“Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.”
--- Blaise Pascal, Pensees, XIV, 864
One of the most interesting and impressive intellectual figures of the seventeenth century, Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician, inventor, philosopher and physicist. He was also a devout and influential Catholic writer. After his death, notes that he had been making for a book to be titled "Defense of the Christian Religion" were collected and published under the title "Thoughts of M. Pascal on religion, and on some other subjects." Generally now known as “Pascal's Pensees,” it remains not only a model of French prose style but among the best intellectually and spiritually stimulating classics of Christian thought ever written.
It seems clear to me that we also live in a time when we see “falsehood so established.” We are told that men are women and women men. We are told that the economic system that has raised more people out of poverty than any other and created higher standards of living around the world is evil and exploitative, while the system that has killed millions and keeps millions more subject to brutal repression is presented as virtuous and good. We see public officials sworn to protect this nation opening it up to what equates to an unarmed invasion by millions of people most of whom are ignorant of and many of whom are actively hostile to our constitution and culture. We are told that academic institutions are committed to free speech and equality for all while those same institutions actively discriminate against Christians and conservatives and allow the demonization and terrorizing of Jews. Falsehood is indeed “established.”
In this fog of distortions, evasions, and outright lies, where are we to seek truth? Is there any light strong enough to penetrate the veil upon veil of that fog? It's a question that humans have been asking for a very long time. Here's one notable example from the eighteenth chapter of Saint John's Gospel, verses thirty-seven and thirty-eight: “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.”
Truth is any statement that is in conformance with reality. Any statement that is not in conformance is either an error or a lie. To believe in a divine creator is to believe that reality is what God has made and that to believe any lies or even errors regarding His creation diminish our connection with Him to some extent and always to our detriment in some degree.
Our best guide in attempting to discern whether what we are told is quite simple. First, what does Scripture tell us? Secondly, where Scripture is silent or unclear, what is the tradition of the Church? Thirdly, when both Scripture and tradition are either silent or unclear, what does our reason lead us to believe?
In a world where many are willing and even eager to lie for their own purposes, I urge you all to carefully consider any serious proposition that is set before you. Do not rush to accept as true any news that pleases you or to reject any that offends or alarms you. Truth is a precious commodity, and the attempt to distinguish between it and falsehood is a necessary part of spiritual health. We may not always succeed in that attempt, but we must be always ready to make it.
-- Fr Bragg+
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
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Upcoming Services & Events
Sunday Services, 7:45 AM, 9:00 AM, & 11:15 AM (for online participation for the services go to: https://www.facebook.com/saintsofscotland/ )
Sunday School at 10:30 AM
Wednesday at Noon – Holy Communion and anointing for healing (for online participation, check info under Sunday Services)
Vestry Meeting, Monday November 27, 7:30 PM, Church undercroft
Kirkin of the Tartan & Evening Prayer, St. Andrew's Day, Thursday November 30, 7:00 PM,with bagpiper and presentation of tartans followed by a gala reception with Scottish and other foods, Scottish beverages and a great time of fellowship and fun. Please put this on your calendar now and invite family, friends, and neighbors. Sign up sheet to bring items for reception now available on bulletin board in church undercroft.
Each month parishioners provide food for the Christ House food bank and things needed for babies and infants to the local crisis pregnancy center. Donations have really dropped off. St. Andrew & St. Margaret parish has a long history of helping others in the community. Please take a look at the lists below and, if you can, please provide some of the needed items. You can also help by donating money through the secure donation button in this e-letter by selecting Charity & Mercy in the drop down menu on the donation page. Your help is needed. Thank you.
Updated List of Needs for MaRIH Center (crisis pregnancy center)
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff provides help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need. If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)
In Bold and * are a critical need.
Diapers (sizes newborn, 1, 2, 3, 4*, 5*, & 6*)
Diaper rash ointment
Fall/Winter Clothing:0-3 mo*, 3-6 mo*, 12-18 mo*, 2T*
Formula: Simulac Advance Formula*
Formula: other but not recalled
Grocery gift cards*
Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar). Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• cereal (low sugar)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar
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St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland
1607 Dewitt Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301-1625