can you look back on your life and picture the loss of all those memories? or of this moment? or of a moment of particular bitterness or suffering? you may, as I, have gotten over the feeling of suffering, but the details of the events will still stick in your head. is it possible to imagine them disappeared, gone forever?
perhaps the answer is that they persist only in the moments in which they originally existed. to us that constitutes "the past" but to the universe perhaps they never disappear. and how could they, and why would they? only if they were "unimportant" and the only reason to claim them as such is to apply one's own priorities to the universe, hardly a humble thing to do. it is more reasonable to assume that every event that actually occurs is equally important, from the smallest detail in the life of a gnat to the culmination of the explosion of a galaxy. it is a conceit of imagination to claim that importance is judged purely on the basis of scale. if an event affects only tens of trillions of nearby molecules, is it that much less "important" than if it affects ten trillions to the tenth degree?
now, persistence of memory is more than a painting of melting clocks by Dali. it is the known side of the coin of our consciousness. as on a coin, to persist in the analogy, it is firmly imprinted on that consciousness. now, there are those who will claim that there are no objective truths or facts, but, excepting in cases of dementia, any person must be forced to acknowledge some level of truth and fact to his or her own memories. (of course there are those who would argue that dementia and hallucinations disprove this, but this is the taking of exceptions as the rule.) most of us can agree that our memories correspond largely to actual events. and those events took place, really, outside of ourselves.
first, let's move away from this idea that memory exists as some disembodied ghost in the neurons of the brain. we know this is not true, because of muscle memory. after a certain amount of physical repetition, an action becomes "second nature" to our behavior. rote memory operates in this way, and it behooves us to break down this brain/body barrier and recognize that we are, in fact, organisms of memory. from this, it is not hard to recognize that all matter operates as organisms of memory. as a matter of fact, this is a premise of evolution, that organisms adapt to their environments, and what is that adaptation except a "memory" of past events? how can anything adapt unless it is adapting TO something in its environment that, according to cause and effect, must come before it? the adaptation is evidence of the state of the environment that came before it.
and so, is it reasonable to expect that the universe is a great consciousness? from all the above, it follows that the only reason to answer this question in the negative is if one assumes no continuity between events that either coincide or that follow upon each other, and the discoveries of quantum physics belie that notion. and, as a neurosurgeon would look in vain at a brain for evidence of thought, yet we know that the neurons and synapses do contain the bricks and mortar of thought, just as surely as a great fastball is contained in the arm of a pitcher even as he rests his elbow in the ice, is it really such a stretch of the imagination to say, or is it really just evidence of lack of imagination to deny, that we could see the universe as the underlying bricks and mortar of the mind of God? even as His thoughts are genuinely spiritual and not in any way material, and since we must be lucid enough to recognize that this is by way of analogy and certainly there is not a huge hippocampus in the sky, so this does not purport to be a direct one-to-one correlation between our brains and that of God, and so we must further allow that God the Creator Who created the physical universe may be making use of the stuff of it for a "brain", but His essence is still above and beyond it and not contained within it. but it does bring us to the idea that there the "knowledge" that Adam had of his wife and her subsequent "conception" of a man contains within it a much richer, deeper, greater truth than our feeble public debates over "creationism" do even the slightest iota of justice to.
So what does this have to do with Catholicism? Well, just absolutely everything. After the Fall is followed by the giving of the Law (by which we gain our knowledge of good and evil, if you go back to the beginning), the culmination of the Faith, being the faith prefigured by the lamb and the unleavened bread of the Exodus, is the Holy Eucharist, the giving to the faithful of His Actual Body and Blood by Christ for our consumption. The Great Truth of Christianity, the one that according to John 6 is nonnegotiable, is that except we eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, we shall not have life in us. God, Who is Spirit, became incarnate for this purpose, to give us that earthly body to eat, through an act of faith on our part. God reaches down from His dwelling place in eternity to take us out of this our exile and pulls us up to Him, by means of an act of faith in His Real Presence being in something apparently as real and tangible as bread and wine, but that only by appearance. This deflection between spiritual and material is prefigured in Scripture when Jacob, the son of the promise, is made to appear as Esau for the purpose of receiving the blessing from his father Isaac. The devil's apparent victory in killing the Messiah was turned into his defeat when it turned out to be God Himself Who was killed on the cross, and by such an action was able to enter death and to overcome death for us, thus overturning the punishment of death that was pronounced by God unto Adam and Eve.