(Quote) Andrew-73725 said:
Hello all, this is my first time posting in the forums.
I must share with you that my heart is very sad and heavy as I read through this conversation. To hear all of the bickering back and forth, all of the bitterness, all of the sarcasm, with the men poking at women and the women poking at men. And I do not count myself as being any better. But, we all must admit this honestly --- an observer of this conversation must wonder whether we (you and I) have really been touched by the Divine or transformed by the Sacred Heart of Jesus. If St. Joseph and Mary would hear this conversation (which perhaps, they do), would they not feel uncomfortable? Would they not, rather, pray for us all the more?
None of us can see reality with complete clarity. This is one of the reasons why God is so merciful and patient with us. He knows that we are half-blind. It is also the reason we are simply unable to judge the hearts or the hidden thoughts of others. And we have been forbidden by Our Savior to pretend that we can --- or rather, He is trying to free us of the burden that comes with this proud harshness.
It often happens that the disappointments of life form a root of bitterness in the heart.
It often happens that habitual sins develop a hardness in our hearts.
It often happens that a particular truth is painful to us, and we do not wish to admit it is a truth at all.
Rather than turn to the God of perfect Love, it is always easier to try to satisfy ourselves in some way --- lashing out at others, assigning blame, getting our pokes in, using humor to avoid serious consideration, justifying our bitterness, or gossiping with someone who has our same soul disease and will give a sympathetic ear (which keeps us feeling justified). I myself have been guilty of all of these things.
One of the Wisdom Books relays this word of God: "He who can tame his tongue is a perfect man."
And Jesus Himself emphasizes: "It is not what goes into a man that defiles (or degrades) him, but what comes out of him."
If the forums are to be a place where we tear at each other, cause unnecessary hurt and division, then I wonder -- what purpose does it serve? How can it be that a website built to bring the sexes together in harmony would be used instead for another tired and worn-out "battle of the sexes"? Would it not be better to pray to the Holy Spirit for self-control of one's speech and to go pray alone in one's room? It is always more humble (and true) to admit ignorance, and say "I do not understand you, though I would love to" than to say "I understand your heart, and here is how I judge it." How many marriages have deteriorated for lack of this humility and self-control?
It seems to me that a hardened, unhealed heart can never really experience true love, it can only make attempts to "successfully acquire" a thing, the way that one acquires a porcelain doll or a doll house. None of us, deep down, wants to be "acquired," "processed," "managed," "statistically analyzed," "evaluated," or "interviewed" in a matter that really calls for all the simplicity of True Love, beginning with the charity that is owed to everyone.
And finally, a word about Beauty. God IS Beautiful! The beauty that is all around us comes from God as a gift for us. If all beauty is from God's loving creation, why would we ever dismiss it or say it is somehow not important? And why would we draw a division in God's creation and suggest that visible beauty is less important (or not important), and "inner"/invisible beauty is somehow the "real" beauty? When God creates a beautiful flower, does He not do it out of Love for us? Does this flower do nothing for our soul? What we try to divide, God has made as a beautiful, although mysterious, unity. And when a human being recognizes, "What a beautiful flower!", this, too, does something good for the soul. It is a celebration and it is the truth.
It is healthy for a man to say, about another man, "He is handsome" or "He is very intelligent" or "He is more talented than me in ____". If a man is not able to celebrate this truth about another, could it be jealousy, envy, insecurity? I don't know. But it is a "missing-out" on a celebration of God's creation.
So too, it is healthy for a woman to say, about another woman, "She is so beautiful." If her heart is not lightweight as she praises this woman, and celebrates the beauty of this woman --- if her heart is not lightweight, could it be because her heart is weighed down by a pile of hurts, insecurities, jealousy, envy? I don't know. But it is a "missing-out" on a celebration of God's creation.
The same applies if a woman were to praise something true about a man, or if a man were to praise something true about a woman. And yet, it is in these situations that we pile feelings of guilt upon one another because we ourselves have not come to terms with our own insecurities. It is worth reflecting on this --- in Heaven, we will have been healed of our insecurities and cleansed from all the twistedness of our hearts. And there, in this blissful condition, each and every one will appreciate the beauty of each and every one, with an intense, free, and true love. And there will be no thought of "acquiring" a person, there will be a healthy and pure love of oneself, and no bitterness at the beauty of others, no jealousy. Surely there is no sin in appreciating every kind of Beauty that there is! Far from being a sin, one might even say it is a duty, to give God's Goodness its due! What a bland world if such appreciation is frequently repressed or condemned or held in suspicion! Free yourself to perceive and to praise God, and, by all means, allow others to be free as well.
Meanwhile, here and now, the Beauty or Ugliness of one's heart ALWAYS shows through, sometimes to our own embarrassment. Let us all strive to be Beautiful in every way. And to celebrate all Beauty, forgetting for a moment our own self-centered concerns. We were made, in the end, to be immersed in Beauty.