Why they "cannot" see


#1

I received deeper light on these profound truths by accident yesterday as I prepared to mail my friend a second copy I bought by mistake of Father Dubay’s Authenticity. I had read the book a couple of years ago, but somehow overlooked a very important chapter on discernment, called “Conversion and the Attainment of Truth.”

Today’s first reading at Mass also spoke of this ligature of understanding that exists in some people:

And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.

Now the natural man does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it, because it is judged spiritually.
The one who is spiritual, however, can judge everything but is not subject to judgment by anyone.

Page 165:
Flat contradiction of magisterial teaching is a clear indication of inauthenticity, for the Holy Spirit does not lead the individual to reject the teaching of the very leaders He himself has established to protect the Truth.

Pages 184-190:
A second curious problem concerns the extraordinary tenacity with which most people cling to their opinions. Why do so many men and women resolutely refuse to accept cogent evidence against their positions? Why this vast resistance to conclusive evidence?

It cannot be basically an intellectual matter. The typical theologian or moralist seems to assume in his discussions of disagreements that most if not all of the obscurities and cleavages are due to insufficent data and/or inadequacies of analysis. He assumes that at least in theory full discussion should yield agreement.

It is characteristic of the unconverted that he assumes his own superior insight and he pities what he considers the pathetic blindness of the spiritual man. Not only are the unconverted in error. They do not even grasp what causes their error. While some people hold to their errors with more or less conscious ill will, others fit the biblical explanation: their sight is so deeply wounded that they are not capable of suspecting either the error itself or the reasons for it.

When biblical writers, therefore, come to explain why some persons detect the mind of God and others do not, they do not offer the explanation that the former are more intelligent or have studied more deeply. They locate the difference in the presence of absence of moral goodness and in the presence or absence of a desire for the truth. The root of knowing God is in the human will as it expresses itself in moral choices and style of life.

The New Testament is remarkably intolerant of people entertaining private views regarding doctrine and morality contrary to the teaching of ekklesia’s leaders.

They cannot listen because their ears are uncircumcised, their hearts are evil. (Jer. 6:10, 7:24) They make their hearts adamant NOT because the listeners lack intelligence or because the prophet is unskilled in speech. It is because the people have freely chosen not to accept the divine instruction.

Father Dubay then explains in detail how sin itself is the very cause of interior blindness in beautiful detail of biblical truth and calls for absolute conversion. It makes much sense to me in a clearer light after reading this chapter that prior to baptizing, the apostles preached the absolute necessity of repentance.

Otherwise the blindness remains. He reminds us of Jesus’s admonition to shake the dust in witness, and move on.

I welcome any thoughts that others have come to understand with regard to the futility of attempting to speak to those who have obstinate hearts and how they handled it or perceived the problem.


#2

When biblical writers, therefore, come to explain why some persons detect the mind of God and others do not, they do not offer the explanation that the former are more intelligent or have studied more deeply. They locate the difference in the presence of absence of moral goodness and in the presence or absence of a desire for the truth. The root of knowing God is in the human will as it expresses itself in moral choices and style of life.

This explains a lot to me.

I know a man who is very intelligent and who I have discussed my faith with for years. He ignored my arguments about objective truth and goodness (he is a ‘subjectivist’, i.e. whatever you prefer doing/believing is right for you) I believe because he has chosen to live by his own rules. It appears to be an act of will not ignorance which makes him disobey the will of God which he knows implicitly in his conscience, as we all do (Rm.2). His intelligence is such that he has the capacity to avoid the duties which most of us have to perform, and his will is such that he actually does avoid them. Eventually he told me that he doesn’t want to discuss my faith anymore, so I stopped. It was futile to try and convince him, at least for me.

I have a friend who has been a faithful companion over the years, but he will not commit to the faith. I have argued my beliefs with him over and over and he usually agrees with me (unless he is just being polite! :blush: ), but he still ends by saying: it’s all a mystery. This man is a remarried divorcee and he likes his drink and ‘has an eye for the ladies’, though doesn’t have affairs (that I know of). He also likes to be popular. I am thinking that his lifestyle choices have made him disbelieve for convenience, even if he does not realize it.

It seems from these and other examples that if someone has decided that belief for them is inconvenient to their chosen lifestyle, then they will simply REFUSE to believe. Maybe the key is to look for those who are receptive to the message, i.e. those who already obey God implicitly through their consciences or would like to but are ‘trapped’ in sin. I am guessing that such people would be readily receptive and even primed for the message. Maybe then I would not waste so much time trying to convince wilful disbelievers. :shrug:


#3

My last post was a bit arrogant, sorry. Who am I to criticize an unbeliever, even if they willfully disbelieve? To love God and want to do His will is itself a gift and so I should not look down on those who are not given it. Shame on me :blush: This brings us to predestination and why God gives people the grace to want to believe, which is wholly beyond me. Maybe some (all?) are given it but refuse it, I don’t know. :confused:


#4

Dear Joysong,

thank for posting this. It nails some serious things. yes, I used to be naive, that if persons would simply be shown the intellectual plausibility of our faith, they would convert. But alas, there is not only the intellect in the soul, there is also the will.

And the will can contracept spiritually, either because it is wounded, or, amongst other possibilities, it is hardened in pride, or desirous of something in the creation more than God.

So it is that we can debate heretics over and over, and why do they not see? Either because they are wounded in their hearts by a or some Catholics, or else their consciences are evil, hardened in pride and wrath, seeking to tell themselves what they want to hear.

So then, the schismatics are angry with Peter, the heretics, with the Bishops, the supernaturally dead infidels, with the scandal of religious division, and the children of the devil, they do not WANT to care about the questions of religion. They prefer the inferior to the superior, in every possible way.


#5

Nick, you have nothing to apologize for, since your words were basically true.

Fr. Dubay gave an excellent example from St. Augustine, and I quote pg.193:

From the point of view of experience of sin and sanctity, error and truth, it would be difficult to find a more suitable witness to this problem than St. Augustine. No one to my knowledge has better described what it is to be immersed in sins (both those of pride and those of aberrant sexuality) and at the same time to be immeshed in errors of intellect. His Confessions is an eloquent testimony to the darkness caused by sin and the enlightenment brought about through holiness. He experienced both.

In City of God, he notes that there is in the human family a major and prevalent illness, a perverse obstinacy that prevents people from accepting clearly seen facts even when they are confronted with ample evidence. This disease is never cured, the saint adds, not because the doctor is inept, but because the sufferer is incurable. When people are burdened and broken by their sins, the minds are blinded by a love for darkness and iniquity.

We know that St. Augustine had a mistress and was erroneously entrenched intellectually in the errors of the Manichaen sect. His mother’s many tears and sacrifices won for him the grace of conversion. Meanwhile, his sins kept him from ‘listening’ to his mother, yet we know that St. Monica was delivering nothing but the truth to him. By listening, I don’t mean hearing audio sounds, but letting the heart admit them.

The friend you spoke about is not living in truth, but you can obtain light for him through your prayers. Just remember, the choice of free will still remains. Certain people have been in my prayers daily for so many years I can’t count, yet they have not converted. It is a heavy cross, and I do understand that God created us with free will, but it does not relieve the grief that they are able to use it to their destruction.

I’ll pray about the rest of your first post and come back later.

Carole


#6

I think that people will only believe what is comfortable (even comfortable to their rebellion, such as teens) unless they see more love/Love elsewhere. I’m speaking of real love, not what our culture calls love. That’s where prayer and modelling come in, I think. It was the Rosary (said for 5 years - 5 decades/day) that “unblinded” me to the Truth of the Catholic Church. Not that I then didn’t use all sorts of intellectual learning to shore up my conversion, but I think that no matter what I’d found for my intellect that Mary was simply bound and determined that I would come closer to her Son.
As far as predestination - was it St. Thomas Aquinas that called it foreknowledge? - I think we’ll have to wait to find that one out until (if?) we meet our Maker.

My :twocents:


#7

yes you are right. No one is predestined to hell, but God desires that all be saved and knows from eternity who will go to heaven :eek: I am guessing from this that He will give everyone the grace to seek Him. That leaves us with the mystery of free will.


#8

It seems from these and other examples that if someone has decided that belief for them is inconvenient to their chosen lifestyle, then they will simply REFUSE to believe. Maybe the key is to look for those who are receptive to the message, i.e. those who already obey God implicitly through their consciences or would like to but are ‘trapped’ in sin. I am guessing that such people would be readily receptive and even primed for the message. Maybe then I would not waste so much time trying to convince willful disbelievers.

Well, maybe we could spend our efforts on those who are receptive, trusting God will help us discern who they are, and from whom it’s good to withhold our words until they are ready to listen.

Another gardening lesson. Each seed has it’s own ‘germination’ time. Some pop and send forth their growth as early as 5 days. Sweet peas take well almost two months due to the very hard exterior shell. They prefer a steady temperature of 55-65 moist degrees. The critical thing is never to withhold the water, thinking that the sweet pea didn’t sprout as quickly as the marigold, and then give up. Steady water [prayer] even in the face of no growth, is key.

In the example of your friend, it may be good to remind ourselves that God loved us while we were each still sinners. As long as you are his friend and he is not leading you to sin, just love him and pray for him, and leave the conviction to the Lord. I didn’t see a single word, Nick, that led me to believe you were arrogantly looking down on him in his present stage of non-germination.


#9

[quote=Brigid12]I think that people will only believe what is comfortable (even comfortable to their rebellion, such as teens) unless they see more love/Love elsewhere. I’m speaking of real love, not what our culture calls love. That’s where prayer and modeling come in, I think.
[/quote]

That’s an interesting point, and it may be true for a number of people who are hungering for love and good example.

Somehow, for others, I believe there is much more “tough” love needed. Surely St. Monica loved her son, especially with her exceptional virtue and close union with God. Yet love alone is not always adequate. Who had more love than Jesus? And yet the pharisees put Him to death. His love never touched them.

It seems that some folks need to hit rock bottom and realize their own sinfulness and frailty before they can reach out to Love, Itself. To paraphrase a beatitude, Blessed are the “broken” in spirit, for they are in a condition to meet God.


#10

Amen, beautiful, Joysong!

It was precisely brokenness that led me to accept Jesus into my heart, that made me realize my need for God. My story was in This Rock.


#11

[quote=Spauline]thank for posting this. It nails some serious things. yes, I used to be naive, that if persons would simply be shown the intellectual plausibility of our faith, they would convert. But alas, there is not only the intellect in the soul, there is also the will.
[/quote]

I had to giggle when I saw your words, for all of us have walked that same road of hard knocks before we learned that our words have little effect on others. That’s why I enjoyed reading it in print by Father Dubay. We are not quite so alone with that problem.

It was precisely brokenness that led me to accept Jesus into my heart, that made me realize my need for God. My story was in This Rock.

I’ll wager that in eternity, many of us will glorify God and tell our own story of how He brought us out of chaos into His light. What precious listening that will be!

It is hard to love someone enough to let them hit that bottom. We urgently desire to ‘save them’ but God sees that trial is the best medicine to bring these poor souls to Him.


#12

same here. Much hardship and trial led me to trust Jesus fully. I have just finished an intense period of studying and I simply could not study without Jesus in my mind and heart. Other trials were also relieved in this way. Thanks be to Him :slight_smile:


#13

Amen, God Bless you, nick.

:slight_smile:


#14

I hear you Joysong. This is the perennial mystery. First must come darkness before the light. Hence, FIRST, Christ has died, THEN, Christ is Risen. We must go through the Passion before we get to the Resurrection.

:gopray:


#15

great idea. We could also pray that God bring to us people who are ready.

Another gardening lesson. Each seed has it’s own ‘germination’ time. Some pop and send forth their growth as early as 5 days. Sweet peas take well almost two months due to the very hard exterior shell. They prefer a steady temperature of 55-65 moist degrees. The critical thing is never to withhold the water, thinking that the sweet pea didn’t sprout as quickly as the marigold, and then give up. Steady water [prayer] even in the face of no growth, is key.

yes, I forget about prayer sometimes. No wonder my friend is always parched and in need of a drink! :smiley: Actually, you have inspired me to look at the situation in a new way. I need to pray for people as if God is preparing them to receive Him at some unknown time in the future. This would give me hope that my efforts are not in vain. Thanks for the new gardening lesson! :thumbsup:

In the example of your friend, it may be good to remind ourselves that God loved us while we were each still sinners. As long as you are his friend and he is not leading you to sin, just love him and pray for him, and leave the conviction to the Lord.

Yes, I need to do that. That’s if he maintains his interest in me. We seem to be growing apart. It is interesting that his family were well known in times past in my area. I can just imagine his relatives praying for him now and egging me on not to abandon him.

I didn’t see a single word, Nick, that led me to believe you were arrogantly looking down on him in his present stage of non-germination.

Thanks for our kind words, Carole. That is a really nice way to see my friend: in a stage of non-germination. :slight_smile:


#16

I am glad to see this thread goes well.:thumbsup:

I think one of the reasons why we cannot see is the problem of ego.

Jesus said we have to deny ourselves to follow him. When one’s ego is too strong, it is easy to be hard hearted and it is hard to acknowledge the truth. When one’s ego stands in the way,
even the person actually sees the truth, his ego will tell him otherwise. When the truth threats his ego, he will come up with any justification to defend the ego.

That’s why humility and obedience are the best virtues and pride is a grave sin.

I am not talking in the nature of accepting faith and becoming a believer, I am talking about situations we all run into in our daily lives. When you encounter a steel ego, you just have to bear the pain of the failure of communication, and take it as an opportunity of offering up.


#17

[quote=InLight]I am not talking in the nature of accepting faith and becoming a believer, I am talking about situations we all run into in our daily lives. When you encounter a steel ego, you just have to bear the pain of the failure of communication, and take it as an opportunity of offering up.
[/quote]

Do we 'offer it up?" It is easy to think:

[LIST]
*]Maybe if I obtain more documentation?
*]Maybe if I say it in another way using specific examples?
*]Maybe if a few more people enter the discussion and support my view?
*]If I don’t repond, innocent people out there will believe my opponent spoke the truth. :eek:
*]Jesus needs me to save people from error!
[/LIST]

And all such thoughts that keep the flame flickering.

But do any of these really work? Isn’t it true that we might inadvertently ‘enable’ the error to spread through using repetitive responses that continually publicize it?

I haven’t found answers in Dubay’s book, that I can remember, but it seems to me that we do not place enough trust in the Lord, who said that the evil one would never snatch His sheep from His hand, if we decide to shake the dust and ‘offer it up.’ We discount His watchful interior warnings to the faithful, such as, “This is not true, check further.” He disturbs one’s peace about the matter until they find the correct teaching, and then He confirms the truth with consolation and peace. This cannot be produced in our hearts by anyone’s rhetoric or dialogue unless the Spirit is at work within.

Any thoughts?


#18

:amen: That’s it, that’s it!!! (IMHO)

by Joysong
Somehow, for others, I believe there is much more “tough” love needed. Surely St. Monica loved her son, especially with her exceptional virtue and close union with God. Yet love alone is not always adequate. Who had more love than Jesus? And yet the pharisees put Him to death. His love never touched them.

I was not speaking of “warm-fuzzies” which is why I qualified love as “real love” and not what our culture calls love. As to the Pharisees - that is the mystery that we will have to wait to find out about until we meet Him. And St. Monica prayed and showed His love to her son so much that he became a bishop and doctor of The Church.


#19

[quote=Brigid12]I was not speaking of “warm-fuzzies” which is why I qualified love as “real love” and not what our culture calls love. As to the Pharisees - that is the mystery that we will have to wait to find out about until we meet Him. And St. Monica prayed and showed His love to her son so much that he became a bishop and doctor of The Church.
[/quote]

Neither was I, Brigid. In fact, Monica demonstrated the “tough love” I spoke about, when she banished Augustine from her home due to his heretical beliefs that drove a wedge between mother and son. I am of the opinion, from all I have read about her, that it was her constant prayer and sacrifice that finally enabled him to convert.

From my recollection of Augustine’s Confessions, his mother was not even with him when he converted. Can someone who read the book help us out here?


#20

[quote=Spauline]It was precisely brokenness that led me to accept Jesus into my heart, that made me realize my need for God. My story was in This Rock.
[/quote]

Do you feel comfortable linking us to your story, Spauline? There’s no pressure, I promise.

Carole


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