ILLUMINATIONS by Anthony Esolen
Our Quiet Lord
The wise men of our day have been busy inverting our commonsense perception of things. They tell us, with the hair-tossing flippancy of a sophomore, that a thing is nothing but the aggregate of matter that composes it. I illustrate for my students the madness of that instance of the compositional fallacy by scratching my arm. There go fifty thousand cells. "I'm not the man I used to be," I say. So determined are the wise men to deny God, they will gladly deny also the existence of perduring things, and even of real personal identity.
They can squint for quarks if they like, but we Christians can rout them on their own microscopic ground. For we look to the God who is not only infinitely beyond all things. We look to the God who is infinitely within all things. Even if a quark were nothing but a nondimensional point, our God would fill it with his fullness. Smaller even than the quark, infinitely smaller, dwells the boundless freedom of God, who gives to things and to persons both their determinate limits and their liberty. And the Person of the Trinity through whom this truth is most sweetly perceived is the Holy Spirit.
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Anthony Esolen is a professor and writer-in-residence at Magdalene College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire. His many books include Sex in the Unreal City: The Demolition of the Western Mind, Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child, Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord. He is a regular contributor to Chronicles, Crisis Magazine, The Claremont Review, Inside the Vatican Things, The Catholic Thing, and American Greatness. He has translated Dante's Divine Comedy. He is a Roman Catholic and lives with his wife in New Hampshire. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.
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