Maybe it wasn’t God, afterall?
CS Lewis : “At the very worst the issue is made clear the fog of religion and convention wisdom is lifted and the position and number of both armies can be observed and real shooting is made possible."
O happy confession! I went just this morning. Life begins again with renewed hope for the coming days, maybe, many years, or, perhaps, only moments. I just need to go forward, open to life and, most of all, charity, giving it, as best I can with apologies to match my failures.
A powerful instinct, certainly not reserved for me alone, tells me that the grave in not the end. If it were, what a mockery the sacrifices of caring and struggle, war, family, and country, if it were, I can see why the practical atheist and agnostic would advocate for the convenience of death in the womb, the rallying cry of the pragmatic "progressive" society, planning to bring forth only as much life as it can use. If no resurrection of the dead, why the fuss to perfume our living corpses. Blessed be the grave, bring it on, O happy holocaust!
My sad suppositions terrify me. Give me that candle to carry into the darkness and the holy regard of those praying for the dead. I am not alone in desiring eternity, and the company of the living forever. It is the sun that comes up every morning and the hope that can only be fulfilled in One who is more than matter, and yet, matter does testify by it very existence, in its coming to be, and, so my hope is that He that brought it forth, love me into the infinity of His Being.
“Cell phones, Blackberries, e-mail, laptops allowing people to bring their work anywhere, news arriving in perfectly condensed and filtered snippets via the Internet and TV, never before has communication been so instantaneous and information distributed so quickly. Never before have people been so connected.”
“One would assume that this preponderance of advanced communication technology would promote a well-informed and close-knit society. While this is true to some extent and there are many benefits to be gained from these technologies, award-winning author and journalist Maggie Jackson surprisingly has found that compared to past generations, we are in fact less capable of quality analytical thinking, more ignorant about many issues, and more fragmented as a community. Never before have we been so disconnected.” Source:Medical News Today
The subject caught my attention, so I guess I still am capable of attention. However, it caught my attention simply because it seems something is always vying for my attention. There’s that nagging feeling, I’m forgetting something; worse still, that I’m forgetting Someone.
I can’t complain because things are rather simple around here. Kids are off being mature adults. Only a husband and dog – neither demanding – have a real claim on my time. I’m not even as plugged in as the rest of society seems to be. I don’t walk around talking into space with a thing in my ear. Why, I’ve even got the computer under control. (Husband might seriously ???) So, I ask myself, “Why self? What’s our problem?”
Enter Maggie Jackson, who wrote, DISTRACTED: THE EROSION OF ATTENTION AND THE COMING DARK AGE (Prometheus Books). Medical News today writes:
Jackson’s definition of “attention” stems from studies in neuroscience that have identified a cognitive system comprised of three networks – awareness, focus, and executive attention (planning and decision making) – that work together to act as the “brain’s conductor, leading the orchestration of our minds.” The awareness and focus networks are systems responsible for gathering information about the environment, and the executive attention network is responsible for making decisions based on that information. Sustained attention is necessary for learning, deep thinking, emotional development, building relationships, and many other essential tasks. Attention is the building block of intimacy, wisdom, and cultural progress. Without it, it would be impossible to function in any meaningful way. In today’s world, this altered perspective has been greatly accelerated. Cell phones, e-mails, and numerous other devices compete for our attention. Because of this constant nagging, it becomes nearly impossible to utilize our capacity for sustained attention, and the implications are felt in business, the home, and society at large.
Jackson notes that the average worker switches tasks every three minutes and once interrupted takes nearly half an hour to go back to the original task. Families and friends find it increasingly difficult to meet face-to-face and even more difficult to do so without interruption or willful multitasking. News segments bombard us with superficially simple pieces of information. We have essentially been ushered into a world of constant distraction in which reflective thinking and undivided attention (single-tasking) has become exceedingly rare.
Jackson further laments: “The erosion of attention is largely equivalent to the erosion of our society.”
Not to worry, forewarned is forearmed. Awareness is half the battle. Bewareness is the other half. The world is a little ditsy in its quest for self-awareness and I think, goes off the deep end into navel-gazing and self-absorption. Inner strength, on the other hand, stems from an inner joy. That’s what I don’t want to lose. The acronym JOY still works for me. When you’re frazzled, check your priorities: Jesus, Others, Yourself.
A call to action delivered by Cardinal Francis George:
As Catholic bishops and American citizens, we are deeply concerned that such an action on the government’s part would be the first step in moving our country from democracy to despotism. Respect for personal conscience and freedom of religion as such ensures our basic freedom from government oppression. No government should come between an individual person and God–that’s what America is supposed to be about. This is the true common ground for us as Americans. We therefore need legal protection for freedom of conscience and of religion–including freedom for religious health care institutions to be true to themselves.”
Full text follows:
“Hello. I am Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I’d like to take a moment to speak about two principles or ideas that have been basic to life in our country: religious liberty and the freedom of personal conscience.
On Friday afternoon, February 27, the Obama Administration placed on a federal website the news that it intends to remove a conscience protection rule for the Department of Health and Human Services. That rule is one part of the range of legal protections for health care workers–for doctors, nurses and others–who have objections in conscience to being involved in abortion and other killing procedures that are against how they live their faith I God.
As Catholic bishops and American citizens, we are deeply concerned that such an action on the government’s part would be the first step in moving our country from democracy to despotism. Respect for personal conscience and freedom of religion as such ensures our basic freedom from government oppression. No government should come between an individual person and God–that’s what America is supposed to be about. This is the true common ground for us as Americans. We therefore need legal protection for freedom of conscience and of religion–including freedom for religious health care institutions to be true to themselves.
Conscientious objection against many actions is a part of our life. We have a conscientious objection against war for those who cannot fight, even though it’s good to defend your country. We have a conscientious objection for doctors against being involved in administering the death penalty. Why shouldn’t our government and our legal system permit conscientious objection to a morally bad action, the killing of babies in their mother’s womb? People understand what really happens in an abortion and in related procedures–a living member of the human family is killed–that’s what it’s all about–and no one should be forced by the government to act as though he or she were blind to this reality.
I ask you please to let the government know that you want conscience protections to remain strongly in place. In particular, let the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington know that you stand for the protection of conscience, especially now for those who provide the health care services so necessary for a good society. Thank you and God bless you.”
acertainslantoflight writing in Catholics in the Public Square reports the meeting of President Obama with Cardinal Francis George. “The statement from the USCCB said: “The meeting was private. Cardinal George and President Obama discussed the Catholic Church in the United States and its relation to the new administration. The meeting lasted approximately 30 minutes.”
Private, yes, but one can guess that Obama’s attack on conscience issues in health related fields had to be in mind and mouth. The meeting followed by one day Cardinal George’s warnings of emerging “depotism” with the removal of conscience protection.
EWTN report here