Emotions, Options, Faith and Making Sense

I’ve been feeling frustrated.

Nothing unusual there.

Feeling frustrated, satisfied, discouraged, elated: that’s part of being human. Emotions happen. I’ll get back to that.

Feeling frustrated isn’t anything new, either:

“There he came to a cave, where he took shelter. But the word of the LORD came to him: Why are you here, Elijah?
“He answered: ‘I have been most zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts, but the Israelites have forsaken your covenant. They have destroyed your altars and murdered your prophets by the sword. I alone remain, and they seek to take my life.'”
(1 Kings 19:910)

Not that I think I’m in Elijah’s class. That’d be daft. And a case study of hubris on steroids.

About that bit from 1 Kings.

Elijah had been having a really bad day. He was ready to chuck the prophet thing and die. God rejected his resignation, gave Elijah a to-do list that included eating something and getting a decent night’s rest. When the dust settled it was Jezebel 0, God 1.

Moving on.

I’ve been feeling frustrated, but not surprised.

“A Catholic Citizen in America” isn’t anywhere near having as much traffic as — [insert this week’s hit parade here].

I didn’t and don’t expect that.


March 15, 1915: Billy Sunday giving another rip-roaring performance.Maybe I’d get more attention, if I stalwartly denounced horrible heathens.

Or exposed fearsome fascists.

Maybe screed aimed at conservatives, liberals, conservationists, developers or someone else would attract attention. Since I’m a Catholic, and a Christian, I could even play my culture’s ‘revival’ card, spewing fire and brimstone.

None of that seems reasonable.

For starters, my culture’s fire and brimstone brigade started me on a quest for something that made sense. Which their weird take on Christianity didn’t.

I eventually became a Catholic, and that’s another topic. Or maybe not so much.

Folks who are Catholic have access to millennia of accumulated wisdom.

So do folks who aren’t Catholics, for that matter.

Sharing what we have with anyone who’s willing to listen is part of our job. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 4, 849865)

Table-turning at a séance. (France, 19th century)I’ve run into a few Catholics who seem dedicated to America’s endemic fire and brimstone mode de foi.

That’s French for “mode of faith.”

Maybe perceiving anything French as automatically sophisticated or “cultural” finally joined corsets and frock coats in history’s dumpster, and that’s yet another topic.

Then again, I suspect that alternatively-accurate perceptions stem partly from emotions and emotional associations.

And that, finally, brings me back to —

“…Feelings, wo-o-o feelings,
Wo-o-o, feel you again in my arms….”
(“Feelings,” Morris Albert AKA Maurício Alberto Kaisermann (1974))

Feelings, Faith and Thinking

Experiencing emotions is part of being human, or should be.

Folks who have a hard time recognizing or expressing emotions also have a hard time getting along:

And that’s yet again another topic.

Again, emotions are okay. Experiencing emotions is okay.

Emotions come with being human. They connect “the life of the senses and the life of the mind.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 17631766)

By themselves, emotions aren’t good or bad. They just happen. (Catechism, 1767)

Feeling an emotion can tell me that something needs attention. Feeling angry, for example, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What I decide to do about feeling angry, or frustrated, or elated or whatever — that’s what can be good or bad. (Catechism, 1765, 17671769)

Ideally, my feelings and my reason would be working together. In any case, I’m expected to think. (Catechism, 17771782)

I’m a very emotional man. Feeling angry comes easily. So does feeling discouraged. Feeling elated or jubilant, that’s not so easy.

Decades of undiagnosed depression, along with an impressive list of other psychiatric and neurological glitches, don’t help. On the ‘up’ side, prescribed medications now let me use my brain without fighting the machinery.

One of those meds is a controlled substance. Paperwork problems resulted in my experiencing withdrawal. Several times. I’d rather not repeat those experiences.

But now I have a better understanding of what withdrawal feels like. That helps me understand what others with similar experiences endure. And I work with another pharmacy.

But getting back to feelings and faith. Because I’m a Catholic, rational thought isn’t an option. It’s a requirement.

I Live, Surrounded by Beauty and Wonders

I’m Catholic, so for me faith means willingly and consciously embracing “the whole truth that God has revealed.” (Catechism, 142150)

That’s the whole truth. Including what we find in the natural world’s order and beauty. Appreciating the wonders surrounding us is a good idea. (Catechism, 32, 41, 74, 283, 341, 2500)

Faith isn’t reason: but it’s reasonable, and certainly not against an honest search for truth. (Catechism, 3135, 159; “Fides et Ratio;” “Gaudium et Spes,” 36)

It’s faith and reason, science and religion. (Catechism, 159, 2293)

I say that a lot.

And it’s not a new idea.

“…God, the Creator and Ruler of all things, is also the Author of the Scriptures – and that therefore nothing can be proved either by physical science or archaeology which can really contradict the Scriptures. … Even if the difficulty is after all not cleared up and the discrepancy seems to remain, the contest must not be abandoned; truth cannot contradict truth….”
(“Providentissimus Deus,” Pope Leo XIII (November 18, 1893) [emphasis mine])

“Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air…. They all answer you, ‘Here we are, look; we’re beautiful.’…
“…So in this way they arrived at a knowledge of the god who made things, through the things which he made.”
(Sermon 241, St. Augustine of Hippo (ca. 411))

Valuing Truth, Enjoying Imagination

I’m running out of “today,” so wrapping up this journal entry is a good idea.

Let’s see.

I said I’ve been feeling frustrated, talked about getting attention by acting crazy, then discussed faith, feelings and using my brain.

And admitted that I’ve got enough psychiatric glitches to qualify as “crazy.” Which is still another topic.

Getting attention by acting like a crackpot is an option, but not a viable one.

Not for me, since I preferred truth before becomming a Catholic: and now now that preference is an obligation. An agreeable one one, but an obligation nonetheless.

But my obligation to be truthful doesn’t keep me from sharing what I hope are entertaining notions. Like my Unified Conspiracy Theory: UCT. (May 23, 2020)

Clarifying what I clarified last year, I do not think that Memorial Day is part of a psychic attack on humanity, waged by Illuminati New World Order Space Aliens. (I.N.W.O.S.A.)

And I once again assert that I.N.W.O.S.A. doesn’t operate out of a secret underground base beneath Denver International Airport.

It might make a good story, though.

I’ve talked about some of this before. Most of it, actually:

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About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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4 Responses to Emotions, Options, Faith and Making Sense

  1. Mode de foi – something to do with liver. Like pas de deux meaning father of twins. And faux pas meaning the wrong father.

    I failed French at school. They asked me the meaning of “Je ne sais pas” and I said I don’t know.

    God bless.

  2. irishbrigid says:

    Typo: “but not a vialbe one.”

    The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Thanks for taking time to comment!