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Posts Tagged ‘Life Style’

Is God God Or Are You God?

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2012/09/22 at 9:11 AM

One of the characteristics that distinguishes  humans from animals and all other creatures is that humans can and do wonder about things, about the purpose or the reason something is what it is or does what it does. Animals never wonder about the circumstances of their lives. They live by instinct which never changes; they would have no reason to wonder because they can’t change anything anyway.  Adam and Eve’s dog would be right at home with your dog, but they would be awestruck by human life today. That’s because we humans can ponder purpose and make changes if we so desire.

It is very important to know the purpose of whatever we are dealing with because, if we do not know the true purpose of something or someone, we may end up not using it, misusing it, damaging or even destroying the thing. Small children do this routinely. This also applies to people; think of the misuse and destruction of people by Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot in the modern era alone. They saw other people only as means to an end.

Throughout life  we deal with many intermediate purposes and goals such as education, marriage, family career etc. These differ from person to person and culture to culture. Some are successful in reaching their goals while others, not understanding the nature of goals, flounder through life. Half the marriages in the U.S. fail because at least  one spouse does not understand the nature and purpose of marriage.  Schools today are failing in a tragic way because they changed their purpose from the acquisition of knowledge to politically correct socialization.

I don’t think many would dispute that the country has many seemingly insoluble problems; drugs, crime, abuse at all levels, illegal immigration etc. I suggest that the reason is that  in the U.S. (and most of the Western world)  the most important purpose of all has been forgotten or ignored, i.e. the purpose of man himself . The purpose of anything is usually determined by the maker. Man was made by God in the beginning, and it is  God who assigned man his purpose which will never change regardless of how man deals with it. God does not adjust Himself to contemporary cultural whims. Anyone who does not know or does not care that he or she is made in the image and likeness of God is doomed to the ultimate failure which is not to be a saint.

Man has a divine goal or purpose which is his final union with God for eternity. This is what God has set up, and He has also set up definite ways to reach that goal which are not subject to human interpretations. On the other hand, man can reject his purpose and set up his own idea of purpose, but if we set up any purpose that does not  conform to divine purpose,  he will live a substandard human life.

Many are going through life today with no ultimate goal in mind. They are like a person who drives without a destination. When the gas runs out, he is nowhere and there’s no gas. Going through life without an eye on eternity  may cause one to lose the very purpose of life itself. No matter  what circumstances we find ourselves in, for good or bad, we all will arrive  at that six-foot hole. That’s the end of striving. You made it or you didn’t.  Hell is realizing that you “blew it…. badly”.

The real purpose of human life is to know, love, and serve God while on earth and spend eternity in His presence. Anything less is risky. One of the great saints of the Church used to have as his norm, “Quid ad aeternitatem?”.. How does this affect eternity? We live in a world which, at least in practice, does not believe in eternity at all. How many people have you seen die on TV with no thought whatsoever of an afterlife? Death is the end. Be that as it may,  it does not affect God’s purpose for people. We will knock on the door of eternity someday. If you have pursued your God-given goal, the door will not be opened by  a fellow in a red suit carrying a pitchfork.

The most important question is: “Is God God or are you  God?” If you decide that YOU are God by your lifestyle, then you are a fool, as the Psalm says. And there are no fools in heaven.

“Each one of you should strive to become another Christ”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/08/22 at 9:11 AM
It has cost a lot to begin getting rid of those niggling worries and forgetting about those personal things you were looking forward to. They may have been few and not very splendid, but they were deeply rooted. In exchange, you are sure now that you are interested and concerned about your brothers, and only about them, for you have learned to discover Jesus Christ in your neighbor. (Furrow, 765)

If we do not wish to waste our time in useless activities, or in making excuses about the difficulties in our environment — for there have always been difficulties ever since Christianity began — we must remember that Christ has decreed that success in attracting our fellow men will depend, as a rule, on how much interior life we ourselves have. Christ has stipulated that our apostolic endeavors will only be effective if we are saints; rather (let me put it more correctly) if we strive to be faithful, for while we are on this earth we shall never actually be saints. It may seem hard to believe, but both God and our fellow men require from us an unswerving faithfulness that is true to its name and is consequent down to the last detail, with no half measures or compromises, a faithfulness to the fullness of the Christian vocation which we lovingly accept and caringly practice.

Some of you might think I am referring only to a select few. Don’t let the promptings of cowardice or easygoing ways deceive you so easily. Feel, instead, God urging each one of you on, to become another Christ, ipse Christus, Christ himself. To put it simply, God is urging us to make our actions consistent with the demands of our faith. For our sanctity, the holiness we should be striving for, is not a second class sanctity. (Friends of God, 5-6)

The Art of Conscience by J. Reagan

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/06/25 at 12:00 AM

A Catholic man in his 20s had not attended Sunday Mass in many years. He was also not too discriminating is some of his other moral choices. His drift began after receiving Confirmation because he fell into the trap of thinking that he did not need or had no obligation toward God after Confirmation.  When asked why he did not go to Confession, he replied that his moral lifestyle did not bother him at all, and, therefore, he had no need of Confession. (It did not occur to him that his lifestyle might “bother” Someone else.)

In recent years much has been said and written about the primacy of conscience, that conscience should be obeyed, that it is our normal moral guide. Some of the talk about conscience arises with those whose moral bent is less than Biblical.

Conscience is a judgment of the intellect that tells us to do good and avoid evil. It is part of the natural moral law implanted in the minds of all human beings. This is why St. Paul could say that all humans have a chance at salvation. This conscience is a divine gift . . . unless distorted. All normal people know that some things are good (helping others) and some things are evil (lying, stealing).  In fact, when societal consciences do not follow the rules, the society will collapse. Conscience is an exclusively human property; it is not to be found in any other creature.

It is true that there is a primacy of conscience. We must follow our own conscience. But, conscience cannot be a purely subjective and personal interpretation of the moral law.

Objectively speaking, this means that the young man in the opening story is doomed to Hell because, while he did follow his conscience, it was a totally false conscience made so by the man himself. Thus, his moral judgments were false, too.

To make valid moral decisions, a conscience must be what is termed “informed”: the conscience and its choices must be based on objective truth. The divine moral law is not a menu of options.

There are several types of false consciences:

1. Scrupulous – These persons see sin where there is none, see venial sins as perhaps mortal, negatively interpret whatever they do or don’t do as a moral failure. They live a life of constant moral anguish over their supposed “evil” ways. Most are aware of the problem because the priest in confession will tell them that they are being too hard themselves, yet the scrupulous seem powerless to help themselves.

2. Lax – Is the opposite.  These people take a cavalier attitude toward morality. What is mortal sin, they declare venial; and what is venial is not worth bothering about.Theirs is a very subjective view of what is right or wrong for themselves. These are Catholics described as “cafeteria Catholics” who pick and chose what doctrines and morals appeal to them. The others are ignored or rationalized. Thus, it is that majority of “Catholics” who favor abortion, contraception, same-sex marriage, etc.  We see it also in the fact that, even with this record, Saturday Confessions are at a minimum while those who receive Holy Communion on Sunday amount to 99% of the congregation.

3. Dead – These people are totally amoral. The moral rightness or wrongness of an action does not enter into their evaluation of it. There is only a subjective sense of right and wrong.”I decide what is right or wrong for me; no one else does”. They become their own moral standard. The idea of sin is foreign to them. While we cannot judge the moral condition of anyone, we can certainly say that, objectively, Hitler, Stalin and Mao probably had no consciences at all. There are those people not as well-known as these who proportionately are just as bad.

4. True –  Is based  on subjective  truth, that is, reality. We are obliged to base our conscience on what is objective truth and reality. We cannot base it on what we want to think is true, what we decide is true or what appeals to us. Otherwise, conscience becomes a tool to serve one’s whims, desires and propensities.

There are three sources of a true conscience:

1. The natural moral law that applies to all humans. It demands that we do good and avoid evil. It is best exemplified in the Ten Commandments which are the written form of the natural moral law.

2. The Holy Scripture correctly understood, and not subjectively interpreted.

3.  The Magisterium of the Church. This is the teaching authority of the Church whose authority to teach was given to the Church by Christ Himself. This authority enables the Church to lead people to salvation because the Church is the earthly source of divine Truth and objective  truth. If the Church officially declares something to be morally right or morally wrong, it is seconded by God Himself as He promised the Church“Whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth will be loosed Heaven”.  MT. 16:19.  One with a true conscience has no problem with this idea.

As we pass through life, we have many significant experiences: extended family, school, graduation, career, marriage, children and sometimes retirement. But, the most important moment of anyone’s life is the last moment. If one is ready to meet God, your life has been a success regardless of what else happened in your life. If you are not ready, your life has been a failure regardless of what else happened in your life. The goal of human life is to be united with God for eternity. This is His idea. Simple as that, whether you believe it or not.

Cultures change, moral attitudes change, philosophies come and go, movers and shakers are here today and gone tomorrow, but God and his law remains unchanged. Whether you believe it or not, accept it or not, act accordingly or not, reject it or not, it doesn’t matter. The eternal by definition never changes. A true conscience is a valued guide to the final moment. If you have a true conscience, follow it. If you do not, you’d better get one before it is too late. God shows mercy to the repentant, but not to the morally arrogant.

Is God God or Are You God?

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/04/05 at 3:17 PM

One of the characteristics that distinguishes  humans from animals and all other creatures is that humans can and do wonder about things, about the purpose or the reason something is what it is or does what it does. Animals never wonder about the circumstances of their lives. They live by instinct which never changes; they would have no reason to wonder because they can’t change anything anyway.  Adam and Eve’s dog would be right at home with your dog, but they would be awestruck by human life today. That’s because we humans can ponder purpose and make changes if we so desire.

It is very important to know the purpose of whatever we are dealing with because, if we do not know the true purpose of something or someone, we may end up not using it, misusing it, damaging or even destroying the thing. Small children do this routinely. This also applies to people; think of the misuse and destruction of people by Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot in the modern era alone. They saw other people only as means to an end.

Throughout life  we deal with many intermediate purposes and goals such as education, marriage, family career etc. These differ from person to person and culture to culture. Some are successful in reaching their goals while others, not understanding the nature of goals, flounder through life. Half the marriages in the U.S. fail because at least  one spouse does not understand the nature and purpose of marriage.  Schools today are failing in a tragic way because they changed their purpose from the acquisition of knowledge to politically correct socialization.

I don’t think many would dispute that the country has many seemingly insoluble problems; drugs, crime, abuse at all levels, illegal immigration etc. I suggest that the reason is that  in the U.S. (and most of the Western world)  the most important purpose of all has been forgotten or ignored, i.e. the purpose of man himself . The purpose of anything is usually determined by the maker. Man was made by God in the beginning, and it is  God who assigned man his purpose which will never change regardless of how man deals with it. God does not adjust Himself to contemporary cultural whims. Anyone who does not know or does not care that he or she is made in the image and likeness of God is doomed to the ultimate failure which is not to be a saint.

Man has a divine goal or purpose which is his final union with God for eternity. This is what God has set up, and He has also set up definite ways to reach that goal which are not subject to human interpretations. On the other hand, man can reject his purpose and set up his own idea of purpose, but if we set up any purpose that does not  conform to divine purpose,  he will live a substandard human life.

Many are going through life today with no ultimate goal in mind. They are like a person who drives without a destination. When the gas runs out, he is nowhere and there’s no gas. Going through life without an eye on eternity  may cause one to lose the very purpose of life itself. No matter  what circumstances we find ourselves in, for good or bad, we all will arrive  at that six-foot hole. That’s the end of striving. You made it or you didn’t.  Hell is realizing that you “blew it…. badly”.

The real purpose of human life is to know, love, and serve God while on earth and spend eternity in His presence. Anything less is risky. One of the great saints of the Church used to have as his norm, “Quid ad aeternitatem?”.. How does this affect eternity? We live in a world which, at least in practice, does not believe in eternity at all. How many people have you seen die on TV with no thought whatsoever of an afterlife? Death is the end. Be that as it may,  it does not affect God’s purpose for people. We will knock on the door of eternity someday. If you have pursued your God-given goal, the door will not be opened by  a fellow in a red suit carrying a pitchfork.

The most important question is: “Is God God or are you  God?” If you decide that YOU are God by your lifestyle, then you are a fool, as the Psalm says. And there are no fools in heaven.