Monday, December 05, 2016

Mit hjerte altid vanker: A Christmas Carol by Carl Nielsen

A beautiful  Danish Christmas carol; the words are as wonderful as the melody.

My Heart Always Lingers

My heart always lingers in the birthplace of Jesus
My thoughts gather there as their main sum
There my longing has its home, my faith its treasure
I can never forget you, blessed Christmas night

Oh come, I will open my heart and my mind
and sigh with longing, yet come in Jesus
It is not a strange home, you have bought it yourself
So I will remain faithful, wrapped here in my heart

I will gladly spread palm branches around your manger
for you, for you alone I will live and die
Come, let my soul find its right moment of joy for you
that you were born here in the deep of the heart



Friday, November 25, 2016

Advice for Difficult Days: 20 Lessons from the 20th Century

Yale historian and Holocaust expert Timothy Snyder writes:

"Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so."
Snyder's a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (which includes former Secretaries of State), and consults on political situations around the globe. He says, "Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today."


1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You've already done this, haven't you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.
2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of "our institutions" unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don't protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.
3. Recall professional ethics. When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.
4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words. Look out for the expansive use of "terrorism" and "extremism." Be alive to the fatal notions of "exception" and "emergency." Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.
5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don't fall for it.
6. Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don't use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom, and read.) What to read? Perhaps "The Power of the Powerless" by Václav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czesław Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.
7. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.
8. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.
9. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Bookmark PropOrNot or other sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.
10. Practice corporeal politics. Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.
11. Make eye contact and small talk. This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.
12. Take responsibility for the face of the world. Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.
13. Hinder the one-party state. The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.
14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can. Pick a charity and set up autopay. Then you will know that you have made a free choice that is supporting civil society helping others doing something good.
15. Establish a private life. Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.
16. Learn from others in other countries. Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends abroad. The present difficulties here are an element of a general trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.
17. Watch out for the paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.
18. Be reflective if you must be armed. If you carry a weapon in public service, God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no. (If you do not know what this means, contact the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and ask about training in professional ethics.)
19. Be as courageous as you can. If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.
20. Be a patriot. The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it."
ETA: Feel free to share, but please copy+ paste into your own status or else it will not be viewable to all of your friends."

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Election of 2016: "Rising to Heaven in a Secular Rapture"

Evangelicals are no less prone to constructing and worshiping idols than the ancient Israelites. Combine the American fundamentalist religious impulse with the Enlightenment promise of heaven on earth (cf. Carl Becker's  The Heavenly City of the 18th Century Philosophers) and you get the election of 2016. 


http://religiondispatches.org/rising-to-heaven-in-a-secular-rapture-trumps-golden-promises/

Rising to Heaven in a Secular Rapture: Trump’s Golden Promises


louisiana
Speaking in broad and angry terms about entire classes of citizens, Trump repelled as many people as he rallied to his cause. By the eve of the election, those who loved Trump seem to be living in an entirely different reality from those who didn’t. And now we know just how divided the country is, in hard numbers.
For five years, as part of a study whose results could not be more timely, sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild traveled the bayous of southern Louisiana, meeting with Tea Party conservatives and trying to understand their thinking about life, hope, faith, and American politics.
Her book, Strangers In Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, tells the story of that experience. It has been nominated for the National Book Award.
Just a few weeks before the election RD’s Eric C. Miller spoke with Hochschild about her project.
Eric Miller: What motivated you to try to empathize with the Tea Party?
Arlie Hochschild: In 2011, when I began researching the book, I was increasingly concerned about a growing divide in America between liberals and conservatives, left and right. Congress was at a standstill and I felt it was time to get out of my bubble in Berkeley, California, go to an equal and opposite enclave, and turn off my alarm system—to permit myself a full curiosity as to why very good people come to such very different conclusions about what is true and good.
strangers_in_their_own_land_final

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
Arlie Russell Hochschild
The New Press
August 2016
You talk a lot about your struggle to make sense of the “great paradox” of Tea Party thinking. What is it, and why is it such a roadblock to empathy?
Well, I wouldn’t say it’s a roadblock to empathy. It is rather how the world actually looks on one side of the empathy wall. That is, from where I stood, things didn’t make sense. On the whole, in the United States, the red states are poorer, they have worse education, worse medical care, more family disruption, more accidents, more alcohol and substance abuse, worse health, lower life expectancy—all of those problems. Red states also receive more in federal aid than they pay in taxes. And yet, they are politically conservative and take a very dim view of the federal government.
So the paradox is this—if you had that many problems, wouldn’t you want help to get rid of them?
In Louisiana, where I chose to do my research, this is a super paradox. In 2014, it was the poorest state in the union, and 44% of its state budget came from the federal government. But the citizens there heavily favor the Tea Party, and now heavily favor Donald Trump.
None of this got in the way of my empathy, but it did present me with a problem to try to understand—how it all made sense to the people of the state.
What I discovered was that they knew about the paradox, but it was less important to them than what I came to call the “deep story.”
What is the deep story?
We all have a deep story—a story that we tell ourselves about the world, what it is, and how it came to be the way it is. For Tea Partiers, the story imagines America as a long line of people waiting for their shot at the American dream. They see themselves waiting patiently in that line, but up ahead they see people cutting in front of them. Some are black, some are Latino, some are women—and the government seems to be helping them do it.
A deep story is a story that feels true. You take the facts out of it, you take the moral judgments out of it, and you are left with a feeling. That, in a way, is the goal here. That is what the book leads to—the discovery that, on the other side of the empathy wall, this is what people feel. So to empathize with it is to imagine the feeling of being pushed back in line, disrespected, and ultimately, humiliated.
So that’s how I came to empathize with the people I studied. It’s not to say that I agree with them, but I did my best to understand that this is how they feel.
Many of the people you got to know during this experience were religious people. To what extent is their deep story religious?
I don’t think the deep story is religious. But I think religion factors indirectly in that people felt that the church was a source of great comfort to them, and they didn’t think they needed government because the churches often did offer a great number of services. They were tithed, members gave ten percent of their income to sustaining the church, and whatever problem they had, they could take it to the church. It was very central to their lives.
At the same time, they sensed that they were Christians in an America that was becoming increasingly non-Christian, so I often heard them say things like, “You can’t say ‘Merry Christmas’ anymore—you have to say ‘Happy Holidays.’” They felt that even their language was becoming marginalized and needed defending. Many of the meetings I went to began with prayer, a practice that they felt was dying out in the country.
So they felt that they had to be on the defensive in their religiosity, and that their beliefs—that the earth was 5000 years old, that heaven was a cube in the sky—were ridiculed by liberals and Democrats.
One discovery that I made about religion without really looking for it occurred as I was trying to understand how Donald Trump, the most irreligious of people, could win the devotion of deeply religious people.
The guy’s on his third marriage, was propositioning women while his third wife was pregnant, he can’t name a favorite verse or book of the Bible, says he’s never asked God for forgiveness. There are many reasons why, you would think, especially evangelical believers would turn away from him as a candidate.
But I think religious belief opens a way for a charismatic leader like Donald Trump. I actually wrote an op-ed for the Boston Globe on this. I think Trump is offering people the promise of rising to heaven in a sort of secular rapture. There is this belief in a rapture—that the world will come to a sudden end, that believers will rise to heaven, that bad people will be stuck in a world turned to hell, and that God will make the determination which direction you go.
Trump is pitching himself in the role of that God-like figure who is making the determination. He’s often in a judging posture, making quick decisions—“You’re fired,” he says on The Apprentice, or “You’re hired.”
So he fits into the iconography and narrative of belief. If I were to compare some of the pictures of heaven that people have given me—in which everything is golden—and then look at the pictures of Trump Tower, there is a suggestion that I will take you up with me and it speaks to an anxiety people feel about what happens when the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and where we all fit and what hopes we can have for the future. It’s a religious impulse, but Trump speaks to the secular side of it.
I went into your book genuinely hoping to achieve empathy with Tea Partiers and Trump supporters, and there were moments when I felt very close, but ultimately I’m afraid the great paradox is too off-putting for me. Many of the claims your subjects make are based on misunderstandings or bad assumptions or are just factually incorrect, and that feels like a wedge between us. Do you still feel that way?
Well, there is a difference between empathizing and agreeing. People have asked me if, after five years and coming back and writing the book, if my politics have changed. The answer is no—not at all. I still believe in the reality of man-made climate change, the importance of government regulation, etc. I do not now believe the things that the people I studied believe. But I understand how they got to believe the things they believe, the sources of tension in their lives that have made them anxious and fearful, and the sources of information on which they are relying.
At the end of the book I have included an appendix in which many of the beliefs espoused by the subjects are fact-checked against reliable sources. Are 40 percent of Americans working for the federal government? No, it’s 1.9 percent. Do black women have a much higher birth rate than white women? No, it’s about the same. Is everyone on welfare not working? No, most of the people receiving government aid do work, but at such low-paid jobs that we can actually see those welfare benefits as government subsidies to the companies that are under-paying their workers.
I include all of that so that we can be clear about what’s true and what’s not. But that doesn’t mean that we should beat people over the head with the facts or that we should go loggerhead to loggerhead. What I mean to say in this book is that we need a kind of respectful conversation as a nation in order to pull the two sides closer. Climbing the empathy wall is just an initial stage, a first step, toward getting into the right frame of mind to discuss our differences and find some common ground. In my research I did find some common ground, but it feels relatively unexplored at this time.
The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that respect is essential to persuasion. If I don’t respect you, I can’t persuade you, and vice versa. Based on your experience in the South, do you see a way out of this? Is there a way that people from different political persuasions can better communicate with each other?
Yes, I think there is actually a movement started by Joan Blades, co-founder of MoveOn.org, called “Living Room Conversations,” in which left and right get together, break bread, have respectful conversations, and then see if there are some things they can agree on. They know the intention of the conversation, and they come to it hoping to achieve that goal. They commit to it for a while—maybe six sessions.
We know we have differences, but there may be some common ground. What is that common ground?
I would love to see a national movement, a grassroots movement, of people getting out of their enclaves and agreeing to the new rules of reversing the respect deficit. Then, at the level of local leadership and then further on up, let’s see if we can get candidates who are respectful of our agreements and differences. We are one country.
The kinds of issues I found crossover on were things like getting money out of politics, protecting the environment, reducing prison populations, and others. The more specific you are about a particular problem, the more likely you are to find common ground. So a respect-rich context, in which specifics are discussed carefully—I think that’s the way to go.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

BBC VIDEO: Illuminations Treasures of the Middle Ages BBC

saving to watch at a later time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGLD_Bv43vw

Illuminations Treasures of the Middle Ages BBC


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Whig Narrative and American Christianity, or I am a Christian, not a Whig

I am a Christian, not a Whig.


“Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer.
If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”  --Mere Christianity

(on phases) I assume that the creature has been through several of them before—they all have—and that he always feels superior and patronising to the ones he has emerged from, not because he has really criticised them but simply because they are in the past. (You keep him well fed on hazy ideas of Progress and Development and the Historical Point of View, I trust, and give him lots of modern biographies to read? The people in them are always emerging from Phases, aren’t they?) –Screwtape Letters


The Whig Narrative and American Christianity

In the August/September print edition of First Things (Subscribe!) R. R. Reno comments on the puzzling fact that bathroom access for transgender students ranks as high as it does on the presidential policy agenda. Given the many critical issues facing vastly more Americans, Reno asks, why so much attention to this issue?

Reno locates the answer in the legacy of post-sixties liberalism. While this explanation is useful to a point, I don’t find it fully satisfying. After all, the question is not simply how we got here, but how we got here so phenomenally fast. It wasn’t so long ago that gay marriage was the reductio ab absurdum in policy arguments over sexual orientation. And transgenderism, let alone questions of bathroom access for transgender students in public schools, was so far off the policy radar it was inconceivable that it would receive presidential attention.

The rapidity of the change cannot be ascribed merely to the political power of liberals, though they’ve done their part. Even among liberals, opinion has lagged the legal and policy changes. (Think of President Obama’s speedily evolving positions on gay marriage.)

There’s something deeper going on, something that renders Christian and conservative arguments on these issues particularly ineffective. These issues are framed by a fundamental outlook that is shared by most Americans, including most conservatives and Christians. This outlook sets up the liberal win and the Christian and conservative loss. For want of a better term, I call it the Whig narrative.
Historians deride as “Whig history” accounts that describe history as the ever-progressing movement toward more freedom, equality, and democracy. The Whig narrative is the popular version of Whig history. It sees history as always progressing toward the abolition of arbitrary differences between people: between lord and commoner, free man and slave, man and woman, the propertied and the property-less, black and white, rich and poor, etc. For Americans, America’s Founding is a singularly powerful unfolding of the Whig narrative, and with it the Whig narrative jumps into hyperdrive.
The Whig narrative might also be called the liberal or Progressive narrative. But those labels miss the centrality and breadth of the narrative. American Christians and conservatives imbibe this narrative as deeply as do liberals and Progressives—sometimes even more deeply. All Americans are Whigs, distinguished only by their more-liberal or more-conservative Whiggery.

Though the present-day implications of Whiggery are hostile to Christianity, Whiggery and Christianity walked in tandem in the U.S. for centuries. Many sermons of pre-revolutionary and revolutionary America glided all too easily between the political freedom promised in and by the revolution and the spiritual freedom promised in and by Jesus Christ. Likewise, the (Protestant) Whig narrative of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries emphasized increasing freedom from superstition (i.e. Catholicism) and from bondage to a foreign potentate (i.e. the pope).
Indeed, it is on the issue of “freedom” that the Christian narrative and the Whig narrative intersect (and diverge). Both narratives value freedom, but they understand it in different ways. For Christians, “freedom” ultimately looks to freedom from bondage to Satan and sin, albeit with implications for bondage to other humans. The Whig narrative adapts the Christian emphasis on freedom, with a different end in view. The Christian narrative has proven persuasive and powerful in the past. Whether it can rival the power of the Whig narrative in the current climate in America is the big question of the moment. (How it might do so, and the likelihood of success, is a topic for future posts.)

The intersection of the Whig narrative and American Christianity was merely tactical; the Whig narrative turned against its Protestant Christian counterpart in the twentieth century. Today, freedom from superstition means rejecting all religious belief, not simply Roman Catholicism. An enslaved conscience now is one that recognizes any religious authority, not simply one that submits to a human pope.

Because of the centuries-long vocabulary of the Whig narrative whereby Americans (largely) understood themselves and the American project, the recent progression of the Whig narrative beyond Christian comfort zones has caught American Christians and conservatives flat-footed. But the Whig narrative never recognized American Christianity as its terminus. The abolition of arbitrary difference continues its advance—abolishing limits on the marriage right based on the gender pairing of the couple, and now abolishing differential access to bathrooms based on a person’s gender self-identification.

Many American Christians who endorse the earlier phases of the Whig narrative balk at its more recent applications. But the power of the Whig narrative derives from the interlocking continuity of the narrative itself. In the logic of the Whig narrative, to reject any one phase of the narrative—such as the extension of transgender bathroom access—is to reject all previous phases as well. It implies the rejection of civil rights for blacks, votes for women, the abolition of slavery, the abolition of property requirements for voting; it implies the rejection of the whole historical march against arbitrary difference and power. It means being un-American, at least as the Whig narrative powerfully conceptualizes Americanness.

To be sure, there are other narratives—significant and powerful narratives. But the Whig narrative is long-lasting and broadly shared. It is almost, if not quite, the official confession of American civil religion. It articulates an anthropology (to be human means to define oneself), an ethics (maintaining difference arbitrarily is wrong), and an eschatology (the progress of history). It contains a Great Commission and a form of redemption offered not only to America, but to the world.
Constructing and spreading a full-fledged Christian counternarrative won’t be the work of a moment. Such a counternarrative must not consist of mere rejection and reaction. The Whig narrative is entwined in the very warp and woof of what we think and how we think. Engaging it persuasively, both personally and culturally, will be no mean feat.

James R. Rogers is Associate Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University.






Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Republican's Creed

I believe in the Dollar Almighty, maker of American greatness,
and in Capitalism, our Lord,
which was conceived by the Dutch and English,
re-born by the Objectivist Ayn Rand,
suffered under the Democrats,
was crucified, dead and buried under Communism and Socialism.
In the 1980's it rose again, and sitteth on the right hand of Donald Trump.
From thence it shall come to further enrich the 1%.

I believe in Friedrich Hayek,
the Holy Free Market,
the initiative of the individual,
the collection of debt,
the resurgence of Wall Street,
and the rational economic order. Amen.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Distinguish to Unite



This article beautifully expresses what I have long attempted to say...

Distinguish to Unite

Posted on May 12, 2016 by: Br. Albert Thomas Dempsey, O.P.
http://www.dominicanajournal.org/distinguish-to-unite/


The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

Isaiah Berlin once quoted this adage of the Greek poet Archilochus in his essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox,” using it to classify authors and intellectuals into two categories.  Berlin’s hedgehogs, like Plato, Dostoevsky, and Nietzsche, demonstrate a tendency to reduce things to simplicity. They “relate everything to a single central vision, one system, less or more coherent or articulate, in terms of which they understand, think and feel—a single, universal, organising principle in terms of which alone all that they are and say has significance.”  Foxes, on the other hand, like Aristotle, Shakespeare, and Joyce, view the world as irreducibly complex, they “pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory, connected, if at all, only in some de facto way, for some psychological or physiological cause, related to no moral or aesthetic principle.  These last lead lives, perform acts and entertain ideas that are centrifugal rather than centripetal; their thought is scattered or diffused, moving on many levels, seizing upon the essence of a vast variety of experiences and objects for what they are in themselves, without, consciously or unconsciously, seeking to fit them into, or exclude them from, any one unchanging, all-embracing, sometimes self-contradictory and incomplete, at times fanatical, unitary inner vision.”

Although Berlin warns of the limitations of over-pressing this dichotomy, he nonetheless finds it useful for literary criticism, proceeding in his essay to conclude that Tolstoy was a fox by nature behaving as a hedgehog because of his religious convictions.
Today, one still encounters both approaches.  Nor are they limited to the intellectual realm—these tendencies in thought shape people’s lives.

In academia, in medicine, even in social interactions, knowledge and practice are becoming increasingly fragmented.  Not wanting to over-simplify matters, scientists adopt models so complex that only a handful of experts can grasp them; doctors become so specialized in treating a particular disease that it becomes all they do; people increasingly separate their professional life from their family life and from their recreation.  This impulse to break things apart, analyze them individually, and determine the most effective course of action is quite strong and has benefited society immensely, producing technological marvels and record-breaking athletes.
Yet the fragmentation of knowledge remains in tension with another deep-seated human impulse: the natural desire to find connections between things.  Students delight in discovering the relations between material discussed in different classes; adults long to acquire wisdom, that overarching understanding of how all things fit together.
Unfortunately, the world has lost sight of true wisdom and seeks to find its unity in countless counterfeit ideologies that claim to solve life’s mysteries while really just ignoring actual distinctions.  Marxism, Nazism, Scientism, Scientology, Postmodernism, Gender Ideology, Moral Relativism—the list of pernicious totalitarian ideals, and the catalog of their calamitous effects in the last century, could fill volumes.

The Church’s common doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, was neither a hedgehog nor a fox.  Instead, with angelic keenness of insight, he recognized that all things come from God and reflect some share of His splendor.  Yet the Creator is infinite and His creatures finite.  No creature can adequately capture the fullness of God’s majesty, nor can even the sum of all creation rival His brilliance.  Nevertheless, creation is like a vast, multifaceted gem—each of its myriad facets glimmering with some small reflection of the divine light.  God is the unifying principle the human intellect yearns to apprehend, yet this unity of origin does not negate the real distinctions among creatures: each shares a unique portion of God’s infinite goodness.  Thus, Aquinas and his students acknowledge a single universal organizing principle—God—without reducing the real differences among things.  Theirs is no spurious man-made sapience, but the wisdom of God revealed to mankind.

Aquinas and his intellectual successors are famous—perhaps even infamous—for their love of distinctions.  Yet this is done according to an old scholastic axiom that one should distinguish in order to unite.  For example, the better one understands the distinctions among the three persons of the Trinity, the better one understands how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are related to one another in the most intimate union of the Godhead.  God can unite many things that seem quite disparate.  What could be further from the infinite, self-sufficient God than His finite, dependent creation?  Yet God entered into His creation, redeemed it, and is drawing it to Himself.  With the Incarnation, the limitless God clothed Himself with human nature, the uncontainable deigning to be contained in the womb of a virgin.  Similarly, when the Son of God ascended into heaven, He did not abandon His disciples.  Rather, He became more present to them.  Our first parents spoke externally to God and eventually tried to hide from Him.  Now, by virtue of baptism, the Holy Trinity dwells within the hearts of the Christian faithful, more present to them than they are to themselves.  Similarly, creatures can now receive the very substance of Christ every day in the Most Holy Eucharist.  O the sublimity of the union God has brought out of so great a difference! 

In this time when the Church commemorates the anticipation of the apostles in the upper room, let us pray that the Holy Spirit will come to us, uniting us to the true wisdom that is Christ.