Sermon from Fr Trauner - 4th Sunday After Easter 10 May, 2020
Posted on 7th May 2020 at 13:14
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen
My dearly beloved in Our Lord,
Today we shall say a few words about the social aspect of the human nature.
That human nature has a social or political aspect, did not escape the philosophers of old, particularly Aristotle. He calls man a “zoon politikon”, zoē meaning “life, living” and polis meaning “city, town, state”.
We are all born from other human beings, a father and a mother, into a family where we needed to be fed, raised, educated, protected…
No one can safe himself without interacting with others – be it only for the Sacraments which must be conferred on us by someone else!
In the supernatural sphere we see that the Son of God chose to become man in the bosom of the Holy Family, which is also called “an earthly Trinity” - for in God himself there are three Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Not that we should draw any undue conclusions or parallels from the divine life to the life of the family – but there are some parallels which are drawn by the Church.
The family is directly created and willed by God who united our first parents in wedlock. Therefore it is the unchanging and unchangeable cell of society.
In the Church we see how even the strictest and the most remote hermits cannot subsist on their own – except maybe for a relatively short time. This is because the Church has been instituted by God as a society. The fact alone that none of us can subsist without talking, is another proof of the fact that we are fundamentally meant to live with and among other human beings (talking to oneself is generally considered a sign of insanity, not sanity…).
The inventor of “modern” naturalistic education theory, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (+ 1778), was himself incapable of raising his children; not a good recommendation for this theories! For “words are inspiring, examples are thrilling”. - He also came up with the lunatic theory of “the social contract”, having failed to recognize the true nature of man and of society.
“Homo homini amicus – a man is a man’s friend”, as St Thomas Aquinas says with Aristotle.
“Homo homini lupus – man is a wolf for man”, says the “modern” Thomas Hobbes (+ 1679) with the Roman poet Plautus.
This difference shows the enormous shift from the Christian world view to modern thinking. A man is a man’s friend by nature – though he goes against this natural call often enough as a consequence of his evil inclinations. But naturally each one of us knows that he cannot get away with offending his neighbor. At the end of the day we remain conscious of the tit-for-tat enshrined in the second table of the Ten Commandments and which is resumed in the second part of the Great Commandment: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”.
The big question therefore is: How do we love ourselves in the right way?! This is where it all starts to go right or wrong. For only if we love our own self in the right manner, can we then also do the same with regards to our neighbor…
Catholics know that they have a spiritual, immortal soul; they know that the primary task of their earthly existence is to save the soul from the danger of eternal loss and damnation in Hell.
The moderns have no clue about the nature of the human soul, even its existence. It is one of the greatest enigmas for me: What do all those “psychologist”, “psychiatrists” and “psychoanalysts” exactly think they are doing while they do not believe in the existence of the “psyche” = soul! They are riding imaginary horses on a journey to nowhere.
It is difficult to explain the existence of the human soul to “modern” man because it is quite evident – and there is nothing more horrible to “modern” man than evidence (for what is he going to discuss, then…?): The fact that each one of us is able to reflect on our deeds and even on our own thoughts, is probably the clearest proof of the existence of our spiritual, immaterial soul. This soul is the form or the essential form of our human being. If the body is separated from the soul, we are dead and the essential form of a dead body is no longer the human soul.
The problem of us not being able to think or imagine spiritual realities, such as God or the soul, without forming a mental or visual concept or image, becomes an impregnable obstacle for the moderns who are so prone to that which is material and sensual. For it is one thing that we cannot think about God or the soul without forming some kind of vision or picture in our intellect – this is due to the very structure of our intellect; and another thing to believe that God or the soul actually have a physical aspect or component.
Catholics know that there is no way of saving their souls on their own, detached from others. We need other to instruct us, to administer the Sacraments etc.
Hence the next problem: How does the individual human being connect or relate to the human society?
Very naturally, indeed, as I have hinted above! Every shred of evidence points to the fact that God has put this social aspect into the very structure of our soul. We are born from other human beings, raised in a family, interact in a thousand ways with others daily and depend on what they are doing. Maybe it is good to remember here that Robinson Crusoe is a fictional character; and that even he would not have denied, had he existed, that he was lacking human companionship.
For the “moderns” every bit of evidence becomes an obstacle and they are prone to choosing or inventing false solutions for problems that are quite straightforward. A Catholic should have no problem to connect the individual to society, knowing the truth and reality of the ninth article of the Creed: the Catholic Church, Communion of Saints. Obviously the supernatural reality is based on a natural reality: that of human society and the oneness of the human race.
Certainly the disorder and imbalance caused by original sin makes it difficult to properly respect the divine order. But the “moderns” see a fundamental and basically insoluble problem between the rights of the individual and the rights of society or the state. Their views oscillate between outrageous individualism and collectivism.
In reality they make the solution impossible for themselves by their constant talk of “rights”. What about admitting the obvious, that a medal always has two sides; that “rights” are always correlative to “duties”? Each individual has rights in as far as he or she cares about their duty to save their soul. Each individual has rights he or she can claim from society in as far as they care about their duty, namely to contribute to the common good.
Even the best statements in this present “virus” panic stop short of the integral truth by claiming that “our constitutional rights” must be upheld. What rights, what constitutions are they talking about? They don’t say, but they mean the liberal rights and constitutions. So while seeing the very real mess-up created by politicians and their media, they do not see a way out except appealing to the power of those who … have decided to lock us up. The vicious circle can only be broken by considering the greater picture, ie. the fact that the state is not an independent and subsistent entity or reality.
The civil society or state is created indirectly by God because it flows from the human nature and the family, but has not directly been instituted or created by God. Individuals and families need to federate and cooperate in order to accomplish their earthly common good – which in turn must be directed to the universal common good, the service of God and the salvation of souls.
This is the connecting point towards the next part of this teaching which – God willing – we shall pursue coming Sunday.
Let us retain these fundamental points:
We are created by God and for God, and this implies our duty to serve God.
God has given us an immortal spiritual soul, and this implies our duty to save our soul.
God has made us so that we live among and with others, and this implies the duty for any human society to honor God as a society.
The present “crisis” is trying to convince us otherwise:
That first and foremost we must think of our bodily welfare; that the “state” can make dispositions for the social, economic and political life of its citizens, just as if law and order did not exist; and that religion is non-essential for society and strictly of the private sphere.
These two world-views or systems are irreconcilable, as everyone can understand. Therefore let us keep our heads up and not abandon common sense. Let us thank God for the light of truth and for the grace of the true Faith which He has granted us. Let us have the great desire to see all men come to the knowledge of the truth and thus be able to save their souls!
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Share this post: