(Quote) Kristen-878108 said:
Lauren, we are simpatico! I would love to get a cup of coffee with you sometime and...
(Quote) Kristen-878108 said:
Lauren, we are simpatico! I would love to get a cup of coffee with you sometime and think deep thoughts. These are excellent points. I especially resonated with your point about the unacceptability of failure in our culture. While I understand the social reasons for why certain things are considered failure and wouldn't want that necessarily to change, I agree that personally one must learn how to cope with decisions that are deemed failure and figure out how to move on, while at the same time not diminishing the gravity that our choices have on the lives of others. We MUST make choices; to not choose is also a choice. But we must also take into account the gravity of our choices and have the courage to move forward with the best moral choice possible. (And here I've introduced another element - morality!)
Hi Kristen, I would love to have a cup of coffee with you and talk :-). And, this discussion is really not complete without a discussion of morality. We are always faced with choices that have some moral implication. Some are very obvious and others are far more nuanced and require much thought and prayer. An example of the latter I think is married couples struggles with family planning methods. We humans are great justifiers. And, when we want something we will often do whatever is necessary from actions to mental gymnastics to make it so.
This is one of the most beautiful things to me about our Faith. It acknowledges the deep flaws of our humanity, the incredible power of concupiscence and provides magnificent tools for us to become cognizant of these shortcomings and strive to overcome them. Also recognizing that our approach can be active or passive and in both we may choose an immoral option. I love the Confiteor that we say at mass occasionally: I confess to you almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters, that i have sinned through my own faults, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do. . .
For me one of our most beautiful gifts is the Sacrament of Reconciliation, not only for the absolution and the grace of the Holy Spirit, but because of the actions it requires of me. . . to examine my conscience in accord with Catholic Moral and Social teaching, to examine the nuances of my actions or inactions. I can remember one of the first times it truly struck home with me, I was a teen, and our Theology teacher had provided each of us with a detailed examination of conscience based upon the Ten Commandments. I was reading through Thou Shall Not Kill and it asked the question: Am I guilty of murdering the spirit of another person by unkind words, disregard, or undue criticisms. Have I failed to treat another with the dignity they deserve as a child of God? Have I failed to stand up for another when the opportunity arose, that resulted in damage to their spirit? I immediately thought of my little sister who I was often at odds with at the time. . .I return to this vein of examination often its impact was so dramatic in the development of my mind and heart. And, it was when I became aware that 1.) while there are moral absolutes, they are wrapped in gray, that must be considered as well. And, while the absolute is the core, it sends forth tendrils that affect so many other aspects of life, which we must also consider.
We are called to do this every day and the more we are involved in the world, the more often and the more nuanced this examination becomes, because while we are in the world, we should not be of the world and it is very difficult to navigate at times. We are not always going to get it right, but we have the tools from a higher authority than our own justifying selves by which to weigh and measure all of our choices. Catholic Moral and Social teaching, Scripture, Prayer, Sacraments. . .the key is we have to avail ourselves of these tools and let them help us guide our decisions.
I think every one of us should have a Catechism and use it as a basis for all of our decisions and as a starting point that leads us to even deeper discussion of these types of issues in moral treatises, the writings of the Church Fathers, etc. And, it takes work. One of the best concepts of the latest RCIA format and of Confirmation is that it is a FORMATION process, in which we study and ponder and internalize our faith so that it becomes a living act of love that is integral to our person and reflects the dignity of life -- all life. It is a scary thing though to challenge our own justifications and measure them against a higher authority, yet faithful service demands it of us.