Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Memory and Identity: the mystery of evil.

It is perhaps surprising that Bl JPII should start his book by speaking about evil. This is because we all encounter evil in life, evil alongside goodness. It is goodness which we strive for but evil is always a problem for us. So a realistic approach to life involves recognising the presence of evil. Indeed, JPII says that we actually need to have what he calls a "philosophy of evil" - a way of understanding and "approaching" evil, so that we are able to continue building our lives, inspite of the presence of evil.
It is only in light of the truth that we can genuinely see evil for what it is and maintain our lives in the direction of goodness. Foundational Truth concerns the Mystery of God, of Creation and of Man. In the light of Revealed truth we can begin to see that evil is a mystery in which goodness, which should be overabundant, becomes reduced or even hidden. It is precisely to combat evil and restore goodness to man that God, in the three Persons of the Trinity, has undertaken what we call the Redemption.
However, today's secular vision of life reduces God to being merely an element of human consciousness. In the secular vision, God is no longer the God of Revelation but is the God who we can think of as we please. But, at the same time our way of understanding evil changes. Man, not God, is now the central player; if man now descides what God is, he also decides what is evil and what is good. We have seen this most terribly in the extermination of certain peoples by others.

Even so, we also see that evil is limited. Divine Providence allowed Nazism to exist for twelve years only. Yes, evil is limited by goodness.

The Church calls evil by its name in order to show that it can be overcome; it is overcome precisely when we open ourselves to the love of God. Most importantly and wonderfully, we know that Christ has definitively destroyed the evil that affects humanity. Thus, it is essential that we understand how Christ overthrows evil. In this, the Holy Spirit is Himself our guide - he guides us through the redeeming work of Christ.

(To be continued.)

The above photo was taken in May 2007 as I was blessing the Parish Boundaries of what was then my parish in Huddersfield.

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