Showing posts with label Free Will. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Free Will. Show all posts

5 Mar 2017

Living With Consequences

I've missed one morning set, and several of the evening prayer sequences, in the routine I started February 13. (February 19, 2017)

I'm doing a little better with so far with the Lenten Chaplet. I started that Ash Wednesday.

Emphasis on "so far." I nearly forgot twice, which doesn't surprise me. There's a very good reason for my wife handling the household's schedules, and that's another topic.

This is where I could quote Romans 7:19 and launch into a 'wretcheder than thou' lament. It'd be accurate, on one level, since I've felt this way often enough....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

15 Jan 2017

Life, Death, and Choices

Last week's Gospel reading, Matthew 2:1-12, ends with a sort of cliffhanger. "Magi from the east" arrived in Bethlehem, found our Lord's house, and paid their respects....

...Or maybe not so much — we read Matthew 2:13-18 on December 28. I don't suppose we'll see the massacre of the innocents1 in an animated Christmas special any time soon. It's far from the most cheerful parts of the Bible.

That didn't keep folks in Coventry from including it in their Shearmen and Tailors' Pageant. We got "Coventry Carol" from that mystery play....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

13 Nov 2016

Satan Didn’t Make Me Do It

Gustave Doré illustration for Canto XXXIV of Divine Comedy, Inferno, by Dante Alighieri; via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.

Depending on who you listen to, Satan prowls Earth's surface, lives in the White House, lurks in Hell, or doesn't exist.

About Satan and devils in general, I think C. S. Lewis made a good point....

...I like most of Gustave Doré's work. That's his illustration for Canto XXXIV of Dante's "Divine Comedy," Inferno....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

6 Nov 2016

Sin, Original and Otherwise

There's trouble everywhere, and that's not news. It's not new, at any rate.
"Your princes are rebels and comrades of thieves; Each one of them loves a bribe and looks for gifts. The fatherless they defend not, and the widow's plea does not reach them."
(Isaiah 1:23)

"Yes, I know how many are your crimes, how grievous your sins: Oppressing the just, accepting bribes, repelling the needy at the gate!"
(Amos 5:12)
How come the world is such a mess, and has been at least since we started keeping records?

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

1 Jan 2016

Schindler's List / Penance! Penance! Penance!

God speaks to us in many ways, leading us to who we are truly supposed to be.  Most people, push away the harder, more eternal truths because frankly, they are quite terrifying.  God is far more terrifying than the devil ever thought about being.  Most people are like the German's that lived around the Death Camps during WWII, vaguely aware of what the real truth is, but pushing it away because it would interfere with their everyday lives and security.  People hate change and few will embrace it even for themselves, nevertheless for the good of another.   But some will, even at great risk to themselves.  These brave souls are needed even today.  

You see, what happened in Schindler's list is happening even today....TO READ MORE...CLICK HERE.

14 Jun 2015

Connecting To Heaven

As a Mathematician I have a great hunger for knowledge.  I seek knowledge in Mathematics like a bulldog would, I dig in, latch on, and don't let go until I have what I want.  Because this is the method I have used to acquire knowledge, it was no surprise that I would employ these same techniques when it came to seeking after God.    

It is written, "there is no one who seeks God", well I did.  I went after God, and sought Him diligently and by God's grace I will tell what I found.  .....


26 Mar 2015

Life or Death: A Four-Year- Old Chooses

The following is a true story of a four-year-old Catholic child, in a coma, following a serious car accident.
Chandra was still not conscious when she began to speak to her parents in the ICU unit. She spoke as if in a dream, describing a big room with two doors where she sat waiting with several other people. 
She explained that she had to decide which door she wanted to walk through. A really nice man, dressed in white smiled at her and told her that she was completely free to walk through either door.

 One door would bring her back to her life on earth. If she liked, she could across the room, take the nice man’s hand and walk through the other door. 

continue reading

12 Dec 2014

Why I Cope With Life Better Today (as a Catholic)

I do not know how I would cope with my life if I were not Catholic. I can easily tell you that I would not cope well. Years of living beforehand would bear that out.

Here are some differences in how I get through tough times today vs. during my "heretical" years. 

(1) My emotions do not control my decisions as much

Free will has to do with making decisions without being driven by emotions. I am making more solid, logical and clear choices now than I ever have before. During my "heretical years," I believed that free will had to do with extricating myself from the oppression of moral obligations in order to be free to follow my feelings. How did that work out for me? Hmm.. I'm writing this... so...

(2) I take care to have selfless motives. 

When I pursue being of the greatest service to God above the motives for comfort, public opinion or material things, each decision I make has meaning. When I work to make my life a gift to God rather than a gift to myself, I do not have time to immerse myself in self-pity or resentment.

Good feelings and material things will all pass away. Peace in my heart, mind and soul will never be possible if I waste any time trying to chase any other goal than to serve God. 

29 Aug 2014

Regeneration: Getting Closer to Growing Lost Organs

Too many folks die, waiting for a compatible donor organ. We can't coax a patient's body into growing a new heart or kidney: yet.

But we can build made-to-order bladders, and scientists have grown a new thymus: inside a mouse. It's a first step....

...If starfish and some mice can regenerate complete missing parts: why can't we?

Right now, we don't know. Not for sure. It probably has something to do with our immune system, and the way our bodies deal with injury....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

22 Aug 2014

Build Your Own Robot Swarm — or — Angular Automatons and Cuckoo Clocks

1,024 little robots got together at Harvard, making the letter "K" and drawing a star. What they do doesn't look as sophisticated as many marching band halftime formations — but it's a good start on collective artificial intelligence.

Meanwhile, Harvard and MIT's angular automatons don't do much except fold themselves into crablike shapes, and scuttle away: today....

...I'm not troubled that we make increasingly lifelike imitations of living creatures. Somehow, I don't think the Almighty is going to be offended by cuckoo clocks or robot dogs playing soccer.

Tightly-would folks of a grimly pious bent might have qualms about mechanical birds, music boxes, and other frivolities. I'm convinced that gloominess is not next to Godliness, and that's another topic.

Besides, many automata help make this a safer world for humans....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

27 Jul 2014

Predestination — Free Will from God's Point of View

Samuel Clemens may have taken God seriously: but not his era's version of Christianity.

His "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" include Huck's reactions to well-intentioned religious instruction by the Widow Douglas — and "pretty ornery preaching."
"It was pretty ornery preaching—all about brotherly love, and such-like tiresomeness; but everybody said it was a good sermon, and they all talked it over going home, and had such a powerful lot to say about faith and good works and free grace and preforeordestination, and I don't know what all, that it did seem to me to be one of the roughest Sundays I had run across yet."
("Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," Chapter XVIII, Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens (1885))

Called by God

If I thought predestination meant that God had decided ahead of time whether I was heading for Heaven or Hell, I might feel hopeless or self-righteous. Robert Burns' Holy Willie dramatizes what can happen when someone thinks he's Heaven-bound: no matter what. (January 4, 2012)

I'm a Catholic, so I believe that free will exists: and predestination. It's not as crazy a combination as it might seem.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

18 May 2014

Made in the Image of God: Great Power, Great Responsibilities

(From Hel-hama, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
(Kingdom of the Avars, and surrounding lands: 814.)
A dozen centuries back, a warlord brought order and a measure of stability to lands from Vasdomia to Chrobatia, and from the Kingdom of the Lombards to Jutland. For the first time since Rome's empire had dissolved, lands from the Mediterranean to the North sea had some hope of peace and stability.

We call this leader Charles the Great. Charlemagne is also known as Karl der Große, Carolus, and Karolus Magnus.
Charlemagne has been mythologized as a shining light of civilization, and a demonic slayer of 'true' Europeans. There's a very slight element of truth to both images.
Scholarship, arts, architecture, and literature, flourished during Charlemagne's reign. On the other hand, he gave those he conquered a choice: say that they were Christian, or die.

Some of my wife's relatives may have been among those who chose to die, rather than give up their pagan beliefs. We're still cleaning up the mess left from atrocities like the massacre at Verden.
Charlemagne's empire fell apart soon after his death in 814. The European Union may achieve the peace and prosperity Charlemagne tried to impose: and that's another topic.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America

27 Apr 2014

Fear, Foreboding, and Getting a Grip About Technology

Maybe some folks still have religious scruples about 'defying God' with lightning rods: but I haven't run into any, and I'm certainly not one of them.

My house has a lightning rod, installed by a previous owner. I made sure it's in good working order, since our chimney is one of the taller structures in the neighborhood. Ben Franklin and Prokop Diviš's invention is on most tallish structures in my part of the world.

Lightning rods have apparently joined movable type and the moldboard plow as technology that 'we've always had.'

Even the Internet seems to be gaining grudging acceptance: although I regularly encounter folks who don't seem at all comfortable about social media: and express their grave misgivings in online posts.

My guess is that every generation has included a few with profound misgivings about newfangled technology: or change of any sort, and that's almost another topic.

I grew up in a world of AM radio and dial telephones. Some folks my age never had reasons for learning how to use computers, the Internet, or anything else invented after about 1970. I kept learning new skills, thanks partly to what might charitably be called an eclectic assortment of jobs.

My hat's off to anyone who held down the same job for decades, and still mows grass with a reel mower..

I'm a tad less appreciative of folks who apparently feel that using new tech isn't ethical.

I often share their concerns about Internet fraud, hate-drenched online screed, or vapid 'discussions.' But I've got a good memory, and remember the 'good old days.' We had jerks, fools, some sensible folks, and a few wise ones, then: just as we do today.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America

21 Oct 2013

Where Does Evil Come From?

Where does Evil Come From?

In the beginning God Said, "Let there be light."  And there was light.  God creates with His word, and when He gave the angels free will He also gave them this ability to create out of their words, although to a much lesser degree. 

God is all good, there is no darkness in Him.  However, having infinite knowledge of His creation, He knew of evil as a concept (because God knows all things), but evil only existed in the mind of God as a concept, a potentiality.  When he gave the angels free will they two had a knowledge of what rebellion what evil was as a concept, otherwise their will would not be free because they would have no other choice but the good God.  It was a concept, and so as to truly choose God freely, they were given knowledge of "another way".  Again, this was only a concept in the mind of God and the angels, at this time evil did not yet exist.  

God did not create evil, even though He knew about it.  By his pride when Lucifer rebelled against God, his words were, "I will not serve."  Lucifer spoke rebellion against God into existence by these words. (This is why obedience of mind and heart is such a powerful weapon against the evil one.)  Rebellion and all that is evil is the sole creation of the evil one.    

13 Oct 2013

On Human Freedom: Our Son, The Lector

Tonight at the 5 p.m. Mass, our high school freshman was trained by an older woman to become a lector. He sat beside her, a few pews in front of us, and listened as she whispered directions and instructions. In a few weeks, he will share the lectoring responsibilities with her and then, if all goes as hoped, he's at the ambo on his own. It was moving to witness her sit beside him during Mass, passing on the faith. Keep Reading Here

9 Feb 2013

Heaven, Hell and Free Will

Do we ever consider the gift that God has given to us in our free will? We take it for granted, this freedom to choose or not choose the divine will for us.  For if we truly understood the freedom of will that has been given to us, and the perils within, we would tremble so much that we could hardly draw breath.  

We take it for granted that we can do what we wish, but do we truly understand that the gift of free will last only while we live on the earth? When we die, we will  have to give an account of the gift of free will and how we have or have not conformed our will to God.  This is why God sends no one to hell, exercising our free will on the earth does.  When at death our free will is sealed, stopped, we, and our will are then presented before God.  Now we are overshadowed by God's will for the judgement for it is God's will alone that determines the placing of the soul in God's kingdom.  Do not be deceived, God will give you the desires of your heart and will.  The fruits of your free will exercised on the earth will either merit you heaven or hell.   In light of the holiness of our God, whose will is perfect, whose justice is perfect, He will show us our will in the light of His good will and His perfect justice.  In this light you will be in 100% agreement of the sentence you will receive. 

This is why many are lost, many fall into hell because use of their free will that God has given them will condemn them.  What makes me tremble is that today, although I beg God to conform my will to His, this is one prayer that He will never grant.  He will never take away my free will no matter how much I beg Him too, therefore, I am in danger daily of losing my own salvation, and this makes me tremble greatly. Tremble, be fearful for your salvation daily and you will save your soul, for our God is great and perfect, and pray that when you come before the judgement seat of God that your will is close to His own will for you. 

Murders, Life and Death

Mass murder at a Florida high school is in the news again. Someone has been accused of killing 17 students and staff on February 14, 2018....