Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Reflection on "The Interview with God"

Last night Monday March 12, 2018, I listened to a presentation by Cardinal Robert Sarah at St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica in Toronto. His words ring in my ears: Have time in silence with God your friend who loves you. It reminds us with the words of "the imagined" God in "The Interview with God" which we may listen to again here:  In this interview the seeker says "God's hand took mine and we were silent for a while." Yes, silent for a while! - Then he asked God "As a parent, what are some of life's lessons you want your children to learn?" "To learn they cannot make anyone love them - All they can do is let themselves be loved; To learn it is not good to compare themselves to others; To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness; To learn it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in those they love, and it can take many years to heal them; To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least; To learn there are people who love them dearly, but simply do not yet know how to express or show their feelings; To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it differently; To learn that it is not enough that they forgive one another, but they must also forgive themselves". When the seeker thanked God and asked him "Is there anything else you would like your children to know?" God smiled and said "Just know that I am here - Always..."
This dialogue was simply a dream in the video, but the reality as we know is expressed clearly in the words of Cardinal Robert Sarah.  He said that today's generation is too busy talking on smart phones and other technologies rather than spending sometime in silence with God. Technology is very useful that we can exchange views and hold discussions on social networks such as Facebook, but these too ought to be the means to preach the saving message that Christ brought to the world through the Church! Cardinal Sarah is known for his defence of Catholic moral teachings and is an outstanding spokesperson against two radical ideologies: One that threatens the family and life such as abortion, divorce, and same-sex marriage; and the second radical ideology that he strongly stands against is that of the morality of Islam such as child marriage, polygamy, and the subjection of women.
For the serious seekers they can pray to discover the truth of Christ, especially with the prayers of Immaculate Mary Mother of God incarnate -  Listen to the Church...Let us sing with her:

Friday, March 9, 2018

Man's Desire for Power

In reading history of cultures and civilizations, one cannot ignore the senseless desire for power that coexisted with the desire for peace in and between kingdoms, which today are called states. The desire to overrule others still exists in most nations and among them...
This is evident in very recent news:
1. Russia's President Vladimir Putin is not content with being a dictator for 3 terms and is planning to seize the presidency in the next term soon, but in his recent "State of the Nation Speech" reported by BBC on March 1, 2018, he unveiled military plans and spoke of using advanced high technology such as artificial intelligence and Big Data to implement them facing the U.S. Superpower and vowing to keep Western Europe in check regarding his adventures in Crimea, Georgia and beyond. A report on March 2 reasoned that Putin's nuclear slideshow echoes Cold War. See the reports here and here.
2. The U.S. President Donald Trump continues to impose tarrifs on industrial products imported in the U.S. as he vowed to deliver on his promise during the 2016 Presidential elections: "America First". The reactions from foreign countries and leaders of the European Union have been swift as they rejected his threats. See an updated report here.
3. Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, has invited Trump to meet in order to reduce the tension between America and North Korea as well as to denuclearize the Peninsula of Korea and ease tensions in East Asia. This is possibly a new tactic by Kim Jong Un since he needs to feed the aides of  his hungry people. Some analysis has emerged since this news became available on Thursday March 8, 2018 especially that both leaders of South Korea and China want to be there as each of their countries has a stake in any outcome. Trump accepted to meet with Kim Jong Un this year. Some analysis can be found here and here.
4. A profile of China's leader Xi Jinping was published in February 2018 which shows his imitation of the Culture Revolution of the 1940s - 1960s by his master Mao Zedong (here) while at the same time Xi Jinping reversed much of Mao's foreign policy and opened China to grasp as much as its business can in Africa, North America, and Europe with his new "Silk Road" initiative and high technology. China, no doubt, has become a leader in this information age.
4. While the above has been taking place, Turkey's Sunni Islamist Erdogan continues to challenge Syria's leadership as his troops invaded North Syria in an attempt to challenge Shiite Iran that supports Syria's Assad...He claims that his troops are after revolutionary Kurds and wants to finish them off although the White House warned him that the Kurds were instrumental in fighting ISIS or the IS which still operates in pockets within Europe. Turkey and Qatar are suspected to be behind the operations of today's Sunni radical Islam such as Daech while the Islamic Republic of Iran has its own Shiite militias such as Hizbulla in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq...

The above reminds us by René Girard's work on "Desire, Violence, and the Sacred" expressed in two of his theories:
1. Mimetic Rivalry - Desire for power leads a person to imitate his rival in what is called "Triangle of Subject, Object, and Model." A simple example: If a child sees a toy similar to his toy in the hands of another child happily enjoying it, the first child will imitate the second child and will want to obtain the second child's toy only because the second one enjoys it.  The Object is the toy; the Model is the second child; and the Subject is the first child. Imitation is the fundamental mechanism of human behavior...
2. The Scapegoat - This is the social collective violence that excludes and kills one that is different from the rest,  then feels the guilt and replay his victim as if he were a god; an exercise of Satanic measures in society found in primitive cultures.
After the 9/11, 2001 when planes were hijacked by Radical Islamists and crashed in the New York twin towers killing thousands in revenge against Western Christianity, Girard books became best-sellers. René Girard wrote in  First Things "Are the Gospels Mythical?" (here). The reader may wish to read the above article by René Girard in which he shows how the Gospels are real in history and that Jesus was crucified to reconcile humanity to the heavenly Father, with whom he is one in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

I knew about René Girard in the wake of the Regensburg Lecture given by the sharp mind of Pope Benedict XVI to his students at the University of Regensburg (read and print from here) and the reaction of Muslim authors notably this one (here) about René Girard's work on the centrality of the cross. From him I learned too about the Jesuit scholar Fr. Samir Khalil Samir, S.J. whose work on the Church's relation to Islam is magnificent. Again this is also found in lectures and homilies by another Jesuit scholar, Fr. Henri Boulad, S.J.(see his homily here in French, France October 15, 2017).
In 2009 I lectured about the work of René Girard at Jesus the King Melkite Catholic parish in Toronto. Fr. Georges Farah, whose credentials include a doctorate in philosophy and another in theology from The Sorbonne in Paris, commented at length on Girard's "Scapegoat" at the same parish. 

In November 2015, Girard passed away after building a school of intellectual followers (See He was remembered by no less than Bishop Robert Barron whose credentials include a doctorate in sacred theology from l'institut catholique de Paris and years of teaching on the theology and philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas in a number of international universities. The reader may wish to read and print Bishop Barron's article here: in which he concludes "The recovery of Christianity as revelation, as an unmasking of what all the other religions are saying, is René Girard's permanent and unsettling contribution".

"Come Lord Jesus!" says the writer of Revelation (Revelation 22, 20) - Come Love Divine - Let us  have hope that in spite of every selfishness and evil we are tempted with, Christ will prevail:

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Interview with God

Many years ago I listened to this amazing "Interview with God" video - You may wish to listen here:
The words attributed to God in an imaginative way in the video can stir in the listener a sense of inner peace that each of us needs in order to know the ultimate purpose in life: being in God! We find such wisdom in the video where the [dreamed of] God our Father replies to the questions of the seeker. Probably the most important replies are for people "To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in those they love, and it can take many years to heal them"; and "To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most but is one who needs the least...". In fact the entire dialogue contains some profound lessons and artistic natural scenes...
However, in order to live with God, everyone needs to properly deal with everyday's temptations. The purpose of Lent is precisely to follow Christ in his passion to the end which culminates in his crucifixion and death before his victory over death and evil. Lent is more than simply abstinence from food because it is meant to unleash the spiritual energy in every heart as the Holy Spirit works to help us mature in our relationships with God and his creation. In this effort, we could be helped by the Spiritual Exercises written by St. Ignatius of Loyola - An online outline can be found here:
It is good to remember that our Lord fasted for 40 days in the desert with nothing to eat while we have become busy with competition in work, and material entertainment and pleasure in order to forget our psychological problems and avoid responsible relationships in the family. Jesus was led to the desert by the Spirit in order to fast and was tempted by the Devil after his 40-days fast (Luke 4: 1-13). Note the words "When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time" (Luke 4: 13) which shows how the devil will attempt to tempt Jesus before his passion and death. By the same token, we sense that evil is around us all the time whether at work or within the fractured families and particularly in politics (the so-called politically-correct), commercials, and the media. The temptation is there and the tempter wants us to despair and lose faith in God and trust in people around us...
The above reminds me by the Blessed Virgin Mary who was always in the shadows when Jesus her son had his public ministry and performed his miraculous signs. She is hardly mentioned in the public ministry of Christ in the Gospel but we see her tender heart under the cross of her son crying silently in dignity. A replica of La Pieta by MichelAngelo Buonarotti of the Virgin Mary carrying the body of her son after his death is at St. Basil's Church in Toronto.
For us ordinary people, we take solace in the risen Christ and his mother who supplicates him in heaven for everyone! In history too, a few lay people have been canonized by the Church including St. Homobonus who was a generous lay businessman selling cloth fabrics and was famous at Cremona in North Italy of the late 12th century. Although his success made him wealthy, he devoted  himself to the needy and disinherited. He  died while attending daily Mass in 1197 and was canonized by Pope Innocent III only 14 months after his death. To read more about St. Homobonus, click here:
Probably St. Gianna Beretta Molla is the best-known layperson canonized by St. John Paul II in 2004. Born in Italy on October 4, 1922 and raised by devout parents, she  became a pediatrician in 1949. She was a devoted Christian who was active in St. Vincent de Paul Society helping the elderly and needy and in Catholic Action, a world-wide movement that promotes the social teachings of the Church. Happily married with 3 children, she was diagnosed with tumor in the uterus while pregnant with a fourth child in 1961. On April 21, 1962 the baby was delivered as she insisted that she would not accept the option of abortion. One week later, Gianna - a prayerful woman throughout her life who loved God - passed away from septic peritonitis. To read more about her life, click here:
It is fitting that we close this post with a hymn to Love Divine (Christ):
Let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for all of us who need the grace of God!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Jesus, The Healer of Man

Jesus Christ is The Alpha and The Omega in Revelation (Revelation 21: 6). He is the Lamb who will be on the Throne for eternity and will make all things new.  He is also the healer of humanity...I recall when, in 2005, I was recovering at Toronto General Hospital, after the surgery of partial nephrectomy performed by Dr. Michael Jewett, Professor at the University of Toronto, and the highest authority in Canada in treating Prostate and Urology illnesses in which he removed the cancerous tissues from my left kidney. At that time I opened the Bible and stopped at the Gospel according to St. Mark Chapter 1 where a leper asks Jesus whether he wishes to heal him of his leprosy and Jesus answers "I do will it. Be made clean" (here). He was moved by pity, tells us the Gospel's writer. And the leper was immediately healed.  How Christ our God loves humanity...It is a matter of love even if God allows temporary suffering or death. God still loves you and me. God is the lover for eternity because that is his Being as a Trinity in One. Saints say to the Lord: "Amen! Come Lord Jesus" or in Syriac, it starts with "Maran Atha" (Revelation 22: 20).
In the first half of the 20th century, the Jesuit scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin developed the evolution paradigm of creation in which the cosmos is evolving/expanding, and the human person leaps from the biosphere to the noosphere (the mind) and finally saved humanity will meet Christ the Omega Point! The ideas of Teilhard to Chardin have been favourably considered by recent Popes since Blessed Paul VI and St. John Paul II as well as Benedict XVI and Francis (see America here).
If the above tells us anything, it is probably better\to summarize it that God always sees what is the eternal "good" for everyone (cf. an article on "the Good" in the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas here) because God loves everyone. Christ loves everyone.
Christ healed me so many times - He gave me life that I do not deserve - See my lecture "A Living Miracle" here.
Can I at least attempt to respond to his outpouring love with the possible love I have towards Him, my family , friends, and the people I know ?...

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Threat of Radicals

I wrote much of what is here in March 2017. Almost a year later in February 2018, I see much the same but there are major differences too...

Turkey's Erdogan has dared to challenge Russia's President Vladimir Putin by digging a channel in the Black Sea in the hope of ruling the connection and, therefore, the trade between Russia and China on one hand and Europe on the other hand. He calls it a safe channel although this Islamist and Qatar's Tamim remain responsible for activities of the Muslim Brothers and other terrorist organizations in much of the world's countries notably the latest in Egypt's Sinai. Turkey has also launched an attack by troops in North Syria claiming that the Kurds, who live there, are responsible for terrorist activities within it thus bringing a warning from Washington to refrain from this attack. This is also seen as a struggle with Shiite Iran which together with Russia helped Syria's Assad win a 7-years war. Russia and Iran may get involved. It could be catastrophic for Lebanon too.

The terrorism events that took place in North America and Europe in the past few months have left an indelible mark on Christians that they have entered a decisive moment of fight against global terrorism linked to the tragic massacres of innocents by Radical Islam whether in the Middle East or outside its geographic boundaries in Europe and Africa. In 2016 the popular Bishop Robert Barron wrote about the massacres of the Islamic State here.
In his address to Congress on Tuesday February 28, 2017 the American President Trump vowed to protect Christians from Islamic terrorism while allying America with Israel and most Muslim countries against Radical Islam. He is also increasing the military capacity of the American military global system in order to defeat any power that challenges the Superpower. It seems that if there is a Third World War, it will be launched in space since America's NASA has been working with Google scientists to deliver quantum computers, the fastest and most efficient in any space war. China too has released information that it is researching the capacity of going to the Moon. Russia, without doubt, has a strong capacity of nuclear weapons in space. Scientists from many countries have been working tirelessly at "The Large Hadron Collider" in Switzerland to find the little sub-particles that constitute the atoms which in turn open the  capacity to more dangerous nuclear  weapons. And North Korea too has launched a number of nuclear missiles. Iran has been trying to create the first Islamic Shiite nuclear power especially since the Obama administration agreed to help their scientists. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a pro-abortionist and his programs deny assistance to pro-life organizations (e.g. Birth Right; Knights of Columbus). This is is only the beginning of calamities if people of good will do not recognize the signs of times and act decisively to turn things around. 

If you look at our world today this is what you will see:
1. A global economic change with the fast advance of systems technology. Millions have lost their jobs or are going to lose them - This is particularly critical for young adults who have just graduated from university or college but cannot find a permanent job in their careers AND requires Churches/Christian organizations to help ours where possible ;

2. A global political crisis, where the European Union is disintegrating after the British Exit due to an unbalanced welcome of refugees into Europe from the Arab world and North Africa especially by Germany's Angela Merkel who leads the European Union into an economic disaster. Powers from the Far East especially China challenge the Western powers through their "Silk Road" economic entrance in North America, Europe and Africa while the leader of North Korea dares to play with nuclear missiles and challenges the Superpower of America;
3. Israel and radical Muslims are making every effort to escalate the situation in the Middle East to a violent war - Hizbullah and Iran are considered a threat by Israel's leaders. On the other hand the American President Trump vowed to protect America's allies in the Middle East, notably Israel. Trump toured the Middle East major allied countries starting with Saudi Arabia and finishing with Israel. He sold American advanced weapons to America's allies thus strengthening both Saudi Arabia and Israel against Iran. In December 2017, Trump vowed to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel in moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Palestinian Fatah condemned this move and carried their cause to the United Nations General Assembly which duly supported Fatah. 

The Arab Spring (over 6 years now) supported by the past Obama government has failed to improve the lives of people it promised and was hijacked by Muslim extremists which in turn started wars of divisions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Syria and Iraq, killed many innocent Muslims and minority Christians (the scapegoat in Girardian language) and are now attempting to recreate an Islamic Caliphate which threatens to raise the black flag of Daech/ISIS over the entire free world -  Al-Azhar Muslim University and its Imam in Egypt  adhere to the same doctrine of ISIS but unjustly claim that Christians and Jews are the ones who cause terrorism;
4. A global food crisis continues to rage in Africa, South America and the underdeveloped countries caused in part by insufficient resources that are already controlled by local dictators and an increasing imbalance between the wealth of the North and that of the South caused in part by an imperialistic American and Western European free-market monopoly;
5. The most influential moral voice in the world, that of Pope Francis, is attempting to be moderate in his exhortations and homilies but demands European governments to open their countries boundaries to the above-mentioned refugees thus unknowingly exposing European countries to the possibility of receiving terrorists among those refugees in the name of compassion. This requires more screening of refugees who land in Europe usually through Greece and Italy. Turkey on the other hand claimed that the European Union failed to repay Turkey for the many refugees it held in order not to cross to Europe.

Can we read the beginning of the end in today's events? We know that, according to modern Biblical scholarship, the book of Revelation was written in the late 90s, as Apocalyptic literature to warn Christians and give them hope in the persecutions of the 1st century. Having said that, let's look afresh at Revelation and see whether there can be any interpretation for our world today as well. Sometimes the same text can reflect a myth and a literal event too. Can this be the case here? The New American Bible Revised Edition (approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) in the introduction to the Book of Revelation says "The Book of Revelation had its origin in a time of crisis, but it remains valid and meaningful for Christians of all time. In the face of apparently insuperable evil, either from within or from without, all Christians are called to trust in Jesus' promise, 'Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age' (Matthew 28:20)"

Revelation is a complex book, so I intend only to show similarities from the Book to what we are seeing today. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there are 5 important symbolic figures: The Lamb, the woman, and her seed; and opposed to them, the dragon, the beast from the sea, and the beast from the land.

Scholars dig deep into the Old Testament: The main idea is taken from Genesis 3:15. "I will put enmities between you (the serpent) and the woman, and your seed and her seed". The woman is arrayed in heavenly splendour; a crown of twelve stars on her head and the sun and the moon under her feet (cf. Genesis 37:9-10). She is in travail. Her first-born is destined to rule all the nation (Psalms 2:8, 9). She herself, and her other seed, are persecuted for three and a half years by the great dragon who tries to kill them. The great dragon is Satan (Genesis 3:1). He is cast out of heaven. With his tail he drags after him one-third of the stars. Taken from Daniel 8:10. The fallen stars are the fallen angels. The beast from the sea is in great part taken from Daniel's description of the four beasts (Daniel 7). It arises from the sea; has seven heads marked all over with blasphemies (probably a reference to Rome - City of the Seven Hills, called also Babylon or the Harlot in the New Testament since at the time it was the center of evil and idolatry for Christians). It had also ten horns, like the fourth beast of Daniel; it resembled a leopard, the third beast of Daniel, it had feet like a bear, the second beast of Daniel; and teeth like a lion, the first beast of Daniel. The great dragon gives full power to the beast, where all the world will worship it. The followers of the beast have its mark on their head and hand. The beast from the land has two horns like a ram. Its power lies in its art of deceiving by means of tokens and miracles. Throughout the remainder of the book it is called the false prophet. Its office is to assist the beast from the sea, and to induce people to adore its image.

The first act of the drama concludes with a promise of victory over the beast by the Lamb of God. We can safely see in the woman Mary immaculate whose seed is Jesus the Lamb of God. Other interpretations think of it as a symbol of the Church in her suffering and ultimate glory. The drama completes when the "New Jerusalem" is founded. She will need no light because the Father and the Lamb will be her light - the light of the Holy Spirit. A great number of people; thousands over thousands will be in the triumphant city. Meanwhile let's attempt to follow the visionary.

We can see in the Dragon the Devil. But who are the Beast and the False Prophet? The New Jerome Biblical Commentary in 1990 gives a contemporary interpretation pointing out that the beast from the sea and the beast from the earth have both mythic and historical references. Sea in the Old Testament is an opponent of God (Cf. Ps. 74:13). In Revelation, the beast from the sea is a mythical symbol of chaos and rebellion. The beast from the earth (13:11-18) is also a counter image to the Lamb. The beast from the earth is described as a false prophet, probably an agent of the Roman empire who promoted the cult of the emperor and the goddess Roma.

The following is my own interpretation based on my readings, but mostly based on what we are seeing today. I think, and I stand to be corrected, that the False Prophet is Radical Islam and the Beast is the materialist postmodern world of the West. We can consult the "Clash of Civilizations" that Samuel Huntington wrote in the 1990s, although this is not necessary.

The False Prophet: From a historic perspective, I do note that the human race was warned in 1917 by Our Lady at Fatima and that the "Third Secret of Fatima" was officially interpreted as the assassination attempt on the life of Saint Pope John Paul the Great. But may be that attempt was only the first of calamities that humanity will have to suffer as the sons and daughters of Abraham, Jews and Muslims, fight to death. Recall also that for 60 years now, Israel is back as one Jewish nation, and since 1967 it has reoccupied Jerusalem thus fulfilling the prophecy of the end of time attributed to Christ "and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." (Luke 21: 24). Furthermore, we can go back to the early 1930s and find the established "Muslim Brotherhood" which claims support from Muslims worldwide. But two centuries earlier Mohammed Ibn Abdel-Wahhab had preached a puritan form of Islam that forbids devotional customs such as shrines for saints and visitation of tombs. He and his followers made a pact with Mohammed bin Saud whose successors prevailed in Arabia and were given the land by the British after World War I.  Today Saudi Arabia, a rich Arab Sunni Muslim country, exports the Wahabbi/Salafist thought (with oil from its oil reserves) to other countries in the world and has its own agenda as a regional power. In addition since 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been tirelessly exporting its strict Shiite doctrine to the entire Islamic world. In 1972, President Sadat released Muslim extremists from jail and was subsequently assassinated by one of their groups in 1981. By 1982, the motto "Islam is the Solution" had appeared in Egypt. It is no accident that the revival of fundamentalist Islam has spread in all the Arab world and the Muslim nations in spite of persecution by governments loyal to the West. From Sudan, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India there is a huge following of fundamentalist Muslims. There have been incidents of fundamentalist rebellion in the Philippines (Abu Sayyaf).

This is only a general picture. Now, I would like to give some details: Although many people are driven to think that this is a Western propaganda and political conflict, I believe that the Vatican would not have protested repeatedly in recent years against persecution and killing of Christians in Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, India, Algeria, and Egypt unless there was ground for such violation of human freedom and dignity. The Jesuit scholar Fr. Henri Boulad, S.J. who lives in Egypt said in October 2017 that persecution of Christians continues in Egypt while condemning the atheist Europe that forgot its Christian roots (here in French). Fundamentalist Islam today, spreading in Europe at a huge rate is one of the major forces that Western Europe had to deal with since 9/11 and is still unable to contain. The late Libyan leader Qaddafi was quoted to have said in 2007 that by 2050 Europe will be completely Muslim. Huge money is spent on building mosques and Islamic schools and supporting Muslim organizations in the entire world. Financing is coming from Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Qatar. In Ontario, Canada, the Muslim community attempted, in 2007, to have its own Sharia legalized for Muslims living in Ontario, but their attempt was declined – Muslims today have their own quarters and villas north of Toronto the industrial capital of Canada, and a Muslim politician is today the Minister of Immigration in the Trudeau Liberal Government of Canada. The Trudeau Government is bringing some 45,000 refugees (mostly Muslims that may include terrorists) thus exposing Canadians to terrorism. The exception is probably the new American Conservative administration under Donald Trump that promised to fight radical Islamic terrorism. Add to the above the violent character of such organizations as Hamas, governing Gaza in Palestine and until now refusing to recognize the right of Israel to exist, and Hizbullah which has a majority support in Lebanon since its victory over Israel in 2006. Iran, another regional power hopeful and opposed to Turkey and Saudi Arabia, is attempting to build its nuclear power and its leaders have vowed to extinguish Israel. Is this enough for describing a false prophet?

The Beast: This is the great desolation of Western civilization. If I have to explain it in detail it will take me a full week. Just briefly: It started with the Reformation in the 16th century. Martin Luther thought that every individual Christian is free to interpret Scriptures according to what he feels the Holy Spirit is telling him. This idea created "individualism." Individualism is rampant today, thanks to other modern philosophers such as the existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre - Only me counts -"The other is my hell." It is interesting to note how this has been applied successfully in contemporary thought and technology too. Nothing is done in a vacuum. One thing you must understand is that we are all related in this cosmos. Following Luther in interpreting St. Paul, Calvin thought that God predestined people as he willed to heaven or hell so if they were destined to heaven they will also be blessed here on earth. John Courtney Murray, S.J. who was the main contributor to Vatican II's "Declaration on Freedom of Religion" wrote how Calvinism re-emerged in North-America. Calvinism was brought by the early Europeans to America.  Soon enough the idea of individualism combined with the idea of blessedness on earth and produced the idea of Capitalism long before Adam Smith thought of it in economic terms. In simple terms, if I am blessed here as a Christian, I would rather use all the resources available to me to realize this blessing on earth as much and as wide as possible. This is greed in the form of Capitalism. Sure I will help the needy but I will also help myself much more from what they have. The earth is mine and I will explore its richness to the end! Today, Capitalism rules the earth. Free market enslaves people. Recall the political and economic pressure by the IMF on the underdeveloped countries to free their economy in the 1980s and 1990s. What is the global crisis but the result of that greed globally? Why is the globe in economic recession today but because of the powerful wanting more power and meanwhile robbing the nations of Africa and Asia from their resources? It is part of the nationalist movements' claims in the underdeveloped world. The entire U.N. charter is only ink on paper...Along with Capitalism a twin ideology was born: materialism.

Since the Enlightenment in the 19th century West, philosophers and scientists have been asking whether there is indeed any reality beyond matter. Some great materialist/atheist philosophers include Hume, Voltaire, Marx, Carnap, Wittgenstein of the Vienna Club, Derrida, more recently Michel Foucault and many others such as the late atheist author Christopher Hitchens and Harvard's Steven Pinker. The "New Atheists" of today such as Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss are scientists who devote much time attacking religion because they constrain their research to what is observable in the cosmos. In schools today, our children learn mostly what constitutes physics but very little, if any, about metaphysics (i.e. beyond physics).

Today we see how our consumerist society has invested in this ideology. Businesses flourish based on selling products to consumers. The more we consume the more business flourishes. This is the child of materialism married to capitalism. With globalization in the 1980s-1990s and beyond, large businesses and huge investors were able to reach the entire globe. Europe and the Far East imitated America and did the same. Who paid the price? Ordinary people like you and me.  Materialism also bore the ideology of Communism which was carried out in Russia and persecuted religion from 1917 to 1989 in the USSR and Eastern Europe. Today Communism still lives in political pockets in Europe and is widely known under a more moderate name as socialism. Communism robbed people of their rights to private property. People became enslaved to the government of their land. It engulfed a whole generation of thinkers, even within the Church particularly in Latin America where people remain quite poor. Capitalist America supported dictatorial regimes in Latin America in order to suppress these movements.

Another twist of the moral order took place in the two World Wars. Because many men were sent to the battlefield women were forced to work in order to support their families. Understandably feminism was born  in the early 1920s and grew quickly in the 1940s and 1950s. Women started building their own career like men. Equality with men, not only in dignity but in all aspects of roles in business as well as at home was demanded. However, Radical Feminism and business competition required more business roles for women.  This started the collapse of the family as we know it. Today we know many men and women who are, contrary to the moral Law, legally divorced. The feminist movement also produced legalization of abortion as the right of woman according to the land's law has a priority over the existence of the fetus in her womb. The Western civilization lost millions of unborn babies in this genocide. By the 1960s the sexual revolution was in the making, this time freeing people from the sex complex as defined by Freud. Soon afterwards, it became common that young people practice their intimate sexual "love" in the public with no shame. Today we know of couples who live together a life of sexual promiscuity and adultery without marriage or within marriage by prior agreement.

The last evil came under the influence of the philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (died a patient in a psychiatric hospital; 1900) who is known by his proclamation of the "the death of God". The ideology is known as Moral Relativism: Nietzsche sees the slave-morality as a social illness that has overtaken Europe — a derivative and resentful value which can only work by condemning others as evil. In Nietzsche's eyes, Christianity exists in a hypocritical state wherein people preach love and kindness but find their joy in condemning and punishing others for pursuing those ends which the slave-morality does not allow them to act upon publicly. Nietzsche calls for the strong in the world to break their self-imposed chains and assert their own power, health, and vitality upon the world. In Relativism (called also Postmodernism), everyone is right. There is no absolute right and absolute wrong. This helps political correctness in the pluralistic world of today.

In my humble opinion, we need to pay attention to the present, learn lessons from the past, and pray for the future. We seem to have lost our way between the False Prophet (Radical Islam) and the Beast (Western Civilization).

There is a tremendous thirst in the young generations for spiritual nourishment that gives meaning to their lives. Let us focus on those ones for their deprivation of spiritual nourishment leads them to emptiness and depression which in turn cause suicide or worse they could join the extremist Jihadists (as we already see in Europe and North America) and we end up having a crazy army of terrorists killing themselves and us in the name of God as prophesied "children will rise against parents and have them put to death"(Matthew 10:21). Churches are "not museums" according to Saint Pope John XXIII. They must be the light for nourishment of Christians, notably the young and (almost) lost generations, in everything that they need to learn to live spiritually and survive materially i.e. to develop in their knowledge and love of God and of others.Virtual websites for Church activities and online social networking need to be developed for those who are far.

The world needs a lot of prayer and intelligent collaboration in good faith to avoid a clash of civilizations and a third World War, something that Pope Francis warned about. Christians need to respect and love their fellow Muslims who worship the same God - The crimes of extremists cannot be counted against the majority of Muslims. We hope that the warnings of Fatima will be avoided. Mary is the mother of both Christians and Muslims, and as Bishop Fulton sheen said, Mary will bring them all to her Son.

But more prayers are needed to save the civilization of the West from destroying itself internally. This is the harder one. We believe in what the Saviour said 'Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age' (Matthew 28:20).

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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