Monday, January 26, 2015

Abortion: How to bypass the conscience



On January 22, we marked the bloodiest anniversary in our nation's history: 42 years since the legalization of abortion. Over 55 million irreplaceable, unrepeatable human beings directly killed. But how? How did we get here? How is it even possible?

Back in June 2011, I wrote about a phenomenal book called What We Can't Not Know, by Professor  J. Budziszewski, former atheist. The book is a primer on Natural Law, and it covers a lot about the human conscience, including how we can circumvent it, ignore it, dull it, lull it, or trick it, but how we ultimately cannot escape it.

In a section called "Denial", Budziszewski hits specifically on the topic of abortion:
We can't not know that it is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life; parsing the rule, we find only six possibilities of rationalization.
To follow, I condense and paraphrase the six possibilities he lays out, beginning with what we all know through the light of human reason alone (i.e., the Natural Law):

"It is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life." 

So, in order to give ourselves permission to take innocent human life deliberately, we play with the rule.

1)  It is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life.

"I didn't want to get pregnant/didn't want my girlfriend to get pregnant, I didn't ask for this baby, so I'm not responsible for the abortion. The circumstance forced me to abortion. The circumstances are responsible."


2)  It is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life.

"I'm not taking this life, the doctors are doing it. I'm not really involved in this act, it's on the abortionist."


3)  It is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life.

"The fetus is not innocent. It is an aggressor, an intruder, an uninvited parasite, practically a rapist."


4)  It is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life.

"The embryo or fetus is a thing, not a human person with human rights. It's too small, it's not sentient. It has the potential to become a human."


5)  It is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life.

"It's not really alive. It's just a blood clot or a blob of tissue."

(This one is harder to slip by the conscience in the age of ultrasounds.)


6)  It is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life.

"But sometimes we have to do what is wrong."

Budziszewski's take on #6 (emphasis mine):
This is the most disturbing rationalization of all, because it embraces the wrong with eyes wide open. The temptation is ancient: "Let us do evil that good may result." .... [I]n the present state of the revolution that began with sex we go on past abortion and explore other kinds of killing, like infanticide and the slaying of the weak, the old, and the sick. You cannot justify one evil yet expect the others to keep their place. The cloth of the moral law is too tightly sewn for that; it is made of a single strand. Pluck loose one stitch, and the rest unravels too.... If we have already reached killing, what comes next?

I would argue that what comes next, specifically within the human psyche, is not a pretty place to be:


Please read it. It's so important. And it all makes sense, doesn't it?

It's often only after we fall into that dark and terrible place that we are moved to turn around again and face the light. Thank heavens for the workings of the conscience (however terrible), the truth of what we can't not know, and the severe mercies of God.



It is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life.





Monday, January 19, 2015

"Breeding like rabbits", eh?






Pope Francis is an incredibly personable man, and he loves to talk. I'd even say that he loves to gab, as if meeting great friends over coffee. His colloquialisms and off-the-cuff style are part of his charm, of course, and it's how he has enchanted most of the world, and certainly the press corps. But the press can also exploit the pope's friendly nature by picking headlines and editing stories in ways that don't quite capture the truth of things. 

I have learned to go to the full transcript of those plane interviews (which are still just a translation of the original) to get some context when I see headlines like these:

 


First of all, he didn't even use the the word "breed", but you'd think that he did, wouldn't you? Here's what he said about rabbits:

"Some think that -- excuse the language -- that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood." 

In other words: Pope Francis in 2015 is repeating the teaching of Pope St. John Paul the Great in 1984 (see "Responsible Parenthood") who is repeating the teaching of Pope Paul VI in 1968 (see Humanae Vitae). 

And just like his predecessors, Pope Francis spoke these words of responsible parenthood within the overall context of condemning artificial contraception as a moral evil and promoting Natural Family Planning. I'm glad that most of the media reports did put that relevant fact in the body of their pieces, but gosh, if you don't get past the headlines, what would you think was the message?

And if you look above at the headline from Time, you get an even more distorted message: Pope Francis tells Catholics they SHOULDN'T be breeding like rabbits! To any normal human being, that would translate to something like: "Catholics, stop having big families! You should not be having lots and lots of kids!" Isn't that what you take away from the headline?


“In a world often marked by egoism, a large family is a school of solidarity and of mission that’s of benefit to the entire society."

Talk about controversy, the pope even went so far as to say:

“Every family is a cell of society, but large families are richer and more vital cells.”

So what could he have meant when he said that being a good Catholic does not require being "like rabbits"? He means the same thing that I and so many others have said a thousand times, but using slightly different words, namely: 

No, the Catholic Church does not teach (as many believe!) that a woman must have as many babies as physically possible. No one is forcing women to become "breeders" like an animal (hey, like a rabbit!). We Catholics believe in responsible parenthood, which means prudence in deciding what is best for the spouses, their children already born, and the society in which they live. And that prudence can mean either having many children (generously welcoming a houseful!), or having fewer  (and using only moral means to postpone pregnancy). Each couple is different, each family has different needs, and prayerful discernment is required.

And guess what else Pope Francis said immediately after he made the now-infamous "rabbit" comment? He said this:

"...for most poor people, a child is a treasure. It is true that you have to be prudent here too, but for them a child is a treasure.... Responsible paternity, but let us also look at the generosity of that father and mother who see a treasure in every child."

Oh, and did you hear what else he said on the same in-flight interview? Did you see all the headlines about the pope condemning "ideological colonization" (the West pushing its sex agenda on other vulnerable cultures as my dear friend Uju addressed so eloquently on this blog*)?  I didn't think so, so here you go:



Thank God for Catholic news sources!

+++++++





*Uju crossed the Pond, and I got to meet her in person and spend all day Sunday with her! AHHH! Soul sisters!



**Update: The Pope is making headlines again today, this time praising large families. No doubt in response to the massive misunderstanding!


**Update #2: The Pope has apologized for his words causing "disorientation", and reiterating his love for large families. I hope we all understand this!





Saturday, January 17, 2015

Quick Takes: Thank you for your outpouring of love!


Jen has passed the torch, and Quick Takes has a new host: "This Ain't the Lyceum". Hilarious blog!


1) So, the response to my mother-in-law Carol's three-part conversion story...wow. Just wow! My husband and I have been blown away by the powerful responses we have received. The biggest surprise was how many people wept while reading the story -- and several men admitted that, too! We are so pleased that sharing Carol's beautiful heart and soul with all of you has inspired an increase in the virtue of hope. Sometimes I still can't believe the whole thing happened. God is active, my friends.

Regarding the DVD giveaways, there were 192 entries by the deadline. I assigned each entrant a number, then randomly picked the winners via random.org. I have contacted the lucky winners already, so check your emails.

If you didn't win, don't worry -- I've got some good news for you! I have recently come into possession of a whole case of Episode 6 DVDs, and I am going to eventually mail them out to everyone who entered (finances being my only hold up). And on that note, I might as well just throw this out there: If a generous benefactor (or two) would like to underwrite the cost of mailing the DVDs, I'll get them out much sooner. Just email me at littlecatholicbubble@gmail.com, and let's be partners in getting this done.


2) Dean and I went to see Selma yesterday, and we really enjoyed it! What I truly appreciated was that the filmmakers (Oprah, et al) did not secularize the civil rights movement. It was portrayed as it was: A religious movement. As regular readers know, I quote MLK's Letter From a Birmingham Jail quite often, especially the following:
[T]here are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all." 
Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. 
God bless MLK for all he did for the cause of human dignity.


3) This beautiful young woman inspires me more than I can say. She is a wife and mother of four young children, and she has advanced, incurable kidney cancer. Can you give her 2 minutes and 44 seconds to teach you something amazing, eternal, real?



"A story's end changes the meaning of every page."

Amen, my dear sister.


4) Do you ever feel like you are learning so much spiritually that you can't catch your breath? It amazes me that 20 years into my reversion, I am just now scratching the surface (and it also amazes me that I've been saying that for 20 years, ha ha). On my heart and mind lately is the necessity of total abandonment to God and the loss of fear and anxiety. I'm pondering, reading, and praying about these things constantly. I think that we women in particular are prone to so much worry and fear and anxiety, and yet Christ is adamant -- He wants us to have His peace. There is so much I want to write on this subject, but I'm still learning so much so fast that I have to wait a bit. And since being honest about my failings with Carol seemed to encourage a lot of you, I want to be honest with you about the big spiritual turning point in my life last summer with regard to an occasion of massive fear (and trust). Worst and best thing that has ever happened to me. God is so good. Stay tuned.


5) Now this is funny!



That's exactly my reaction every time!! Ha ha!

If anyone wants to skip the media filter and get the full transcript (and still just a translation) of what Pope Francis said most recently on one of those plane rides, here ya go:




6) What's that you say? You haven't seen photos of my beautiful granddaughter in quite some time?
Well, then, try this:



Why yes, she is the most adorable baby in the history of all mankind. Thank you for noticing.



7) And yet, all of God's children are beautiful, aren't they? Look at Cody Dean. This handsome 13-year-old boy has hemophilia and will "age out" when he turns 14 in July, meaning he will be legally unadoptable.

Click my photo for more info!
Can you imagine? An orphan forever, simply because of hemophilia? Please pray for Cody Dean, and  spread the word that he needs a family!


+++++++


Dear friends, have a wonderful weekend!









Thursday, January 8, 2015

Part Three: My Mother-in-Law Carol's Conversion Story

This is the longest of the Three Parts (Click for Part One and Part Two). I honestly only intended to write one short blog post; thank you for bearing with me, and I hope you will read to the end. The spiritual lessons that Carol taught are the most important part of her story. 


By now you might detect a certain theme in this conversion story: No one really moved to help Carol as she moved toward God and the Church. In fact, nearly six months after her visit, she told me she was unsure of how my husband felt about her future conversion, since Dean didn't respond with a lot of emotion or encouragement when she would speak of her desire to be Catholic. I assured her that he was thrilled and elated, but he had not wanted to influence her in any way, and so had tried to remain neutral. How sad we were to realize that our bending over backwards not to pressure Carol came across to her as indifference!

It’s amazing that she kept persevering, and it’s also a testament to the fact that this movement of grace was between God and Carol and had very little to do with the rest of us. God was working with Carol, whom He had loved tenderly and completely since He formed her in her mother’s womb, and whom He loved even through a lifetime of pain in which, quite honestly, she felt very little deep love from anyone. He was wooing her, her heart was open, and His plan was about to go into overdrive.

And here's where I learned how beautifully God can even put Facebook at the service of His plans.

From the time Carol asked for baptism, I tentatively began to catechize her and answer her questions over the phone when we occasionally talked (she had no computer, didn't text, no email, and was often hard to get via phone). After the fear of pushing her had disappeared, I knew that we had to find the perfect priest for Carol. We were getting excited at the possibility that she would become Catholic in time to receive Communion with us at our daughter's Nuptial Mass coming up in September. I finally got on a private Catholic Facebook group and explained the situation: We needed a priest in the Atlanta area who was loving, kind, compassionate, patient, knowledgeable, articulate, and 100% faithful to the Magisterium. He needed to be willing to help catechize my mother-in-law, who was essentially homebound, so he also needed to be somewhat close to her apartment. Basically, I was asking for the moon.

A wonderful woman, Layna Halstead, messaged me and told me of a monsignor and high school chaplain in Atlanta who was well-respected, and who had helped her cousin spiritually through a battle with leukemia, ministering to his family after he died. And as God would have it, his parish, the Cathedral of Christ the King, was just minutes from Carol’s apartment.

I emailed this priest on May 13, 2013. [Only in writing this post today did I take note of this spiritually significant date -- the first appearance of Our Lady to the children at Fatima -- and I continue to stand in awe of God's plan.]

I stress this: God could not have provided a more perfect priest for Carol than Monsignor Richard Lopez. This man is a gift straight from Heaven. I cannot express in words our gratitude and love for Fr. Lopez and all he did for Carol -- every bit of it with love and care. I sometimes wonder if he is really an angel in disguise? Fr. Lopez is a much-loved, much sought after (read: busy!!) priest, and yet he treated Carol as if she were the most important person on earth. He didn’t hesitate to meet her when I initially contacted him, then have regular visits with her to catechize her, making sure that she truly understood what she was undertaking. He brought her books and videos, and when he sat with her, he catechized her well (you should see his notes and bullet points we found in Carol’s books!) and taught her to pray. When this frail woman on oxygen (well under 100 lbs. and dropping) broke her femur and had surgery and weeks of rehab, he drove many miles to see her. And, Fr. Lopez did something that perhaps no other person on earth had ever done: He delighted in her. Never ridiculed her, never diminished her, but delighted in her. This holy priest truly stood in persona Christi -- in the person of Christ.

The other night I went back through all the emails that Fr. Lopez and I had written, from May 13, 2013 when I first contacted him, to just this month. Peppered in our discussions of catechesis and logistics and Carol’s illness were Father’s descriptions of Carol as “delightful”, “a joy”, with “humor and charm” intact even as she physically deteriorated. Father “really enjoy[ed] her company” and even after she fell and had her surgery, “her humor had me rolling on the floor”. He even mentioned how much he liked her cat! And this: “...thank you for letting me get to know her”.

Seriously? Fr. Lopez was thanking us? We were and are so grateful to him!

Never knowing how much time Carol had, arrangements for her baptism were made. Dean flew to Atlanta, and on August 23, 2013 in the chapel at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Fr. Lopez baptized Carol, confirmed her, and gave her First Holy Communion. It was the first of only three masses she would ever attend as a Catholic.

A beautiful picture of newly-baptized Carol with Fr. Lopez and my husband Dean, her son.
Fittingly, Fr. Lopez's arm is around Carol. 


I honestly have no words for this blessing that God gave to Carol and to us.

The morning after her baptism, Dean took her to Sunday mass in the main church, which was physically difficult for her. From then on, parishioners at the cathedral brought her Communion at home.

A month later, she bravely traveled to Phoenix with her son Jason and his family to attend my older daughter’s wedding. The dream that she would receive Holy Communion with our family at the Nuptial Mass of her granddaughter came true. My own mother, herself a convert, told me that she wept when she saw Carol receive. It was the last mass Carol would ever attend.

September 28, 2013


After the wedding, Carol stayed with us for three days. We talked about the Faith, as we had on the phone for many hours over the past months, and she asked me to teach her how to pray the Rosary. She asked, too, if we could watch more of the religious videos that we had at the house. To my shame, I said "Sure!" but I went upstairs "for a bit" and got caught up on the computer. She waited for me, my children told me later, and I failed her, again. By the time I came back down, she was asleep on the couch. She left the next morning, and it was the last time I would ever see her.

Dean went out to visit her a few more times in the year before her death, and my second daughter and her new husband were able to stop in Atlanta to see Carol while en route to their Charleston home after their wedding last June, a wedding that Carol was unable to attend.

By early December 2014, Carol’s health took a turn. We called Fr. Lopez, and he drove over an hour to see her and administer the Last Rites on December 4th. As Dean made arrangements to fly out, I emailed Fr. Lopez to ask more about the Anointing, and to ask if she had viaticum (one's last Eucharist, “food for the journey”). Carol's beloved priest gave us a response we cherish:

Hi...no Communion as she was not eating anything...but Apostolic Blessing, Absolution and Sacrament of the Sick...she became very alert and her charming self for all those things...and then slipped back into a deep sleep. I also got to give her a kiss and tell her I loved her...which I indeed do...she is ready to go home to God...As both a daughter of Israel and a daughter of the Church she is doubly blessed...take care, love and prayers, Father Lopez 

Carol died in the wee hours of December 6th, just four days shy of her 68th birthday. She was at peace.

We laid Carol to rest on December 17, with Fr. Lopez presiding over her funeral mass in the lovely little chapel where she had been been baptized just 15 months earlier. It was so beautiful, from beginning to end, and though tears were shed by many, there was also so much joy in our hearts. A life that began in pain and abuse and rejection and suffering had ended in peace, joy, and glory. I still don’t have the words to describe it. I keep calling it a miracle.

God hit me with a spiritual 2x4 in all of this, and a chasm as wide as the universe existed between what I had erroneously thought and what was actually true.

What I had always thought: I had a lot to teach Carol. She was a like a frivolous little girl, no knowledge of or desire for anything profound, so many idiosyncrasies and bad habits, no real purpose, no love for God, on the wrong side of every moral issue, had been a mess-up her whole life and in all areas. Yes, she was someone who might well be hopeless. (And yes, I am cringing in shame as I type those words.)

What was actually true: Carol had a lot to teach me. She worked out her sanctity on earth in her 15 months as a Catholic, in the crucible of suffering and poverty and isolation. God plucked her out of obscurity, and made her, in short order, not only a better Catholic than I have ever been, but quite likely a true saint. She was exactly as Jesus asks His disciples to be: Docile, meek, accepting, loving, childlike. She was not the silly little girl, I was. I looked down on her in condescension for a quarter century, and now she looks down on me from eternity, but in love.

He has scattered the proud in their conceit... and has lifted up the lowly.

I am ashamed, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I have learned my lesson. Every single person to whom I have felt superior, every sinner who seemed so far beyond hope in my eyes, those are the very people that may very well make it to Heaven before me. God save me from my pride!

Never in a million years did I think I would look to my mother-in-law as my spiritual role model, that I would ask for her intercession, that I would try to imitate her holiness. Never, never, never, never! It was simply impossible!

With God, all things are possible. 

And as Pope Francis has said time and again: God loves to surprise us!

Looking back, I am in awe. She must have suffered greatly (she was down to about 68 pounds when she died), but she didn't become bitter, she didn't lament and wail at her fate. In fact, her humor and spirits remained intact. How did we not notice? She didn't complain. She accepted and went forward. She laughed and giggled and kept a keen sense of humor. The day before she died, in between deep sleeps and with trouble talking, she was laughing and made a joke. The woman's spirit was indomitable, and docile. How did we not notice?

I have reason to believe that Carol, who was newly baptized, had little to atone for in those 15 months as a Catholic. Remember, baptism makes one a new creation. Every sin that Carol had committed in the 66 years before her baptism into the Body of Christ was washed clean away, including any temporal punishment for those sins. She had nothing of the old Carol for which to atone. And in her 15 months as a Catholic, she was earnest and sincere. She had no desire to sin, and she conformed her life and beliefs to that of the Church. Her suffering was real, and yet she bore it with docility and peace and good humor till the end. This is what sanctity looks like. Indeed, Fr. Lopez said as much in his funeral homily, and in an email the day she died:

...I have always thought one of the signs of true holiness is a combination of humor and courage...those two things were clear in Carol...

Oh, and the surprises and amusing ways of God! Here we had a Jewish woman who adored Christmas all of her life. So much so that her son Jason spoke at length of her love of Christmas in the words of remembrance he gave before her funeral. For decades, Carol relished her Christmas trees and Christmas pins and Christmas lights. They delighted her. And Carol had even gifted our family with a Nativity set years before she had given a thought to being a Christian. This lovely woman who was born during the Advent season also died in the Advent season. And as God's amazing Providence would have it, she died on the Feast of St. Nicholas! Which is as fitting as her very name...Carol.

And there was a final blessing. When Carol was watching the Fr. Barron Catholicism series that started it all, she took an interest in Episode 8, which highlights four saints. I really thought she would connect with St. Edith Stein, the Jewish convert nun who died at Auschwitz, but instead, she was particularly drawn to St. Katharine Drexel. I found this surprising then, but now I realize God was in the details again: Just after Christmas, we held a memorial mass at our parish in Phoenix for those who could not get to Carol's Atlanta funeral. The memorial mass was in none other than the beautiful St. Katharine Drexel Chapel at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church! St. Katharine's own private altar stands as the altar of repose in that very chapel. Carol's presence, along with St. Katharine's, was felt very keenly that day.

Carol, I love you, I miss you, I am sorry for the many times and ways I failed you, and I cannot wait to see you again.

Carol Sue Goldstein Miller
December 10, 1946 - December 6, 2014
Requiescat In Pace

+++++++












Thursday, January 1, 2015

Part Two: My Mother-in-Law Carol's Conversion Story





To read Part One, click here.



As Carol got up from the table, and as I thought about heading upstairs to my computer, she pointed to a boxed DVD set by the TV in the next room and asked:

“Can we watch that?”

I was stunned. It was the DVD set that I consciously debated putting out of sight before she arrived in Phoenix (so as not to be so “in your face” with all the Catholic stuff we have), but that I ultimately, providentially, decided to leave right where it was. It was Fr. Robert Barron’s Catholicism.



In one surreal instant, Carol and I had gone from a quarter-century of never speaking of religion to Carol requesting to watch one of the best, newest (and longest!) presentations of the Catholic Faith in existence. It was almost like I had entered the Twilight Zone -- that's how unexpected it was.

Working to keep my shock in check (and wanting to yell for Dean), I answered: “Sure! Do you want to watch it now?” She did, and we sat down together on the couch. I was almost apologetic as I chatted with her as it began, not fully believing that she really wanted to watch, and praying that she would stay awake. She was absolutely notorious for falling asleep while watching television, and sure enough, about ten minutes into Episode 1, she was sound asleep. I lamented the missed opportunity, but I continued to watch alone just in case she woke up; however, in the end, she snoozed through the whole thing. Drat. As I moved to turn off the television, Carol suddenly awoke, looked at me, and said, “That was very interesting! Can we watch more?”

We proceed to watch Episode 2, and then over the course of the next several days, we watched all ten hours, all ten episodes. Every day I thought that she would forget or decide she was not interested in continuing. But she never forgot, and she was always interested. And, to my utter shock, not once in all those hours did she fall asleep again. Trust me, that alone was a miracle!

By Episode 10, the discussion was about the Last Things (Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory), and Carol’s questions came more frequently. We had an excellent theological discussion -- but it still seemed so odd. Was this really my secular, Jewish, pro-"choice", liberal mother-in-law? Dean and my daughter Priscilla had been watching the final episodes with us that night, and they were equally stunned with this strange and wonderful happening, but we all tried to stay nonchalant.

The series finally completed, Dean went up to bed while we ladies lingered a bit; Carol seemed to want to keep talking, as this was her last night in town. We stood in a hall area, chatting, and then she said this exactly: “I can see the appeal.” Oh gosh, I know what she is getting at, I thought, but what do I say? I don’t want to push in any way.... The normally verbose Catholic blogger/teacher was scrambling for the right words! I sent up a quick prayer to the Holy Spirit.

“Oh, yes," I threw out there, "Now you can see the beauty of the Faith that Dean was drawn to! I know it was hard for you to understand back then. And he never felt he had to abandon his Jewish roots, but he was simply completing his Judaism. He discovered that Jesus is the Messiah, and the Church He founded is the New Jerusalem.”

Those few sentences were the most I'd ever spoken to Carol about her son's conversion in the 15 years since his baptism.

She seemed agreeable to all that I said, and then she asked, “How long does it take?” I hesitated, Priscilla and I glanced at each other (She was asking how long it takes to become a Catholic?!), and I told her that it takes several months to go through the RCIA process, and that I used to teach the converts years ago if she had any questions. I also mentioned that it’s still possible to be privately catechized if one could not physically get to a regular class.

Other than expressing a desire for a book that was discussed on the video, (Seven Storey Mountain, by Thomas Merton, which I promised to send her), Carol didn't request anything more that night. In retrospect, I know that she would have been grateful for more information and guidance, and I'm guessing she was surprised that she didn't get any.

After Carol retired, Priscilla and quietly marveled together. Did she really say that? Did she really ask that? Is this for real? I was grateful there was another witness there to confirm the things that Carol had said. I knew exactly what had occurred, of course. Carol had watched the series with an open heart, sincerely seeking God. God can work with such a heart. Ten hours of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty streamed through her eyes and ears, and her soul responded in exactly the way a soul is made to respond to Truth, Goodness, and Beauty: it was drawn in, excited, enchanted. One of my favorite sayings, “Truth comes with graces attached”, was played out right in front of my eyes that week. I had the privilege of seeing it happen.

Carol flew home to Atlanta the next morning, I ordered and sent her Merton's book, and that was it. Yes, that was me -- the big, bold Catholic evangelist and teacher, doing essentially nothing! I was too nervous to take another step. Over the weeks, Dean and I were still awestruck over it, occasionally wondering what we should do and praying about it, but since he, also, was entirely too sensitive about not wanting to push or manipulate, and since we kept second-guessing the whole situation, or wondering if she would persevere or drop it, we didn't do a thing and we stopped talking about it.

Carol took the next step. During a phone call in January or February, she mentioned to Dean that she would really like to be baptized. It was so surreal to him that he didn't even tell me about it until we were at dinner that night, and then only casually, as if he were speaking of our shopping list. I responded with elation and motivation, but also with some shame. I imagine she'd hoped that we would talk to her about the Faith in the ensuing months, which of course we never did. Poor Carol had to work up her courage to ask her son for help. As she always had lived in certain timidity of being ridiculed or chastised by others, it was no small thing for her to keep asking. At that point, I finally acted.

And this is where God, who loves to surprise and delight us, made a perfect move.


To be continued....

Part Three is here!




(I am so thankful that Fr. Barron is aware of the miracle of which he was a part! His Word on Fire ministry reprinted this excerpt from Carol's story, here. God is good!)




Monday, December 29, 2014

My Mother-in-Law Carol's Conversion Story, Part One


I have wanted to write of my mother-in-law’s conversion for over a year now, but I knew that her story would not be complete until she went to the Father. Finally, it’s time. Carol, I hope and pray that I get it right and do justice to your life and beliefs. You deserve nothing less.

Carol Sue Goldstein Miller at age 20, already a wife and the mother of my husband.
A real beauty.

For the first 25 years that I knew Carol, we were polite but not close (that’s another story), and we did not speak of religion. She was adopted as an infant, raised Jewish and became an agnostic as an adult. She was secular. If she did have any spirituality, it was found in the crystals she owned, or the New Agey angels she liked, or perhaps even the mystical nature of the vampires, phantoms, ghosts, and ghouls that delighted her. I never knew for sure if she believed in God, as it was just not a topic to be discussed in the superficial, if loving, relationship that we had with her. Dean had converted from Jewish agnosticism to Catholicism in 1997 at the age of 31; Carol was not thrilled at the time, but she accepted it as she saw its effect on her son, and as she watched our family grow.

Carol’s life was a difficult one from the beginning. She had an abusive childhood, and as a pregnant teen she entered into a troubled marriage. She had two sons, my husband being the elder, and found herself divorced in her mid-forties, after 28 years of marriage. Life continued to be a struggle for her, and until her death at 67, she was often overlooked or condescended to, as if she were a silly little girl. To my shame, I was one of the guilty ones. I was so smugly sure that I knew what she was about.

Carol lived in Atlanta and we in Phoenix, so we saw her probably twice a year. She would stay with us when she visited, and while Dean and I sort of “tolerated” her idiosyncrasies and (what we considered) her childish ways, she and the kids had a great time, and she loved them dearly. One thing I notice only in retrospect is how bright was her smile, and how delightful, frequent, and genuine her laugh.

Carol found joy in the little things, and now I see that she was very childlike (not childish!) in her joy of things like her cat, her collection of bunny figurines, her shell collection, and her gleeful love of Halloween and Christmas. She enjoyed big, sparkly jewelry and would often change the color of her eyes with colored contact lenses. She loved wigs and make-up and colorful clothes, and she gave the most lovely gifts when finances allowed.

In 2010, Carol, a lifelong smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Frankly, it was something we expected to happen, but it was still hard to process. Dean was terribly upset. My husband cries only rarely, but that day on the phone, when he told me the news, he couldn’t stop crying. I was surprised when, between sobs, he was very specific: “I want her to be baptized!” Looking back, it’s an absolute miracle how God answered his tearful prayer.

Honestly, we thought she was the last person in the world who would find true faith in God, much less that she would actually be baptized before she left this earth. In our minds, it was simply not possible, and that is why Dean was weeping. In an attempt to console Dean, I suggested we send Carol some holy or religious things, anything that might resonate with her as she faced a difficult diagnosis and her own mortality. We actually bought a copy of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life to give her, since she didn’t seem to have or identify with any real purpose (it’s not a Catholic book, and we wouldn't normally recommend it, but we thought it was light enough to introduce some ideas). We discussed sending vintage holy cards since she liked pretty images, specifically a guardian angel card, since she was drawn to angels and all things "otherworldly". And we thought of sending an image of the Blessed Mother, since Carol hadn't had a loving earthly mother.

Ultimately, though, we sent nothing.

After trying and suspending chemo and radiation treatments that she could not tolerate, Carol became more and more frail, visually aging decades in just a couple of years. Strangely and happily, the tumors seemed to stop growing at one point (I believe God gave her the time she needed for what was to come), although she still suffered from COPD and other ailments that kept sucking the life out of her body. However, although she looked like a different woman, her spirits and good humor remained the same! I still did not fully grasp the stuff of which this woman was made.

Carol came to visit us for Thanksgiving in 2012, and one evening she and I found ourselves alone as I cleaned up the kitchen. We usually talked about superficial things, but this time we went deeper and I was glad. Lovingly, she told me that Dean and I had done a good job raising the children. In return, I told her something that I never really had believed all these years (in fact, I had believed the opposite): “You were a good mother, too, Carol.” And when I spoke those words, I was being sincere. She responded with a chuckle, “No, I was not a good mom.” I countered with the truth: “Carol, you raised two amazing men, family men, who love their wives and their children and are good citizens and human beings. You were a good mom. You taught them right from wrong, and when Dean was little and stole from the neighbors, you made him suffer the consequences, and he learned. Many parents won't do that today.”

We went on to talk about how kids are raised these days, how parents are afraid to parent, and the problems with pervasive disrespect. It was an interesting conversation, two moms in solidarity, which transitioned into a discussion of the broader culture. As with religion, we had always avoided talking about the culture and politics; Carol was politically on the left, and had "progressive" ideas about the social issues. There was very little that we agreed on. But in our newfound solidarity, we talked about the permissiveness of the culture, and I felt bold enough to discuss with her the ugly things that even small children and young teens are taught by the likes of Planned Parenthood, much of which shocked her -- like the "embrace your inner slut" video. She looked at me, horrified, and said, “I’m a liberal, but I don’t believe in that!” I told her I understood, and that most Americans are unaware of what goes on here politically, legally, and in our schools and universities, and that they would be shocked if they knew.

The entire discussion was interesting, edifying, and pleasant, and I felt like Carol and I had bonded as never before. I felt good at this step towards a better friendship and a deeper mutual understanding, and I was satisfied, feeling that this talk could tide us over for a lifetime. Now that that was done, it was time to move along, to relax and enjoy the rest of the night with mindless activities.

I was not expecting what happened next. It was a like a bomb: The question that changed everything.


To be continued....

Read Part Two here.





Monday, December 15, 2014

"Mind-blowing"



That is what one dear friend said about a book that a few of us in my little Phoenix Bubble have been reading. Another way I've heard it described (multiple times, before and after I got my grubby hands on it) is "life-changing".

I finished it recently. Yes, I, Leila Miller, finished a book! And I cannot stop thinking about it and applying it, again and again.

It is life-changing and mind-blowing.

And it's short!

Into Your Hands, Father: Abandoning Ourselves to the God Who Loves Us, by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen




Do yourself a favor: Read this book. Get out your pen, highlighter, whatever, and start notating the parts that jump out at you. It will pretty much put life and suffering into a context you can understand and actually do something with. If the truths that lie within these pages are taken in and digested, anxiety would cease. We could rest easy, whatever our lot. Yes, I mean that.

When my local girlfriends started recommending it to me a few months back, I didn't even remember that I had a copy already on my bookshelf from several years ago when another friend had told me that it was life-changing, and I had bought it on her recommendation. I must not have been ready for it at the time, because I read through some pages, it didn't wow me, and I put it back on my shelf to collect dust.

But when I had a second copy put in my hands recently, I was ready. God had made me ready in the years since, and I am eternally grateful, because it all makes perfect sense now.

In the past days, I have loaned one of my copies to a friend and mailed the other copy to someone who was spiritually moved by the excerpts I kept posting on Facebook. I recently ordered a third copy so that I'll have one on hand to give away when someone crosses my path who needs it (and that would be everybody).

Did I mention, dear harried, tired, overwhelmed-with-life readers, that it's short?


And for those thinking ahead to Lenten reading, you're welcome. :)







Monday, December 8, 2014

Little Teaching: The Immaculate Conception



The beautiful thing about the Catholic Church is that we are very much a family. We have our Father in Heaven, our Brother Jesus, and all of our brothers and sisters in the Communion of Saints. And no family is complete without the presence and love of a Mother.

Mary, the Mother of Christ Jesus, is our Mother, too. She is your Mother.

Today, we celebrate one of the most beautiful Marian Feast days, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (which is also a holy day of obligation, by the way, so get yourself to mass!).

Many people are confused about the Immaculate Conception, believing that it refers to the the conception of Jesus in Mary's womb (it does not; that is the Annunciation, or the Incarnation), or that it refers to the Virgin Birth (it does not; that is the Nativity, or Christmas).

The Immaculate Conception refers to and celebrates the conception of Mary in her own mother's womb. She was conceived in the usual way, by her two married parents, St. Anne and St. Joachim, so that was not the extraordinary part. What is extraordinary is the fact that from the moment of Mary's conception, she was without the stain of Original Sin. She was immaculate, and she stayed that way her whole life. 

On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX infallibly defined this ancient Christian teaching in this way:

"We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."

Some Catholics fully embrace this doctrine of Mary's sinlessness, yet still misunderstand why Mary was conceived without sin. Some people (even some priests) erroneously believe that Mary had to be sinless in order to carry a sinless Jesus in her own womb, so as not to pass along Original Sin to her Divine Son through her flesh. They believe that the Immaculate Conception was necessary

But that is not true. Because if it were necessary for a woman to be without sin in order to bear a child without sin, then St. Anne would have had to be sinless to bear a sinless Mary, and the same would have to be true for St. Anne's mother, and on and on all the way back through the generations. Clearly, that is not the case. 

Rather than "necessary", the words of the Church are that it was "wholly fitting" that God would preserve the Blessed Mother from any taint or impurity. She is the Holy Vessel who would house the Word Incarnate in her own body. Just as the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant was made of the purest gold to house the Word of God, the Ark of the New Covenant (Mary) would be made of purest flesh to house the Word of God made Flesh (Jesus). She was, literally, the Holy of Holies. 

And so it is fitting that we honor Mary, the Immaculate Conception, on this beautiful feast day dedicated to her singular privilege as the Fairest Daughter of the Father. Praise God Who gave us, literally, the perfect Mother. 

The Immaculate Conception, by Tiepolo





Sunday, December 7, 2014

Rest in peace, Carol



My husband's mother, Carol, died yesterday morning, on the Feast of St. Nicholas, four days before her 68th birthday. She died peacefully, after having received the Last Rites of the Church. She was a new Catholic, baptized and received into the Catholic Church less than a year and a half ago. 

She spent one Christmas on earth as a Christian, and will spend this Christmas with the King of Kings. As a daughter of Israel and a daughter of the Church, she is doubly blessed. 

The story of her conversion is as beautiful as it was unexpected, and I want to take some time to gather my thoughts and tell her story well. 

In the meantime, please pray for the repose of the soul of this beautiful woman, and pray for the comfort of the family she leaves behind, especially her two sons who will miss her dearly. 


Carol Sue Goldstein Miller
December 10, 1946 - December 6, 2014




May the Angels lead you into paradise; 
may the martyrs greet you at your arrival 
and lead you into the holy city, Jerusalem. 

Eternal rest grant unto Carol, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon her. 
May her soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Amen.








Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Fr. Jean Buridan and the Birth of Modern Science




You all know that I am not the go-to person on the intersection of science and theology, but Dr. Stacy Trasancos is.



Her work is illuminating and important in an amnesiac culture that accuses the Catholic Church of being anti-science. When I saw Stacy's recent post on "Fr. Jean Burdian and the Birth of Modern Science", I asked her permission to reproduce it here. She kindly agreed, and added the following information and offers for Bubble readers:


1.  I [Stacy] will send a free copy of my book, Science Was Born of Christianity: The Teaching of Fr. Stanley L. Jaki,  to anyone who is an educator. Email me. 

2.  The Kindle book is on sale for $2.99 until the end of the month. 

3.  If you buy the hard copy, I will give you a free copy of the ebook. Email me to let me know.

4.  If you are interested in scheduling a speaking engagement where I explain the book's main points, email me. I have limited availability.

5.  The proceeds go to a single mother in need, a U.S. military veteran, always have, always will. Whatever sells by December 20, I will forward to her in time for Christmas.

My email:  stacytrasancos@msn.com


Thank you, Stacy! Now, to the meat...


Fr. Jean Buridan and the Birth of Modern Science


The reaction to Pierre Duhem’s 1913 volume Le système du monde: histoire des doctrines cosmologiques de Platon à Copernic (The System of World: A History of Cosmological Doctrines from Plato to Copernicus) was both strong and spectacular. His work provided undeniable evidence that in the Middle Ages faith in the predictability of nature was rooted in the theology of God as the Creator of Heaven and Earth. It was not just a single belief, but a climate of shared belief nurtured by an educational system comprised of universities, cathedral schools, and monasteries that consistently taught Christian theology. Circumnavigate the conclusion however one may, the theological beliefs that united the consistent learning centers teaching those beliefs did not exist in any of the ancient cultures nor did the Scientific Revolution occur in them. The people in ancient cultures had the skills to produce a viable science of physical laws and systems of laws, but they held some form of a pantheistic or animistic worldview. The worldview instilled by the Old Testament cultures was founded on the theology of a personal and merciful God who created a universe of order and routine.

In early Christianity, from the first millennium and into the second, and even now, this worldview was maintained. It was maintained when the Greek works were introduced and translated to the Christian West in the Middle Ages. It was the Christian scholars who dared to reject certain long-held ideas from the ancient Greeks because those ideas contradicted the tenets of Divine Revelation. The significance of the difference in the Christian worldview and the pantheistic worldview is critical to the birth of modern science. Fr. Stanley L. Jaki named the “classical and most influential case” that represents the birth of modern science from Christianity, and this is the case of Fr. Jean Buridan (1300–1358), the French priest who developed the concept of the impetus which led to the modern concept of inertia and paved the way for Isaac Newton’s first law of motion.

Jean Buridan’s Impetus Theory

In his work Quaestiones super quattuor libris de Cælo et Mundo, Buridan showed that a radical departure from Aristotelian cosmology and physics was absolutely necessary for explaining the movement of bodies. Buridan not only departed from untenable ideas, he affirmed his faith in the Creator and derived from those “articles of faith” what could only be known by revelation and not by scientific demonstration. Buridan stated that “in many an instance one should not believe Aristotle who made many propositions contrary to the Catholic faith because he wanted to state nothing except what could be derived from considerations based on what is seen and experienced.” (Quaestiones, p. 152) Stated more concisely—and this should be considered carefully—it was faith, not observation, experimentation, or investigation that gave the first breaths to modern science. Buridan’s theory of impetus is found in Book VIII, Question 12 of Super octo libros physicorum Aristotelis subtilissimae quaestiones. He was thinking about what moves a projectile after it leaves the hand of the projector. It is first necessary to understand what Aristotle asserted, which was the accepted explanation in Buridan’s day, so first a brief review.

Aristotle’s Theory of Motion

Aristotelian theory of motion held that terrestrial bodies had a natural motion towards the center of the universe, which meant, at that time, the center of earth. Motion in any other direction was “violent” motion because it contradicted natural motion and thus, required a mover to move it. Bodies were thought to naturally desire rest, so whenever something moved in any other way than naturally, there had to be a mover in contact with it. If the mover ceased to move it, the body fell straight to the earth and became suddenly at rest.

Aristotle also argued that if the resistance of a medium through which an object passed remained constant, the body would move at a constant speed if the force exerted by the mover were also constant. [This is false. A constant force results in a proportionally constant acceleration (F=ma) according to Newton’s second law.] Aristotle also held that if the resistance of the medium varied, the speed the object moved under constant force varied proportionally, and if the movement took place in a vacuum, bodies would move instantaneously with infinite speed. This is one of the reasons why Aristotle thought a complete void was impossible.

Aristotle’s system included an explanation in Book VII and VIII of Physics, and Book III of De cælo that objects move farther when thrown due to a concept he coined as antiperistasis, which means a surrounding (peri) resistance (anti) caused by an action that induces an unchanging equilibrium (stasis). This concept applied to projectiles (thrown objects). Once the mover (the hand, for instance) throws the object and the object is no longer in contact with the mover, the air that resists the object (anti) is divided by the object and surrounds it (peri). By doing so, the air fills in the vacuum in the wake thereby impelling it along (stasis). When bodies fall to the ground, Aristotle attributed this natural motion to the soul of the object (animism) searching for what is best for it. Thus a ball thrown on earth will be impelled by antiperistasis, but will also be acted upon by the ball’s nature which searches for the ground, thus projectile motion.

 According to Aristotle, the mass of an object is directly proportional to the nature of the object’s desire for its natural place. Therefore, Aristotle thought that two otherwise identical objects would fall to the ground with proportionally different speeds if one was twice the mass of the other, the heavier one falling twice as fast as the lighter one. The heavier mass’s larger nature held a larger desire to be on the ground, a conclusion that defies plain common sense and observation. It is easily observed that two balls of different mass fall at the same rate of acceleration, but this was not noticed or not admitted by the ancient Greeks or by the Muslims who followed Aristotle. Note, he was not referring to two dissimilar objects such as a feather and a ball which would fall at rates also affected by surface area and air resistance. Aristotle was referring to objects identical except for mass, i.e. two balls of the same size but different masses.

 According to Aristotle, there were two kinds of bodies: terrestrial (natural) and celestial (divine). The terrestrial bodies moved toward their desired place of rest. The celestial bodies were the bodies from the Moon upward, and they moved in a circle in a sort of divine substance called the ether. This explained why the heavenly realm moved in continuous circles. They were in a perpetual contact with the Prime Mover itself, which is the basis of the doctrine of eternal cycles (the Great Year) of an eternal cosmos emanating from the Prime Mover. Thus, motion was explained in the heaven and on earth by the object dividing the substance (air or water on earth, the ether in the heavens) and the substance in turn filling in behind the object to push it along. On earth, objects also fell to the ground in search of their rest unless a mover kept them in their motion. In the heavens, bodies were in their most desired place as long as they were in contact with the Prime Mover.

Reconciling with the Christian Creed

Buridan, along with the other Christian scholars reconciling Aristotelian texts with the Creed, rejected the doctrine of the Great Year and eternal cycles of the universe. Because he viewed the universe as the creation of a rational Creator and thus viewed the universe as having an absolute beginning in time, Buridan, in thinking scientifically, necessarily had to ponder the cause of motion for heavenly bodies, which in turn meant he had to ponder the cause of motion for terrestrial bodies, and he did so in the same atmosphere in which the Condemnations of 1277 were made. So, in Book VIII, Question 12 of the above mentioned work, Buridan appealed to common experience and judged Aristotle’s position to be unsatisfactorily solved. (The question can be found here at Professor Gyula Klim’s site.) Buridan gave the example of a child’s toy, the top. When a top spins, it spins in place so there is no vacuum left behind and thus no antiperistatic effect to impel the top to keep spinning.

As a second example, he described the “smith’s wheel” and how it also moves in a circular motion but does not leave a vacuum. As a third example, he pointed out that if an arrow were sharp at both ends, it would still move in the same way as it would move if the back end were blunt. If the motion were caused by the impulsion of the air moving in behind the arrow as it pierced the air, the arrow with a sharp posterior should not fly as far, but this is not observed. As a fourth example, he described the scenario of a ship moving through water. If the ship is going against the flow and the rowing is stopped, the ship continues on for a while and does not stop immediately. A sailor on deck, however, does not feel the air behind him pushing (impelling) him. He instead feels only the air in front of him resisting him. And if the man were standing at the back of the ship, the strong force from the air rushing in behind the ship and pushing it along ought to knock the man violently into the cargo.

Experience shows in all of these scenarios that antiperistasis is false. Buridan then argued that if, fundamentally, motion is maintained by continuous contact with a mover, then there is no explanation for how the top or the smith’s wheel can continue to move after the hand is removed, for even if a cloth surrounds the top or the wheel on all sides blocking any movement of air, it still spins after the hand is removed. Further, he argued, common experience shows that when a person pushes his hand through the air, he does not feel the air behind his hand pushing it along whether he has a stone in it or not. Buridan concluded that since, in those cases, there is no air to impel motion, no hand to sustain it, no rowing to move it, there must be another explanation. This is how he arrived at his impetus theory (see paragraph 6):
Thus we can and ought to say that in the stone or other projectile there is impressed something which is the motive force (virtus motiva) of that projectile. And this is evidently better than falling back on the statement that the air continues to move that projectile. For the air appears rather to resist. Therefore, it seems to me that it ought to be said that the motor in moving a moving body impresses (imprimit) in it a certain impetus or a certain motive force (vis motiva) of the moving body, [which impetus acts] in the direction toward which the mover was moving the moving body, either up or down, or laterally, or circularly. And by the amount the motor moves that moving body more swiftly, by the same amount it will impress in it a stronger impetus.
The impetus continues to move a stone after the hand throws it, and the impetus is continually decreased by the resisting air and by the gravity of the stone. He also related impetus to mass:
Hence by the amount more there is of matter, by that amount can the body receive more of thatimpetus and more intensely (intensius). Now in a dense and heavy body, other things being equal, there is more of prime matter than in a rare and light one. Hence a dense and heavy body receives more of that impetus and more intensely, just as iron can receive more calidity than wood or water of the same quantity. Moreover, a feather receives such an impetus so weakly (remisse) that such an impetus is immediately destroyed by the resisting air. And so also if light wood and heavy iron of the same volume and of the same shape are moved equally fast by a projector, the iron will be moved farther because there is impressed in it a more intense impetus, which is not so quickly corrupted as the lesser impetuswould be corrupted. This also is the reason why it is more difficult to bring to rest a large smith’s mill which is moving swiftly than a small one, evidently because in the large one, other things being equal, there is more impetus.
Tying this reasoning to common experience, Buridan also explained that this is why one who wishes to jump a longer distance takes a few steps back to run faster and drive himself farther, and why the jumper does not feel the air propelling him but rather the air in front of him resisting him against the force of his jump.

Guided by Faith

Finally, Buridan turned this path of reasoning toward the heavens and noted that the Bible does not claim that God had to keep his hand on the celestial bodies to maintain their motion. Buridan suggested that the motion of celestial bodies could be answered another way.
God, when He created the world, moved each of the celestial bodies as He pleased, and in moving them He impressed in them impetuses which moved them without His having to move them any more except by the method of general influence whereby He concurs as a co-agent in all things which take place; “for thus on the seventh day He rested from all work which He had executed by committing to others the actions and the passions in turn.” And these impetuses which He impressed in the celestial bodies were not decreased nor corrupted afterwards, because there was no inclination of the celestial bodies for other movements. Nor was there resistance which would be corruptive or repressive of that impetus.
In other words, Buridan introduced the concepts that would lead to Newton’s first law of motion, that a body at rest would stay at rest and a body in motion would stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by another force. The pantheistic worldview never would have led to such an idea because it was fundamentally and institutionally opposed to it. Buridan’s insight derived from his faith in the Christian Creed, Divine Revelation applied to reason and observation, which led to exact science as a self-sustaining enterprise of physical laws and systems of laws. “I might seek from the theological masters what they might teach me in these matters as to how these things take place.”

 Following the Condemnations of 1277 by Tempier against a set of tenets upheld by Aristotle and his followers, a large movement appeared that liberated Christian thought from the ancient Greek thought and produced modern science. Duhem is considered to have identified the 1277 articles as the most significant event in the birth of modern science, while Jaki highlighted the spark ignited by Buridan a generation later. For Jaki, however, it is not a certain man, event, or date that marks the birth of science though; it is a breakthrough in a naturalistic worldview that rejected the pantheistic doctrine of eternal cycles and approached the investigation of nature guided by the light of Christian faith in a merciful, faithful God who created the world out of nothing with an absolute beginning and end in time, that is ordered, predictable, and stable, but also not a god itself.

This breakthrough, just described, was based not on observation or experiment but on divine revelation and faith, and it is thus the birth of modern science, a fundamental departure from the worldviews in which modern science was stillborn.

Sources and Recommended Reading

  • Stanley Jaki, Science and Creation: From Eternal Cycles to an Oscillating Universe. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1986, see pp. 230-231.
  • Stanley Jaki, A Late Awakening and Other Essays. Port Huron, MI: Real View Books, 2004.
  • Herbert Butterfield, The Origins of Modern Science (New York: The Free Press, A Division of Simon & Schuster Inc., 1957).
  • Marshall Clagett, The Science of Mechanics in the Middle Ages (Madison,WI, The University of Wisconsin Press, 1959).
  • Pierre Duhem, Essays in the History and Philosophy of Science, Translated and Edited by Roger Ariew and Peter Barker (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, 1996).
Adapted from my book, Science Was Born of Christianity: The Teaching of Fr. Stanley L. Jaki. Available on Amazon.