Light of the World

I’m afraid I can’t say, well enough, what I’m trying to say. It is ethereal, but of a definite color.

It is a shame that there is no authority to go around declaring the Church to be “the light of the world.” The Church does it as a kind of paradox – what seems a boast is actually a statement of great obligation and, we believe, of divine origin. But this remains as unconvincing to the non-believer as is the circular logic of Evangelicals, who will tell me that the Bible alone is to be trusted because the Bible says so.

I am no authority. (Think about all that that means, for a moment).

Instead, as one person, I give my testament – the Church is the light of the world. Moreover, I echo the words of Peter, when Jesus asks his Apostles whether they will also leave him: “Lord, to whom shall we go?”

I’ve looked. I was almost carried away, in a few instances, by lines of thought that would make me a god, or God, or else promised to unleash me from the bonds of my superstitions so that I might be free to chase every whim and desire. These things I recognize as temptation, and their inventor is no liberator.

Does this seem too sure, too safe a conclusion? Have I not ventured out far enough on the open seas of life and thought to earn the skeptic’s respect?

Tell me, then, what I have to gain. Likewise – here is where you must earn my respect – recognize what I would be losing. This is the piddling arithmetic of the naturalist, who says you only have this life, and there is nothing greater than what your senses can tell you.

Because even if, on the first tally, it would seem that the naturalist’s life is more satisfying – have sex but not children, and you will be happy, for instance – there is still the void. Or, to keep with the mathematical analogy – anything multiplied by zero equals zero.

I answer, rather than zero, infinity. Rather than chance, purpose. Rather than mindlessness, Logos.

If I am only playing with imaginary numbers (you will recall from algebra), at least there is some use to them which purely empirical numbers cannot offer. But I am not, and I step outside of the analogy with the help of mathematics: Why does math work at all?

Why are theoretical physicists, those sleuthing as to the origins of the Universe, far from disdaining the use of numbers and their operations, dependent almost entirely upon them? This has not escaped the attention of some of those physicists, who voice their fear that it might really mean something for math to be so darned useful.

So, a hundred times, I return to the Church. She may have, at times, forgotten that the physical center of the Universe is not the same as the heart of the Universe – but she did not forget that we are the heart of creation. We are the throbbing heart of a seemingly vast and empty cosmos.

And that’s the crux – because, even now, some want us to believe that we are insignificant because the Universe is so vast. That, if we are the only form of advanced life, then we are desperately alone.

The Church has it just the other way around – the grandeur of the cosmos reflects the lavish love of God – so much given, for, physically speaking, less than a speck on a speck, something impossibly small compared with the whole. We are not alone, but singular, and bearing His image.

Who else but God could ever dare to perpetuate such a theory? How would it last beyond the first generation if it did not seem truer that one’s own life?

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