Wednesday, December 9, 2009

SLJ: Advent and Science

Yes, Father wrote a little book (about 90 pages) called Advent and Science, which contains four chapters of translations of his talks (in Hungarian) given in Budapest in 1999. If you don't yet have a copy, you ought to get one. Here's the very beginning, just to inspire you...

--Dr. Thursday

It may seem strange to seek a connection between Advent and science, and even stranger if Advent is mainly a matter of sentiments. Yet, undoubtedly, more than any other phase of the liturgical year Advent is the season of that gripping sentiment which is longing. Advent is also replete with the joy of anticipation which in some way surpasses even the joy of possession. Many have observed, and rightly so, that there is something special in the joy of expecting as compared with the joy one feels on coming into possession of what one has eagerly looked for.

What is true of religion, as experienced especially during Advent, is also true of science. The magic of science comes to a large extent from musing about its future marvels and about its promise that man's horizons would forever expand. The feats which science has already achieved along these lines greatly strengthen the confidence that the future has even greater feats in store.

Advent is the most attractive part of the liturgical year also because it is a summary of the entire liturgical year, an annually recurring anticipation of a final Advent. This attitude expresses best the essence of religion, so concisely put in the words of the Scripture: "Faith is solid confidence in what we hope, a conviction about what we do not see" (Heb 11:1). The entire Christian condition is a longing for the kind of present moment which is eternity itself. That moment will not be touched with the anxiety that once it is ours it may slip through our fingers as does the momentary present.

The idea of a present moment that lasts forever was best summed up in Boethius' dictum, now almost a millennium and a half old: "Eternity is the perfect and total possession of a life with no limits." Longing for that moment that lasts forever is the essence of Advent and also its perennial timeliness. For we can grasp the notion of eternity only inasmuch as we penetrate the present moment's intellectual significance and conceptual riches.
[SLJ Advent and Science, 1-2]

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