Emmitsburg Council of Churches

Order and Chaos

Father John J. Lombardi

"You (God) have disposed all things by number, and measure and weight." -Wisd 11:20…"Now the natural person does not accept what pertains to God.The spiritual person can judge everything…" (I Cor. 1:14-15).

Originally there was the Garden of Eden-the Hebrew word means delight. A blissful Order harmony between man and woman, God and man and Nature and Supernature.. It couldn't have been better. Now, after The Rebellion (Adam and Eve, I mean), amidst intermittent joys, we're in kinda' veil of tears. Interspersed with some delights in this life we are exposed to a Culture to Death and coagulating with our human ingenuity is a devilish disorder. At least at times we are. Don't believe it? Look at the news: "A baby girl cut out of the abdomen of a pregnant woman who had been strangled in Missouri was found alive on Friday" (New York Times-12/04)… Or read the Bible: "We know that the whole world is under the power of the evil one" (I Jn. 5:19). Also, remember the tsunami's and overcrowded jails; the teen pregnancies and drug murders and the agnostic marketplace. Then, consider: same-sex marriage proposals, stem cell research and manipulation of baby parts to "re-invent" human beings; the redefinition and social engineering of the family; homosexuality being normalized and a blaze prime time licentiousness (a marketed misogyny); more prevalent drug use-as "recreational," and over-prescribed (forming what some describe as a kind of "pharmaculture"). Then there's Secularism-God out of the marketplace and schools and…

What single word describes the root of all these ills? Disorder. That is, not following God's Plan and Order for life. Life gives us the choice: Choose either the Devil or Divinity. Disorder or God's Order. Utopia has become, in modern times, Dystopia. This may mean: disintegrating God's plan; complete changing it; rebelling against it. Are you altering God's plan or are you aligning with it?

God's Holy Order may be called a "Kingdom" (as in this Sunday's Gospel- Mt. 4:12ff). He is King and we are-or should be--His servants. As such, we should want to know Him, love Him and obey Him. Obedience is not popular these days, but, remember, it comes from the Latin, audire, meaning "to listen." So, listen to Jesus' Commands-within your soul. He gave the greatest homily ever, called The Sermon on the Mount, but how many people actually are listening to or following it? Life is all about choosing His Order or, oppositely, Disorder.

Item: George Bush was inaugurated last week. That was controversial enough-the glitzy inauguration, I mean. What is more controversial is his faith. President Bush doesn't exactly wear it on his sleeve but he is criticized for his acknowledgement of the Lord. (Though, it is surmised President Bill Clinton mentioned Jesus more in his locutions than George W.). In a recent interview President Bush said: "I don't see how you can do this job without relying on God." And a preacher at one of his inaugurations mentioned Jesus Christ instead of just the formal "God". Some people don't like the President's explicit Faith. Why? Perhaps because he is pro-family, pro-marriage, and pro-proud-America, and sees this country guided by God's Providential Hand, invoking this often. This pro-God-Order (however imperfectly lived and transmitted) is anti-Disorder, counter the secularism of the media and academic elite, and is a negation of the practical atheism of some of our culture. And people don't always like it.

We must believe God has a Plan for our lives, even our county, or not. And then we should try to live according to that plan. The civil rights movement which freed black peoples and allowed voting was largely a religious movement-of Jesus Christ. They saw that we were not following "The Plan"--and so they inspired and cajoled us to "correct" it. We either choose God's Order or dis-order, to be embarrassed by Faith or proud of it. Today's Dominant Myth of Separation of Religion and State tyrannizes many. That word ("separation") is nowhere in the Constitution or foundational documents of the USofA. But people want you to believe this. They want to separate you from "The Plan". St Paul says: "Rather, we speak God's wisdom, mysterious, hidden, which God predetermined before the ages" (I Cor. 2:7)

Item: Evolution is being questioned big-time today-not only by intellectuals but also by school boards and grassroots activists. In Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and S. Carolina judicial decisions on the teaching on evolution will soon occur.


Last week in Dover, Pa., a school board voted to require its ninth-grade teachers read a statement criticizing evolution, and citing "intelligent design" -which implies that life is infinitely complex, so that there must be a designer, Cause, or God behind it. Today, though, "scientific evolution" (usually without God) is a kind of an "unspoken god", an indication of the dis-order we've all lived with, or naively believed in. An "old order" of disorder" seems to be passing because people have seen the half-truths and, even, scams of secularism and agnostic evolutionism (i.e., Teihard deChardin, a French Jesuit was duped by a false fossil allegedly proving as a "missing link". He also mistakenly proposed a kind of deterministic progression of mankind toward God without grace; and also a kind of communism as a new world order). Once again: we are called to choose God's order or dis-order. Many think evolution is compatible with God and Faith. Perhaps it may be, but it is now (and probably always will be) only a theory without factual evidence (Pope John Paul said in this context we should speak today of "theories" of evolution"). Evolution in varied forms has been used as a "scientific Trojan horse" to appear reasonable and empirical, and thereby subtly and adversely affect culture and science, causing some to lose their Faith, or change moral norms (since, in this view, we allegedly "evolved" from lower life forms, which implies, or tries to make a divorce of body and soul-we're just bodies, blobs without supernatural animating principles or goals, an active, Providential "hands on design" and ongoing Love by God is thus denied). . Evolutionism implies agendas. Many forms are, in fact, atheistic. Dis-order is its (subtle) agenda, sometimes-of morality, religion and public values. We Catholics must study this issue closely, and Choose Order, God's Design for life, not ungodly evolution.

Item: This Monday hundreds-of thousands will march in Washington for Life, unborn babies and motherhood, and against Culture of Death, which forms a major foundation of New Worldly Disorder. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, who had an abortion in 1973 and immediately regretted it, recently said: "Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother. The mother decides his or her fate." Always remember, anyone who procured an abortion can be forgiven and freed (thru the Sacraments and spiritual counseling-i.e., Project Rachel-ph.: 410-354-6900 or 1-800-286-4224). Disorder is death; God's order is life. Jesus says: "I came that you might have life. The thief came to steal and slaughter and destroy" Jn 10:10). St Giannna Molla chose life. She was an Italian mother, doctor and devout Catholic) who was counseled, in 1961, to get an abortion rather than undergo serious surgery with the child. She said: "If you must decide between me and the child do not hesitate: choose the child. I insist on it. Save the baby." God offers Order: "I set before you life and death, the blessing and the cruse: Chose life " (Dt.30:19) People need sometimes make heroic choices against the disorder to bring about order.

Item: Contraception--this literally means "against life." Are you for this dis-order? Practice it? You can stop and embrace God's natural-supernatural order, His design for your body and soul and for your spouses-without chemicals, toxins or barriers. You are not an animal but called to be a holy human being. In "The Priest" magazine (Jan/'05) Vicki Thorn, foundress of Project Rachel (which helps woman recover from abortions) wrote about evils of contraception, the "Pill" in particular: that it negatively alters a woman's fertility and hormonal process; affects adversely her relationship with a man; and that sexuality implies a "biochemical love" which, when invasively contracepted or altered, may destroy God's way of promoting life, courtship and basic male-female dynamics. Oppositely, Natural Family Planning (NFP), promotes intimate communication between spouses, knowledge of the body-soul dynamics, of esp the woman, and the self-mastery of chaste love, and, when need be, abstinence. Which do you want? The divorce rate of those who use NFP is an astounding 4% versus the Culture of Divorce.

Item: A recent Chicago-Harris poll found that over 90% of Americans believe in God. That is Order: creatures acknowledging the Creator. However, with each year of h.s.education and beyond those who said they were "certain' of belief in God went down sever percent. That's disorder. Education-at least sacred education, should make us believe God and His Divine Design for life more, not less. We have a lot of smart atheists and agnostics here in the U.S. who affects educational curricula, media and governmental posts. Many want to promote Disorder, making you believe God doesn't matter, that Faith is not really part of American life and that it is passé. Which leads to…?

Item: Papal biographer George Weigel says that Europe is suffering from "Christophobia," and he believes that the continent's low birthrate is due, in part, to the widespread unbelief in God (Source: Zenit.org-Dec. "European high culture is, largely, Christophobic, and Europeans themselves describe their cultures and societies as 'post-Christian,'" said Weigel." Simply put: Europe was founded on Christ and now is rejecting Him, His order.

Thus, God's order is, in some quarters, out; devilish disorder is in. The result of this is, according to the prophet Isaiah, from this Sunday's first reading, anguish, gloom and distress. But, God offers light and freedom from the yoke of enslavement to human disorder and rebellion against His Will (Isa. 8:23-ff). What are you choosing? Sometimes it is difficult to "join the Plan," but don't be deterred-keep trying. Esp. after a time of sin, attachment and addiction to it, we may become enslaved (choosing thrills or power), but God, by His Divine Grace can wean us off disorder if we keep choosing His Way.

What is the answer to all this? Order. His Kingdom, not our own sloppy, dark ones. And, also: repentance, which means turning hard against past mistakes and strongly into God's Order. Repent to enter the Kingdom. What is the Kingdom? It is Jesus Christ's Order. It means living thru Him, with and in Him, according to His Kingdom (trusting that it is orderly, loving), consciousness of this (cultivating a continual mindset of thinking-linking with Him and Kingdom), and acknowledging that He is the King and I am his subject (spiritual subservience),. A lot of people aren't turned on by subservience, knowledge of the Unseen, etc., (esp. Americans who prize absolute freedom, knowledge-power, etc.). But remind them: We shall reign with Him if we are faithful to Him ( 2 Ti 2:12 ). Help them believe we creatures have a Divine Cause and Creator, and, in the end, it is not so bad to surrender to win.

In the meantime, some scientists, writers, secularists are trying to invent, re-invent their own particular kingdoms and orders-with or without God. That's the story of the Tower of Babble and the Golden Calf. Of Herod's of the world. One time I went to Russia and loved it. However, a memory re-appears to me of: "The State Museum of Atheism" .I couldn't believe such a thing actually existed, was built. It was large. Though it is now "inactive," in a way, I hope they leave it up to remind us of humanity's sheer dis-ordered ignorance and denial of Divinity.

Christ came not only to save us from sin (enslavements to wrong orders) and Hell (eternal separation from His Plan and Beauty), but also to re-establish a new Order In Himself. St Paul says of God, that: "He has made known to us the mystery of His Will in accord with His favor that He set forth in Him, As a plan for the fullness of times, to reestablish all things in Christ , in Heaven and on earth" (Eph 1:10). Thus: we can know God's Will (at least part of it, progressively); we can know that it is a Plan (neither a straightjacket which makes us robots nor rocket science which is unfathomable); and that Christ came to rectify the disorderliness of devil and mortals, reconciling Himself, in His God-manhood.

How to respond:

Detect Divine Plan-look into reality, guided by holy souls, and see how God works-within Nature and within your human nature. He has imprinted an order without and within, so dis-cover it! Embrace it: live according to God's Plan, not your own (i.e., "repent"). Remember: Sin and disorder is gloom and the yoke; "For 'who has the mind of the Lord, so as to counsel Him?' But we have the mind of Christ." (II Cor. 2:16). Our job is to attain the Mind of Christ (cf. Phil 2:5) and spread it to others. Teach to others: Witness to others God's Plan--that this is not a random universe; that, despite tsunamis, God does not want evil, and that He loves them… We can establish a New Other Worldly Order--morally (thru conscious decisions-like chastity, life, Truth); mystically (meditation, deliberate spiritual lives, desiring and forming Union of Soul with God); and menially: in our lifestyles- by living simple, God-centered and charitable lives, not selfish ones.

Order or disorder. Life or death. You make the choice and manifest the Life that comes from it to others. Remember: Human effort + right knowledge

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi