Father Brendan’s Thursday Thoughts | OPINION, July 13, 2017

THE Pope was on tour in Australia going through the outback when his Australian driver noticed the Pope looked very tired. So his driver says “Holy Father, you look pretty tired mate, so I’ve got an idea. I’ve heard your same blurb at all these churches and you get asked the same questions everywhere and I reckon I can do your accent. How about at this next church gig we swap clothes, and I’ll pretend to be you, and you pretend to me so you can sit down the back of the church and have a breather.”

The Pope agrees and so, at the next church, the Australian driver delivers the Pope’s message word-perfect and even answers people’s questions with a gentle “yes my child” and all in the Pope’s accent.

One young boy stands up and asks “your Holiness, I was wondering what your thoughts were on a descending Christology as opposed to an ascending Christology in light of modern exegesis and the ecumenical research of Congar, and whether you think this research enhances the liturgical musings of Fortescue, while, of course, not ignoring the eschatological framework of Garrigou-Lagrange?” 

The driver, dressed as Pope, looks at the boy with shock and says “the answer to your question is so bloomin’ obvious mate that I’m going to let my driver stand up and answer it!” 

Perhaps I complicated my recent article on humility by quoting the king of “body beautiful” Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

Sorry if I confused you; I wanted to show that even those who make a living out of vanity have not always avoided the irony of humility. 

It was Jesus who said “those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

But this article I’ll keep simple, for we only ever understand something after it’s been simplified in our mind, even if that something was originally a very complicated philosophical principle. 

One of my favourite philosophical principles, and appropriately one of the easiest to explain is “Occam’s razor” by William of Occam (1285-1347). Occam’s razor basically teaches that the simplest solution to a problem is usually the correct one.

If there are many explanations for a situation or a problem, the simplest is usually the best.

The more assumptions we make, the more unlikely an explanation or solution is. 

They say “things are not always as they seem”. Not always, but they usually are.

You didn’t fail the exam because you didn’t see appendix B in the back of the book; chances are you failed because you had 25 chapters of the book to study and you only half-glanced the chapter summaries.

You’re not overweight because you have to eat quickly in your busy world; chances are you’re overweight because you eat bad food by choice and rarely exercise.

There’s no mystery food that mysteriously puts on weight: although, we were late to discover that bread was so fattening; but God did give us an ancient dieting tip: “Man does not live on bread alone”.

Seriously. With our bigger problems we usually think the solution is too hard or too complicated or there is no solution, so we don’t even try. I don’t know what your problem is (I mean that in the nicest possible way) but whatever your problem is, the solution is simple and lies not far away from where you already are.

Start looking, because as Jesus said “seek and you will find”.


Twitter: @frbrendanelee