Apple. McIntosh. Golden Delicious. Johnny Red. My earliest memories of apples come from visits to Stone’s Apple Orchard in Hampton, Illinois. They were open year round, it seems, and whether in February or June, entering the apple barn where the lights were down low and there was a crispness in the air and the smell of apples, is a memory I will always carry with me. We would buy apples by the peck or bushel, enough for school lunches and to snack on whenever we wanted.
I became aware of a different kind of Apple in the mid 1980’s, when a girl at Marquette I would see from time to time was working in a new store at the Southridge Mall in Milwaukee, selling the very new, for the Midwest, Apple Computers. I went down a few times to see these new wonder machines, or to bother Teresa. Customers being able to play with computers was a very new thing, and I had friends amongst the techies, who told me that anyone could set the password of the computer, and the store would not be able to have access the next time they turned them on (this might be described as an early, human generated “bug” or even “virus”). I always teased Teresa that I was going to do that when she was busy with another customer, but never did.
I have never gotten onto the whole Apple “movement.” Early on I used a Commodore, sent email or “chatted” on the mainframe at Marquette, or used my rather worthless Texas Instruments computer to play Pac Man, but I never understood, and could never easily use Apple. Friends with Apple, even today, have all the subtlety of a Jehovah’s Witness, but I could never become part of their “movement.”
Apple systems are based on “intuitive reasoning,” I think they call it. When you think of what you would like to do, you are supposed to be able to do it easily. So, the Apple is supposed to be ready to behave as you “intuit.”
I quickly found out that, all things being equal, I almost never “intuit” the way the writers of the Apple software do, and so the few times I have been called in to help a friend with a computer problem, they have had to guide me through the Apple “mentality” as we have sought a resolution to their problem. (this is definitely NOT a commercial for Microsoft, who I think lost their way with the introduction of Windows)
Computer “intuition” I don’t find helpful, but there is a great “intuition” which serves us all. This would be the natural capacity we have for God, and the things of God. Even the least educated person can naturally sense God’s presence, his existence, according to theologians. This basic capacity (perhaps “intuition”) for faith is part of who we are and how we are made, creatures yearning for a relationship with their Creator.
Human beings are not just a soul, we have an intellect, a will, passions, emotions, a body, and so our initial stirrings of faith have to be informed within our capacity to understand or be moved. I need help navigating through the Apple universe. We all need some help in growing to know and love God, if our faith is to move beyond those basic yearnings. We need to look towards those basic building blocks, Holy Scripture, the guidance of the Church, and perhaps the guidance of a spiritual director, to avoid falling into mistaken notions, indeed to flourish in the life of faith. Otherwise we run the risk of “changing the passwords” and losing our way, becoming, perhaps, someone who is zealous about our “faith” but whose lives are not informed by that faith, someone who believes strongly, but whose beliefs are built on feet of clay.
The ancient adage “fides quaerens intellectum,” faith seeking understanding has always indicated the attitude we must have as Christians, looking to orthodox teachers and sources to help us to grow in our faith lives. We should make our own, the prayer as expressed in the Gospel of St. Mark “Lord I believe, help my unbelief,” and look to sound spiritual mentors to help guide this journey, lest the initial way we “intuit” lead us to err.
God is so good that he has provided for us, provided for our entire person. Whether that be the art, sounds, smells of our Churches to help us to dedicate our senses to him, to the books of Scripture and musings of theologians to help us grow intellectually in His service, to the wise Confessor who can practically advise us as we grow in Faith.
God Bless You
Copyright 2011 Msgr. Richard Soseman