People, generally speaking, like mysteries. Scooby and the gang have been around forever. Mystery novels and True Crime stories are still very popular. Agatha Christie was the most-widely read author for decades. And the movies – like The Sixth Sense or The Usual Suspects or The Illusionist (all faves of mine, btw) – people like trying to figure them out before the Big Reveal at the end. It’s part of being human – we like to know, and we like to have answers, and we like to have things ordered and figured out.
But Mystery – with a capital M – is primarily a Catholic thing. Which means it’s cool.
I’m not just talking about the Mysteries of the Rosary – which include a lot of the big ones, like the Resurrection, the Ascension, the Assumption of Mary, the Nativity. But there’s also Transubstantiation. And the effects of sanctifying and actual grace. And how Baptism now saves us. And so much more. These are things that can’t be figured out, and are meant to be taken on faith. That doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t delve into the mysteries, and study them, and meditate upon them. It just means we will never plumb the depths of their meaning, and our love of God will deepen and grow. That’s what makes Catholic Mysteries cool.
The Catholic faith is imbued with mystery, so much so that it enables us to more fully appreciate the awesomeness of God’s handiwork all around us – the beauty of a sunset, the brilliance of the Northern Lights, the frenzied yet graceful flight patterns of flocks of swallows, the power of tides, the birth of a child, the utter uniqueness of each person. Science explains to us how these things work, or provide theories and such, but it doesn’t explain why God created them in the first place. In a way, it’s like He’s saying “You like this stuff I created? You think it’s neat? Ha! You ain’t seen nothing yet – wait until heaven!”
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not against science striving to explain how things work. I’m not terminally incurious. I love science. I use it in my job, and it’s darn helpful around the house – science heats my home in the winter and cools it in the summer; it opens the automatic garage door; it washes my dishes and cleans my clothes; and most importantly, science is immensely critical in the Indoor Plumbing Department. It’s been instrumental in improving lives and curing diseases and sending Neil Armstrong to the moon. Science rocks – but it doesn’t rule. That’s God’s realm.
So I’m not anti-science one bit. I think there will still be plenty of stuff to come to know when I make it to heaven (well, I’m not trying to be presumptuous, but getting to heaven is like my #1 goal). I won’t come to understand everything – such as how did transubstantiation work? – and I’m cool with that. I’ll probably be too geeked about being in heaven to care about stuff I will never have the capacity to understand. Because in heaven, I’ll still have a human brain and mind, and eternal life doesn’t give anyone the ability to comprehend Divine Knowledge.
Although…there’s one mystery of a non-religious nature that has befuddled me. It’s been on my mind for quite some time.
How the heck is scoring determined in Mahjonng? I swear, the version I have on my PC makes no sense. You’d think the faster you complete a game, the higher your score would be. Nope. Doesn’t work that way. There’s probably some algorithm or what have you that comes up with the score. Whatever it is, I can’t figure it out. And I’ve given up trying to figure it out. If anyone out there knows – please, keep it to yourself. Like I said, I can live without knowing. I can live with mystery. Stuff like this, or how babies are made – I can wait until eternity to get those answers. Don’t be that guy who blurts out Keyser Soze’s identity while the opening credits of The Usual Suspects are rolling. You know who you are if you are that guy. Don’t do it.
Let me go on living with mystery. I’m Catholic – I’m used to it. And I really like it.
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