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, November 16, 2015

The Language of Meh

CONTRA MEDIOCRITY
meh
exclamation: expressing a lack of interest or enthusiasm.
adjective: uninspiring; unexceptional.
Relationships of one kind or another are frequently the subject matter of conversations at social gatherings. Occasionally, well actually more frequently than is comfortable, people offer awkward comments regarding their spouses—sometimes when their spouses are within earshot—especially after a few glasses of wine or some other alcohol beverage. Have you noticed that when some (too many) people say that they love their spouses, all too often those statements sound like complaints or protests, limp reassurances and/or tired clichés?

When a man tells you he loves his wife (or a wife says she loves her "partner", to borrow a cliché), test what is spoken by adding in the safety of your mind the following preface to that person's statement: "Of course... (I love my wife/partner)." That petite addition might just tease into your awareness some of the less palatable flavours contained in said declaration.

Meh-ridge

In this day and age of entitlement and politically correct partnerships, do husbands or wives (partners, whatever...) habitually will or desire the good of the other? Do they habitually put the well being of their spouse and children before their own narrow self interests? All you married types—what is really going on?
FYI—This investigation does not discount the need for the occasional shift of priorities so mom can have some down time to recuperate or dad can indulge a hobby to regain balance. Let's not be unreasonable.
Many people, in practice at least, tend to confirm the notion that what they really mean by saying that they 'will the good of the other' is that they 'will the good of the other as long as it gets me X, Y and Z benefits'. In other words, their declaration of selfless love is a sham, a ruse to indulge themselves at the expense of the other. A spouse or partner, then, is little more than a convenience store to which one goes in desperation and buys overcooked hot dogs, stale sandwiches and sugary drinks.

Meh, mehself and I

Frankly, people should be more skeptical when couples, partners, spouses,... whatever the actors want to call themselves... declare their so-called "love" for each other. The only thing holding most relationships together is a mutual convenience of the most banal kind. When the marital storms hit, as they often do, such relationships cannot stand the force of the truth about people's convictions or commitment or lack thereof.

Why the cynicism? Tellin' it like it is... is hardly cynical. There is no shame nor fault in distinguishing faux-relationships from authentic ones. Besides, society has tumbled headlong into crass relationships for long enough. Isn't it time more friends, if they be real friends, read the riot act to those who are ignorant of the fact they are about to drive the marriage SUV off a cliff? A friend would hardly be a friend if they allowed another drunk friend to get in a car with others and drive it away, would they now?

The question to ask a person recently engaged to be married is 'So, why is s/he the one for you?' If you do not get a verbal response within five seconds, you might be right to be suspicious about that person's maturity and doubtful of his or her conviction. In fact, their silence is an answer. Of all the elderly couples I know or have known who have been married for decades and I have asked that question, almost always the first response issued within a split second is 'because I trust(ed) her/him'. Said trust is mutual in those relationships.
Marriage is an adventure, like going to war.—Gilbert K. Chesterton
Marriage

Real marriages are passionate; they deepen through adversity and triumph in joy. A marriage covenant requires a commitment to pray much as the Creed requires the practice of prayer to dispose oneself to the Truth of God fused into the Creed. A creed is an icon of Truth, of orthodoxy. One prays the Creed, enters into it and, by God's grace, becomes it, so-to-speak. Sure, there are times when reciting the Creed is dry, almost routine. So, too, relationships of any kind.

Love is an act of the will not confined to a feeling. When feelings fade, love (gratitude, communion, respect) lasts. When bodies grow old, grow unattractive (in the minds of those who only see beauty as something skin deep), wither, and health fails, love lasts. When minds drift and collapse, love lasts. Love persists.

People in touch with their own fundamental dignity as persons created in the image and likeness of God tend to recognize that same dignity in others. A person who lives his or her dignity is the person with whom you want to make a lifelong covenant. Such a person will defend you when you are most vulnerable and protect you from harm by others who do not have any respect for the fundamental dignity of man.

Spouses defend each other and their covenantal bond through thick and thin. "Partners", by contrast, defend their individual right to happiness.

Let's be clear, there are some countries where one's spouse or the state or a doctor can terminate you without your consent simply because you are not seen for who you are. In such circumstances, those who would terminate you have chosen to see you for what you are, and what you are to them is some thing not worth keeping. In each and every one of those countries, which happen to be European, the drive for active euthanasia began with a seemingly innocent demand for relief from suffering.

Somehow the promoters of killing the terminally ill, for example, have forgotten that relief from severe pain is entirely possible. Powerful drugs are available which can provide the relief people need when facing otherwise debilitating pain. Relieved of pain, most people are able to face their conditions and, subsequently, desire to live life to its natural end.

If, during the course of the normal and ethical administration of painkillers, the painkillers hasten death, one can be assured that a moral course of action has been followed and no one need feel guilty that the painkillers, properly administered without the intent to kill, hastened death.

People in hospice—caregivers and patients alike—are aware of the true dignity of man, a dignity that should not be challenged by those seeking convenience over compassion. I.e., the convenient disposal of another person who has become an inconvenience to him or her.

With additional support from pastors, counsellors, friends and family, people facing a terminal illness manifest authentic dignity, a dignity that all heros manifest in the face of life threatening situations.

Heros have hope. Heros inspire others to face life's challenges with courage and confidence in God in Whose saving hands, so-to-speak, every faithful soul finds rest.

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"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.