Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Good Stuff

(Today is The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross)

After viewing the ads that Google AdSense has put on my site, it occurs to me that in constantly decrying what is false and speaking against what I don't believe in, I'm defining my worldview by what it is not.

So to balance that, I wish to post some of my perspectives on life to give a more positive picture.

I am a conservative. In Canada, our two main political parties title themselves by their ideologies, which should make things easier, but in reality the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party agree on most issues which normally divide conservative voters from liberal ones (public health care, not running a deficit, social spending up the wazoo, etc). So true conservatives in Canada have no real place to call home, insofar as party membership is concerned. I'm one of those rare Canadians with a fridge magnet that says "Proud to be a Republican" (courtesy of a friend who moved to the States to work for Crisis).

G.K. Chesterton commented that "all conservatism is based upon the idea that if you leave things alone you leave them as they are. But you do not. If you leave a thing alone you leave it to a torrent of change. If you leave a white post alone it will soon be a black post. If you particularly want it to be white you must be always painting it again; that is, you must be always having a revolution." To conserve something requires therefore an active effort; the status quo will never remain as the default. The universe and its components, by their elemental nature, move from a state of order to disorder; from calm to chaos. This applies to the physical and sociological world.

But Christ is the ultimate renewer. He is the source of life and the fountain of goodness, and by his eternal (meaning "present-in-every-moment") sacrifice on the cross, he brings all things to the Father in himself. He is the supreme conservative, the supreme conserver.

Did you ever notice that world history runs in cycles? Every empire rises and falls, every movement starts and ends, every philosophy is accepted then rejected, every discovery heralded then deplored. And then it all happens again. As I often meditate while showering, "Shampoo, rinse, repeat." There is no end to the cycle. Ecclesiastes 1:9 - "What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun."
But Christ is not a cycle: he is a constant; he is the constant. Jesus remains, and he provides life to his Church.

That's why I live my life with the standards I do: because God cares.

The other day I withdrew $300 from my bank account, but the machine gave me $320. You wouldn't believe the amazed look on the teller's face when I came in to give it back. I'm not trying to brag about my honesty; it just baffles me that most people wouldn't return the extra money. That $20 wasn't mine; I didn't earn it, and the bank didn't owe me anything (although I had to wait 10 minutes to see the teller!). The bank lady said that if I were simply to have taken it, they would have had no way of knowing who it went to. I replied, "But I would." Sure I was raised well, but a bad upbringing is no excuse for unholiness.

I strive for holiness so I can be near to God; purity is a prerequisite for proximity to the Creator. His presence itself is a purging flame, and only those who have been redeemed by Christ's sacrifice on the cross can withstand it, and they rejoice - a.k.a. Heaven. The Catholic understanding of Purgatory is simply a drawing near to him, enduring the searing pain of separation from worldly attachments, with the inevitable destination being Heaven. Even Hell itself won't be a physical separation from God, but rather having to abide his universal presence, with no place to hide, while in an unredeemable state; what will make Hell hell is the agony of being unable to exult in his glorious presence.

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