Monthly Archives: May 2012
“I am incurably convinced that the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” – G. K. Chesterton
The mind is a precious thing. Besides an eternal soul, the mind is the most wonderful gift God gave to the human person. Secular media is highly critical of ‘closed-mindedness,’ equating it with intolerance, arrogance, and intellectual snobbishness, when it is actually a very healthy thing to do, most particularly when there is danger lurking. If a dangerous dog were to stray into your backyard, you would immediately sequester yourself and your family behind locked doors, would you not? Why then are we ordered in no uncertain terms to keep the door of our mind wide open at all times? The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but it is even more terrible to leave it unguarded, lest it is invaded by the enemy. Relativism, secularism, modernism, and many other ‘isms,’ are afoot. They are wolves, prowling about guised as harmless lambs, ready to invade a good mind, and destroy whatever truth is found there.
While it is important to be aware of these errors and to be equipped to defend against them, one must use great caution in how they train to fight intellectual attack dogs. Arm yourself with veritas, with truth, and study how the great warriors of the mind have fought and conquered such errors in their time. Only by learning from those who know will we glean knowledge and wisdom to protect our own mind from the dangers of the worldliness we are bombarded with daily.
Who is safe to open the door of your mind to though, you may ask. A very sound question! Consider admitting the One Who created it! The Designer best understands the design, so the One Who is Way, TRUTH, and Life, would be the best possible choice. There are many who have, wisely, opened their minds to close them again on the most solid food a mind could receive – The Word of God. (Also suggest opening your hearts (and mouths) to close them on the Word made Flesh! But I’ve already ranted about that.) There is nothing to fear in this battle for the mind because we stand on the shoulders of intellectual giants. And those giants stand on the shoulders of THE Giant – Christ.
Christ, Who IS Knowledge.
Christ, Who IS Wisdom.
Christ, Who IS Truth.
And when you know Truth, He will set you free.
Suggested writers from whom one may glean highly effective mental battle tactics:
St. Augustine of Hippo
St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Therese of the Child Jesus
St. Teresa of Avila
Bishop Fulton Sheen
Peter Kreeft (Personal favorite! –Mary’s Ghillie)
(This list is by no means complete – just a few men and women who have easily-accessed writings of an excellent nature that I would recommend sinking your mental teeth into!)
Law. The first thought that this word brings to mind is something restricting and binding. Perfect law, i.e., the Law of God, is quite the opposite. But how?
“The Law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.” Psalm 18:7
Because we are created in God’s image, we are most perfectly ourselves when we most resemble God. However, due to the effects of Original Sin (weakened will and fallen nature), we no longer easily choose perfection. Our true selves seek fulfillment that can only be found in God, but our selfishness seeks to fulfill this need elsewhere – in various imperfect things and people. We seek to go against our natural need for God, and “throw out the instructions.” But any parent will tell his child that if the toy is not used properly, it will break. We are the same. We need our Maker’s Instruction Manual. It requires the Law of God to call us from our now-natural selfishness to what we were created for – perfect union, perfect communion, with God. Therefore, the Law of God is freeing.
Think of your closest and dearest friend. You have love for him, therefore there is no need for the law, “Thou shalt not kill.” You are free from that law in this instance – you have no desire to kill your best friend. Your relationship has reached a higher level of perfection. This is the state that Adam and Eve lived in before the Fall from Grace that weakened their wills, damaged their nature, and required their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
Now think of your worst enemy. You do not get along at all, and perhaps they’ve done some great evil to you. Still, as a disciple of Christ, you are called to love. However, because your relationship with this individual has not reached the level of perfection mentioned previous, you must be bound by the law, “Thou shalt not kill.” It is this law that calls you to a higher perfection – to rise above your fallen nature, and have the love Our Lord demands towards your enemy. This law ‘frees’ you from sin, to love like Christ. It is the call to return to the original Grace we were designed for. And when something is functioning properly, is being used how it was designed to be used, it is truly free.
Because of our fallen nature, we must have God’s Law to be free. A train is only free to be a train if it has tracks.