Sunday, 16 December 2007
Being brief I just want to say that it was a great event. The friars really did a very good job on the organisation and there was a lot of interest in the whole event. It was great to see so many people turning up! The friars made national news with their work, and rightly so.
We far to often hear or indeed think that it is impossible to organise any big religious event, but the Franciscans have shown us that it can be done, and it should be a sign for us that we have to be bold in proclaiming the gospel!
Sunday, 9 December 2007
I rang a friend at home earlier today, and we had a short conversation about all kinds of things. He wouldn't be religious at all (and when I mean at all I mean more than at all). That means that it is hard to talk about how I am getting on in the novitiate and religious life. It doesn't really make sense for someone who doesn't belief in God.
I often just end up saying that I don't have any news, that the days are all kind of the same, and it is hard to talk about the different things that make up the day, like prayers, mass, study etc. How can one explain what religious life is about to someone who doesn't belief in God? In the eyes of the secular world it is a lot of the time I guess 'doing nothing'. Prayer is 'doing nothing' to one who doesn't belief in God, and some people have the same opinion about a life long of study.
After putting down the phone, and going down to the church to say a few prayers before mass I thought a bit about it. It is a mystery to live a life with God. Not only religious life, but also every other form of vocation in life. My friend mentioned that he didn't expect me to last, as I am a very active person. That again brought home something I wouldn't think of daily, and that is the fulfillment that having God close to us. It transforms 'doing nothing' into 'doing everything'. It is the difference between being 'lazy and selfish' and 'proactive and all giving'. It is the difference between restlessness and peace, the deep satisfaction it gives deep down to our soul.
God is the only reason I live this life, and the fact that I love it is a witness of his presence (probably foremost of all to myself). It is living the beauty of nothing except the rest we find in God. It is about the inner peace in the bottom of our soul, of the satisfaction and ultimate fulfillment we find there.
The great thing is that it is not something magical, something far beyond our reach. It is already given to us, already with us. Jesus came to us, he is standing at the door, we only have to open the door and just welcome Him. We only have to accept Him!
The beauty of silence, of being able to be with God!
Tuesday, 20 November 2007
I am born in the Netherlands, or better known as Holland. I have had a nice childhood, and very good parents. Me, my brother and sister however did never get baptised. I never really discussed it in detail with my parents, but I figured that the reason is that my mother, and her side of the family, are not really religious. My dad’s father died when my dad was very young, but was a very religious man, as I can see that in the balanced and Christian way we are raised. He however was part of a Dutch reformed protestant branch and had some difficulties with some of the members of that church. My dad’s mother converted to Catholicism at a later age because of the support she got from the catholic community in the town where we are living. I until very recent however, did not know all this, as I didn’t have any interest in religion.
Apart from maybe having gone to Sunday school when I was younger, I haven’t had any religious education, neither on primary school or on secondary school. The only story I knew from the bible was the story about John the baptism, and that was because in earlier years my granddad used to read the bible after dinner, and I could remember the story from being with them for dinner one time. To sum up my Christian belief, I thought it was old fashion, outdated and irrelevant. We were thought on school that evolution describes exactly how we came to being, and the hidden message was that God is non-sense, and that science had already proven this thousands times over. Moreover, the teaching of the churches, and especially the Catholic Church were far to old fashion. I even laughed at the pope, especially when he became older! Imagine that, I have to explain that when I meet eventually him in heaven!
Anyway, I finished my secondary school and started to study mechanical engineering. All was going well, and I was looking forward to finish my degree and earn some money. Coming 2002 I only had to do a four month practical placement before my graduation, and I was planning on doing it close to home. It turned out however that year that it was hard to find a suitable assignment, but I was lucky and got a place with Philips. The only drawback was that I had to go to Mexico, to a production plant they were building there. I thought it would be a good experience, so agreed. The last minute however, the assignment was canceled, and I found myself without a place. Thankfully, one of the teachers, who had contacts with Ireland, heart of it, and because he thought I wanted to go abroad he arranged for me to go to Galway, even though an assignment had to be found when I arrived.
The four months of my placement went very well, and I made a good impression. When the end came, I got offered a master in research which included a scholarship. I decided that it might be a good opportunity, and I made a few German friends here who were to stay another year so I figured it would be a good thing to do. It meant that I had a gap of about four months in which I had nothing to do, but a teacher said that he could pull a string in a nearby multinational company and see if they would have some work for me during the summer. It turned out that they didn’t really, but they employed me anyway on account of the recommendation I got. The four months went by, and because I had not much to do, I agreed with the company to write a proposal for a scholarship doing research for them instead of the original project, and this worked out very well.
This however is where my path as it were was running alongside the mountain… I met a colleague there who is a devout Catholic, and he challenged me on my beliefs regards God. Being an engineer, stubborn and eager for a discussion, I took up the challenge and we went into lengthy discussions about science, history, accuracy of the bible, evolution, the start of life, and the teachings of the Catholic Church. I was most of the time blown away, and had to do a lot of background reading. My beliefs about science, evolution and mainly every topic related to our existence were turned upside down. Everything I believed to be fact seemed not to be so factual at all, and if anything, at least 50 years outdated. I was overwhelmed with the information we have about microbiology, and the complexity of the simplest living cell. Complexities that cannot spontaneous assemble itself in a nice warm puddle of mud, or at least not without the guiding hand of a very intelligent being. I won’t go into the details of it, as I would probably boar about 90% of you to sleep, but there are some very easy to read books available explaining all the basic concepts.
One major point of discussion was as well the bible, and in specific the New Testament, and its historical accuracy, its composition and source. I always saw it as a book of fairytales, but after knowing more about it, and doing a bit of reading about the bibliographical tests as are standard for historical documents I had to accept is as history and that it was inspired by God, if he existed.
I did now accept the possibility that there is a God, and not only a God watching over us, but more important a living God who loves us and wants to be involved with us and want to know us. My colleague bought me a Dutch bible, and said that if God exists, is alive and really cares, it would only be fair that he would show me that he existed, or let me find him, if I had a genuine openness.
I started reading a few paragraphs, or maybe a chapter of the New Testament every night before I went to bed and said a short prayer to find God. I also tried to pop into the church on my way back from work for a few minutes.
The Lord promises himself that we can find him in Matthew chapter 7, verse 7: “Ask, and it will be given to you; search and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. Everyone who asks received, everyone who knocks will have the door opened”. This ties in nicely with the theme of the retreat. The whole quote from Jeremiah 29-13 is “When you search me you will find me; when you search me wholeheartedly for me, I shall let you find me”. It hit me when I looked the passage up in preparation of the talk. A lot of people might be looking half hearted after God. They kind of want to follow him if it is not too much hassle, but are not ready to give their whole heart to him. When I started to look for God I did start looking wholehearted. I decided that if God’s really exists and really loves me, then it is worth to be open to it, and spend some time trying to find him. And he let me find him, within a very short time!
This is a short extract of my story, of how I started to climb the mountain to find the glory of God on the top. Hopefully most of you already experienced this, or are ok with it, but I wanted to share this in case some of you didn’t. The climbing of the mountain, as reflected on, is the accepting God in our lives, to be open to his love and forgiveness, and to genuine search for him.
Monday, 19 November 2007
Saturday, 27 October 2007
Prayer is where we meet God and we can talk with him. A time of peace and silence, being with our Lord.
My problem has often been that I start to rush through my prayers. I don't have that problem as much anymore now, as I am a novice and much more time to pray, although I said a rosary in record time today just before vespers. When I was still working though, I sometimes, or maybe not so sometimes, I tried to say my prayers when I didn't really have enough time. An good example is the rosary, where I just squeezed one in before going somewhere.
Reflecting back on these times, and now being able to pray more at ease, I think one has to be careful not to go for quantity, but more for quality. If you have 10 minutes spare in the evening, say one decade slowly or, what I sometimes did, reflect on an image of the define mercy for the 10 minutes. In pure silence...
Silence is, I think, the most important aspect of deep prayer. In the silence of our heart our Lord speaks to us. It is very hard nowadays to get this silence. There is always noise, phones ringing, things to do which occupy our minds etc., but we should try to find silence for prayer.
I think 'silence' should also come into our own actions. I might have made the mistake that I tried to communicate with the Lord, as in, with a great effort form my side. This however might render result sometimes, but recent experiences have shown me that that is not the best way. The Lord is already with us! We don't have to climb up to him. By climbing up we might leave him behind, right on the place were we were.
A better way would be in my way, to try and dwell in Christ. To open ourselves up to him, to open the door. This sounds easier than it is on first reflection, but maybe it is easier than we think once we understand it. Meditation on Christ, through our own reflections, an image or scripture, might help us to dwell in Christ. This deepening of prayer will give us a deep sense of peace or presence in our whole being...
In the beginning it might be very difficult, and we quickly lose this moment of dwelling in Christ.
That is were I am at! But in time we will be able to dwell with him for longer and deeper. It can be explained by walking on a wire, we quickly fall off. But with practice, walking the wire might become as easy as walking on a motorway.
Off course we won't always find this peace. If we would we might become addicted to it, and start praying, not to be with Jesus but to get an emotional experience. I belief however, that if we are seriously trying to find a way to be with Jesus, he will help us and show us. We then know that we are with him, even when we don't get emotional highs. Faith is important as well, but I belief that we are not asked to have blind faith. Our God is not a dead God, but a very alive God, very present in our lives, and we see him in the face of Jesus.
Just some thoughts...
Sunday, 21 October 2007
Quoting he says, derived from sources mentioned in the book, "Genesis apparently is not describing creation ex nihilo, creatino from nothing" (p. 133). Personally I am not too concerned about this, as I don't see the need to have to interpret Genesis literary, but I trikes me that that is a very useful argument, and possibly helps us to be able to more closely link Genesis with scientific observances and as such get a deeper understanding of our being (although this can be dangerous as Genesis is NOT a science book)
I am holding the belief that the question if macro evolution is true or not is not really relevant, but that it is much more interested to think how life started. I cannot belief that life started randomly after having done some research on this topic, just because that theory goes in against a lot of the scientific and biologic facts we nowadays have (Dr. Behe among many others did some very interesting research on this). Anyway, even if life 'sprong' out a puddle of mud, where did this original puddle from, or whatever was the cause of the puddle to exist.
I would be a supporter of an "intelligent design" theory. I quoted "intelligent design" and used "an", as the term "intelligent design" can have different interpretations and emotions attached to it in different parts of the world. In a nut shell I would hold the view that God had a guiding hand in the development of the world. I personally don't have a particular view as yet on how this would be (as in, created everything as is with only micro evolution since, or with an aspect of macro evolution as well). I do strongly belief that humans as they are, are different from animals as we have "knowledge of good and evil" and have a soul.
Anyway, not to get too carried away with the above I will returning to genesis, I like the suggestion that the might already have existed, and that the account describes the forming of life, and the interaction of God with first life. Obviously even if the earth already existed for some time it has to be grounded in a creative act from God. My observance doesn't really change anything to my view, but I like the idea of the possibility that the earth was already in it's primitive form, but without life (maybe as a result of the big bang), and that God breathed over the earth to bring life to it.
I haven't reflected on the above, and it has many flaws, but the part that I enjoy is that every time I find that the scriptures are so deep and can give us so much information to pounder on!
Saturday, 20 October 2007
While reading the article (which I found very interesting being an engineer) I was thinking about the "water of life" and the woman at the well (Jn 4). In the dessert water is surely one of the most scarce and precious source of life, where in the western world clean water is commonly not a problem (although, more and more strains are put on clean water supplies as people in Galway, Ireland can confirm). There is however maybe a scarcity of the water of Life. This life might not directly be the life of the body but it is surely the life of the soul.
Sometimes when I walk through the city I am looking at the people that walk past, and a lot of them don't seem terribly happy. This might just be my interpretation, but I it strikes me that there is something missing. Would it be possible that one of the reason's has do with the thirst of the soul for the water of life.
Being a convert I don't understand why the gross of God's children don't want to know Him on a deep and personal note. For me it does just not make sense! The only thing we have to do is to say yes to God, and make a commitment to spent some time with him. Jesus promises that "the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water, welling up for eternal life." (Jn 4.14). This is the well of joy and peace, which will fill our whole being, giving us hope, faith and love!
Again, these are my personal reflections, but I think a lot of people are a bit lost in modern society. There might be a lack of purpose in their lives, and they might feel that they are running around without getting anywhere. It is a pitty that most of them probably don't know the real message of the gospel of life. They don't drink of the living water of love, of faith and of hope, which will give them joy, peace and a sense of direction in these turbulent times.
Monday, 15 October 2007
I don't have any photo's of the occasion, but I must say that I really enjoyed it. The attendance was very good and I thought there was a great prayerful atmosphere.
The mass was quite long because the occasion of 800 years Dominicans. There were a few added parts like a short history of the order and talks of the different groups in the Dominican family. There wasn't much time afterwards to chat to people, but overall it was a great occasion.
I will definably be going again next year!
Saturday, 13 October 2007
Now being a month in the Dominican order as a novice and having had a chance to have more time spent in the presence of the Lord myself through contemplation I more and more understand the beauty of contemplative life. Is was a real blessing being there and seeing the love and joy literally radiating from the sisters.
It was also very nice to meet the nuns ones more, now in the habit. I really thank them for all the prayers which brought me so far! For more information on the sisters in the Siena convent, please have a look at their website http://www.dominicans.ie/siena
Monday, 8 October 2007
This means that I devote a lot of time to private prayer, and I must say that I really makes the days enjoyable.
Before I started I was afraid that the 'enclosure' would have been to much for me. Enclosure is a big word nowadays are we are fairly free, but we are supposed to be in the novitiate for the full year. After the first three weeks are over now I really feel home, and I would really encourage anyone who half thinks that God is calling him or her to any vocation to give it at least a thought and maybe a try! I am amazed, and most of all that I would actually be ok with even being more enclosed.
I think I now start to understand contemplative nuns and monks who are enclosed their whole life. Before I couldn't really image how that would be, but I think I am starting to understand it now!
It is a blessed time, and I am really happy that I am doing this! Before I usually lived with a look to the future, to holidays or the weekend. Now I can say that I am happy where I am today and what I am doing now at this moment!
Saturday, 22 September 2007
It was a very interesting week, and very joyfull.
We went up to Dublin this weekend as it would be the last chance to meet all the brothers who are studying abroad and "sent out to the universities of Europe". Currently there are 3 brothers going to Maynooth (Ireland), 4 to Blackfriar's, Oxford (UK) and one toLille (France). It was a very nice occasion as we got to spent some time with the whole community in St. Saviours, Dublin and were all present at a very nice mass to mark the opening of the study year.
It is really a great experience, and I love being in the community. Sometimes I have still get a bit of a shock when I think of it, but I feel definable on the right place for the moment, and wouldn't change for anything in the world! For whoever things the Lord is calling in their life I would sure advise to give it time and prayer to discern because it is worth more than anything!
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." (Mt 13:45-46)
Monday, 17 September 2007
I think however that we must realize that a 'soul who is found' does not means exactly that God found this person and decided to welcome him in hos family. The story of the prodigal son shows this, where the the younger son got 'lost' and gave in to the temptations of the world. After being brought completely to his knees he realised that he was much better of with his father at home, even if only as a servant! His father however never had any bad feeling towards him, and he rejoiced when he saw his son return!
It is exactly the same with God! We are the ones that run away all the time! We all give in to temptations, decide that we know better or don't give our relation with Jesus enough time to develop and subsequent slowly get lost.
It is not God however who in subsequent throws ignored us or is angry with us, but ourselves that reject His love!
If we would only understand how deep God's love for us is, and how wonderful life can be if we only gave only a small bit of time to get to know him. The relation with God is as with any relation! It takes time to get to know the other, and it takes effort to keep a good relation going. The only difference with this relation is that God is knows us already, and it is only up to us to seek him, and open ourself open to him.
God gave us complete freedom, which means that he gave us complete freedom to love him. As long as we reject him he cannot force his love on us! Often we are the stumbling block for His Divine grace to flow!
Christopher West in one of his talks on the 'Theology of the Body' says that God gave us all a bank account with 1 billion Euro/Dollar in it! Most of us however only withdraw 7 cent out of this account during our life!
Friday, 14 September 2007
We only arrived back yesterday evening from a five day retreat which was a peaceful preparation for the start of the novitiate. The ceremony was preformed at the community mass in the morning, and was very prayerful. Although a bit nervous until it was all over I really enjoyed it.
Some friends came down and there was a nice gathering afterwards. The atmosphere was really welcoming, and I am really looking forward to the coming year! We as novices are now officially excepted for this year to try the habit and to get to know the Irish Dominicans. If we decide that God is calling us toward religious life with the Dominicans (and the order concurs) we will be officially received into the order next year on the 15th of September (after doing 365 days of novitiate).
It is great to feel the warm welcome of the community, and also as I may say, a warm encouragement of God. Making decisions nowadays seems difficult, but if we do, and do it while trying to do it with God, is very rewarding! Up till today I might have been nervous, but all the nervousness is gone now, feeling ready to enjoy this year! Sometimes we just have to get out of the boat! The sea might be roaring, and the wind blowing, but with our eyes on Christ we can walk on the water. Often we will fail and maybe get discouraged, slowly sinking into the deep, but every time He will quickly come to our aid and help us up again to give us strength to try again!
Friday, 7 September 2007
I arrived yesterday afternoon in Limrick for the Noviciate, together with the other two condidates. After a grand tour we joined in the evening prayer and dinner, and had a bit of time to ourselves to unpack. This is a big job for me as I had lots and lots of things I brough here before I went on my holiday... and I felt embarased when I saw Colm coming in with two bags... anyway I am almost done!
We are going to go down to Cork after lunch for our five day retreat starting in the evening and are coming back to Thursday for the official reception into the order on Friday when we receive the habit (and the noviciate really starts).
It is still a bit overwelming to be here, and it didn't really hit me yet that I am actually living here....
Saturday, 1 September 2007
I will be staying the few days with the "Fraternity of Mary Immaculate Queen" of which I know the comunity members quite well. It will be a nice prayerfull introduction before my start the noviciate with the Dominican Order on Thursday and I am looking forward to it!
I will be on retreat as an introduction to the Noviciate until the 14th when I receive the habit, so it will probably a while before I get a chance to post again. Hopefully I will be able to get a bit more a regular poster after that and share my experience and hope to include extending the articles I wrote about before!
Tuesday, 28 August 2007
Nine days until I will go to Limerick to start the 5 day retreat as introduction to the start of the Noviciate with the Dominican Order (Order of Preachers) on the 14th when I receive the habit.
The noviciate is a year in which the Dominican order and myself will see if God calls me to the perticular vocation of religious life, and maybe in particular the priesthood. It will be a year of prayer, reflection, a bit of study and decernment.
I will be another few days home and must say that I get a bit anxious. Sometimes it is hard to see the way that is traced out before me, and sometimes I don't think I am doing the right thing. We have to trust however on God's plan, and trust His plan to be the best and to do the best to follow it.
The last years have been very exciting, and having a true relation with God really makes life one big adventure (and not a boring novel :) ). It hurts sometimes, and sometimes it is very difficult to do what is good instead of what I what the flesh wants to do, but it is worth it.
It is like clearing out the garden here at home. There was a piece of the garden which was kind of taken over by the forest, and we cleared it out. Hard work, and not always nice (being stung, bitten and scratched), but the result is a clear/clean space, and all the effort we put in was really worth it!
The same with our own purification. It sometimes hurts, but the result is that we get a clearer vision of what is good and what is bad, and appriciate the beauty of life! There is always joy, and although I have done a lot of things that were fun and pleasurable, they didn't give me this deep routed feeling of joy after some difficulties or when doing to right things!
Wednesday, 15 August 2007
Modern live is very comfortable in most cases, and it is usually not until a drastic change in people's live or the reaching of an old age that men seems to search for God. The reason for this is that the question "What is the meaning and reason for life?" raises.
The Bible is an very important part of the Christian live. The Bible is the Word of God, so God can speak to us though the Bible. Just reading a few lines of the Bible every day will without any doubt change somebody?s life. People will say: "I read the Bible for a few weeks but it did nothing for me!" but try to have faith, and be open and look back after 2-3 months, surely you see the influence!
For a lot of people this is how far they go though in their belief. Who he was, however, and what he did is a topic on which you can get a lot of sceptic looks. There are on the other side a lot of ways to proof existence of our Lord and to support his claim that he is the Son of God. The most obvious account of his live and most accessed and available to everybody is the Holy Bible, and in perticular the four Gospels, which gives an detailed account of his preaching and the miracles he performed. Our start in our case for Christ will be to discuss the trustworthiness of the bible, since this can be used as an account of Jesus life, and help to get deeper understanding of what happened in those times.
The historical background of the Bible and therefore its trustworthiness can be examined in three rough steps, the first step is a bibliography test, which all historical documents have to pass. Then there is the internal evidence in which the writers and writing were creditable and how reliable the witnesses can be. Finally an external evidence test will look if the content of the document is consisted with writings and events of that time.
The Bible has also over hundreds prophesies which have been fulfilled, and Christianity is the only religion where prophesies have been given and fulfilled (except the Islam where Mohamed prophesised that he would return to Mecca and he did). If we can accept that the accounts of Jesus as described in the New Testament are right, who was Jesus then? If all these stories are true , how could that be without the involvement of God, and then even more important without him being God.
You can reason out that with the accounts given, and the wisdom, knowledge, miracles, love and self-sacrifice that he was not a lunatic or an evil lair since the first would not have the knowledge and wisdom and the latter won't be so stupid to let himself crucify by proclaiming to be God. It is as well hard to explain the many miracles that look place during that time without the power of God.
The coming of the Messiah was exactly prophesised in the Old Testament and Jesus gave a perfect prophesy himself by telling that the generation to which he was speaking would see the destruction of the temple which happened in 70 AD (A Jewish generation is 40 years!)
(Copied from my blog Witness Christ)
It really does matter, and matter very much, how we think about the cosmos" are the words of Dr. George Roche . If the universe is uncreated, eternally self/existent, or accidental then it has no purpose and, consequently, we have no purpose. Determinism rules. Morality and religion are ultimately irrelevant. People have a comfortable life, or at least most who life in the Western world, and are more and more educated by one of the marvels of the world: the television! More and more documentaries throw so called fact about the big bang and the birth of the earth at the viewers and explain how life really started, at least that is the impression one gets when reading a common paper or when watching television.
The result is that Christianity is pushed more and more to the background, sometimes even suggested old fashion or revered at as a fairytale. This is a pity since Christianity is actually a very modern and an actual topic especially if it comes to the topic of science, but concerning social behaviour of the communities. Some of the articles presents on this blog try to give a short introduction to the numerous (scientific) facts reasoning for the existence of God and the His son our Lord Jesus Christ.
I also try to explain what the meaning of life is in other articles, what the point of our existence is, why we know what is right and wrong and why we have a moral law. There are a few approaches you can take to discover the existence of God and the Truth this knowledge brings to you, and the most interesting or appropriate way depends on the person. The most important thing is however to be open for the Word of God, and ask him (pray) to help and guide you on the way of exploration.
In our article the case for Christ is evidence given for the accuracy of the Bible, and so the accounts of Jesus round the years 30 AD. This gives already a whole new look and dimension on the Bible and will help to boost the faith of a lot of people. Following on this article are some more scientific and historical fact concerning the existence of our God.
1. George Roche, A World Without Hero's (Hillsdale college press, 1987)
We can neither judge the slavery occurring a few hundred years ago since the culture at that time regarded it as right and didn't have any problems with the human trade according. If the idea of "right and wrong" is subjective, then what they did was not wrong looking at the culture at the time, and few would agree with that.
Humans seem to justify their behaviour according to a higher law that they suppose everyone is aware of, and which can be referred to as the moral law. You would be very annoyed if you are waiting in line at the bank and somebody skips the queue, however, you would probably not be as annoyed if you knew that the other did not see the queue or did not know that he had to queue? This is completely illogical since both the instances have the same effect but are judged on in a different way.
A remarkable fact is as well that only humans have a sense of right and wrong, animals don't. Animals have, what humans have as well, an instinct and have an instinctual behaviour. An example is the instinct to protect their offspring, or the sexual drive to reproduce since this is needed to insure the survival of the race. Many animal parents will even sacrifice their live for their offspring. They don't act on decision of right and wrong but only on instinct. Does this moral law (the sense of right and wrong) the fruit of the combination of instinct and the human intelligence? Most animals have intelligence as well in a greater or lesser degree, for example look at Dolphins or a cat teaching a kitten to hunt. This intelligence however helps the instinct and works with it, where we usually want to act against the moral law.
If there is no logic reason for the existence of the moral law (as Einstein pointed out), where does this law come from? An explanation comes from the tree of knowledge of good and evil as pointed out in Genesis: "Yahweh God called the man saying 'Where are you' He said, 'I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.' God said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I ordered you not to eat?'" (Gn 3:9-11).
Could this be true and could we accept that the moral law come from the creator like the laws of physics? I certainly never saw a dog covering his male parts because he was ashamed! Does this not tie in with the separation from the Creator since we tent to disobey this law? This ties in exactly with the Christian teaching and gives an understanding how we can get closer to our God by following the moral law he has given us and listening to the Words he has spoken to us to help us to repent. You will find that this is what Jesus tries to teach us during his time of ministry on earth. The closer you come to God the better your understanding of right and wrong gets.
Some people find it perfectly to watch television after 10-11 pm and watch some interesting biological programs, a closer relation with god will teach you that there is something wrong with that. This understanding and guidance of God can grow as you are more open for His guidance in you life and you can even experience a total feeling of wrong at watching anything on television that has not a possitive contribution to your life.
The conclusion of the short article above is that there is no logical explanation of the existence of right and wrong as it is given to us humans. Other created live forms as we know don't seem to have this sense of a moral law and are solemnly acting on their instinct support by their intelligence to improve their change to survive. Humans however have the daily battle with this moral law, which urges us to do good instead of acting solemnly for our own salvation or the salvation of or kind. The root of this can only be explained by the root of good which is God, and is in fact described in Genesis 3:9-11. The more we follow the moral law the closer we can get to the Creator, or the closer we get to our Creator the closer we want to follow this moral law, the law which Jesus tried to help us to start to follow during his ministry on earth.
The answer to the question is however not as difficult as someone expects. It is not bound to different personalities or any personal position in live as might be the popular belief. Cutting straight to the point, the meaning of life can only be found in having a relation with God and accept his son Jesus Christ in your life as Saviour. In this way we come to know the only Truth. The meaning of life is to start to understand the reasons for our existence by building up a relation with God and to grow towards eternal life where you will join God, the Angels and Saints in the paradise of Heaven.
Here on earth, God gives you a chance to make up your own mind of what you want to do in eternity, how you want to spend it. In this life on earth he gives you the choice to choose for or against him, to start a relation with him which continues into eternity or not. He gives you the opportunity to accept him and enjoy a relation with him and feel his love in your live now and into eternity. God loves all people on this earth since he created them all, and his love goes so far that He also allows you to reject him, for you to choose to take things in your own hands and live without Him.
Part of our exsistence on earth can be seen as a chance to make a choice to join God in Heaven and worship Him and give him praise along with the Angels and the Saint or to reject God and be in self control as did Lucifer and the fallen angels. This choice is given at the beginning of the world where the serpent tells Eve in the garden of Eden to eat from the tree of knowledge and the first lie in the world was told: "You will be like gods, knowing good and evil?" (Gen 3:5).
Once you make the choice to follow God, you have to make the next step is to live a life according to the objective Truth. The Truth is partly revealed by God in the form of the Scriptures as found in Holy Bible, and in fullness in His son Jesus. Through these the Lord want to help you to follow Him. Living in the Truth does not mean that you have to suffer, that life has to be hard or that you have to become moody as that is not Gods intention of our stay on earth. To be a christian is to life in the Joy of knowing God, and to spread this joy among others.
Following God is not difficult, as He also gave us the Spirit in our baptism to help and guide us. God is very willing to help us to fulfil this live according to his plan as long as we are prepared to live a live of Truth and are willing to listen to his guidance.
A lot of people belief or are made to belief that evolution is the only possible base of the human existence. The explanation of the start of life is that it sprung forth out of a random fusion of atoms, coincidental being all together in a nice little warm pool of mud. Leaving in the middle of Evolution is of any importance at all for a debate about the excistence of God, as off course for a few atoms to meet and start life those atoms are required first, this short article will look at the possibility that life started by a random occurance or chance.
Biochemistry research presented in another article (which will give supporting references) leaded me to the conclusion that the possibility that random atoms would line up and attach them self to each other to potentially even form the first basic element needed for life is near to impossible (or actually near to imposable is still to close). The required atoms for the most basic element required to start building the simplest cell don't naturally look for each other and line up in the right way. With the chance being so small only an infinite repetition of all the required elements being together in the perfect atmosphere could possibly result in a (one) amino acid to be formed.
There are different theories thought out regarding the existence of the universe. One of these theories, the oscillation model or the continuous creation model, would be in favor of the theory of evolution since it gives an infinite or near infinite amount of cycles. There is a chance that even the smallest chance of spontaneous life will occur when something is repeated an unlimited amount of times. This is however not the case as we discussed in the article on the Big Creation.
Then looking at the plausibility of a life sustainable environment, the article "Astronomical Evidences for God of the Bible"  gives 28 parameters crucial for the earth to sustain life which needs to be within critical limits for life even to be possible let alone spontaneous start to be. Observing these few parameters mentioned only a trillionth of a trillionth of a percent of all stars will have a planet capable to sustain advance life. When you consider that that the observed universe has less than a trillion galaxies with each on average only a hundred billion stars life would not even be likely to be found possible on one planet.
Philosophers William Lane Craig and Richard Swinburne's reply to the non-theists explanation shows how extremely unlikely the event is that the life on earth did indeed start by chance by the following example: Suppose a hundred sharpshooters are sent to execute a prisoner as a firing squad and the prisoner survives. The prisoner should not be surprised that he does not observe that he is dead. After all, if he were dead, he could not observe his death. Nonetheless, he should be surprised that he observes that he is alive .
Dr. Ross' extend to Craig's argument: the prisoner could conclude, since he is alive, that all the sharpshooters missed by some extremely unlikely chance. He may wish to attribute his survival to an incredible bit of good luck, but he would be far more rational to conclude that the guns were loaded with blanks or that the sharpshooters all deliberately missed. That is, someone must have arranged that he should live. Likewise, the rational conclusion to draw from the incredible fine-tunedness of the universe and the solar system is that someone arranged that we should live.
Also, there is more and more development on the 'intelligent design' thesis. With intelligent design in this article is meant a very clear indication that the world is the way it is, not by chance, but by a guiding hand. There are multiple interpretation around of the term 'intelligent design', which do not all mean the same, but I like to look at it in a broad sense: the evidence supporting an intelligent force influencing the world.
This means, that there is no real problem with evolution, although I don't know if I agree with all the statements and claims that are made around the evolution theory, in a way it is not important for me. The definition of the intelligent design thesis as "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection".
Currently the main opposition against intelligent design are scientist who do not want to accept intelligent design as a science as it cannot be tested, and thus, deny that it exists. Dr. Dembski has written a lot on the topic of intelligent design and reasons why we should be open to accept it as science.
However, independent of the fact of intelligent design being a science or not, the examples of Dr. Behe most strike me, as they give concrete examples of irreversible complex organism in micro biology. Irreversible complexity is a description of a part of an organism, which could not be formed by natural selection. This would be the case where for example one part out of a complex 'machine' in a cell will render the whole 'machine' useless. This means that the only way that the organism through natural selection (something is further evolved as every small little change makes the organism stronger and as such natural selection will favor this organism to dominate) dominate when all the elements needed for the function of this 'machine' come together at once.
(work in progress... to be continued)
- H. Ross, "Astronomical Evidence for the God of the Bible", Reasons to Belief
- W.L. Craig, "Barrow and Tipler on the Anthropic Principle vs. Divine Design," in British Journal of Philosophy and Science, 38. (1988), p.392
First we can have a look at scientific, and specific astrological evidence as the existence of the world itself is the most obvious example of the creation by a higher being. As sources I used the article "Astronomical Evidences for God of the Bible" and others. Einstein stated the equations of special relativity and later general relativity in the beginning of the 20th century. Resistance to the theory of special relativity was broken down early as the success of the equations to predict observations and experiments was overwhelming. Einstein' s equations of general relativity prove that everything in the universe expands and decelerates simultaneously. The only known phenomenon that behaves the same is an explosion resulting the all accepted conclusion that the universe is the result of some kind of "Big Bang". Soon the Astronomer Edwin Hubble proving that the galaxies do expand as Einstein predicted . However, a following conclusion is as well that there is a beginning and we can then reason that there has to be as well a Beginner as we will see below.
The response from the non theistic world view was a variety of alternatives for the "Big bang" theory to rule out the beginning and the need for a Beginner. Three British astrophysicists [3,4] proposed in 1948 a "continuous creation" where the creation is ongoing all the time, but this theory was proven wrong when with performing a simple test that was proposed in 1920 by Sir James Jeans stating that there should be a "steady population" in the universe in case of a "continuous creation" but he showed that no stars have been found older than 16 billion years and (very nearly) all galaxies are middle aged.
There are more invented theories about the creation as for example the "oscillating universe", where the universe is wrapped in an ever continuing cycle of explosion, collapse and then an explosion again. This theory does not hold however for various reasons as for example the fact that the mass of the observed universe is only half the mass needed for the universe to collapse to start it next "oscillating cycle" and the huge entropy of the universe would not permit more than a few bounces anyway . With the evaporation of the hesitate, steady state and oscillation models evaporates also the foundation of the eastern beliefs of reincarnation and the basis of Hinduism, Buddhism and its New Age derivatives. The impossibility of an eternal existing cosmos translates also into the impossibility of the pantheism and all its daughter faiths.
We can establish that time has a beginning according to the equations of general relativity as three British astrophysics established . Their papers showed that if these equations are valid for the universe, then, under reasonably general conditions, space and time also must have an origin. With the knowledge that time has a beginning, and a relatively recent beginning (17 +/- 3 billion years), all age-stretching attempts to save non-theistic science should cease according to the article.
Other evidence of an intelligent design of the universe can be found when looking at 18 parameters as summarised in "Astronomical Evidences for God of the Bible" , where the degree of fine-tuning is utterly amazing. The degree of fine-tunedness for many of these parameters is utterly amazing. For example, coated from Dr. Ross , if the strong nuclear force were even two percent stronger or two percent weaker, the universe would never be able to support life. More astounding yet, the ground state energies for 4He, 8Be, 12C, and 16O cannot be higher or lower with respect to each other by more than four percent without yielding a universe with insufficient oxygen and/or carbon for any kind of life, and the expansion rate of the universe is even more sensitive. It must be fine-tuned to an accuracy of one part in 1055! Clearly some ingenious Designer must be involved in the physics of the universe. It is possible to continue the publications of prove for the existence of the Creator but we leave it at this to prevent this article from being blown out of proportion and the references at the end of the article should be a good start if you are interested in continuing the research.
We could have a look as well at the fact that the universe needs to have a beginning and beginner following the philosophical reasoning as well. One reasoning for this is called "kalam cosmological argument" , but we won' t explain this argument in this article as we try to use physical evidence as a source for our proof, but encourage you to read the article following the link below if you are interested in philosophical reasoning.
My own conclusion from above and from reading the various articles is that a lot of scientists have tried to find loopholes in the theory of creation and a Creator, but that after detailed and extensive examination all those theories they don't seem to undermine the possibility of a creator in my view.
It seems to me that a lot of people try to find a reason not the belief in God but fail in doing so since everything seems to point only in one direction, the one Truth and the one God. The approve is only a few short points on topics related to the creation of the universe to give a start for further research possible with the references below.
- H. Ross, "Astronomical Evidence for the God of the Bible", Reasons to Belief
- E. Hubble, "A Relation Between Distance and Rasial Velocity Among Extra-Galacticebulae", in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 15. (1929), 168-173.
- H. Bondi and T. Gold, "The Staty-State Theory of the Expanding Universe", in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 108. (1948), 252-270.
- F. Hoyle, "A New Model for Expanding Universe", in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 108. (1948), 272-282.
- A.H. Guth and M. Sher, "The Impossibility of a Bouncing Universe, in Nature, 302. (1983), pp.505-507
- Stephen W. Hawking and George F. R. Ellis, "The Cosmic Black-Body Radiation and the Existence of Singularities in our Universe," in Astrophysical Journal 152. (1968), pp. 25-36.
- The existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe, William Lane Craig, Truth Journal
The weather so far has been very good, and today is the first really rainy day.
I decided to post the articles I wrote 4 years ago and posted on the website http://www.christianevidence.com on my blog. I haven't done any maintanace on the website for years and don't know if it will stay online.
So there will hopefully appear some articles on science related issues connected to our faith soon.
Sunday, 29 July 2007
I attended the Saturday and Sunday, and was amazed by the turnout of young adults in the age group 16-35! Truly amazing. Especially the Mass on Saturday left a deep impression on me! There was just so much Joy in the air! It is not that hard to have fun in life, but it doesn't last! There was shear Joy in the air, something you don't experience or find anywhere else that in the Church and with Jesus!
I will keep the post short and might add another one in the next few days.
Very busy moving as I will move home for the month of August and the last two weeks and the next few days are very busy because of everything that needs to be organised!
Monday, 23 July 2007
The most difficult work was probably Sunday afternoon, as we had some old Irish downpoors... we broke off the work halfway and happened to meet some other legionaries and said two rosaries... the prayers did work extremely well, and we finished with a smile on our face.
Overall, it was a very rewarding weekend!
It is nice to do the work, but it does make you relise that there is a lot of work to be done. With a very low mass attendace, some people may despair, but going door to door makes you relise that there is a lot of faith left! The harvest is rich, but the labarours are few, so let us pray that there might be more labourest responding to the call to work in the vinyard (and not only religeous, but off all types of voactions in life!)
Sunday, 15 July 2007
I have started to sort all my possessions in 3 groups: stuff that can go home, stuff that can go to the Dominicans and rubbish. The first cleaning round mainly identified the last category, hence two full bins... it is amazing how much one collects over the years! I am now at the point to decide what to bring home and what to keep in Ireland.
Next weekend will be interesting as I will be on an evegalisation weekend with the Legion of Mary in Ballymon (Dublin). There will be 10 of us making us available to do Gods work, and we appreciate any prayers we can get! We pray that we may touch the people who are looking to find God in their lives and may help them a bit on the way to happiness and the fullness of joy!
The next two weeks will be mainly preparation for moving all everything either to the Dominicans or home, changing my address to Limerick with the many organisations/governments one is connected with and get everything together to fly home the 1st of August for a months holiday...
Saturday, 7 July 2007
The amazing thing however is that there is actually a deep desire of a lot of people to actually discuss religion. The worst response I have had so far is indifference! I must first of all confess, that although I love discussing religious aspects with people, I often fall short in actually opening the topic. However, with me leaving to join a religious order being the topic of conversation I discovered that a lot of people actually do like to discuss it, and have a lot of questions about religion. Admittedly though, and sad, it is not a topic that is discussed often.
I think there is a lot of ignorance around the Catholic faith, and most catholics might not actually know a lot about Catholicism, and the reason for a lot of teaching. Apart from that, it also means that in most cases they actually don't know the GOOD news of Christianity, and often more so the rules and regulations, which on itself they might not agree with.
I think there is a huge job of re-evangelising a society. It was mentioned while disusing this topic with a few colleagues and friends while having a quite pint that there is a lot of ignorance, and that a lot of the treasure of our faith is never heart. There is a big task for as well the clergy as the faithful to make sure that people hear the GOOD news...
Finally, the existing part is for me that I believe that there is a lot of soil for seeding the Word. The media in particular but also voices inside the church suggest that people are not interested anymore in religion, but there is still a lot of faith left in Ireland, and it might only require a little bit more poking to get through to it!
Sunday, 1 July 2007
Sunday, 24 June 2007
This statement of course is not agreed with by a lot of people, but even the fact that most people are surprised science is discussed as an initial start of ones faith (like with me) shows that not a lot of people know about the current status of science in relation to religion.
In my opinion this is a topic that should be brought forward and discussed more, especially in modern times. Science might not be able to 'prove' that God exists, it can most definitely help us and point towards an intelligent designer.
With the 'origin of life' debate, the historical facts and the conclusions one can draw from looking to the problems in society, I think that that more effort should be spend on making this amazing welt of information available to more people who are interested in these topics.
I think a lot of people who are involved in religion are afraid of these topics, but my question is why? In the past scientists might have thought being able to explain everything without the necessity of God, but one, that doesn't mean there is no God, and two, those thoughts are outdated with modern methods of analysis available. In my eyes modern science definitely point more towards an intelligent design than anything else! A bitter reality is however, that there is not a lot of (financial) support in making known results and conclusions pointing towards creationism...
Moreover, being a Christian, I believe that the full Truth is found in God, so being afraid in debating those issues is basically proclaiming a lack of faith in my eyes. The truth is the truth, so why are we afraid in discovering it more deeply and help other people to see it as well!
Sometimes original discoveries and conclusions might not directly point to the truth, but when one delves deeper and has patience the real truth will come out, and with God being the Truth, will point to God.
Sunday, 17 June 2007
Again I say that it is a real pity that a lot of people do not understand the message of love. The gospel today described the occasion where the sinful woman wiped the feet of Jesus with her hear after wetting them with her tears. Jesus said that her many sins must have been forgiven her because of the love she showed. He clearly makes the link between love and the forgiveness of her sins. I my eyes it is the love that comes forth from the reconciliation with God, and the joy and love if we can accept it!
I often wish that there was an easy way to help some people who might not delve in the deep mystery of Gods love to understand and encounter the living God!
Wednesday, 13 June 2007
is weekend, yesterday I had to go up to Dublin again, and just returned home in Galway.
Since it meant that I spent roughly 6 hour in the car I decided to continue to listen to the set of 10 cd's I have on the Theology of the Body. The cd's contain a lecture by Christopher West, and I already listened to the first 6 a few weeks ago going up and down to Cork, so it was nice to have a journey to continue it!
The Theology of the Body is definitely a topic I am really interested in studying in the future. I just ordered the book and some background information (as well a 4 more sets of the cd's if somebody is interested) to start and unravel the mysteries.
I think a proper understanding of the explanations as offered by John Paul II can potentially bring a lot of people back to the Catholic Church, in this era where moral values seem to be lost. Like a lot of the valuable teachings of the Church I think that it will bring much freedom to people if they would understand the depth of our being. The problem is however that only even a fraction of the Catholics know much about the fast treasure they miss out on.
The topic of the conference this weekend was love, and the theology of the body is a perfect extension of all the talks given. "We cannot keep a great joy to ourselves", and I get more and more in awe with the amount of people that do miss out on the incomprehensible deepness of Truth that is available to us! As a non believer 5 years ago I thought Christianity was all a fairy tale, but now I am amazed about the ignorance the world lives, unable to understand why the Truth is not known by much more people.
I will surely comment on the this topic more in the future!
Monday, 11 June 2007
This weekend I was at the Catholic Youth Conference organised by the Legion of Mary. The Youth Conference is now organised for 5 years I think and it is becoming more and more a success. Last year there were about 220 (registered) people at the conference, and that was well exceeded this year judging the lack of free seats! I think All Hollows College might be getting too small for this event!
Anyway, I would definitely encourage anybody to go next year. There were great speakers this year. One of them was Dawn Eden, who wrote the book 'The thrill of the chaste', who gave her life story and shared some of her understandings with us over a view sessions. It is always amazing to her stories of recent converts (see is a Catholic just over a year). She lived a 'sex and the city' lifestyle (as is said, as I don't particularly enjoy watching soaps), but only found pleasure and no joy.... this left her with an empty feeling, and this empty feeling was filled up with the Love of God!!
Another great speaker was Br. Martin of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. He gave an very good account of his live. Having been in all sorts of trouble during his younger years he explained how he came to become a brother, and how much he enjoyed it. The friars are coming to Newross (Limerick) in a few months, and I think they will be a great example. They live the vow of poverty to the full, for which I have tremendous respect!
Most talks were focused about 'God is love' and 'We cannot keep a great joy to ourselves' (cf. pope Benedict XVI). This was about living out God's love, and also reflections on God's love in relations of people. Dr. Phil Boyle gave a presentation on NaPro. Napro is a method to help couples to understand their fertility, which can be used for natural family planning. The main focus of Dr. Boyle and his colleagues is however to help couples to become pregnant as an alternative to IVF or if IVF fails. The statistics are overwhelming, so I encourage anybody to have a look at the website http://fertilitycare.net/.
We off course had Holy Mass every day, a very nice guided Holy Hour on Saturday evening and loads of opportunities for confession!
I could go on-and-on because it was a truly great weekend! It is great to get a large group of young people together to share their faith to educate themselves on modern issues!!!
Saturday, 2 June 2007
Sometimes I walk into the city center after mass and a bit of adoration. There seem to be so many people running around shop street here in Galway, often on the phone and carrying loads and loads of bags... sometimes I just wonder if that is the highlight of the weekend.
I suppose I am not much of a shopper, but it seems a bit empty to me!
I reminds me a bit if the time I lived in the USA and you will see families going out together to McDonald's... people must really be brainwashed about certain things....
No, I think I am glad I found the meaning of life in the gospel!
Friday, 1 June 2007
There was some gay party being organised, I think last weekend. It being the Netherlands and all this wouldn't be that strange I suppose, BUT one of the organisers which is HIV positive started injecting intoxicated party goers with his own HIV infected blood!
I cannot think of anything but satanic which would make a person do something like that. I don't want to shock anybody or so, but these are things that happen in a broken world...
It is leaving me quite disturbed and very very concerned about what is next!
Thursday, 31 May 2007
Once again I am so amazed by the fact that the universe screams at us with the message that it is designed and that there must be an intelligent source behind it. Sorry, a correction, I am actually not that amazed by the fact that the universe screams for design, but more so that I did never hear anything about this until about 5 years ago! This was a tremendous bit of news when I originally started considering the existence of God.
Not that this made me know God, but it opened the way for me to belief in God, and even stimulated me to seriously look into the matter. Off-course, becoming to know God has on itself nothing to do with science as is grace provided on Gods part, but it can help one to discover God and opens one heart to the posibility.
In my case, I would tribute most of my initial conversion to the living word of God and the 'God incidences'.
What stroke me while reading the first paper was that a lot of people do not agree with science being allowed to put 'design' on the universe, as the view is held that science is not qualified to do that. It is merely qualified to attribute objects to chance or necessity. Funny though, that with that standpoint, science cannot make a standpoint which points to a creator, which is off course convenient for neo-Darwinists.
Thankfully things have changed with modern scientific research where it is obvious that design has to be considered in a very serious manner!
I am however very disapointed in the education system that they are stuck somewhere 50 year ago, and that there is no objective view thought at schools (or at least not in the Netherlands)!
Wednesday, 30 May 2007
I have kept myself far away from a blog so far, but I suppose the time has come that you have to go with the flow...
Two days ago a had a meeting with the vocations director of the Irish Dominican Order, Fr. Gerard Dunne OP, and he gave me his blog address, and I actually thought it was a very good idea!
While God always provides the time to start something new I ended up home with the flu today, and not feeling great but not being able to sleep decided that it might be a good time to start a blog and to see how it will pan out and if I will be able to continue it for a while...
So don't get your hopes up... we will see in a few months time what will become of this space!
Monday, 26 February 2007
I also tried and write a few lines on the Gospel read during Mass every day in this last week, and hope to continue this during the whole of Advent:
As usual I also point to the website 'Dominicans Interactive' of the Irish Dominicans, dedicated to preaching using the internet. This website includes currently a weekly reflection on the Gospel, brief reflections on the Dominican Saints on their Feast days and any actualities.