In short, what for Patristic and Medieval thought was in both theory and practice a profound unity, producing knowledge capable of reaching the highest forms of speculation, was destroyed by systems which espoused the cause of rational knowledge sundered from faith and meant to take the place of faith.
46. The more influential of these radical positions are well known and high in profile, especially in the history of the West. It is not too much to claim that the development of a good part of modern philosophy has seen it move further and further away from Christian Revelation, to the point of setting itself quite explicitly in opposition. This process reached its apogee in the last century. Some representatives of idealism sought in various ways to transform faith and its contents, even the mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, into dialectical structures which could be grasped by reason. Opposed to this kind of thinking were various forms of atheistic humanism, expressed in philosophical terms, which regarded faith as alienating and damaging to the development of a full rationality. They did not hesitate to present themselves as new religions serving as a basis for projects which, on the political and social plane, gave rise to totalitarian systems which have been disastrous for humanity.
In the field of scientific research, a positivistic mentality took hold which not only abandoned the Christian vision of the world, but more especially rejected every appeal to a metaphysical or moral vision. It follows that certain scientists, lacking any ethical point of reference, are in danger of putting at the centre of their concerns something other than the human person and the entirety of the person's life. Further still, some of these, sensing the opportunities of technological progress, seem to succumb not only to a market-based logic, but also to the temptation of a quasi-divine power over nature and even over the human being.
As a result of the crisis of rationalism, what has appeared finally is nihilism. As a philosophy of nothingness, it has a certain attraction for people of our time. Its adherents claim that the search is an end in itself, without any hope or possibility of ever attaining the goal of truth. In the nihilist interpretation, life is no more than an occasion for sensations and experiences in which the ephemeral has pride of place. Nihilism is at the root of the widespread mentality which claims that a definitive commitment should no longer be made, because everything is fleeting and provisional.
47. It should also be borne in mind that the role of philosophy itself has changed in modern culture. From universal wisdom and learning, it has been gradually reduced to one of the many fields of human knowing; indeed in some ways it has been consigned to a wholly marginal role. Other forms of rationality have acquired an ever higher profile, making philosophical learning appear all the more peripheral. These forms of rationality are directed not towards the contemplation of truth and the search for the ultimate goal and meaning of life; but instead, as “instrumental reason”, they are directed—actually or potentially—towards the promotion of utilitarian ends, towards enjoyment or power.
In my first Encyclical Letter I stressed the danger of absolutizing such an approach when I wrote: “The man of today seems ever to be under threat from what he produces, that is to say from the result of the work of his hands and, even more so, of the work of his intellect and the tendencies of his will. All too soon, and often in an unforeseeable way, what this manifold activity of man yields is not only subject to 'alienation', in the sense that it is simply taken away from the person who produces it, but rather it turns against man himself, at least in part, through the indirect consequences of its effects returning on himself. It is or can be directed against him. This seems to make up the main chapter of the drama of present-day human existence in its broadest and universal dimension. Man therefore lives increasingly in fear. He is afraid of what he produces—not all of it, of course, or even most of it, but part of it and precisely that part that contains a special share of his genius and initiative—can radically turn against himself”.(53)
In the wake of these cultural shifts, some philosophers have abandoned the search for truth in itself and made their sole aim the attainment of a subjective certainty or a pragmatic sense of utility. This in turn has obscured the true dignity of reason, which is no longer equipped to know the truth and to seek the absolute.
48. This rapid survey of the history of philosophy, then, reveals a growing separation between faith and philosophical reason. Yet closer scrutiny shows that even in the philosophical thinking of those who helped drive faith and reason further apart there are found at times precious and seminal insights which, if pursued and developed with mind and heart rightly tuned, can lead to the discovery of truth's way. Such insights are found, for instance, in penetrating analyses of perception and experience, of the imaginary and the unconscious, of personhood and intersubjectivity, of freedom and values, of time and history. The theme of death as well can become for all thinkers an incisive appeal to seek within themselves the true meaning of their own life. But this does not mean that the link between faith and reason as it now stands does not need to be carefully examined, because each without the other is impoverished and enfeebled. Deprived of what Revelation offers, reason has taken side-tracks which expose it to the danger of losing sight of its final goal. Deprived of reason, faith has stressed feeling and experience, and so run the risk of no longer being a universal proposition. It is an illusion to think that faith, tied to weak reasoning, might be more penetrating; on the contrary, faith then runs the grave risk of withering into myth or superstition. By the same token, reason which is unrelated to an adult faith is not prompted to turn its gaze to the newness and radicality of being.
This is why I make this strong and insistent appeal—not, I trust, untimely—that faith and philosophy recover the profound unity which allows them to stand in harmony with their nature without compromising their mutual autonomy. The parrhesia of faith must be matched by the boldness of reason.
The value, the sacredness of the human person is nothing less than disregarded as crimes of all sorts are committed against individuals, families, nations and presented by the media as facts of daily news reports. Governments by and large make no effort to safeguard their citizens agains dehumanization trends. Individuals are used to serve the purposes of the few, the rich, the powerful. For the sake of financial enrichment, lives are snuffed out, ordinary human values are trodden under, consciences are neutralized and even demoralized. The primary purpose of the human person, that is, getting to know love and serve God is completely passed over and disregarded.
God's number one enemy - satan - is also the chief enemy of the human person. This one time angelic person, being very high in the court of Heaven, knows well the value and purpose of the human person and is out twenty four hours a day, seven days each week, creating havoc from without and within individuals and groups, entering into the very Sanctuary wherein the Savior of mankind resides, to bring division so as to curtail and even destroy pure human actions as also actions prompted by grace. His most effective attack upon man is by drawing him out of the heart and presenting such forceful stimulations of mind that the primary thrust into life becomes one of thought rather than love and loving service.
Despite all of the attacks brought against the human person, there is hope. It is Jesus Who has come to give assistance to humans by opening the channels of grace, bringing to each person sources of strength to mind and heart to make it possible for anyone who chooses to maintain one's human dignity, wholesomeness and integrity. Prayer, that is, carrying on a conversation with God, obtains for one all the help that is needed to sustain in one's life those qualities which will make it possible for the one who prays to give protection against any and every dehumanizing element.
One of the strongest weapons that one can use against the world and satan is Faith! Jesus tells us that we believe in Him, we will be saved. It is understandable that every enemy of the human person puts forth the greatest amount of effort to destroy one's Faith and to cripple or at least de-activate the faculty of the the will, that is, the heart, wherein Faith abides. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Who dwells within the heart of the baptized person, every safeguard is offered to maintain one's self in Faith. The indwelling of the Spirit has been merited for us by Jesus' suffering and death. Jesus, therefore, as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, offers the greatest confidence to anyone who wishes to live a life of that dignity offered to the human person by his Creator.
There is a lot of depth and an instant clarification to many of man's problems in one specific teaching of Jesus. It is: "If you obey My Commandments, you will discover who you are." That is encouraging. Only a person can choose to obey; all of the other creatures must obey. They are not given a choice. I think that most of us can work on that liberating statement. What a joy will be mine if and when I begin to respect and revere the WHO in ME.
In the next installment I will venture onto the journey from the head to the heart - a journey that often meets with roadblocks because satan waits along the roadway throwing every obstacle and detour at us that he can.
To all of my little ones I say: Listen to my messages and live them. Then shall you be in the Sacred Heart of my Divine Son and you must fear nothing.
My dear children, I solemnly tell you the Hour is upon you. Still you slumber. Little children, God, the Eternal One is your Father - Creator of all. Why then do you not give unto Him all reverence as He alone deserves?
Does He not have the right to ask this reverence? Does He not also have the right to demand it of His children? O! how filled with pride is the world. How I suffer and weep to melt your cold hearts.
I solemnly tell you that the moment is coming when all that you possess, rely upon for your daily life, all you take such pleasure in shall be taken from you. This has already begun by the natural disasters and those disasters man inflicts upon man. All of these will increase. All are allowed as warnings. The country which so freely allows abortion shall suffer greatly. And the riches God has given you shall be taken away for you disregard His Law and proclaim yourselves as gods who alone have the right to choose life or destroy it.
Pray with me. Open your hearts. Heed my words that my Immaculate Heart may triumph sooner. For the Justice of God will purify and transform all of creation until only the Divine Harmony, the Divine Will shall remain.
O! Seek the Holy Spirit and possess Him, Who is Wisdom and Love that you might understand.
Thank you for responding to my Call!
My little ones, as you have gone through Lent and have celebrated the Resurrection of my Divine Son, I solemnly tell you that the time of rejoicing has not yet come to the world. That is why, my little children, you must cling to my Son's Cross and show every reverence to Him in the Blessed Sacrament.
Pray! Pray very much that you will persevere. Pray for my priest-sons that their faith may grow stronger. O! How I weep because so many of my Divine Son's shepherds have already lost their faith, and cause many others to lose theirs.
O! Pray. Soon I shall no longer be among you in this extraordinary way. All who are my faithful little army I call now to refuge, Spiritual refuge in my Son's Sacred Heart through my Immaculate Heart, and as the Holy Spirit guides, many shall go to physical places of refuge.
Be not afraid. God shall not abandon His faithful ones. Look only at my Divine Son. Adore and love Him profoundly in all things. If you do this you shall have light in the darkness.
I love you. I bless you. Be not afraid, but be filled with joyful hope.
Thank you for responding to my Call!