My Dear People,

It is safe to say that the “Western world” is built on two central pillars: Judeo-Christian values and GrecoRoman culture. Of the best gifts of our Greco-Roman inheritance is the wisdom of ancient Greek philosophy, from Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. We may not necessarily be familiar with the exact things they taught, but their wisdom has been the foundation of many of our greatest human achievements. What then was the seed of this advancement born in ancient Greece? The experience of wonder. They marveled in awe at the world around them and this made them begin to realize that in fact they knew very little. The ancient Greeks were not Christians obviously, Christ was not yet born, nor were they Jews who worshipped the true God. They were pagans. But from the early ages of the Church, Christians realized that this Greek Philosophy could be a gateway to understanding our Faith more deeply and to explaining it to those
who approach it from different backgrounds. Wonder can lead us to God.

The ‘womb’ of wonder is a source, not only of natural wisdom which gives birth to a development of our intellect and reason, but a tool of God’s grace. One of the devil’s quite effective weapons is to prevent people from ever thinking seriously about things or ‘stepping back’ and to begin to ask serious, maybe even uncomfortable questions. He wants to make sure we are perpetually distracted with things or engrossed in emotions like gerbils on a wheel. It’s also true that ‘the idle mind is the devil’s workshop’. I’m not contradicting that either! We do need to keep busy. But this
‘busy’ness is good mainly when our priorities are ordered towards God. We have to know where we are going and how to get there.

The imposed quarantine, even if it causes obvious problems, is also something God wants to use to get us to think and ask serious questions, even uncomfortable ones. Conversions happen this way. God wants to talk, but we need to listen. Try to use this time to open yourself to that and not simply fill it with more distractions. Even if things begin to go back to normal, which we hope will be slow, we will still have time to think deeply.

Spring comes, also slowly, and reminds us of the wonder of nature’s rebirth. Allow yourself to be in awe over this. The blossoming of a flower after winter is an awesome thing. Think about it. You don’t need to reinvent philosophy by wondering, it’s been done already. You can however embark on a serious journey of wisdom. Knowing you know little and you need God is a big step. Thirsting for His wisdom is another. Recognizing and seeing His hand in the world around you may not be considered a great human achievement by today’s standards. In God’s eyes, it is. I think His view is right in the end.

Fr Walter