God — the Supreme Being

The first question we wish to deal with is, what proof have we that there is a God? This is the question which all infidels ask. They want you to prove to them in so many words and by reasoning and the power of logic whether God lives. But the burden of the proof falls to the lot of those who doubt or deny that God lives, and they should be asked, what proof have they that there isn’t a God? One of the great proofs of the presence of God is the beauty and unity of this universe in which we live. No one could be so blind as to deny that there is a God at the control of the universe. Who can look up at the sky on a bright, clear night, and, having watched the myriads of stars and planets whirling through space, was not awed with the majesty, the beauty and magnificence of this world, this home of ours. Who would not be impressed without feeling awed by a sense of reverence and join the Sacred Writer in saying, «The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork. This is indeed my Father’s world and He made everything for man to enjoy it lawfully.» Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The perception of beauty

The recent questions about knowing God – which I have described as something that often comes to me in the “peripheral vision” of my life – seems somehow related to the perception of beauty as well. Beauty often seems to be “greater than the sum of its parts.” We see beauty not simply by looking at a thing – but by seeing it. Many people look at icons – a rightly prepared heart is required in order to see an icon. Beauty is not an object to be manipulated – but always a gift and a wonder to be venerated. So, too, our knowledge of God. Thus the knowledge of God seems radically different than the knowledge we gain by the exercise of our rational faculty. God cannot be mastered or measured. Even though He has given us words to express Him – He cannot be contained in the words. As the Fathers of the 7th Council said, “Icons do with color what Scripture does with words.” I would suggest that it is also true that Scripture does with words what icons do with color. With that – some brief thoughts on beauty. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

To Live in Wonder

Concepts create idols; only wonder grasps anything – St. Gregory of Nyssa

St. Gregory’s marvelous dictum is among a handful of things that describe what is required for the Christian life. So much of Christian history has been marked with a bifurcation – a split between those who study the faith and those who live it. It is not a necessary split – only a common one. Of course there is the larger number of Christians who do neither.

But wonder is an essential attitude of heart – without it – we will see nothing as it truly is.

The Scriptures tell us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” – which also means that other human beings should be approached with awe and wonder. We will not see them nor love them as we ought if our heart is dwelling in some other mode.

I tend to see wonder in two particular places – in children and in those of older years. My own children have always been a revelation of the world about me – a chance to see the world as though for the first time. To watch the wonder of a child beset with the jaded cynicism of our culture is surely to see one of the most crucial battles of our age. Cynicism is generally always correct, but it lacks the wonder that alone would reveal its error.

The wonder of older years has been something of a new revelation for me – if only because I barely qualify for “older years.” I will turn 57 later this year. But I have been around long enough to see my last child enter college. I have been blessed with 34 years of marriage. With those years comes an increasing sense of wonder at how things have worked together to be what they are. I am less impressed with my choices and the power to choose. Rather I am overwhelmed at the good that has come to me that I did not know to choose (and it came unbidden). Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Opacity of Sin

“And this is the condemnation: that the light has come into the world and men preferred darkness to the light for their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

There is an opacity to sin: we do not see through it. Sin sheds light on nothing beyond itself. It refers only to itself and because of this it is darkness.

It is the nature of light to give beyond itself and what it illumines becomes light as well to a certain extent. Light always reaches out. Light is never turned inwards.

Read more…

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