What Are We Distracted From? This is the great question of our age, because we know we are being distracted. We can break down that question into six parts, six First Questions. The entirety of the Answers differentiates and elevates the Catholic faith and way-of-life.
Here are the five First Questions, and the one Answer that taken as a whole, distinguishes Catholicism from all the others:
1) Reality: What one most true, significant, and authentic entity(ies) do humans encounter in existing?
- Answer: The Noumenal – The reality is the separate ideal, perfect and eternal behind sensed appearances and the hidden substrates.
- This contrasts with the sensed reality and the impersonal substrate reality characterizing Modernism and Eastern religions.
2) Purpose: What one function impels the universe, God, and/or humans within Reality to the most good and beautiful?
- Answer: The Creative – The driver is the act of creating, or being a creator, often out of nothing, out of free will.
- This contrasts with Eastern religions' cyclical/unchanging and pantheistic drivers.
3) Perspective: What one point-of-view provides the knowledge about the true Reality and the most good Purpose?
- Answer: The Revelatory – Truths “show-through” and transcend the individual and the unbiased, inhuman observer.
- This contrasts with the subjective and objective point-of-view of Modernism.
4) Reality: Is the difference between God and humans in degree, or in kind?
- Answer: In kind – Understanding the mystery of the Holy Trinity as perfect, overshadowing the concept of God-as-another-being, is the key to realizing the Holy Trinity’s magnificence and love, and leads to our humility.
- This contrasts with the view that God is just another being, which brings Him, even just a little, to our level, decreasing markedly the need to praise Him and humble ourselves.
5) Purpose: Are God and His decrees absolute and changeable according to His will, or pre-ordained according to His design?
- Answer: Pre-ordained, according to His design
- This contrasts with religions, such as Islam, that view God as all-powerful, but capricious, changing, and often human-interpreted.
Next, Question 6. Question 6 is crucial, to narrow our focus to its root, indispensably shifting us from heresy. Heresy can still creep in, even after the first 5 Questions. Hilaire Belloc in The Great Heresies1, explains why: “Heresy means then, the warping of a system by ‘Exception’: by ‘Picking out’ one part of the structure and implies that the scheme is marred by taking away one part of it, denying one part of it, and either leaving the void unfilled or filling it with some new affirmation.” Thus, for example, Islam (besides of course denying the divinity of Christ), removes a key: the everlasting intellect of God, and replaces it with the arbitrary will of its Allah. Also, for example, Calvinism removes a key, the authority of the hierarchy of Holy Spirit-led men, and replaces it with thousands of individual pastors interpreting the Bible at their will.
Here is Question 6, and some answers:
6) Perspective: What has the Holy Trinity revealed that guides your daily life?
- Potential Answers – shared by all Christians
- Inspiring music helps us feel our love for God
- Following the messages in the Bible helps us prosper in life here
- The fellowship of other Christians helps us stay on the right path here
- Christianity should help form our political views
But given the infinite omnipotent yet awe-filled and mysterious Holy Trinity, Its creation of humanity and the universe from nothing in a perfect design, and Its loving and merciful revelation of Itself to us, can we see a bit more?
- o More Potential Answers – shared by all Christians, but seemingly forgotten as daily guides in the modern era
- 1) Our work in keeping God’s Divine and Natural Laws is an active expression of the soul’s love for the Holy Trinity
- 2) Martyrdom and persecution are to be embraced; they are certain paths to salvation
- 3) Redemption and salvation are only possible through the Passion and Resurrection of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity
Here are more revelations, through Scripture and centuries of Tradition, maintained primarily, if not entirely, by the Catholic Church.
- More Potential Answers – held (nearly exclusively) by Catholicism, but seemingly forgotten as daily guides in the modern era
- 4) The One Holy Church was formed by Christ to form one body of Christ’s loving, forgiving followers and thereby persist Gospel revelation
- 5) The Intercessions of the Saints help us overcome the sufferings of life daily
- 6) The Indwelling of the Holy Trinity is reachable by us here, through prayer and removing the obstacles we ourselves set up
- 7) The Eucharist and the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass express our gratitude, awe, and participation in God’s mercy
- 8) God’s Forgiveness and Mercy redeem us when we face the Four Last Things
What is the difference between these eight revelations, and the first four mentioned? All twelve may help us draw closer to the Holy Trinity and enliven our faith. But the latter eight were specifically revealed and established by Christ during His Incarnation.
So, in this Question 6, What has the Holy Trinity revealed that guides your daily life?, we find the specific Answers to what we are distracted from. Here we elevate Catholicism, based on the content of the revelations.
Here are other ways to ask that same Question, of yourself and others you encounter:
- What has been revealed to you personally about the following:
- What makes your way-of-life Catholic?
- What do you do to put the Reality, Purpose, and Perspective in which you have faith into action in daily life?
- How should you honor, thank, acknowledge, glorify, memorialize, and/or petition the infinite and perfect Holy Trinity?
- What do you do in this life to choose to accept Christ’s redemption and love, and to eventually participate in the Beatific Vision?
- How has all that been working for you?
Your answers and others’ answers may be filled with errors, inconsistencies, or even falsehoods and heresies. Or they may be filled with truth, inspiration, emotions, and hope. Leave all that for another day. Let us ask ourselves these Six Questions, in our prayer, thinking, and discussions with others. Then consider the Answers carefully.
1. Hilaire Belloc, The Great Heresies, 1938, Cavalier Books.