We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, He draws us to Himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Bishop Lopes: A Pledged Troth. A pastoral letter on Amoris Laetitia.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dislocated Shoulder

Word search.

Should
c.1200, from Old English sceolde, past tense of sceal (shall). Preserves the original notion of "obligation" that has all but dropped from shall. 
shoulder (v.) c.1300, "to push with the shoulder," from shoulder (n.). Meaning "take a burden" first recorded 1580s. The military sense is from 1590s. Related: shouldered; shouldering.
Ought
Old English ahte "owned, possessed," past tense of agan "to own, possess, owe". As a past tense of owe, it shared in that word's evolution and meant at times in Middle English "possessed" and "under obligation to pay." It has been detached from owe since 17c., though he aught me ten pounds is recorded as active in East Anglian dialect from c.1825. As an auxiliary verb expressing duty or obligation (late 12c., the main modern use), it represents the past subjunctive.
The Baltimore Catechism (114) reminds us that we have free will. We can, that is, we are able to choose life or choose death (Deuteronomy 30:19). We should choose life!
114. Can we resist the grace of God?
We can resist the grace of God, for our will is free, and God does not force us to accept His grace.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes clear that though we possess free will, we require the help of God's grace to attain perfection.
CCC 1700 The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God (article 1); it is fulfilled in his vocation to divine beatitude (article 2). It is essential to a human being freely to direct himself to this fulfillment (article 3). By his deliberate actions (article 4), the human person does, or does not, conform to the good promised by God and attested by moral conscience (article 5). Human beings make their own contribution to their interior growth; they make their whole sentient and spiritual lives into means of this growth (article 6). With the help of grace they grow in virtue (article 7), avoid sin, and if they sin they entrust themselves as did the prodigal son to the mercy of our Father in heaven (article 8). In this way they attain to the perfection of charity.
We ought to recognize, affirm and conform to the fact that we have been rescued from sin by God, redeemed by Jesus Christ Who suffered death and rose again. Praise God! We have been bought, purchased from death. We have a responsibility to seek the good and reject the bad, a duty to pursue selfless love and reject sin, an obligation to promote the common good according to the law of the Gospel. A Catholic should or ought to be able to propose in the market place of ideas the merit of living an authentic Catholic life that, by the grace of God, leads to everlasting life.

There are some, however, who would deny to Catholics and non-Catholic religious people alike our inalienable right to freely express our religious convictions in the public square. There are some who might contend that, contrary to complaints from Catholics and others, there is no restraint being imposed upon religious people, and that all are free to practice whatever creed they profess. They would be the hardcore secularists who claim tolerance of all positions, yet by their refusal to admit to the reasonability of a moral order which accords to all an inalienable dignity, the implications of which require man to act responsibly with due respect toward all, they deny others the inalienable rights that those same elitists attempt to reserve to themselves as they seek to impose a form of morality, or lack thereof, upon all.

Hardcore secularists propose, of course, anything but morality. In fact, the amoral secularist frequently suffers an allergic reaction whenever the topic of morality, i.e., right action or right living, enters a conversation. The amoral secularist desires to impose a form of fascism that attempts to eliminate all competing systems of thought for fear of his loss of freedom to engage in every manner of undignified behaviour. That is, behaviour which is by any reasonable standard of conduct or appreciation of consequences well beneath the dignity of man.

It is shockingly obvious that we live in an era when man's sense of entitlement drives him to live without reasonable restraint. Obvious, that is, to those who are not ruled by their gonads. Ironically, those who would have all of us deny any moral law frequently attempt, like control freaks on steroids, to entrench in legislation their own twisted morality. The control freaks who lobby for no morality are out-of-control and are driving Western societies into the dirt. Which is to say, driving societies toward a devastating loss of inalienable rights and freedoms. Given that diagnosis, why should anyone indulge the anarchy of the amoral?

Here's one reason why we should not.

Contemporary culture seeks to rob us of our ability to choose the good over the bad by promoting false choices which are really not choices at all. One such false choice is artificial contraception. Not only does contraception deny the use of one's intelligence and one's body in a responsible and respectful manner toward one's spouse—call me old fashioned, but yes, sexual intercourse belongs in marriage because only in lifelong marriage is there a possibility that lovers may find authentic physical communion with another person—contraception denies one the faculty of choice and submits man and woman to their basest urges in a way that neither affirms the goodness of the other nor the goodness of human physical intimacy. Contraception is the tool or weapon used by a beast to conquer others while attempting to leave no evidence of a shameful behaviour in the body of the conquered. Attempted, that is, because artificial contraception increases the likelihood of breast cancer (the pill) and condoms and condom use fail and expose people to disease and death. The abortion industry counts on the failure of fallible sexual technologies to fund its billion dollar a year enterprise of death. That people are so easily conned by pro-abortion arguments while ignoring their own physical and emotional health is proof that people are living in a mental vacuum created by an abandonment of reason, a willingness to be ruled by others so one can preserve a hedonistic lifestyle.

We in the West frequently have people with a strong adolescent proclivity toward self-centredness driving legislation that undermines the very foundations of Western civilization. We should not be surprised that, having created societies freed of any foundation on self control and self sacrificial love that places the common good above narrow self interest, our communities will be subject to more restrictive laws legislated by the same hedonists in power which attempt to reign in behaviour deemed unacceptable according to the new secular norms but which ultimately rob people of their inalienable rights.

Tone done the severity of the Church's teaching?

To those who confuse a change of tone versus a change in teaching—e.g., lax Catholics (siding with the morally confused) who typically state the former but intend the latter—yes, there are always better ways to speak the truth in love. However, mitigating the "severity" of proscriptions against sin is hardly a solution. Sin leads to death. We should stress the truth, goodness and beauty of God's saving grace and the life of grace.

The honey we use to attract others to the Faith should not be poisoned with a laxity or gradualist approach that permits people to perdure in their sins. We may not deliberately avoid or ignore the obligation to share the Lord's call to repentance.
What man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?—St. Matthew 7:9-10
We should be calling people to repentance, calling people to embrace the Lord's teaching, for His teaching brings life.

Compassion or Indifference?

By casting aside our sense of should, we become incapable of sensitivity and merely indifferent to the suffering of others. We fail to shoulder any responsibility for our brothers and sisters because their suffering is, to the selfish at any rate, a burden. By failing what to do what we owe to God and to our brothers and sisters, and by failing to own (take responsibility for the practice of) the Faith, we will most likely become owned by forces which would have us deny our dignity. If we deny our own dignity, how can we possibly identify and defend the dignity of others with any real commitment? By indulging worldly behaviours, we end up owing the better part of ourselves to something which merely consumes and corrupts the soul. I.e., sin and the devil.

This season of grace provides us the opportunity to reflect on the conception/Incarnation of Jesus Christ in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity came to dwell with us because Mary said 'yes' to God, and thus the Second Eve undid the rebellion of the first Eve.

Advent reminds us that we have a choice, the choice to do what is right and holy. May our 'yes' be made with nothing less than the full power God gives us as His children, the power to purify our wills and give our Amen so that we, too, may be faithful handmaidens of the Lord.

No comments:

Post a Comment

"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.