The plan of Marquette University to change the name of its theology department into the Department of Theology and Religion seems to be just one of the latest attempts by the repressive juggernaut of the Culture of Desecration and Death to have the truth aborted by ambiguity and moral relativism.
Theology has, as its main point of reference, a discerning reverence for the sacred mystery and objective reality of God . Its primary quest is to allow God to intimately know us in a loving communion. In this way, it allows God to transform our lives and perspectives. As He so reverently, graciously and faithfully gazes into our souls with a gratitude and love beyond all comprehension or manipulation, His Holy Spirit infuses us with the ability to reverently know and love each other as He is loving us. Thus it is that theology does not so much make sense out of life, as it makes the soul more sensitive to life in all its sacred and sanctifying wonder.
In sharp contrast to this sacred science, religion, as it is currently understood by many, tends to be based on the subjective needs of people and societies for a sense of meaning in life. It is also more easily hijacked by tyrants, who can deviously devise ways to promote the spirits of hubris and jingoism among those under their jurisdiction. As these spirits are embraced by people and societies, they are more easily led to seek self-fulfillment by self-assertion against whatever would deny them the gratification they desire. This, in turn, often leads to oppression or even aggression toward those who do not comply to their paradigms or agendas, which are euphemistically called "religious convictions" or "self-realization".
Sadly, as man-made religion distorts the ability of people and societies to appreciate and accept the truth of God's authentic Self-revelation, their ability to engage in the sacred science of theology is also severely crippled - or even aborted. What is even more tragic, though, is the way in which so many Catholic institutions of higher learning are falling over one another to see which one can embrace more fully the ever-evolving demands for moral capitulation being issued by the Culture of Desecration and Death.
The objective truth brought to light in prayerful theological study is detested by the Father of Lies,who is always seeking to desecrate the sacred image of God in our human nature. Satan knows that the truth, which is discerned and reverenced in theological studies, draws us into accountability. This accountability is an essential dimension of authentic freedom. And so, to close off our access to the truth, which sets us free, he seeks to distract us from such a sacred accountability. In this way souls can be seduced into believing that they are free to be chase after whatever new thrill or idea, which will gratify their immediate desires for both gratification and a sense of meaning in their lives.
Theology, then, proclaims that life is brought to fruition by repentance, by faith and by fidelity both to the truth and to our sacred words of commitment. On the other hand, due to the ongoing influence of concupiscence, religion can easily be detoured from the path of truth onto a way that offers souls "salvation" by the path of excuses and resentments. The deception of such "salvation" may offer short-term relief, but not the peace and joy that can only be realized in humble, docile and reverent communion with the gracious mystery of Divine Intimacy. St . Augustine was right on target when he prayed, "Our hearts are restless, Lord, until they
rest in Thee."
Spero columnist Rev. Thomas Collins is a Catholic priest who serves the people of Virginia.
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