Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(2) Enthusiasm

One bright Sunday morning I was reading the Washington Post
Magazine. I latched onto an article about John Haught, a
theologian who taught at Georgetown University. Professor
Haught specialized in the study of "Science and Religion."
Rushing off to Georgetown, I discovered that its Graduate School
offered a Liberal Studies Program for mature students. It allowed
for an interdisciplinary approach in a number of academic realms.
I decided to give it a try.

So--scurrying about I managed to acquire recommendations from
a high government official, a dean at one of my former universities,
and my good abbot. Smiling to myself, I realized that each of these
men represented major parts of my life. Somehow I squeezed into
Georgetown, trekked off to see John Haught, who agreed to be my
academic mentor, and began professional studies that integrated
philosophic, religious, and spiritual approaches with contemporary
science theory.

My Georgetown program mainly concentrated on Quantum Physics,
Astrophysics, and Evolutionary Systems. And eventually I wrote a
thesis entitled "The Play of the Cosmic Process: A Synthesis of
Teilhard's Cosmogenesis and Bohm's Theory of the Implicate Order."
A mouthful, I know, but I loved every minute of all this hard work.
Indeed, Georgetown almost became "home" for me. After my degree,
I spent an additional two years as a Scholar of Advanced Study.
This time around I concentrated on the new theoretics of cutting-edge
technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, CyberSpace, and
NeuroArchitecture as they might apply to Teilhard's sense of the
Noosphere. I studied with a Rensseleer-trained engineer who
worked in Washington and taught at Georgetown.

After all this effort I began to get an inkling where I might head.
By this time I had slowly stepped into the budding Internet world,
working with one of those first boxy-like Mac computers. In those
days there was the old "UseNet," where discussions were fairly
wild and wooly. Periodically I would submit small segments of
some of my Georgetown articles. I felt that perhaps I might begin
to freely share what I was gaining from this venture with others.
But much of this was to come later.

To top off this special period of my life, I remember one evening I
was with Francis Jean--my Benedictine Oblate friend--and as we
were leaving one of those Smithsonian lectures, I mentioned my
wonderment over the joy and enthusiasm these scientists seemed
to embody. They were on the edge of understanding, yes, but
it seemed something *more* as well. Francis Jean put it nicely.
She reminded me that the root of the word "enthusiasm" is
"en Theos."

Well, there you have it. Via other avenues, via other labels, these
scientists were broaching what I believed to be new understandings
of God. Through scientific discoveries, through science theory,
there was something new--beyond earlier religious and philosophic
concepts--when it came to the pursuit towards comprehending the
Ground of Being, the ancient Logos-Pneuma translated into the

In time some scientists would begin to write God-oriented books.
Some scientists even won the Templeton Prize, a high-paying
honor that focuses on Science and Religion. And besides these
scientists writing these sort of books, a few famous Benedictine
monks had begun to move into this field of Science and Spirituality.

See two such landmark books:


• Fritjof Capra & David Steindl-Rast, O.S.B. (with Thomas Matus,

All this was a wonderful time for me, full of joy and energy and
enthusiasm. Little did I know that I would soon be exchanging
this happy time for a long period of sorrow and sadness.