The birth of Christ and the Epiphany of faith and reason, beyond the clouds of irrationalism, of blind fideism and devotion

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CHRIST'S CHRISTMAS AND THE EPIPHANY OF FAITH AND REASON, BEYOND THE CLOUDS OF IRRATIONALISM, OF BLIND FIDEISM AND DEVOTIONISM

If Christmas is the time of the Logos that is embodied, then in the Incarnation the Eternal God assumes all human nature, temporary: and it also assumes human reason which re-elaborates concepts in discursive reasoning and in time, until it becomes manifest on the Epiphany, which means "to make oneself manifest". Here then is that philosophical research resides in human reason, historical research, scientific research ... in short, a search for immanent truth that goes hand in hand with the search for a transcendent truth concerning faith, and both can make themselves paths of holiness.

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Author:
Gabriele Giordano M. Scardocci, o.p.

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The Gospel of St. Matthew contains this tale:

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«Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the time of King Herod. Some Magi came to Jerusalem from the east and asked: “Where is the king of the Jews who was born? We saw his star rise, and we have come to worship him”» [Mt 2, 2].

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We do not need further confirmation that this pandemic period is indeed fraught with uncertainty. As I write this article, Dear Readers de The island of Patmos, black clouds have gathered over Rome and buckets of rain overwhelm the capital. The light is barely visible, in the clouds. Here is how the weather can express the mood of many, so much so that the 2020 it was named by Censis as the year of black fear for Italians [1].

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This fear has generated closure reactions, of unprecedented irrationalism and fideism; certainly unprecedented in modern times. I recently read about Facebook the idea that the sacrament of baptism would give a sort of indefinite immortality, because it would make them forever linked to the Immortal Incarnate Word. Therefore, my friend continued in the comments facebooker, stating that in the face of an ignoble microorganism, such a silly virus, why be afraid? Why close yourself inside the house? Why let all the "immortal" Jesuits throw away a year of life?

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I honestly smiled when reading these arguments. I thought I had to intervene immediately by explaining the difference between the hypostatic union of the human nature of Christ with the divine person (whereby Christ is one person and two natures), and our being incorporated into Him in Baptism, we too with human nature. In this second case, indeed, just as Jesus' nature was subject to suffering, illnesses, pains, however, we too lived in the Passion although we are baptized. The baptismal sacramental character does not shield us from illness and serenity, the entrustment to God that we must have as baptized does not exclude, rather, it includes our moral action of prudence and hope. Our responsibility to protect the fragile [2].

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But immediately I stopped responding. Because we had to go to the root of the matter. Don't go straight into theological insights. Which I want to talk about now. The root in fact consists in the interior attitude. First of all, having the attitude of research, of in-depth analysis, open-mindedness of the Magi. Who were looking for Jesus following a star and asking everyone where the newly born king of the Jews was. The Venerable Pontiff Benedict XVI writes about the Epiphany in one of his works:

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“Several factors could concur to make a message of hope perceive in the language of the star. But all this could only set in motion those who were a man of a certain inner restlessness, man of hope, in search of the true star of salvation. The men Matthew speaks of were not only astronomers. They were wise: they represented the dynamic of going beyond oneself […] they find themselves in the wake of Socrates and his questioning, beyond the official religion, about the greater truth. In that sense, these men are predecessors, of the precursors, seekers of truth, that concern the times "[3]

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This attitude of seeking the truth it is the same Christmas time that demands it. If Christmas is the time of the Logos that is embodied, then in the Incarnation the Eternal God assumes all human nature, temporary: and it also assumes human reason which re-elaborates concepts in discursive reasoning and in time, until it becomes manifest on the Epiphany, which means "to make oneself manifest". Here then is that philosophical research resides in human reason, historical research, scientific research ... in short, a search for immanent truth that goes hand in hand with the search for a transcendent truth concerning faith, and both can make themselves paths of holiness.

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Giovanni Covino writes in a recent article:

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"Precisely because even intelligence can present itself as" the way to holiness ", The Church, with her constant teaching as a Mother, has always held in high regard scientific research and the possibility of combining this with faith - as the now famous opening words of the encyclical letter states Fides et ratio: “Faith and reason are like the two wings with which the human spirit rises towards the contemplation of truth. And God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth and, in definitiva, to know Him because, knowing and loving God, may also come to the full truth about himself”» [4].

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Entering this perspective of dual epistemology, theological and philosophical - scientific, man truly elevates his whole person. Because it is able to enter a double gaze: objective on the real, able to reconstruct the documentary data in front of him through the technical language of science. At the same time, to read into this data, in a contemplative way the eternal action of God. The contemplative gaze on the real fact is fundamental today, especially in times of pandemics, which otherwise would turn out to be just a health crisis with no horizon of meaning.

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On this same line of thinking the search for the writer friend Adriano Virgili is moving, of which I report the work: The resurrection of Jesus. An investigation. It is precisely a historical-scientific research on the fact of faith in Jesus Christ, in which the Author - as Alessandra Fusco writes in one of her reviews [cf.. WHO] - slavishly follows the path of reason, not that of blind faith. Just as Sherlock Holmes would have done he follows the path of logic, introduces us to the historical Jesus and the apostles, weighs all the alternative hypotheses to the Resurrection: it may have been a plot by the apostles? The risen man was perhaps a double? It was all a fiction? And he takes them apart one by one, relying on reason. And in this way it shows us that there is no other reality and that the only plausible hypothesis is the one professed by all of us Christians: Christ is truly risen!

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The Mystery of Christmas, between faith and reason, until the manifestation in the Epiphany, it must always be contemplated in relation to that of Easter. There is no one without the other. They are interconnected mysteries, although out of time. Easter is lived well if we start living Christmas well, this Christmas 2020, followed by that visible manifestation of divinity which is expressed in the Epiphany. This despite everything and despite everyone.

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Rediscovering the interconnection between faith and reason it therefore becomes necessary and it is the task that we can take on before the incarnate Word of God who makes his divinity visible with the Epiphany.

The book by Adriano Virgili, which I recommend in reading, you can order it WHO.

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"Sweet Jesus, Jesus 'love' [St. Caterina da Siena]

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Rome, 6 January 2021

Epiphany of the Lord Jesus

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NOTE

[1] 54° Report on the social situation of the country / 2020, pp 1 – 9. Available on https://www.censis.it/sites/default/files/downloads/Sintesi_la_societ%C3%A0_italiana_2020.pdf Last Access: 06 December 2020 hours 9.51.

[2] I mentioned it explicitly in these videos, that I shot during the March - April Lockdown. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSp8F3ofKmT9USoW-J5NZPSs4dLsfsNnW

[3] (J). Ratzinger – Benedict XVI, The childhood of Jesus [Rizzoli, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2012, 111 – 112].

[4] Giovanni Covino, Covid 19: Research and Holiness in a time of pandemic [cf.. WHO]

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Father Gabriele

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About Father Gabriele

Gabriele Giordano M. Scardocci Dell'Ordine dei Frati Predicatori Presbitero e Teologo ( Click on the name to read all its articles )

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