DCMission Statement

Saturday, June 13, 2015

cout << ( (i < 3) ? "Domine non sum dignus" : "Corpus Domini nostri..." );

In the lifelong search for what might have been eternally lost, each of us faces in every moment a tension between two often opposing forces. The tension is found between the moment and the eternal, the pull between the idea and the principle underlying the idea, and in the word and the medium through which the word is expressed. We have heard the tension discussed in philosophical circles since the Presocratics in the discourse on being and becoming.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, this tension is evident to an extreme degree, and it is a curious point that it is quintessentially expressed in two objects whose physical forms are strikingly similar.

In one of these wafers, man concerns himself with things passing. He is quite literally interested - to a degree that could easily be considered obsessive - in nanometer-scale phenomena that come into being and go out of being in a matter of picoseconds. In the other wafer, we find a man who, through his teachings and his life, demonstrates to us how to enter into a relationship with the being who is outside of the spatial and temporal order. One of the wafers provides man the means of turning in on himself through access to a virtually endless supply of indecent material. In the other is a man who, through his teachings and his life, demonstrated that the only way for one to truly live is by laying down his life for others. Through this one, we have learned the traditional principle that "to veil something is to reveal it: it is revelation through veiling." In the other we commonly find application of the principle that holds mystery in contempt and does violence to it by attempting to unveil it whenever encountered.  In this one we find the driving force behind the machinery that underlies economic progress. In the other we find the man who taught us the way to find that which is beyond the value of anything that we can imagine in this life. The other cannot get its function, which is its essence to modern man, without having light shined upon it. And the other is essence itself and the source of all light. In the one we find bits of silicon that provide the foundation for the culture of consumerism but in the near future will be worth only a few cents. In the other we find bits of a man's flesh and blood whose value is beyond measure and that if one does not consume, he does not have life within him.

The tragedy is that it is not necessary that the two worlds be in conflict, as the man who is found in the one has been given power over the other. In fact it is in the Eastern churches that we find the boundary between the secular and the sacred to be much less perceptible than in the West. In spite of this fact, Sheen has noted the following:

... everything that is mysterious tends to be hidden and concealed. The Eastern World is much more aware of this than the Western World. That is why the consecration in the Eastern religions takes place behind a screen, whereas in the Western rite it is more public. The very hiding of the mystery of transubstantiation is a highly developed form of the concealing of anything which has to do with God.

— from Three to Get Married, Ven. Fulton Sheen (†1979).

And is it not common sense to acknowledge that there is something of the eternal hidden within those slivers of shiny material that are sold for thousands today and thrown out tomorrow? Are not those timeless mathematical principles that govern the natural order to be found pervasively present in the hierarchy of the machinery? Were these not part of that for which those great scientists Isidore of Seville, Albert the Great, Duns Scotus, and all the others searching? Do we not see God praised through the many facets of this same world in the prayers of the three men who, after refusing to worship a product of that world, were protected from the fires of Nebuchadnezzar? Are these principles not inextricable from the world through which Francis of Assisi, as expressed through his canticle, saw reflections of the Creator?

I cannot say the answer for certain. It was lost sometime many millennia ago, and it is the task of each individual man to find it again for himself. But it won't be found without the help of many friends.

Of the ‘shining leprosy’ of transitory honour, Baldad the Suhite says in Job:

Shall not the light of the wicked be extinguished,
and the flame of his fire not shine?
The light shall be dark in his tabernacle:
and the lamp that is over him shall be put out.
[Job 18.5-6]

The light of the wicked is extinguished, because the success of a fleeting lifetime ends with it. The flame of his fire does not shine, the burning fire of temporal desire, whose flame is outward dignity and power, arising from its inward heat. It stops shining, because at death all outward show is taken away. The light is dark in his tabernacle, where ‘light’ means joy and ‘darkness’ grief. In the wicked man’s tabernacle, light becomes dark because the joy in his heart that came from temporal things fails. The lamp that is over him is put out. We think of an earthenware lamp: a symbol of joy in the flesh. The lamp over him is put out, because when retribution for his evil deeds comes upon the wicked man, the joy of the flesh is driven from his mind.

— from a sermon on the 14th Sunday after Pentecost, St. Anthony of Padua (†1231).

On the new calendar, June 13, 2015, as the Saturday after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On both calendars, June 13th is the feast of St. Anthony of Padua (†1231), Franciscan friar and Doctor of the Church.

Cor Maríae Immaculátum et Sancte Antoni de Padua, orate pro nobis.