Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Communion of Saints

I like the sound of those words, "The Communion of Saints". It comes from The Apostle's Creed. (Note: My wife and I are slowly becoming practicing Catholics. We practice prayer. We need the practice...) I think of the Saints as "my team". We cheer for them, they cheer for us. I promised Augustine...

Forgive the long quotes again from Hard Decisions:

"In his seminal Moral Man and Immoral Society, Niebuhr explains the sea change in his religious and political views by arguing for an interpretation of human nature that traces its origins to the fifth century and the theology of St. Augustine. The Gospel of Jesus Christs commands man to exercise perfect Christian love, but as Christs's suffering revealed, man is by nature incapable of such perfect love. (Emphasis, mine.) Human consciousness recognizes 'the ego as an insignificant point amidst the immensities of the world.' Man, in his distress, tries to aggrandize himself with a larger purpose, invest himself with absolute moral authority, particularly in the society he seeks to structure, 'to universalize himself and give his life a significance beyond himself.' Selfish desire corrupts man in all his social pursuits no matter how well intended. Utopian schemes, no less than the basest impulses of human beings, manifest that moral conceit, the original sin of pride, which makes an idol of our individual and collective goodness. Those who believe that Christ's perfect love is more than an ideal for which man should strive but, in fact, is attainable by human beings practice a heresy. They credit their own efforts with making a place for 'Christ in history, whereas the only true Christ is he who was crucified in history.' 'The quintessence of sin,' he later wrote, 'is, in short, that man changes the glory of the incorruptible God innto the image of corruptible man.' He always usurps God's place and claims to be the final judge of human actions."

Does not the left claim to be the judge of human actions? (In charity we, I, must admit to sharing in this same sin.) And this bears repeating, "Utopian schemes, no less than the basest impulses of human beings..." Think about that for a moment. Niebuhr is saying the basest impulses of the pedophile and the most virtuous imaginings of the Utopian idealist are flawed, and lead to the same ends. I oppose the Utopian schemes of the left because they bring about only misery. The scripture does not say, "Be thou in charge of perfecting the world", but "Be therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect." We have heard, too often the radio ads for University of St. Thomas, "Challenge yourself, change our world." This too is backwards, and ought to read, "Commit yourself to prayer".

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