Berkeley, May 13, 2019 10:22 PM

Here I want to post some of the questions and comments that I have in my mind, at my current stage on my faith journey.

My opinions are not of a Theologist. I am Roman Catholic. I do believe in God.

I do beleive that we come to this world with a purpose.

Of course, we or I, make mistakes. A daily goal is to acknowledge them. To reflect. To renounce to oneself, and to connect with what are we called to do.

I beleive that the relationship with God, as any other evlove with time, understanding, and reflection.

We cannot not know God, if we do not accept Him at first.

I do beleive that thinks had a beginning. We, through science, have found the bing bang to understand the origin of the universe, and the evolution theory to understand our DNA, and our origens, and the origins of the species.

This is of course a fragile path to talk, where many would see these as probes of God non existence. At my point of understanding, I believe that we need to accept the grace of knowledge. Science is not the only gift or knwoledge we have.

Again I am posting more question that answers, as I myself have a long way to keep maturating my faith. But as I said in a relationship, you learn from the experience, virtues, grace, and knowledge.

I do beleive that science has helped us to understand better the world which was created with purpose.

Same as the own purpose, we should not contradict with our inner self, in the way that we go, or that the world might go.

Experience, daily experience, facts, courage among many are the reasons that I believe in God.

I do beleive that about 2K years ago, Jesus came to correct many of our actions as humans. I am a Catholic, because I believe that Jesus came. I believe that Peter was with Him. I see as fact that Peter founded the Church, and I even have visit his tomb, as the one from St. Paul as well.

The church has expanded for some reason, and it cannot just mere fortune that it has come that far.

Still, we need to stay informed, knowledgeble, educated, not only in science, but in philosophy, history, and far more to be able to speak our experience.

I remain Catholic while there are things that I do not understand. I do not see why celibate is required for the priests. I think that priests have a challenging and demanding job, but I beleive that woman is the complement of man, and viceversa. I also do not have enough knowledge yet, to understand why women is not in the priesthood.

The Catholic Church has been facing plenty of scandals those recent times, which are terrible: child sex abuse.

First, it does not reflect the doctrine of the Catholic Church. It is urgent to investigate deeply the roots of these several cases that happen. What had led to them? My solidarity with all the innocent people who got their lives affected with those problems.

Even with those evil leaks, I still beleive that the Catholic Church has been a major institution to teach us about God over last 2 thousand years. There have been several desviations, cirsis, abuses of power, in the history, but still great minds and spirits have made corrections.

I have been on my way to learn about God and life, and the truth, and simplicity, through the Catholic Church, that is why I stay, and I support it. I do not have a closed mind.

I do think that we need a major update on theology in the daily doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Many Saints have show us the way to faith by life example. Thankfully, we are diverse, and many of us have plenty of questions.

Our knowledge of course not only should cover the Bible, but starts to make relations between reason, theory, faith, phylosophy, experience. I am about to read the Summa Contra Gentiles by St. Thomas Aquinas. One of the greatest minds in the teological history.

Regarding, the Eucaristy. It is of course a time of transcende, love, forgiveness, reflection, connection and peace. I do beleive that during the liturgy a space for Q & A should be openned after the homily.

Again, teology is not field. I know that priests studies for about 10 years for becoming priests. Hwoever, questions evolve over time. The liturgy part is the teaching part. We as the community, need to be as weel good students. I think that the space for 2 or 3 questions should be open. It would elevate the speach of the priest, who is more advanced than us in the knowledge of God, but also will help Him to assess how is the community advancing. How clear is His speach. How come that a lesson does not have interaction. Then the second part of the mass is the Sacrament, where of course only the priest can performed.

Many questions and comments will comment in my life journey. At least as student, I usually ask questions. Normally, those have contributed to me to clarify a topic, and perhaps to the class as well. Rarely, perhaps only twice, the interloculor did not liked to receive questions. I have not been expulsed from class for asking. And if that is would be the case, still I will continue in my journey.

Dante (1275-1321), who was born the year after Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) died, I think expressed his opinion and curisioty about the Church doctrine. While I have on my list, and now in bookshelf plenty of books to finigh. The first volume of Dante’s Divine Comedy: infierno has a wornderful graph, which should encourage us a dig deeper in the understading of our faith. Or at least it touched me:

The path to the City of God by Dante

While I still have to finish the book, I am currently, in the canto III. My interpretation up to now, which I should correct when I finish the book, is that Dante, who is the pilgrims, has an awaking in his life. He stops to reflects about his misgivings, acknowledge them, and want to life with purpose. The pilgrim is in the vestibule where there is an entrance door to the upper hell, you can see in the top left gate of the graph. That is the door that either many people leave the church or did not wanted to enter, because did not wanted to explore further in their inner selfs. In all these unknown questions that we cannot answer now. Or just the ones who did not wanted to accept our own mistakes.

The pilgrim, Dante, decided to cross the river and take the hard path towards the City of God, which I think, its name came from the book by Saint Augustine (354 – 430). So he crossed the river, and it is allowed to first stay with the virtuous man and unbaptized. However, he had the courage to walk further to the limbo, then lustful, etc. up to the City of God. I will be able to talk further about those, as I can make time for reading it.

My final words, in this post with my current knowledge, is that we have to have the courage to believe and prepare to profess in our daily life. Even best if we are in the academic or science world. Those are also gifts from God. Wake up your joy. It is not an easy path. While preaching is not necessarily my message, which I also keep learning to defend the faith. Here is a message to not take the exit door. I also have struggled with my faith. I was born Catholic, but I was away from God from mid 2008 to mid 2009. About a month a half ago, while still my faith in God was part of the question, my continuity as Catholic also was part of it. In prayer, in confession, in writing, in reflection, the answers come. I do believe that He is the way, the true, and the life.

Even Saint Thomas Aquinas, the most prominent Theologist of all time, asked all his life all the question about God (Barron, 2019), and answered them in a very productive life, where left us several books for our further understanding. See Summa Contra Gentiles and Summa Theologica.

References and further reading/watching:

Aquinas, T., 1975 Summa contra gentiles. Vol1-4. Translations by Pegis, A.C., Anderson, J.F., Bourke, V.J. and O’Neil, C.J.

Aquinas, T. 2012. Summa Theologica. Vol 1-5. Authentic Media Inc, 2012.

Augustine, S., 1972. The City of God, trans. H. Bettenson.

Barron, Bishop. 2019. Saint Thomas Aquinas. CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players – Volume I. Word of Fire.

Dante, A., 2003. The divine comedy, vol I: inferno. Translated by Musa M. Penguin Books, US.


Just posting the drafts

Berkeley, Monday May 13, 2019 9:58 PM

You can skip this post. What a start, but this is only to update that I moved the last two posts from the drafts to public.

One was on March 25. A day I felt I did not good work. So I was expressing the guilty of day, which lasted few days, but anyways. I do not why I did not posted right away. I remembered it was a Monday. I ordered food at home, so I left Wurster fast. I made wanted to add something else, but at the end things tasks that are not finished on that moment are delayed forever. That is why I like the philosophy of my blog of posting my first drafts. Although, I might be transitioning to more research oriented topic, and not just related with my research that I do at sun light, but still using electricity.

I am switching the next couple of posts to answer and to post some of the questions that I have in mind. Those are in the field of theology, philosophy, and the later would be more cultural. Still, simple questions, where I aim to continue exploring a reasonable faith, but still unconditional.

Another draft that I left on hold, says May 7. It was an update on my research, and how acknowledging mistakes, allows one see. I just shared an experience from last week. I think I went to a review session, by the point that I was writing, but now a week after, I better post as it was, rather to add something to it. That post belonged to the daily updates.

Academia, Reflection


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

I truly believe that everything has a reason to be.

It is hard to understand at the moment, but the outcome has learnings.

Today, I have a meeting with the Faculty of my department to check on my advances.

My work and not work of the last months gave us the opportunity to talk about what is good and how to overcome weak points.

It was not, however, not the work undone the focus on attention.

Somehow, I have narrow down my research prospectus in order than some of them can believe that it is feasible to overcome this battle. Many of them think that I am working in the right direction, but that is not the point here of my analysis. The results will speak themselves about my research.

I approached the meeting, from the beginning, completely open to acknowledge my weaknesses, completely open to criticism.

In difference with other times, where I had been much more defensive in the topic, I have taking the time to analyze deeply on my daily routine, on why I am doing this, on my goals.

As I anticipated, it was the first time that I presented the topic as my own.

I also presented what I do not know. I shared what I have struggled with.

My goal was not at all to receive pity of anyone. That is not a way of life. What I was doing is acknowledging my responsibilities and explaining where I am, and what I have not achieved.

I received excellent support on what to do. Even, I receive routines advices from the faculty.

Beyond that, I really feel that I am walking with the support not only from my committee, but from the department itself.

How to gain support. Don’t fear weaknesses. Don’t fear failure. Just show the person you are, and yes be prepared to seize the moment.

Focus, Work


Berkeley, Monday March 25, 2019 7:10 PM

I am leaving from campus to home. I come to campus, Wurster Hall on a daily basis to advance with my research.

Not everyday is possible to write and to stay focused, however.

I just ordered my dinner, which will arrive at 7:30 PM home, and I will need to write further after dinner.

I am not feeling satisfied with my work today, rather a bit guilty.

I attended to a fire management seminar for two hours this afternoon. A initiative from Professor Radke, who is in my exam and dissertation committee.

Despite I do not work on fire management, it was interested to be there to learn the research methods and purposes from the European research who visited campus today. It was also interesting to observe the questions and answer interactions within the experts in the audience.

That is good, and always is refreshing to be in a talk, with a tough audience.

However, in the morning, I think I spent way too much time on updating myself with the new elected authorities in the provinces and cities from Ecuador. I paid attention to the profiles from two recent elected authorities.

Analysis, Poetry

About: Tree, river and man. Julio Cortazar

Berkeley, Sunday, May 5, 2019 1:30 PM

Here a poem by Julio Cortazar, “El árbol, el río, el hombre”, which was recited by the Argentinian singer Atahualpa Yupanqui.

How true or inflexible are those words? Would the advise on not replanting the cut tree that already dried, apply to decisions or relationships? Well, I think that yes, if already dried up, the dead tree cannot fool the birds. No one is fool, actually, but if the tree was dead. Otherwise, yes, the tree can move and adapt to different places and soils, with good care.

Regarding the second paragraph of not building diques in rivers, because clouds ride in the free air. Well, it sounds good, but we are mixing water and air here. Regarding, freeing the rivers, I would say allow us to know them better, before taking extreme positions of just building for “economic” development, or not building structures on rivers, for the love of freedom. We are learning to from our mistakes, and accounting on design and planning of diques and dams, river flows, sediments fluxes, migration of aquatic species, food chain connectivity, environmental justice, economic sustainability, social benefits, and climate adaptation. Poetry and art is beautiful, as a free flowing river is. I support those, and I think that human art springs from contact to nature. However, it is important to keep the practical point of use of resources present on it.

I do not have experience with the third paragraph yet. Hopefully, I will not have, and if I do I will comment then. I have lived 5 years of my life abroad. 2 years in Belgium and 3 years in California, US. I have not been exiled. I came to study.

El árbol, el río, el hombre

Author: Julio Cortázar
Interpret: Atahualpa Yupanqui

Al árbol ya cortado
No lo claves en tierra
Porque su copa seca
No engañara a los pájaros

Al río que discurre
No le levantes diques
Porque en el aire libre
Cabalgaran las nubes

Al hombre desterrado
No le hables de su casa
La verdadera patria
Caro lo está pagando

El árbol ya cortado
El río que discurre
Y el hombre desterrado
Caro lo están pagando