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By James V. Schall, S.J.   
Tuesday, 01 April 2014

April Fools’ Day: “The Foolishness of God” (1 Cor. 1:25) – Look, Folks! Comrades! You, none of you, evolved out of stardust. You are, indeed, Earthlings. You were “fashioned” of “mud.” To “dust” you shall return. But that’s not the whole story. You stand between nothingness and divinity, between cosmos and eternity. You belong. The spark in your eyes is from the Perpetual Light that shines upon you. Ex nihilo, nihil fit.

Word gets out. Members of your kind now affirm: “I am free to make myself what I want to be.” Are you kidding me? Go ahead, try it. Are no mirrors found on your planet? You were created free to come up with any wacky idea you wanted. It wasn’t a mistake. See whether what you come up is a better you. Is the “you” that you conjured still worth looking at? Check the mirror again.

You can be “as free as you want to be?” you say. Heaven and earth give no clue that you are not intended to be what you are? Are you sure? If you are determined to do whatever you want, you are pretty obtuse. Worms and skunks, cute little critters, do what they must. You are neither. You do provide amusement, no gainsaying that.

By the way, the heavens, the earth, and all creatures swimming, winging, and crawling about it are particular kinds of things. They fit. On the basis of laws and ways found supporting things, you yourselves put other things together. Without your mind and hands, you could not do this. When something called iron won’t work, something else called gold might. Why is that? If nothing happens, try something else. Why is it that you can try anything? Why does anything work at all?

Folks! Companions! Fellow Fools. Look! You need to have some handle on why you are not someone else. This Aristotle told you that, if you could be happy by becoming someone else, you would not do it. He is right, even if it is a rather dumb idea to want to be someone else, a dangerous one too. If you become someone else, how would you know the you that became someone else?

People still talk about this Christ, who was a someone else. He “became” man but did not change who He was. Good to take another look at Him. Man does not explain himself to himself without the odd suspicion that he is missing something. Have you never felt that? Some say that you cannot explain yourself to yourself without this Christ. Strange idea, you say?

          The Holy Trinity by El Greco (1577)

Folks! Greeks! Romans! Jews! Hindus! Look! This “suffering under Pontius Pilate” business? Wasn’t he that Roman politician someone is always citing on, “What is truth?” That’s the man. This Christ was scourged, beaten, crowned with thorns, and brought before the crowd. This Pilate said: “Ecce Homo. Isn’t that an odd thing for him to have said? “Behold the Man?” Nietzsche thought so.

That reminds me of what I began to tell you. You are made for eternal life, in case no one ever told you. You think I’m kidding? Next, let’s mention this judging the living and the dead. Be prepared. You say this is religious nonsense? Plato said the same “nonsense,” or did you forget? Perhaps you never read Plato? Pity. He’s good.

Isn’t this sitting at the Father’s “right hand” a bit too metaphorish? That’s just what it is, but the point is pretty clear. This Son of God, this Logos, this Word is the truth Pilate was dealing with. Poor chump did not want to know, like so many of you freedom lovers who make your own being, only to have to improve each new “you” that you come up with.

Folks, Friends, Look. This life everlasting that you are told of is pretty good stuff. “Just a vague hope?” you say. That’s because the brain with which you are empowered is rather low on the scale of intelligences. Try dealing with Satan sometime. Actually you do, you just don’t know it. Do you really do everything you “would“ do? Why not? But you receive grace. You just don’t admit it.

Credo in unum Deum. . . .What is this Trinity nonsense? Surely not three gods? Right, only one. This God has an internal life. It means He doesn’t need us. Yet you were intended to exist as you. Your ultimate origin is within this Godhead, this Trinitarian life. You keep looking in the wrong place to explain yourself. The freedom you were given to enter this inner life can be used to reject it. It’s up to you, Is that beyond your grasp? Why be “clueless” in a wonder-filled world?

Guess what? You have to choose to be “clueless.” On April Fools’ Day, what else can the foolishness to create your own world mean?

James V. Schall, S.J., who served as a professor at Georgetown University for thirty-five years, is one of the most prolific Catholic writers in America. His most recent books are The Mind That Is CatholicThe Modern AgePolitical Philosophy and Revelation: A Catholic Readingand Reasonable Pleasures.
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

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Comments (6)Add Comment
written by maineman, April 01, 2014
Wonderful! Thank you.
written by Ray, April 01, 2014
Great article, Father. It made me think about my true reason for being. I'm hoping to stay on this path of "Being a fool for Christ's sake". Thanks.
written by Ruth Joy, April 01, 2014
A wonderful description of the true meaning of autonomy.
written by John Gueguen, April 01, 2014
Will they "get it" this time, Fr. Jim? Thanks for that wonderful April Fools joke, which is the same as it is for any month you choose.
written by Chris Ramsey, April 01, 2014
Imagine my pleasant surprise when, during my "daily read" of TCT I ran across a comment from my beloved uncle, John Gueguen!! (It briefly crossed my mind that there might be another "John Gueguen" out there, but that would truly be an "April Fool's Joke" of epic proportion!)
Anyway, as it was my "Uncle Jack" who put me on to Fr. Schall in the first place, I count today as one of supreme fortune!! Thanks to both of you for your work as educators and "men of God".
written by Thomas C. Coleman, Jr., April 01, 2014
Thank you for this wonderful April Fool's Day gift, Fr. Schall! You covered so much Truth is so few sentences in an ecstatic, musical style that I want to read it aloud over and over and share it with my friends, both believers and deniers. I'd like to set this music. (Perhpas I'll sit down at the piano and improvise while my wife reads the article out loud.) This is real food for a true Beatificnik.

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