By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fr. Jacques Philippe's Book Called to Life

Oh my! It has been about three months since I have written on this gem of a little book (here is the link to the prior posts on the book for those who need some background on the book and the author who is a remarkable spiritual director and retreat master). Today, I will plunge right in as I continue in Ch. 3 on the Word of God. Here are the points I wish to make today.

1. Why read the Bible? Fr. Philippe offers a bold answer: to discover our true identity as children of God. The alternative is to adopt "false identities" (p. 49).

2. How do we "grow in openness to the gift" of being children of God? We do so "by cultivating simplicity, confidence, resignation, acceptance of the divine will, and thanksgiving" (50).

3. I have written before of the phenomenon of young people who are rudderless, a state not limited to the young. The result of rudderless existence is "[a]nguish and insecurity and a sense of emptiness" bolstered by an atheistic, scientific, deterministic mentality and by the view (made so graphic by the sexual revolution) that we are the products of "a more or less haphazard coming-together of a man and a woman who made love without any thought of the new life that might come into existence" so "that new life is seen as a failure of contraception" or merely the chance survivor of the widely used legal right to abort (51). The rudderless person feels orphaned and lost in the cosmos.

4. Note how the so-called "liberating" sexual revolution is a sign of despair, as the author notes: "I sometimes wonder if one reason for the frenzy about sex in today's world is not this need to make contact with our origins" (p. 52, note 12). We feel lost and so are compulsively impelled to seek some escape in sexual frenzy (often in arbitrary, desperate search for the next partner to fill the departure of the previous partner). Substance abuse and even addiction to certain forms of frenzied music also play this role.

There is a great gash and wound in many of us (the wound has been very socially prominent in the West in the last 40 years), as we seek our true origins. (See this N.Y. Times link, courtesy of our Rhode Island reader, which shows that the U.N. is seeking to impose this Western madness worldwide.) In contrast, the Scriptures can tell us who we really are and who our Father is.