… the important thing about Christ was not his exterior appearance but his inner character.  So too, the important thing about events is not how they happened but what they mean.

Alan Watts, in Behold the Spirit

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In the Middle Ages men and women had space for mythology, and symbol was important to them – they derived meaning from symbol, they had contact with spiritual reality.

To many, the Catholic Mass was the center of their spiritual existence – they flourished in the mystery of the Mass, and the symbols enlivened them, spoke to their depth of understanding and furnished wisdom and stability.

For those in the Middle Ages life housed the incarnational mystery; they lived a mystical reality.

Alas, that is not our condition today and we suffer as a consequence.

There is a cost in losing the Catholic mythos and mystical theology.  We are a blander people for this.  We are shallow where we once had depth.  We understand less.

You see this manifest in many ways: we elevate sexual conduct above a loving experience – such a great loss to the human being, human experience and human existence.  Likewise, few are wise and a lack of wisdom means failed leadership – public foolishness, the reign of arrogant stupidity wrapped in an elite university education and professional training.

Yes, we encounter fewer fully developed people – with social savvy and emotional range, fewer selfless people, fewer people with the confidence to serve, be as a pure servant with the capacity to live beyond material existence.

We are, as well, a lonelier people, a people far less secure and congenial.

We are less well-contacted with others, engaged in intimate transactions, lasting friendships and healthy families.

Reason, rationalism, material existence and humanism separated us from the larger picture, the wider and deeper experience of being a human being. Meaning has been if not lost at least misplaced – and we face this reality: ex nihilo nihil fit – one cannot find meaning out of meaninglessness.  Yes, crisis follows and it has.

All moments provide opportunity; and, the circumstances of the present moment provide us with a clear call to return to the mystery, to live at a greater depth, to immerse ourselves in the symbols that speak to us of God and the fullness of the human person.

Alas, to turn a deft ear to all the secular nonsense.

Shalom.

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