The Evolution of the State of Grace
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By Fr. Robert J. Carr
©Catholic Online 2004
There are two terms that we need to look at in light of Jesus's teachings. One is evolution. Now, that word has a controversial side, because of what we call biological evolution. However, that is a term for another homily and another day. There are all forms of evolution. For example, if it was not for technological evolution you and I would now be in a wooden church and our main concern, outside of mass, would be ensuring that we had enough wood to last us throughout the winter.
The other term is State of Grace. That is considered a kind of a traditional term and it has fallen into disuse for quite some time. State of grace has always been that state in which we are not in mortal sin and are in a good relationship with God. It is most defined in the sense that if I am in a State of Grace when I die, I go right to Heaven. It is an important term, but it has to be looked at again in its more profound sense, especially in light of the previous term "evolution". We can look at both in light of today's gospel.
HOW TO BE THE OBEDIENT SERVANT
In the twelfth chapter of Luke Jesus says "Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival." Here we see Jesus talking about the servant who is ready at any time for his master's return. If we look at the words simply then we can see the obedient servant who is caught being obedient by the master returning. This makes the master happy. However, such obedience only goes so far.
The true servant in service to his master on his estate, is the one who has fully embraced the master's vision and mission. That person is not just obedient, but can act with his master's mind and heart in the man's absence. That is a deeper sense of obedience and that is the sense we are called to in this gospel. That is also the deeper sense of the State of Grace.
When we are in a state of grace we get closer to Christ and, therefore, we think in the mind and heart of Christ. Our actions and choices and our way of life reflect our being in that state. A person who is in a state of grace, mindful of his relationship with Christ, will think in four dimensions, the three material dimensions and the dimension of the spirit. This person will think and act differently than one who only thinks in three dimensions.
However, that has been forgotten of late and partially because of a bad sense of evolution. People believe that evolution teaches that God does not exist and/or we no longer need him. That means that they are thinking only in three dimensions. If we are in a state of grace then we are thinking at a higher level than they are. The problem is that somehow people have gotten into the mentality that just because leaders and experts claim to be smarter or more educated then we should listen and obey them. However, if they are thinking in three dimensions and we are thinking in four, they should be listening to us more than we should be listening to them.
WHY WORK WITH THREE CYLINDERS IF WE HAVE FOUR?
Think of it in the sense of a car with four cylinders. Those who think in three dimensions: secularists and those who reflect a more secularist sense of the faith, are like a car with four cylinders only operating on three, it works but does not work as well as it should. If we think in four dimensions in our relationship with Christ then we are like a four-cylinder car working on four cylinders.
Lately in the city there has been an outbreak of violence. Yet, that should not surprise us fully. There are many people who are now coming to seek a solution. However, if they are only thinking three dimensionally, they will not find a full solution. For example, look at the police. The police arrest people. Arrest means to stop. They can stop those people committing crime from doing it at that time. However, to stop it altogether takes a deeper response and that requires four-dimensional thinking because it is a four dimensional problem. After all we are also talking about actions rooted in sin and evil. Those are concepts beyond the three dimensional thinker.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF 3D AND 4D THINKING
Part of the problem is that the violence is the product of policy and laws made at the upper levels of our society by three dimensional thinkers. God tells us always to be mindful of the poor. Remember in a society the poor are the most vulnerable and the first to show the symptoms of a bad policy. If you have three-dimensional thinkers making bad policies and laws, they will not feel the effects of them for quite sometime because their status in society protects them. They will not be affected in a sense until the society decays to a point that finally people are at their doorstep committing armed robbery by putting a gun in their face.
However, their policies will begin to reflect problems immediately in the poorer neighborhoods.
Yet, we have all been affected already. Last night there was a sweep that arrested 27 people. For every year those twenty seven and just those twenty seven people are in jail even awaiting trial, not counting court costs and investigation, etc., taxpayers must foot the bill of roughly seven hundred thousand dollars. That is just for those twenty seven who were arrested last night. That is how expensive those poor policies have become. That does not even begin to touch on the human affect of the deaths of children. The fear raised in our neighborhoods, how much that would affect community investment by outside businesses, etc and all of that.
You can see what kind of an effect this is and what we are looking at when we see people who think three dimensionally set policies, laws and decisions for a four dimensional world. That is why it is important for us not only to be in a state a grace but to then act in a way that we bring our relationship with Christ into the public arena. Then we have four dimensional thinking for a four dimensional world.
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AND YOU ACTUALLY LISTENED TO THEM?
Many of the leaders around you in the media, government and the universities are mostly three dimensional thinkers. Why listen to them tell you how and what to think. They should not be teaching you, you should be teaching them. Yet, ultimately the best solution is to take what they know and then reflect on it in a four dimensional thinking rooted in Christ, then you will have the combination of faith and science that is the higher level of thinking and acting. It is foolish for the four dimensional thinker however to take very seriously the ideas of three dimensional thinkers.
Many agencies will try to come up with a solution to this problem of violence in the city that may work for a time, but unless they listen to four dimensional thinkers they cannot solve the problem. However, they cannot listen to them if you do not speak up as well.
There is an example I can use of this dynamic. Several years ago a group of Latino leaders spoke with an editor of a major newspapers. They were angry at several articles written about them in that newspaper. When they met with the editor and I was with them, but I am not Latino, there you had a room full of the top leaders of the Latino Community in the area sitting with the editor. The editor embodied his target audience which is upper middle class caucasian (and in this case) male. Immediately, the editor began to say how he saw no problem with the articles. Now look at this scenario. Here is the editor telling the leaders of the Latino Community that he sees nothing wrong in light of their complaints. That made no sense. He was not Latino, and did not understand the Latino community. He had no ability to criticize these leaders. Yet, he did.
So it is with the difference between three and four dimensional thinkers. It is silly for us to take as authority the words of the three dimensional thinkers such as the secularists or the secularized people of faith if we are thinking four dimensionally. The deeper we are in the state of grace, the more we think four dimensionally.
It is time for us to be mindful of the state of grace. That means we stay close to the sacraments. If the last time you went to confession was when Shake Your Booty by KC and the Sunshine Band was number one, it is time to go to confession and do it monthly. Stay close to the Eucharist. Be people of prayer rooted in Christ, be families of prayer rooted in Chirst. Live in a way that you bring your four dimensional thinking to a four dimensional world.
That way you act in the vision and mission of the master Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for the benefit of all humanity.
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Fr. Robert J. Carr - Priest, 617 542-5682
Grace, Sacraments, Confession
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