The Gospel of Life – 2

When the sense of God is lost, “enclosed in the narrow horizon of his physical nature, man is somehow reduced to being ‘a thing,’ and no longer grasps the transcendent character of his existence as man. He no longer considers life as a splendid gift of God, something ‘sacred’ entrusted to this responsibility, thus also to his loving care and ‘veneration.’ Life itself becomes a mere ‘thing,’ which man claims as his exclusive property, completely subject to his control and manipulation.

“In relation to life at birth and death, man is no longer capable of posing the question of the truest meaning of his own existence, nor can he assimilate with genuine freedom these crucial moments of his own history. He is concerned only with ‘doing,’ and using all kinds of technology, he busies himself with programming, controlling, and dominating birth and death. Birth and death, instead of being primary experiences demanding to be lived, become things to be merely ‘possessed’ or ‘rejected'” (John Paul II, 1995, Evangelium Vitae, 22).

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The Gospel of Life

“When the sense of God is lost, the sense of man is also threatened and poisoned . . . when God is forgotten, the creature itself grows unintelligible. Man is no longer able to see himself as mysteriously different from other earthly creatures; he regards himself merely as one more living being, as an organism which, at most, has reached a very high stage of perfection” (John Paul II, 1995, Evangelium Vitae, 22).

On beauty and the world

Now is the time to portray beauty in actions and in art, not in words. For as the world descends increasingly and unfailingly into darkness and despair, it is beauty, not words, that is going to give hope to humankind and light up the path to Him Who is Beauty, Hope and Light; thus saving and restoring our dying world to the fullness of grace.

Is lucidity fantasy or commencement of deification? Christianity v. psychology

Photo: Alexei Boitsov

Some writers have defined lucidity as following fantasy and being a natural continuation of it, within the purported psychological framework of Lacan’s initial meaning of the sinthome. This was apparently done in an attempt to downplay or completely change the real significance of lucidity; willfully or otherwise. However, such an assertion by the said writers is not true because fantasy and lucidity belong to two different orders – realms, levels – of functioning, in relation both to the nature and the abilities of common man.

Fantasy, on the one hand, belongs to Lacan’s order of the Imaginary, which is one of the psychological orders. It originates from man. No true insight or understanding are present in fantasy, otherwise it would not be fantasy in the first instance. Lucidity, on the other hand, belongs to the order, the realm, of the Spirit, which is the supernatural order (not to be confused with the preternatural order). It originates from God the Holy Spirit and is a gift of grace. Lucidity carries within it both true insight – clarity of vision – and understanding.

As the supernatural order is, by its very character, a higher order than the psychological order, it can subsume the latter within it, if and when necessary, but not vice versa. One cannot, therefore, traverse fantasy qua fantasy, to reach lucidity in a natural manner. Moreover, it is well-known in the apophatic via negativa of Eastern Christianity (as opposed to the cataphatic via positiva of Western Christianity) that when lucidity is present, fantasy is absent because it is no longer needed. But how, then, does all this happen and what does it really mean?  Continue reading “Is lucidity fantasy or commencement of deification? Christianity v. psychology”

A propos du Nom du Père de Jacques Lacan: Christianity v. psychology

god-the-father-1779-by-pompeo-girolamo-batoniMany have often claimed that the difference between Freud’s neurotic symptom and Lacan’s sinthome, in those who have traversed fantasy, is nothing more than lucidity and assent. However, is such a claim really true?

Freud considered the neurotic symptom an unwelcome act or acts that were, at the least, useless in the life of an individual and, at the most, harmful. The symptom was a substitute for instinctual satisfaction that had been repressed and claimed considerable psychic energy from the individual in its formation, manifestation, and maintenance. Lacan initially considered the sinthome to be the symptom, spelled out in its original form. However, he later redefined the sinthome as the fourth ring of the Borromean knot, and which held together the three orders of the Real, the Imaginary, and the Symbolic that formed the structure both of the world and of the individual. The sinthome came to be largely regarded as the paternal metaphor – the nom du père [name of the father] or noms du père [names of the father] that replaced the father of Freud’s Oedipus complex, with the sinthome par excellence being the Nom du Père – the Name of the (Eternal) Father. But was God the Father no more than a symptom or a metaphor for Lacan – as so many desire Him to be, to this day?  Continue reading “A propos du Nom du Père de Jacques Lacan: Christianity v. psychology”

Was Christ a narcissist or not? Christianity v. psychology

Jesus ChristUsing Christ as the epitome of the martyr, some have attempted to define the Christian martyr as a first-class egotistical, fanatical narcissist for whom nothing else counts except the unbrokenness – the unfragmented purity and integrity, if you will – of the self-image. This attitude and disposition was termed “extraordinary.” The Christian martyr was also defined as starving of all natural desire, to attain this unattainable fantasy-based goal.

In the attempt, however, to explain the martyrdom of Christ’s human nature from within such a weak – starving – purported viewpoint of psychology, these writers failed, intentionally or otherwise, to consider five basic facts (four of them spiritual) that cannot be reduced to mere psychologizations. These facts are that

  1. Christ was the only-begotten Son of God (the Father);
  2. The difference between image and likeness in the nature of mankind;
  3. The ontology of the extraordinary;
  4. The natural desires experienced by Christ the Man; and
  5. The real reason He died on the Cross.

Specifically, Christ was not just a Man, but also the Son of God the Eternal Father. As such, unlike the rest of mankind (common man), Christ did not have just a human nature and a human will, but also a divine nature and the Divine Will. Although He deliberately divested Himself of His divine nature at the very instance of His human conception.  Continue reading “Was Christ a narcissist or not? Christianity v. psychology”

For true knowledge of God

“I beg and beseech You, Lord: grant to all who have gone astray a true knowledge of You, so that each and every one may come to know Your glory” – Saint Isaac the Syrian.

Relics of the Saints: January-February

Relics of the Saints Bk 1 Front CoverHere is my latest book, just out, co-authored with Villanova University professor of art, Fr. Richard G. Cannuli, O.S.A. Below is the Hope and Life Press release for the book. Enjoy!

Relics of the Saints: January-February is the first of six volumes in the HOPE AND LIFE PRESS SERIES on relics of the saints of the universal church. Written by the Reverend Richard G. Cannuli, O.S.A., and Marcelle Bartolo-Abela, Relics of the Saints (Vol. 1) features in large, full color illustrations the first and second class relics, many of them rare, of 42 saints and blesseds venerated by the Catholic Church and/or the Orthodox Church during the liturgical months of January and February. Included are relics of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints Anthony the Great, Basil of Caesarea, Cyril and Methodius, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Ephraim the Syrian, Gregory of Nazianzus, Hilary of Poitiers, the Japanese Martyrs, John the Baptist, John Chrysostom, Josephine Bakhita, Marcella of Rome, Maximus the Hagiorite, Seraphim of Sarov, Symeon the God-receiver, Thomas Aquinas, and the Three Kings among others. Highlights of the lives of the saints and blesseds are also presented from authoritative sources, together with details of where the relics may now be found. Relics of the Saints: January-February is available in paperback and ebook editions directly from Hope and Life Press, Amazon globally, and major booksellers.

About the Authors

The Reverend Richard G. Cannuli, O.S.A., is professor of studio art at Villanova University and one of the foremost iconographers today. He is also a master watercolorist and world-renowned designer of liturgical vestments. Cannuli is the iconographer-author of the book Approaching the Divine: A Primer in Iconography  (2014, Hope & Life Press). His icons can be found in several churches and collections across the globe, including in the possession of Pope Francis; Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, and at the famous monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai, Egypt.

Marcelle Bartolo-Abela is a Catholic Christian writer on faith and spirituality in daily life. She is also the founder and director of Hope and Life Press. Bartolo-Abela is the author of the books A Voice Calling God’s People, Deification of Man in Christianity, God’s Gift to Humanity: The Relationship Between Phinehas and Consecration to God the Father; The Divine Family: Experiential Narratives; The Divine Heart of God the Father, The Icon of the Divine Heart of God the Father: Apologia and Canon; The Warrior-Prince: Saint Michael the Archangel; and Thoughts for the Day: Reflections for the Soul. 

 

For those in the Church who would ‘lynch’ whomever disagrees with them

“And Jesus replied, ‘A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise, a Levite came to the place and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds, and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, “Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.” ‘Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?’ The scholar of the law answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise'” (Lk 10:30-37).

For those who consider icons of God the Father verboten

Source: The Icon of the Divine Heart of God the Father: Apologia and Canon – Chapter 3 – Critical Review

As previously shown, icons of God the Father were originally depicted based on the prophetic theophanies of Daniel (7:9-15), Ezekiel (1:26-28, 8:1-5), Isaiah (6:1-5), and Moses (Ex 24:9-11, Nb 12:6-8). Such icons were both symbolic as well as Biblical and traditional, according to (St) Pavel Florensky’s (1996) typology of icons. God the Father was also commonly depicted according to Continue reading “For those who consider icons of God the Father verboten”