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The pearl of great price

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God examined all of human history, found the pearl of great price, picked it up and polished it so that it shone with a divine sparkle. That pearl was Mary. The polishing began with bestowing the unique privilege of being conceived without original sin, giving her the privilege of being the mother of his son, Jesus, and asking her to share with him the role of redemption. Her obedience, even to the point of suffering internally as she watched her son suffer and die, yet not excluding even his tormentors from her merciful love, was her response to God, her “let it be done!”

The Pietà

A little language experiment using Google translate:

First, notice the curious similarity, in English, between "pity" and "piety", words which are quite distinct in meaning.

Then, translate each of these two words into Latin, Italian, Spanish and French, the Romance languages. Notice the curious differences, pointing to very complex language histories.

And, finally, do the same translation for the English word "lamentation." Notice the remarkable similarities.

A day for remembrance and reflection

Today seems to be a day for remembrance and reflection. Thomas More published his novel (known by the shortened name) "Utopia" in 1516, perhaps 500 or 501 years ago.

The delegates to the constitutional convention in Philadelphia signed the U.S. Constitution (preparing it for ratification by the individual states) on September 17, 1787, or exactly 230 years ago.

William Golding published "Lord of the Flies" (a kind of dystopian novel) on September 17, 1954, or exactly 63 years ago.

A perfect storm of evil, yet good will ultimately triumph.

When we think about the darkening currents of history, we should reflect upon the following:

On the postmodern hubris of meta-level thinking

Ever since computer games developed significantly beyond the PACMAN stage, and imagined realities took on three dimensions and other attention absorbing features, our inveterate game players have come to think of reality itself as a kind of programmed virtual reality, and, as such, that it could be reprogrammed. This may strike someone who entered adulthood before PACMAN went viral as delusoinal. Reality, we might say, is a given. Our capacity to shape reality is very limited, and subject to unforeseen consequences. We might even wonder at the sanity or the cluelessness that this almost godlike attitude seems to imply.

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