Each thing is destined for its own fulfillment

Each thing is destined for its own fulfillment.

This occurred to me recently, for some reason. Seeds are destined to become plants. Children are destined to become adults. Food is destined to be eaten.

But my statement is self-evident. Of course everything tends towards its end, that’s why it is its end. The two parts of the statement are defined by each other.

Yet this only deepens its meaning, I feel. Everything contains within itself, exists according to, and tends towards its own essential principle. It is what it is. It reminds me of the meaning of the divine name, ‘I Am That I Am’ or, ‘I Will Be Who I Will Be’.

The river flows towards the ocean. The child grows into an adult. The seed becomes a tree. That is what it is, what it does, and what it will be.

In each case we can also note that the end is also the origin. It is from its origin, and so to be according to itself is to be according to its origin, and to tend to itself is to tend to its origin. It is contained by its origin, and its origin is contained within it.

And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.‘ – T. S. Elliot

Ultimately, God is the first origin and final end of all things. And in each thing being and becoming itself, it tends towards God Himself. The whole cosmos is heading towards its fulfillment in God. As St Paul wrote,

‘He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.’ [Colossians 1:15-20]

And,

‘For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now’ [Romans 8:19-22]

And again,

‘When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.’ [Corinthians 15:28]

God bless!

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Standing in a waterfall, looking up

He is a waterfall.

He empties Himself every moment,

and is superabundantly full.

He is high up above,

and He is drilling to the depths.

He is always in motion,

always a gift.

He falls down,

and He bursts out.

He is the living water.

Who are we?

We are standing in the waterfall

looking up

and losing ourselves,

drowned under the current.

‘God descends into thee forever’

​O Lady, Our Lord has become our brother and our Savior.

Like the flame in the burning bush, and the dew in the fleece: the Word of

God descends into thee forever.

The Holy Spirit hath made thee fruitful: the power of the Most High hath overshadowed thee.

Blessed be thy most pure conception: blessed be thy virginal bringing forth.

Blessed be the purity of thy body: blessed be the sweetness of the mercy of thy heart.

Glory be to the Father, etc.

-St. Bonaventure, Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Psalm 8

I am not the Christ

‘And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to him, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed and did not deny: and he confessed: I am not the Christ.’
[Jn 1:19–20 (D-R)]

John the Baptist’s self identity was simply ‘I am not the Christ.’ Who are you? Not the Christ.

There is a strong human tendency to believe that I am the Christ, and it is expressed in the most materialistic and most “spiritual” tendencies of humanity. I think as if I am the solution/saviour of the world.

I am not the Christ.

I suppose I have to do it myself, figure out the problems, answer the questions, heal the wounds. Either because I am so very good and holy, or because I am all we’ve got. Either way, it is the same essential pride.

I am not the Christ.

I am not the solution. I am not the answer. I am not the saviour.

I am not the Christ.

The truth is, I am the problem; I am the question; I am the… savee? [is there a word for one in need of saving?]

Jesus is the Christ, and I am the one in need of the Christ.

Because I am the problem, I will be solved. Because I am the question, I will be answered. Because I mourn, I will laugh. Because I am poor, I will be rich. Because I am not the Christ, I can receive the Christ entirely.

I am not the Christ.

This is what Christian holiness is. It is an absolute refusal to look to our own strength, wisdom, or goodness, which are each less than nothing, and instead abandoning ourselves entirely to God. He alone is our strength, our wisdom, and our goodness.

We are united to Him, because we are not Him. If we are not Him, we will be One with Him, as the Father and the Son are One. If we are Him, we will be utterly apart from Him.

Who am I? I am not the Christ.

God bless you.

The Experience Machine, the Nature of Reality, and God

Have you heard the thought experiment of The Experience Machine? If not, it’s roughly as follows:

Imagine there exists a machine, such that when you enter it, you experience a perfect universe. Everything you desire, is there. A personalised universe designed to make you as perfectly happy as it’s possible to be. Would you enter? Would you ever leave?

I think leaving would be the right choice. We ought to choose reality with suffering over happy illusions.

But I’m trying to pin down why the virtual reality of the machine is less real, and also less good, than the world outside it, and it’s not so clear to me. It feels real. Yes, it’s not physically real, but what’s the difference between our physical world and the virtual world, that behaves the same?

The best I’ve come up with so far, is this: reality doesn’t revolve around me. It lies outside of me, and isn’t dependent upon my will. It has a life of its own.

And this is infinitely better. Why? Because it makes communion, love and graciousness possible. The machine can provide every pleasure, but not these things, which make life life. The beauty of life is in being intruded on by the Other, giving ourselves to the Other, and both creating/becoming something new as a result. It’s sex, as opposed to masturbation. It’s the Trinity as opposed to the monad.

My questions seem to have found their answers 🙂. Even my next question, which I will share anyway.

If reality is outside of my power, is nothing real for God? Is God alone in an experience machine?

The answer is, that God is Trinity. God is the Lover, the Beloved, and the Fountain of Love between the two, and all three exist only in and as this Love. They do not exist, then love, or exist, then be loved. They love and are beloved and conceive love, from all eternity, and this is what God is.

May God bless you, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

Philosophy, Truth and Freedom

Everyone, no matter how much or little they are aware of it, lives within a worldview. For the most part, this is inherited from our families, media, and cultures, and accepted without a second thought. And this worldview determines your world, the world that you see and engage with.

But what if your worldview was wrong? You would be wrong about what can or cannot be done, or even worse, what ought or ought not be done. Our illusions enslave us, and we aren’t even aware of it.

And then, what if our worldview is wrong, and the world we’re actually in is enslaving us? We would be trapped in a prison which we can’t even see, because that prison is a part of us.

But if we had the true worldview, which is no longer a worldview, but transcends views to reach truth, then we would be free. Even in the darkest, coldest, smallest prison cell in the world, one who has Truth is utterly free, because they have reality. Their existence and their decisions are in their own hands, and no one can take these away.

‘The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.’

Philosophy is the search for the truth above and beyond all views, so that we can really live in the real world.

Perhaps the worldview we unquestioningly received just happens to be right. Maybe. But we can’t know until we loosen our grip on it, and seek the world that lies beyond the worldview. And we also can’t loosen our grip until we are aware of it.

Perhaps more than any other age in history, we are at risk of being enslaved by our illusions and ignorance, because we are the most distracted age in history. Our education levels are improving, but not for the most important questions. We run the extraordinary risk of becoming both the most educated and most closed minded people ever to exist.

And being closed minded, living in illusions, means being easily controlled, and liable to fall into hatred and evil.

We must all be philosophers. We must insist on truly living – living in truth – and accept nothing less. Everything but truth is nothing, and less than nothing.

The true philosopher is always a revolutionary. If they aren’t turning the world upside down, they are not seeking the truth, but are just shoring up views, and are not a philosopher at all.

But at the end of the philosopher’s journey, philosophy is finished. There is no worldview left to be turned upside down. There is only Truth, that is always upside down, and always right way up.

God bless you 🙂

The Gospel in the Altar Rail

The altar rail separates the congregation from the Sanctuary, symbolising our sin, separating us from Heaven and from God. The holy place is on that side, and we’re stuck on this side, able to look but not enter.

But the altar rail also stands for Christ Himself, who for our sake became sin. As the altar rail stands in the middle, as both sanctuary and nave, and the meeting point between them, so Christ, in becoming our sin, has made it the meeting point of heaven and earth.

And it’s at this meeting point that we come, right to the threshold of Heaven, to kneel down, receive God Himself into us, and take Him out into the world.

God bless you!

One great thing about praying to the Saints

is that I don’t need to pray well, or pray right, or pray holily, because there’s someone else who I know can and will do it for me. My prayers don’t need to be anything special, because I’m not relying on myself.

This is how all prayer should be: trusting the One who hears our prayers, and not the one who says them, or how they are said. The annoying thing is, when I try to do this, all too often I try to pray well, by trying not to try–stupid, right? Hopefully, as I learn more of God’s goodness, I’ll look less and less to myself and more and more to God.

It’s a fantastic thing, knowing that you’re part of the communion of the saints, and that there’s a whole army of angels and saints who always have your back. We never walk alone. We always have others to rely on.

I think God gives us the saints like He gave us Jesus, because we tend towards fearing and hiding from God, not trusting His merciful love. Saints can understand me, so I can trust them not to judge me. God is even better than His saints, but He reveals this through them, letting them incarnate His mercy.

God bless you!