Wednesday, April 20, 2016

the mother of illusion

Lewis talks about Kant in A Year with C.S. Lewis today.

He tells us that Kant said "Experience is the mother of illusion." The actual quote from Kant says, "experience is the parent of illusion, and it is in the highest degree reprehensible to limit or to deduce the laws which dictate what I ought to do, from what is done."

This brings up some questions about our society today. Without getting into gory details, our society has lost its bearings. It is lifting up as admirable what is not. It is attacking the liberties of anyone who disagrees with the agenda that is currently popular.

It would be "reprehensible" to think that what we ought to do is in any way related to what we see being done all around us. This brings up two possibilities. The Benedictine option, or the Franciscan one. Both are very viable.

The Benedictine option comes from the example of St. Benedict. Several hundred years ago, St. Benedict went off into the wilderness to live by himself as a hermit. Others joined him. They built a monastery. It grew. But it was separate from society. They pulled out. They left and started their own thing. And that was good. If not for the Benedictines, much of the art and literature of the Medieval period would have been destroyed by the hordes.

Francis took a different tack. He felt God called him to stay in society and to help change it. To be "salt and light" as Jesus put it. He helped reform the church and to make the world a better place. And that was good.

We see both options being played out today, as well. Some of us are called to fight in the trenches, so to speak. To stay right smack in the middle of society and be salty and bright and help people who are hurting to find help.

Others are called to pull out. They are called to homeschool their kids. To protect their families from the nasty effects of a world gone mad. And they're doing a good thing.

Most of us are not called to do one or the other exclusively. Most of us are called to be salt and light in some aspects of our lives, and to pull out and preserve holiness in other aspects of our lives. To find this balance requires wisdom.

Thankfully, God promises to give wisdom to anyone who asks. That means you! (and me, thankfully).

God, thanks for giving us some good options in a world that has lost its mind.

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