Friday, August 15, 2008

The Flight from God: Where will it lead?


In his powerful classic entitled, "The Flight from God," the eminent Swiss philosopher Max Picard writes: "In every age man has been in flight from God. What distinguishes the Flight to-day from every other flight is this: once Faith was the universal, and prior to the individual; there was an objective world of Faith, while the Flight was only accomplished subjectively, within the individual man. It came into being through the individual man's separating himself from the world of Faith by an act of decision. A man who wanted to flee had first to make his own flight. The opposite is true to-day. The objective and external world of Faith is no more; it is Faith which has to be remade moment by moment through the individual's act of decision, that is to say, through the individual's cutting himself off from the world of the Flight. For to-day it is no longer Faith which exists as an objective world, but rather the Flight; for every situation into which man comes is from the beginning, without his making it so, plainly a situation of flight, since everything in this world exists only in the form of the Flight." (The Flight from God, Gateway Editions, 1951, pp.1-2).

Picard goes on to explain in this critically important work that, "The man of the Flight cannot bear the feeling that there is one thing and one thing only: the Flight. He needs something wholly other, something, now threatening, now friendly, which is above him, like a heaven beneath which he can make his journey...This is Art...The very existence of Art in a sphere of its own already means that it is 'wholly other,' and from the beginning it is other than reality itself. The strange thing about Art is that a work of art is indeed made by man, but that once it is made it stands there independently of man. This gives it a semblance of otherness." (The Flight from God, pp. 138-139).

This is of the utmost importance for "modern man" as he flees from his God Who is Wholly Other. Nature abhors a vacuum after all. And so, in his flight from the Divine Other, man in the flight substitutes "Art" for the Divine Being as the Wholly Other." Picard explains that the cinema "..is the perfect Flight" and that here is where "men may learn how best to flee." For this reason, "..cinemas are everywhere erected, examples of the Flight. The figures on the screen are fashioned only for the Flight, they are disembodied. Like one in a hurry who drops his luggage, the figures have laid down their bodily substance somewhere in the background, while they themselves make off in the foreground of the screen, outlines only of their bodies. Sometimes they are still for a moment, looking backwards fearfully, as if there was one who pursued them. Alas, it is only a game, they do but pretend to be afraid. No one can reach them, these things without being. And now, as if they want to fool the one who pursues them, they move more slowly, they even translate a movement which ought o be fast into a slow one; they demonstrate slowness in the Flight, so sure are they that nothing can reach them, these things without being. Here in the cinema it is as if there were no more men, as if the real men were somewhere in safety, had for long been in safety, and as if these shadows had been left behind simply to flee in place of the real men. They only pretend to be in flight and even the men who sit in front of the screen in order to gaze at the shadows there seem nothing but dummies, arranged to complete the illusion,while the real men have long since departed." (pp. 8-9).

Dr. Von Hildebrand was right when he said that, "Modern man has lost that consciousness of being a creature which even the pagan possessed, and he lives in the illusion that by his own powers he can transform the world into a terrestrial paradise." (The New Tower of Babel, Sophia Institute Press, 1994, p. 21).

Having decided against God, "modern man" has embraced the Flight. This flight from the Divine Other has led to the decline of man's confidence in the powers of human reason to attain reality and truth. Man in the Flight has concluded today that all truth is relative. In the same way that Pilate asked Our Lord, "What is truth?" and hastened in his flight to the judgment-hall without waiting for an answer (John 18:38), so "modern man," in his embrace of relativism, joins the flight without any thought of inquiring for the truth. Instead, he settles for illusion, rejecting the permanent authority of truth as founded by the Divine Other in reality, reason and revelation while setting himself up as the autonomous source of all truth:"Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the 'mystery of iniquity' in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 675).

The Antichrist is behind the Flight, urging "modern man" to hasten in his Flight and not to look back. How will this Flight end? In the words of Romano Guardini:"One day the Antichrist will come: a human being who introduces an order of things in which rebellion against God will attain its ultimate power. He will be filled with enlightenment and strength. The ultimate aim of all aims will be to prove that existence without Christ is possible - nay rather, that Christ is the enemy of existence, which can be fully realized only when all Christian values have been destroyed. His arguments will be so impressive, supported by means of such tremendous power - violent and diplomatic, material and intellectual - that to reject them will result in almost insurmountable scandal, and everyone whose eyes are not opened by grace will be lost. Then it will be clear what the Christian essence really is: that which stems not from the world, but from the heart of God; victory of grace over the world; redemption of the world, for her true essence is not to be found in herself, but in God, from whom she has received it. When God becomes all in all, the world will finally burst into flower." (The Lord, p. 513).

Are we not approaching the Reign of Antichrist? "Modern man" strives to build a godless world where he is subject to no one but himself. Having eliminated God from this world, "modern man" deifies and absolutizes himself. Having rejected his place as a creature dependent upon God, "modern man" is moving, "..not toward divinity, but toward dehumanizing, toward the destruction of being itself through through the destruction of truth. The Jacobin variant of the idea of liberation...is a rebellion against being human in itself, rebellion against truth, and that is why it leads people - as Sartre percipiently observed - into a self-contradictory existence that we call hell." (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Truth and Tolerance, p. 248).

5 comments:

John Ansley said...

Men clamor for a "right" to engage in sodomy and to have the State "legitimize" their abberant behavior, women demand abortion on demand, referring to it as "reproductive freedom," pornography is promoted on television and internet under the banner of "freedom of speech," any reference to God is sanitized from the public square (including schools) as atheists insist that a "tolerant" society should do no less.

Enter the Man of Sin.

Anonymous said...

The picture of the Tower of Babel reminds me of a quote that I saw in a recent article:

"At the centre of this is man's ever-growing pride and attempted self-reliance. Man trying to build a better world without God - another Tower of Babel."

The complete text of the article:

Westminster Exorcist: Promiscuity can Lead to Demonic Possession
By Hilary White

WESTMINSTER, UK, August 15, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A priest of Westminster, the leading diocese of the Catholic Church of England and Wales, has written that promiscuity, whether homosexual or heterosexual, can lead to dire spiritual consequences, in addition to the dangers to physical health.

Promiscuity, as well as homosexuality and pornography, says 73 year-old Fr. Jeremy Davies, is a form of sexual perversion and can lead to demonic possession. Offering what may be an explanation for the explosion of homosexuality in recent years, Fr. Davies said, "Among the causes of homosexuality is a contagious demonic factor."

Fr. Davies continues: "Even heterosexual promiscuity is a perversion; and intercourse, which belongs in the sanctuary of married love, can become a pathway not only for disease but also for evil spirits."

"Some very unpleasant things must be mentioned because young people, especially, are vulnerable and we must do what we can to protect and warn them," he told the Catholic Herald.

He also said that Satan is responsible for having blinded most secular humanists to the "dehumanising effects of contraception and abortion and IVF, of homosexual 'marriages', of human cloning and the vivisection of human embryos in scientific research." Extreme secular humanism, "atheist scientism", is comparable to "rational satanism" and these are leading Europe into a dangerous state of apostasy. "Only by a genuine personal decision for Christ and the Church can someone separate himself from it."

Fr. Davies' (an Oxford graduate who is also a qualified physician) comments come in conjunction with the publication of his new book, entitled, "Exorcism: Understanding Exorcism in Scripture and Practice" published earlier this year by the Catholic Truth Society (CTS).

In the Catholic Church, exorcisms can only be performed by a priest who has the "express" permission of his bishop. According to the Code of Canon Law, only experienced priests can be chosen who exhibit, "piety, knowledge, prudence, and integrity of life." Before the official rite of exorcism is used, the subject must also be examined thoroughly by doctors and psychiatrists to rule out any non-spiritual causes of his difficulties and physicians are often asked to assist during the course of an exorcism.

Fr. Davies also warns in his book against so-called New Age and occult practices, as well as trendy exercise and "spiritual healing" regimens derived from eastern religions.

"The thin end of the wedge (soft drugs, yoga for relaxation, horoscopes just for fun and so on) is more dangerous than the thick end because it is more deceptive - an evil spirit tries to make his entry as unobtrusively as possible."

"Beware of any claim to mediate beneficial energies (eg. reiki), any courses that promise the peace that Christ promises (eg. enneagrams), any alternative therapy with its roots in eastern religion (e.g. acupuncture)." Needless to say, overtly occult activities such as séances and witchcraft are "direct invitations to the Devil which he readily accepts."

Fr. Davies was appointed exorcist of the Westminster Archdiocese in 1986 after a four month training period in Rome. In 1993 he co-founded, with Italy's Father Gabriele Amorth, the International Association of Exorcists which now has hundreds of members worldwide. In 2000, Fr. Davies told the Independent newspaper that incidents of demonic possession are rising dramatically along with the increase of New Age beliefs and practices, ignorance of the Bible and a growth in spiritual confusion.

"At the centre of this is man's ever-growing pride and attempted self-reliance. Man trying to build a better world without God - another Tower of Babel," he said. In 2005, the Vatican recently made headlines around the world by publicly announcing the launch of a course on exorcism for priests

The Church's writings on exorcism and demonic possession say that a person can be influenced or even possessed by demonic forces when they are "hardened" in serious sin and the Church specifies that these include people who are involved in heavy drug use, violence and sexual perversions. It is also noted that the "heinous crime" of abortion exacerbates these. Italian exorcist Fr. Gabriel Amorth writes that it is particularly difficult to liberate a victim who is guilty of abortion, and that this can take a "very long time".

Marie Tremblay said...

Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect for the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said this in "The Ratzinger Report": "One of the signs of our times is that the announcements of 'Marian apparitions' are multiplying all over the world."

We are approaching times of cataclysm the likes of which we cannot even begin to fathom. And we only have ourselves to blame. We have prepared the chastisement with our own hands as Our Lady told Father Gobbi.

What we can do now - what we must do - is pray each and every day - especially the Rosary - and consecrate ourselves to her Immaculate Heart while confessing our sins and living a sacramental life.

Mary is the New Ark. Our sure refuge. We had better enter that Ark while we are able to do so. The time of mercy is running out.

William said...

Father Davies is a brave and courageous priest who speaks the truth. Notice what he says about yoga and New Age practices serving as doorways for demonic influence and possession? Why then have the La Salette Missionaries had yoga retreats (and other questionable activities) at their Attleboro Shrine?

Sanctus Belle said...

A greater statement of truth has not been uttered. The world is becoming so dark, so decieved, so in love with death and all that is ungodly. It is very difficult not to be afraid, but with the will alone can we turn in trust to the Lord and beg to be numbered among His elect and thus saved from this deception.

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