to certain very specific conditions, and that if these conditions were changed by even the tiniest amount, our calculations wouldn’t work.

    Thus, it is not primarily an appeal to the probability of possible universes (though this is an inevitable secondary consideration) – it is saying that the evidence we do have shows a highly specified, delicate balancing act, which in and of itself, without comparison to other possible situations, is a remarkably improbable set of circumstances. The only way probability comes in to this really, is by comparison to other processes within the known universe. Do you see what I’m getting at?

    And even if we do conclude that a designer is needed to set favourable conditions, that seems like a description of a complex agent which would in turn demand an explanation. — I don’t believe that God can be reduced to a physicist, and in that sense I don’t see the argument from design as being helpful

    a.) The Argument from Design (as opposed to evidence that might be marshalled in its support, such as fine-tuning) is a metaphysical claim – namely that the material complexity of the world begs of an explanation, and only something outside the material sphere suffices. To say that a complex world requires an even more complex explanation presupposes that there is nothing outside that sphere; i.e.; it presupposes materialism. Conversely, the AFD appeals to a spiritual cause outside of creation, which is by definition simple*.

    b.) The AFD is not, like any of the other classical arguments, to be considered as a single knock-down argument, but as part of several overlapping and complementary evidences for God’s existence. You may not find it helpful at all, which is fair enough, but I don’t think it’s meant to be seen as an isolated argument.

    *Fr. Thomas Crean’s book A Catholic Replies to Professor Dawkins is very good on this. I would also add that complexity emerges from less complex causes within creation as well – it is one of the glories of science to be able to reduce things down to simpler constituents and more elegant first principles.

  26. Robert says:

    Tom
    Rome punished the Jewish Rebellion by ploughing Jerusalem into the Earth. Christians as such was considered by Rome as part of the Jewish issue. Was Rome concerned about a Pope? Peter? No since the Jews had a hierarchy in Jerusalem.
    There was NO printing press or indeed a established scribe copying structure for the Church. Hand copies of material were indeed passed around, and where found destroyed! The existence of the New Testament itself is a miracle.
    Now back to your misguided ideas over Design and Probalility. Evolution as from Darwin is flawed logic, It is simplistic and actually is flawed because it ignores the interdependencies that exist with systems. Mutations can be cancelled out within Networks, just go round the mutation.
    Computer science has used probability to create learning algorithms, these exhibit intelligent choices through Bayesian tweaks against large data sets. Its a pattern seeking approach to problems mixed with alpha beta pruning.
    Back in the 70’s onwards much was made of Bilological organisms and using Computers to emulate these biological processes especially learning. What they now know is that multi-layered networks can hold and retain previous solutions (neural networks). Evolutionists are now considering multi layered networks of genes.
    Geosystems exhibit intelligence where various systems iinteract and mutually relate with each other with interdependences for mutual benefits. The Whole system benefits the individual components.
    The Earth is part of the solar system, which itself is part of the Galaxy which itself is part of the Universe which itself is part of Creation (including invisible). So interdependences exist and simply genetic mutations may or may not in isolation have any impact at all.
    The Our Father takes Man directly to a non material spirit and intelligence. The Our Father acknowledges a Spiritual Paternity above the material. It also recognises that thoughts,(temptations) have to be categorised between good and evil. The Our Father is expressly about spiritual food that nurtures and feeds Us so that we grow spiritually.
    Without spiritual growth we are entrenched in a Fallen world.
    The two Asses? Spiritual and material. Which Ass does Man sit astride today? the material!

  27. toadspittle says:

    “I find the idea that we are just like any other animal, or even that we only differ from other species by matters of degree, and that these differences could be resolved over time somehow, to fly in the face of honest experience myself.”
    Tom:
    We are not “just like” any other animal. But we are neither better nor worse. That’s my hypothesis. Certainly, we are intellectually far “smarter” than, for example, horses – we have income tax, “Big Macs,” and traffic jams for example, and they do not – but are we “superior”? I think nor. Horses can run faster than us and are far nicer looking, kinder, less dishonest – and not one of them would consider voting for Donald Trump.. This is indisputable, it seems to me.
    Virtually very other animal has abilities man does not, moles or geese, say. And surely nobody can argue that this planet would be a far less visually hideous place if “homo sapiens,” didn’t exist? And the idea that just one species is immortal and no other is – goes instinctively against the grain with me.
    I’m quite possibly wrong. But there we are. Kathleen admits humans are ugly. But says it’s because of Original Sin. Well, maybe.
    “…and that these differences could be resolved over time somehow,”
    I’ve never heard that idea. But agreed – we will never be able to fly like a sparrow and the sparrow will never be able to make Reality TV series.

  28. Tom Fisher says:

    To say that a complex world requires an even more complex explanation presupposes that there is nothing outside that sphere; i.e.; it presupposes materialism. Conversely, the AFD appeals to a spiritual cause outside of creation, which is by definition simple

    I tend to agree. I was mainly thinking of the fact that the argument from design doesn’t do much to prevent a regress. But, as you say, the argument isn’t designed to be taken in isolation.

    Rupert Shortt has apparently recently published a book with the very pointed title “God is no – thing” and tries to address the fallacy of thinking that God is “a thing in the world” as it were.

    The argument that God is by definition outside any regressive chain of cause and effect is one that I agree with. I don’t think William Paley’s hypothetical watch did us any good, and I’m sceptical of its ‘fine tuning’ descendants. My belief in God (intellectually) partly (only partly) comes from my recognition of the limits of causal explanations per se

    But I think your video was too focused on arguing for a modern version of “Paley’s watch”

  29. toadspittle says:

    Paley’s watch, indeed.
    Maybe God threw it away when it stopped ticking,,or even when it started.

    What Michael’s splendidly scientific video, (Cor! All those big numbers! That proves it, dunnit!) doesn’t attempt to explain is why, if the universe is, in fact, “intelligently designed,” the beneficiaries thereof should feel it reasonable to: Behead one another over differences of opinion, set about massacring Philistines, or sinfully wolf down bacon sandwiches on Good Friday.
    No connection really – is there?
    Which is to say, it don’t make no never mind whether “we’ are intelligently designed, or not.
    We certainly don;t appear to be, do we? Look how unintelligently we carry on.

  30. Tom Fisher says:

    Tom:
    We are not “just like” any other animal….. Horses can run faster than us and are far nicer looking, kinder, less dishonest – and not one of them would consider voting for Donald Trump.. This is indisputable, it seems to me.

    Toad, I’m not sure what I said that you could possibly be responding to here. But I agree, the Houyhnhnms are superiour to us Yahoos in many ways

  31. Michael says:

    Tom @ 04:30:

    Thanks for the reply. I see what you mean, and I think Paley’s watch wasn’t really that helpful in the long run either, appealing as it does to a God-of-the-gaps style explanation. I still think though, that the Argument from Design (as formulated by Aquinas say) is a useful one, and worth reflecting on, and I don’t think there is any harm in doing what the video does, which is to draw attention to the staggering complexity of the universe and the incredible extent to which any life at all depends on a very precise ordering of things.

    But on the whole I would say I’m more persuaded by an Argument from Contingency, which I think, in essence, is what you’re talking about in your last comment too. I’ll look out for Rupert Shortt’s book – I very much enjoyed a collection of discussions with contemporary theologians that he conducted and edited called God’s Advocates, and his work on the global persecution of Christians is impressive too.

    Also, given that I probably won’t be back here until afterwards, a Happy Easter to you in advance🙂

  32. toadspittle says:

    “But I agree, the Houyhnhnms are superiour to us Yahoos in many ways..”
    That was in my mind too, Tom.
    I just can’t see humans as The Master Race. So, very likely it’s off to Hell for Toad.

  33. kathleen says:

    Toad, your mind is full of darkness. I am beginning to realise you are beyond the capability to rationalise sensibly. In your loathing for Mankind – something you have repeatedly demonstrated here, so no denying it now please – you state that animals (worms, cockroaches, etc. included presumably) are far “nicer” than Man!!
    This view is not only the height of ridicule; it is also intrinsically disordered.
    Such a view flies straight in the face of Christianity, and the Supreme Sacrifice of Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Whose Crucifixion and Death we are commemorating today, Good Friday.

    Here are a few random quotes from another supposed atheist, Albert Einstein, (but one with far more sensitivity and humility) on the mysteries of life and Creation:

    – Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.
    – The scientists’ religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.
    – There is no logical way to the discovery of elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance.
    – The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.
    – The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious; It is the source of all true art and science.
    – God does not play dice with the universe.
    The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life.
    – Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.
    – The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books – a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects.
    – The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvellous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
    – What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility.
    – The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion. Herein lies the germ of all art and all true science. Anyone to whom this feeling is alien, who is no longer capable of wonderment and lives in a state of fear is a dead man.

    P.S. [Ed.] I have never said “humans are ugly” – that is a lie. Immortal Man is God’s masterpiece, created on the sixth and final ‘day’ of Creation in God’s own “Image and Likeness”.
    Yes, sin is ugly because it reflects evil; in the same way that virtue is beautiful because it reflects the Goodness and Love of God. Man may reflect both these sides of his nature by the choices he makes in life.

  34. Robert says:

    Toad
    The Passion of Our Lord was to enable Man to enter Heaven. To see Sin in God’s eyes we must look at the Passion of Christ in all its gruesome details. Understand the Divine Law that NO SIN can enter Heaven. SIN forgiven requires reparation (penance) . Penance is always the price that must be paid for SIN. With Christ and reparation we can enter Heaven because of Our Lords Passion!

    Purgatory is for reparation for Sins for Souls who have Christ.

    HELL Penance for Eternity.
    Understand that by their own Free Will the Fallen Angels and Souls have chosen Hell BUT their SINS require Penance and reparation.
    IN their Case without Christ, whom they have rejected, they will never Enter HEAVEN and their Suffering Reparation will be for ETERNITY.

  35. toadspittle says:

    Toad really should be allowed the right of reply. Oh, well. It’s not important.

    [A moderator: Indeed, Toad. But we are currently celebrating the holy Triduum, the three most important days in the year, so your scornful offerings at this time in particular are most unwelcome on our CATHOLIC blog.]

  36. toadspittle says:

    Happy Easter to all.

  37. Tom Fisher says:

    Happy Easter to all

    And to you too Toad

  38. toadspittle says:

    “Penance is always the price that must be paid for SIN.”
    It had\s been said, “We are punished by our sins – not for them.”
    Probably not orthodox Catholic thinking. Makes sense to me, though.

  39. Robert says:

    The Catholic Faith is God decreed the work of reparation and redemption. His works are eternal. It follows sadly that if reparation in Justice is a requesite AND Christ is ignored sidelined then reparation will be Eternal.
    The saints understand that God is Eternal and this world simply a place of proving.

  40. Robert says:

    Toad
    Our Lord told the woman taken IN adultery to go away and SIN NO MORE .

  41. toadspittle says:

    “Toad: Our Lord told the woman taken IN adultery to go away and SIN NO MORE .”
    …Better advice could not be given. If only.

    It follows sadly that if reparation in Justice is a requesite AND Christ is ignored sidelined then reparation will be Eternal.
    Doesn’t follow to me. “To understand all is to forgive all,” someone once said.
    Possibly he, or she, was a Methodist ( or a Hindu.) . I don’t remember.
    …Nor do I know any logical reason why reparation need be eternal.
    Human cupidity certainly is not.

    Regardless Robot – try not to eat too many chocolate bunnies.
    They will give you toothache.

  42. Robert says:

    No Toad
    Adam and Eve and Original Sin.
    Original Sin meant that Man was excluded from Heaven. There is nothing that Man could offer nor sacrifice that could make reparation for Original Sin. The Man God Our Lord’s Passion was the reparation for Original Sin and the sacraments Heavens solution for poor sinners.
    But if Christ is rejected if Adam and Eve declared a myth and Man rejects Christs reparation.
    The result is simply Hell because the reparation will be Eternal.
    Human opinion and logical reasoning (that’s as Aquinas points out is fatal flawed) places Man above God doesn’t it.
    Your human material knowledge here is your enemy and must be EMPTIED instead replaced with spiritual truth.
    Church State separation is simply Human reasoning placed above Revelation and this Road to Hell.

  43. Tom Fisher says:

    Church State separation is simply Human reasoning placed above Revelation and this [is the] Road to Hell

    Robert,

    The rejection of theocratic rule is not the same as the rejection of religion. And admittedly this was a hard lesson to learn. Europe was torn apart by 150 years of warfare about the correct interpretation of Christianity. But after all the rape, killing, and general bloodshed, our civilization began to recognize that enforcing orthodoxy through violence, or state action, was a recipe for disaster. Spanish Catholicism has always been, and still is, a true expression of the Catholic faith. But for a few generations the Spanish Church lost its moral bearings. It was the unwholesome mix of secular power and ecclesiastical ambition that led to the worst excesses. Melding Church and State implicitly takes religion out of the realm of the voluntary, and makes it enforceable. ISIS and Iran are both trying this idea out.

  44. Michael says:

    Kathleen @ 12:38 on Good Friday*:

    An excellent selection of quotes there – much material for reflection. He that hath ears to hear, let him ear, etc…!🙂

    Tom @ 05:51:

    Europe was torn apart by 150 years of warfare about the correct interpretation of Christianity

    Whilst I agree with what you say about the mixture of secular and ecclesiastical powers, and that Christianity in the West learnt some important lessons in the Modern Era about this, I think it is a bit misleading to say that the wars following the Reformation in Europe were simply about doctrinal difference. At best one could say that confessional differences were used as a pretext for and a seal upon decisions already arrived at, decisions primarily motivated by the desire to assert national sovereignty/power over and above the ties that had previously bound the nations of Christendom to one another and prevented secular powers from setting themselves up apart from the whole. David Bentley Hart’s Atheist Delusions contains a very good discussion of this, if you’re interested.

    Anyway, to both Tom and Kathleen, and all here aboard the Good Ship CP&S, Happy Easter!!!

    *A splendid post here from the Clerk of Oxford on the reckoning of Easter and the confluence of Good Friday and Lady Day:

    http://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/this-doubtful-day-of-feast-or-fast-good.html

  45. Robert says:

    The question is one of Sin and whom has the Authority to forgive Sin.
    Sin Blinds because it deprives the spirit of the :Light of God. Our Lord gave the Authority to continually wash and cleanse Men from their Falling into Death.
    Now the question is simply can the State absolve from Sin? Because if it can’t then it cannot prevent from falling into Eternal Death can it?
    This worldly rational thinking and talk of Eras of Europe being torn apart over Christianity. Who was to blame Christ? I think it was the greed and avarice of Men. Most of this was over worldly and material interests. Heaven gave saints and religious orders BUT how convenient to throw of the Authority of Christ. This is a Fallen World! Perhaps this lesson hasn’t been learn’t A Fallen world and where we have a free will choice.
    No Heaven did not give the ministry of judging and absolving to the STATE!
    Worship the secular State and you atre doing exactly what Portugal did 1910 and Heavens response was three children preaching Heaven, Hell and Purgatory .

  46. toadspittle says:

    “Now the question is simply can the State absolve from Sin? Because if it can’t then it cannot prevent from falling into Eternal Death can it?”
    Not its job. Might as well expect the Church to set income tax rates.
    …Render unto Caesar, Robot. Remember?

  47. toadspittle says:

    “At best one could say that confessional differences were used as a pretext for and a seal upon decisions already arrived at, decisions primarily motivated by the desire to assert national sovereignty/power over and above the ties that had previously bound the nations of Christendom to one another.”
    That doesn’t explain the St Barthomew’s Day massacre, in my opinion, which was entirely French. Which seemed to me, and Montaigne, just part of a rather nasty squabble between Catholics and Protestants over “…differences of opinion.”

    “Atheist delusions.”
    No surprise to be told they have them. Who doesn’t? (Catholics, of course.)

    “This worldly rational thinking and talk of Eras of Europe being torn apart over Christianity. Who was to blame Christ? I think it was the greed and avarice of Men. “
    So do I.

  48. Robert says:

    Thank you Toad for your clarity.
    The Church is
    1/ Mystical Body of Christ. It follows that if the State is separated it must be the Mystical Body of Satan.
    2/ The Church is in Glory (Heaven), Suffering (Purgatory), Militant (On Earth). Which means that the State Church separation is a separation from Heaven and therefor is of Hell.
    3/ The Fathers of the Church saw in the waxing and waning of the Moon the Life of the Church in this period called Roman. The waning and eclipse seen under Malachy’s De Meditate Lunae and De Labore Solis, De Gloria Olivae (refers to Garden of Olives and the seizure of the Church for Crucifixion). Crucifixion as per Peter (the Roman).
    So we have a rebellion under the name of State in a Fallen World subject to Original Sin?
    The rebellion of seculars against Christ in the pursuit of the idols of materialism. Money, wealth etc.. Well under what Authority does the State declare Pluralism? Abortion? Divorce? Marriage? Religion? denial of Creation?
    Fatima started off with rain and clouds (Sins of the world) with a State determined to destroy the Church (that’s Portugal 1910) Then the Sun Danced!
    Think Toad are are you just another follower of Mammon?
    The Papacy has the two keys and the State is subservient to Christ the King.
    The Truth is that Church State separation is against Christ

  49. kathleen says:

    Michael @ 13:55 yesterday

    Thank you, and best wishes to you too in this joyful Easter season (that I think we can say extends at least till next weekend!😉 )

    Yes, I had already read that excellent article by “A Clerk of Oxford” which had been recommended by someone in a comment on Father Z’s blog. It given an incredible amount of background to the amazing revelation that the Annunciation of the Lord, and His Holy Death on the Cross, most likely fell on the very same day of the year – 25th March – and the important significance of this phenomenon!
    Because of this coincidence of the events falling on the same date, we are celebrating the Annunciation on the 4th April in the liturgy of the Ordinary Form this year; thus we sadly lose its profound meaning.
    An excerpt from this outstanding article:

    “These days the church deals with such occasions by transferring the feast of the Annunciation to another day, but traditionally the conjunction of the two dates was considered to be both deliberate and profoundly meaningful. The date of the feast of the Annunciation was chosen to match the supposed historical date of the Crucifixion, as deduced from the Gospels, in order to underline the idea that Christ came into the world on the same day that he left it: his life formed a perfect circle. March 25 was both the first and the last day of his earthly life, the beginning and the completion of his work on earth. The idea goes back at least to the third century, and Augustine explained it in this way:

    “He is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also he suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which he was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which he was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before him nor since.”

    This day was not only a conjunction of man-made calendars but also a meeting-place of solar, lunar, and natural cycles: both events were understood to have happened in the spring, when life returns to the earth, and at the vernal equinox, once the days begin to grow longer than the nights and light triumphs over the power of darkness.”

    It is really worthwhile reading the whole fascinating article.

  50. Robert says:

    Yes wonderful to realise that not only was Good Friday on the same date as the Annuciation/Incarnation it means that we have just lived through a period that has mapped Our Lords Life Day by Day from what 1982? and then from 1967/8.
    A remarkable period from the Immaculate Conception to what will be the Assumption and covering the Life and Passion of Our Lord.
    This is what the 25th March 2016 means!

  51. Michael says:

    Kathleen @ 11:57:

    It really is an excellent article isn’t it! I also found her discussion of the importance of retaining Easter as a movable feast in the Church calendar most illuminating – the proposed change is something I instinctively opposed, but she shows just how much rich imaginative resources would be lost should such a change occur:

    This year’s conjunction is a particularly rich example, but all through the year these coincidental graces can be found, as beauty and meaning are produced by the changing juxtaposition of feasts and fasts, the fixed and the moveable seasons. Lent, Easter, Ascension Day, Whitsun – all can at various times coincide with different fixed occasions, different stages in the seasons of spring and summer, and the experience of each can accordingly change from year to year. As the cycles intersect in different ways, familiar texts and images breathe new life into each other, and bring forth new and different fruit (to borrow the Old English Martyrology’s metaphor for Mary’s conception). In such ways the interlocking wheels of the calendar give cosmic meaning to the cycle of our own days, months, and years….

    …It strikes me (once again) that however much many people today, in their ignorance of all but the broadest stereotypes about the Middle Ages, stigmatise the medieval church as worldly, rigid, and oppressive, it was in some ways immeasurably more humane and creative than its modern successors. It was happy to see human life as fully part of the natural world, shaped by the cycles of the sun and moon and the seasons; it was able to articulate a belief that material considerations, convenience, and economic productivity are not the highest goods, and not the only standards by which life should be lived. When confronted by calendar clashes with the potential to be a little awkward or inconvenient, the medieval church could have the imagination not to simply suppress them or tidy them away, but to find meaning in them – meaning which springs from deep knowledge of the images and poetry of scripture, the liturgy, and popular devotion.

    Also, a couple of links away from the original article there is another good defence here:

    http://northernwoolgatherer.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/should-we-fix-date-of-easter.html

  52. Robert says:

    St Vincent Ferrer was and is called “The Angel of The Apocalpyse” the significance shouldn’t be lost. There are declared Doctors within the Church that the world would have you to believe followed a mythology.
    There was no such thing as the medieval church, implying a church with a different set of beliefs, a different Faith. The Fathers see in the Apocalypse the seven Church’s of Asia Minor corresponding distinct eras in the Life of the Church militant. The Fathers also saw the moon as a symbol of the waxing and waning of the Church over a period AND the recreation of the Life of Christ of the Church militant including the Passion and Resurrection.
    That imagery of that part of the third secret published in 2000 and its symbolism of Martyrdom and the Passion.
    That living Faith that sought and saw in Creation (that’s right Creation!) the omniscient and omnipresent God. In the liturigical cycle and the lunar cycle (Easter) revealed a spiritual season. As Our Lord said of this generation “The seasons THOU shalt NOT know them”.
    Lets be absolutely clear that the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord was on this world. That event and time changed Creation (visible Universe AND invisible) for ever.
    Palm Sunday opens the door to Genesis and Mans redeemer and redemption, but not for ALL, those who in free will accept Christ. But those whom rejected the Redeemer follow Judas!
    Open your spiritual EYES.
    This secular creation called the State and its material Paradise? This State cannot redeem you form Sin! Rather it is the road to Eternal reparation (Hell).

  53. kathleen says:

    Michael @ 21:39 yesterday

    Good point, Michael. Are we Christians going to be bullied by our secular Governments into having a fixed day for Easter imposed on us, or are we going to ‘stick to our guns’ and refuse such a horrendous move that would completely upset the whole ancient Paschal and lunar tradition for when Easter falls? I might be growing deaf, but where are our Catholic politicians preparing to make a firm defence against such a travesty? I can’t hear them!

    We are still protesting against the forwarding of two of our three special ‘Thursdays’ to the following Sunday – Ascension Day and Corpus Christi – which completely throws out the time lapse between the feast days of Easter and Pentecost… although I believe this was more due to the Church hierarchy bowing to the pressures from those who wanted it easier to get to Mass. (Hey, has no-one heard about setting the alarm clock to get to the early Mass?) Father Z rants every year about this change! Are we now going to allow the secularists to force a fixed day for Easter too. Please God, no!

  54. Robert says:

    The Seasons Thou shalt not know them! The liturgical cycle!
    Since when was Man placed above and before God.
    The first commandment is inviable.
    It isn’t for Man to change public revelation under whatever pretext. The Church militant has lived out the Life Of Our Lord through the liturgical cycle and this is to fulfil the duty of obedience to public revelation.
    As is clearly seen a remnant already exists.

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