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Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
September 20, 1974     Arkansas Catholic
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September 20, 1974
 

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THE GUARDIAN, SEPTEMBER 20, 197 PAGE 5 A leaf grows so perfect but man is another story. eful but Disturbed The Schizoph]renia of Man Flesh Against Spirit, Lust Against Love, Passion Against Purpose By Father Walter J. Burghardt. S.J. I,AST WEEK I pointed to the four major ruptures that call for reconciliation: between man and nature: within man himself: between man and man: between man and God. Thus, the first significant fact is established: The fact of disunity. The second significant fact is: Disunity was not God's original design for us. However you interpret the first three chapters of Genesis -- a real-life situation where human living originates, or inspired fiction with a religious message, or a wedding of both -- the story of Adam and Eve reveals God's plan for human unity. Note the four levels on which the story moves. IN THE FIRST place, a remarkable oneness prevailed, an intimate harmony, between man and God. When God made the first man, He gave him not simply a garden of delights, the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, a woman from his flesh. More precious than all, God gave man God. The first instant Adam came from the hand of God, the first moment Eve was fashioned from the flesh of Adam, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit lived within them. Human creation was one with its Creator. Second, there was a striking unity, a fascinating harmony, within man himself: within Adam, within Eve. That grim, unceasing struggle which we experience within ourselves, which Paul described -- flesh warring against spirit, lust against love, passion against purpose, all the schizophrenia that cleaves me into two -- such conflict was foreign to Eden. Adam, like Eve, could not be seduced by surprise, could not say, as Paul would, &arc/., of the Perfection of a Leaf KNOW YOUR FAITH Sponsored By Arkansas State Council Knights of Columbus weekend outings together. Husbands, wives and children joined us. During the summer we hiked, swam and camped. In the winter we often skied in Pennsylvania. ONE SUNDAY in early fall when we had returned from a long hike, some of the men "gela M. Schreiber YEARS AGO I worked :eptionist for an engaged in research -- geology Brilliant scientists OVer the world devoted to learning more earth and the at- that surrounds it. harder than any I have ever met. with just as when the week of Over. ts, secretaries and about 30. We many walks of life, we were one It was no_t, un- all of us to go on Forest Heights Shopping Center hts Center "U$1VE TOYS" - 5918 "R" Arkansas Sotice Call" PLUMBING Kavanaugh - 666-5474 of Pfeifer Co., Inc. wHrrFIELD JEWELERS DIAMONDS WATCHES -- JEWELRY Witch RepMrin| Cantrell & Grant - 666-6651 Heights Shopping Center KAVANAUGH PHARMACY * FREE DELIVERY * $0M Phone Kavanaugh 664-3844 dT",00 5608 "R" St, - 666-2628 Little Rock, Arkansas LARGE SELECTION OF SILK AND PARCHMENT SHADES Large Variety of Quality NAME BRAND LAMPS "Bring Your Lamp In for a Fitting" _ Infants and Children's READY-T0-WEAR McCain Mall and 5701 Kavanaugh busied themselves with building a fire in preparation for our evening meal. And some of us just relaxed. I happened to notice one of the scientists, Dr. Robard, holding a leaf and examining it intently. His manner aroused my curiosity and I walked over to him and asked, "What is it that has absorbed ou so about that leaf?" He turned and said, "It's such a marvelous thingl Look at its perfect shape, its veins, its color. Here is perfect harmony. Now, Angela, look at the sky. The stars are becoming visible. In all that space as far as we can see with out most sophisticated telescopes there is perfect order -- order beyond our conception." He sighed and said softly, "No man can come close to the creation of even a simple leaf. And his un- derstanding of the universe can hardly be classified as a small dent in the ball of knowledge." He was quiet for a moment, then went on, "This is a profound disturbance to me - I am grateful for it -- but disturbed. I know there must be a Supreme Being who is not man - but I cannot find him. I search and search but to no avail. I see his genius in all of nature - in life itself -- yet he eludes me like a whispering breeze." I ANSWERED, "Dr. Robard, you are searching for God. You cannot see Him or touch Him, but He is here -- He is everywhere." "You are talking about God the Father in the Old Testament and about Jesus Christ. I would like to believe that, but I cannot accept it. If I could see Him. I could believe. I might even be able to accept your God if I could see more harmony in mankind," he replied. ! ASKED tliM what he meant, and he explained. "Those who profess Christianity too often say one thing and contradict it by their acts. People. and nations seem to grow in greed. I embarked on the study of religions some years ago -- I've been through Judaism. Mohamademism. # Phone 847-0142 Hinduism -- now I am almost finished with Protestantism. By the way, what do you believe in ?" 'Tm a Roman Catholic, Dr. Robard." I pointed to the story of creation and then to the fall of man. But he could only say, "I simply cannot accept it." TIIEN l REMINDED him of the harmony t h a t was surely present among us. We had a unity. He agreed but felt that was a small thing - not enough to compensate for wars waged, business deals that failed to consider human kind- hess, selfishness. He could not understand how a just and merciful God could allow us so many mistakes and so much unhappiness. Our discussions continued rather regularly. But quite early during their course, I directed him to a priest who instructed him Before his study was finished, he had to go back to his country. The last thing he said to me was, "I'11 search until I find him. It is the disharmony in man himself that I find so difficult when there is o much harmony in the rest of nature. But I will never rest until I have the answer." I NEVER IIEARD from Dr. Hobard again, so I don't know whether he has found God or not But as I reflected .upon Father Burghardt's story of the creation. Dr. Robard came sharply Io mind again. That perfect universe and that perfect leaf are a part of what is still here from the impeccable umty God originally created tie has allowed us to see perfection in some things, hut when we no longer were worthy of the garden of Eden, lie allowed it to have flaws. He allowed great winds to come together -- the result, hurricanes and tornadoes; He allowed the beautiful lightning to touch the earth with destruction: and on and on. WE, LIKE ALL of nature, have elements of perfection and chaos. That which is perfection is but a glimpse of what is waiting for us if we but choose finally to know it. In the meantime, there are those among us who, like Dr. Robard. seek long and hard. Some men are given the gift of faith and others are not, but for those who have not received it, there is an empty place crying to be filled. Another link of disunity. 1974 NC News Service KNIGHTS of COLUMBUS For Membership Information Contact John E. Bosh Rf. 1, Box 813 E, Benton i MARKET Campbell 691 ! 'V&NAUGH "The very thing I hate, that is what I do." An inner poise, a sanity and serenity, a profound oneness, such was God's design; such was man to be. TttlRD. IN GOD'S plan a unique oneness would link man with man. In God's providence, the harmony within the flesh of Adam was symbolic of, was intended to flower in, an un- believable harmony among his children till time was swallowed up in eternity. Never war, only.peace; not hate, but love; no "mine and thine." only "I and thou." A final unity God forged between man and nature. No sooner had He fashioned Adam and Eve to His own image, no sooner had He gifted them with the power to know and the freedom to love, than He blessed them, commanded them to create living reproductions of their life, commissioned them to touch the earth with their magic, link it to their love. In God's graciousness, mute creation would be eloquent; each "thing" would speak to man of the God who molded it. No starlight would captivate his mind as it captivated Ignatius of Loyola; no rose would ravish his soul as it ravished Teresa of Avila. At that moment each blade of grass, each feathered wing, each vein of gold, each breath of air was not a rival, not an enemy, not a reluctant captive, but a willing servant. And man looked on "things" with awe and delight, aware that God's spirit moved over the face of the earth. THERE YOUhave the second significant fact: God's design for human unity. The third significant fact: God's design was defaced, this primitive unity did not endure. Once again, the Book of Genesis raises more problems that it solves. But for our purposes one inescapable reality bursts into history. The disruptive element, the chaotic factor, is sin. And, as Genesis presents it, sin divided man; when Adam disobeyed God, he destroyed unity on four levels. In the first place, Adam ruptured the bond that linked man and God. When love fled from Adam's soul, the God of love fled with it. The sentence in Genesis is expressive: "(God) drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden He placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life". (Gn 3:24) Man had been exiled from God. SECOND, SIN destroyed man's harmony within himself, the symmetry God had designed for every personality. Till the end of time, men and women would be dehumanized by the devil within them; man's worst enemy would be himself. For sin is schizophrenia, inward division : the one person at once image of God and image of Satan. Again, the words of Genesis after the first sin are pregnant: "The eyes of (the man and woman) were opened .... The Lord God called to the man.., and (the man) said: 'I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself'." (Gn 3:7-10) Man was a stranger to himself. Third, sin severed the link GOd had forged between man SEE SPIRIT ON PAG 6 RETREATS - 1974 The Abbey Retreat, Coury House, Subiaco, Arkansas 72865 WOMEN October 4 - 6 Womens Retreat MIXED October 18 - 20 November I - 3 November 22-24 December 6-8 Parents Week-end, Subiaco Academy Cursillistas of Memphis, TN Immaculate Conception High School Faculty, Memphis, Tenn. Oblates of St. Benedict SPECIAL GROUPS November 8- l0 Christian Church Marriage Comm. Lab. Talequah, Okla. September 20 - 22 September 27- 29 October 8 - I0 October II - 13 October 25 - 27 PARISH Parishes of Fort Smith Good Counsel Parish, Little Rock St. Peter's Parish, Mountain Home Parishes of Hot Springs St. Joseph's Parish, Fayetteville Dec. 13-15 - YOUTH Immaculate Conception High School, Memphis, Tenn. MARRIAGE ENCOUNTER November 15 - 17 Marriage Encounter, Subiaco No. 4 PRIVATE RETREATS ENCOURAGED Retreats begin Friday evening and continue until about 3:00 p.m. Sunday. Cost of Retreat is not fixed although a minimum of $22.00 ($40.00 for couples) is suggested as an offering for meals, lodging and Retreat. Retreats for Religious and Priests are arranged for the particular group. Call or write for reservations to: The Abbey Retreat. Coury I Ilouse, Subiaco, Arkansas 72865. Phone: 501-934-2081. ! Retreat Director: The Rev. Herbert Vogelpohl, O.S.B.