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Is it God's fault? How does God influence?

How does God influence events in human history? If we credit him whenthings go well, shouldn’t we also blame him when they go wrong?

Father Stevens:

This brings up a whole host of questions. When things go wrong in ourlives, who’s to blame? For the most part, Scripture just doesn’t dealwith these questions. In a sense, that is one of the messages of Jesus:Assigning blame is not a huge priority of his. He just doesn’t speakabout this. I think it’s interesting that when he answers the questionabout the people who were killed by the falling tower at Siloam, hemakes it clear that they were no more guilty than any others. (Lk 13:4)There’s a certain kind of humility we have to attend to this – that weare dealing with a great mystery, the mystery of suffering. It’s notjust that we can’t answer this question; it’s that it’s almostoffensive that we even attempt to try.

Father Schoenstene:

God is involved in human life to such a degree that he became one ofus. He is obviously interested in who we are and what happens to us.There are a number of causes – he can directly cause as he does increation. There are also big things like the law of gravity and smallthings like today’s weather that are indirect causes. Sometimes thereis a direct intervention by God and we call that a miracle. Sometimeslife just takes its course and we take it as it comes

Then how does God influence our daily lives?

Father Stevens:

Through every aspect that he made. He influences the course of events;we believe in the Lord of history. We do believe that time isultimately under the influence of God. Time is not merely a randomseries of events, but it is providential. It is a drama that isunfolding to us that he has established. He works and influencesthrough the creative things that he has made – through matter. He alsoendowed us with spirit, with souls, with the depths of our hearts. Hegave us minds. All these things which come from  God – everything – arealso means by which God acts. They are also the means by which Godreaches out from his world and draws us into his world. That’s part ofbeing Catholic – we believe that matter matters!

Father Schoenstene:

We can choose or reject God. But in a strange way, God uses what peoplechoose to do for his own purposes. This is a paradox. Although Godrespects our free will, he is working everything toward a purpose.Christians believe in eternal life – and everything is working towardthat. A lot of daily events are sort of bland, but sometimes accidentand illness occurs and we say it’s bad. Sometimes, however, we may lookback later and see that God opened many doors out of something thatseemed bad.

 

Are you a heretic?

What do you believe about original sin? Do you believe:

a.  that humanity is implicated by the personal sin of Adam, which was transmitted to all mankind?

b.  that Adam condemned humankind by his bad example, and that we can save ourselves by our good actions, assisted by the grace of God?

If you answered b, you may have fallen into the heresy of Pelagianism, which teaches that there is no such thing as original sin. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice.” (CCC404)

 

Where in the world …

These five towns were destroyed by God for their wickedness. They were called “cities of the plain” because they were located on a plain of the Jordan River, near the border of Canaan. Abraham’s nephew, Lot, made his home in the most famous of these towns, Sodom. When Lot and his family escaped the destruction being wrought by God, Lot’s wife looked back at their former home and was turned into a pillar of salt. What are these five towns named?

Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, and Bela (Zoar)

 

Symbols: 7

The number 7 is a symbol of all association with God in Judaism: The candlestick had seven lamps, the Sabbath is the seventh day, and the Sabbatical year is the seventh year, and the Jubilee is based on the number 7. Thus, Jesus’ command to forgive 70 times seven is an allusion to holy Jewish numbers.

 

Philosopher of the month

Plato (428-348 BC approx.)

Prior to studying theology, seminarians study philosophy, which is defined as “the love of wisdom.” Many great theologians have thoughts rooted in pre-Christian philosophers, and we are going to profile some of them in this series.

Who was he? Plato was a Greek philosopher and mathematician who is believed to have been a student of Socrates. He was the son of Ariston and Perictione, who was a relative of the famous poet Solon. Plato’s original name was Aristocles, but he got the nickname Platon, or broad, from his wrestling coach.

What did he do? Plato wrote a number of philosophical dialogues and founded the Academy of Athens, which was the earliest organized schools in the West. He presented his philosophy in a series of dialogues between other characters, as if Plato overheard a conversation in the marketplace. Some of the more famous dialogues tell the story of Socrates’ philosophy and death, and much of Plato’s philosophy is conveyed through the words attributed to Socrates. The best known dialogue is probably the Republic.. One of the most common attributes of platonic thought is that the material world represents a shadow of the true world, and that few are able to climb out of the cave of ignorance that comprises the world of the senses.