Monday, January 2, 2006

"The cheese is old and moldy. Where is the bathroom?"

I love that part in Encino Man. Okay, now down to business. . .

What I love about reading through Love & Responsibility is that I feel as if I am sitting at Christ's feet, asking questions like, "What exactly do you mean 'love' my neighbor?", and getting a detailed response. When Christ was on earth, He once explained that to even look upon a person lustfully is to have already committed sexual sin in our hearts. I'm sure he could have elaborated, but since the Bible is not a book of systematic theology or moral philosophy, this is where we must rely on the Church. God has given us nearly 2000 years of guidance and teaching via His instrument, the Church, and her leaders. And now I can sit at JPII's feet and get detailed answers to my questions as from the very lips of Christ our Lord Himself. (*sigh of comfort*)

Well, L&R is a bit repetitive. But I really need that, so I am thankful for it. And now, I will repeat what has basically been said in all previous posts.

We are commanded by Jesus to love God first and foremost, and to love our neighbors (all persons) as ourselves. God is "the most perfect personal being," and "the whole world of created persons derives its distinctness from and its natural superiority over the world of things (non-persons) from a very particular resemblance to God" (40).

The utilitarian principle "points to pleasure not only as the basis on which we act but as the basis for rules of human behavior" (40). Utilitarianism has its own set of values, "that according to which pleasure is not only the sole, but also the highest value" (40-1). Such an approach to persons can never lead to love. I made a note in the margins of my book, "Funny how you can experience great physical pleasure with someone yet have a negation of pleasure emotionally because you do not truly love the person or they do not truly love you." And how. JPII says, "The principle of 'utility' itself, of treating a person as a means to an end, and an end moreover which in this case is pleasure, the maximization of pleasure, will always stand in the way of love" (40).

A friend recently commented to me over coffee (you know who you are ;-D) that our society has lost the concept of sacrifice. He's so right. All around me I see relationships based on the pleasure principle, and then when things get tough and sacrifice is required on behalf of one or both parties, somebody decides to split. I'm sure many of us have been there ourselves. That is no mui bueno. (Yeah, I don't speak Spanish.)

It's easier to say this now, while my life is going nicely, but I think sacrifice is one of the greatest privileges of living. It is a solid way to really love another person. And to love another person and give your life for them fulfills our own God-given desire for love. Fascinating.

Next time I write, I'll be picking up with what JPII calls the "personalistic norm". Stay tuned. ;-D

Blessings!!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think I know who the friend is, since he was kind enough to turn me to this wonderful site.

But I think he is somewhat wrong about the concept of sacrifice. Its not that people don't understand the concept of sacrifice, it is that people's priorities are so off.

People don't mind sacrificing for their jobs, money, for a car, other material items, or prestige and accolades. Unfortunately, when people have an option of sacrificing for their family they view the family as an impedimant to getting the material goods or social validation they desire, and sacrifice their family for the material world, instead of sacrificing the material world for love of the family.

Of course maybe I'm just elaborating on what he actually meant or in fact said when elaborating over a $4 Starbucks coffee.

Eric

Natalie said...

As I'm sure you know, Eric, Starbucks coffee has a way of altering one's sense of reality.

You make a GREAT point about sacrifice. I totally agree with you, and I'm sure our mutual friend would also agree. That is, if he has recovered from his gingerbread latte hangover. It was really embarrassing to see him that way. ;-D

Mattias A. Caro said...

Well, I'm not sure who this "friend" is, but I'd have to say that if I were him, I would probably agree with the specification that you make eric. Of course, sometimes people are speaking on such a higher plane that they don't need to get into the details. They just know!

It's all in the ginger that they put in that latte, I'm sure!

Anonymous said...

That is very true, of course for those like me who are at a lower level, it helps to elaborate. We just need the extra clarification to make sure we know what we're talking about.

Though I wouldn't know about the ginger in the latte seeing as how I haven't had their gingerbread latte, or even been to a Starbucks. I guess I'm just too blue collar.

Eric

Anonymous said...

On the subject of sacrifice, I just recalled a movie that demonstrates my point very well. And I used it back in college for a small faith group to make the point. Plus it is set during Christmas, so it is a great movie to watch this time of year. And the movie is "The Family Man"

Eric

Natalie said...

Hmmm. I remember when that came out. It has Nicolas Cage in it, right? I had wanted to see it, but I never did. I want to ask you to elaborate, but then I think that maybe I should see the movie first. Sounds like a good one to rent in the next couple of weeks.

Anonymous said...

Right you are it is with Nicholas Cage. And the reason I did not elaborate is exactly, why you won't ask, I don't like to give away anything about movies/books/etc

Eric

Anonymous said...

I have about 3 pages left in the Apostolic Letter of JPII On the Diginity and Vocation of Women and in it he quotes the Second Vatican Council "Man, who is the only creature on earth that God willed for its own sake, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of self."

I don't think I can say anything better to elaborate on that, so I'll just leave that quote there for consumption or comment from greater minds than my own.

Eric

Anonymous said...

I have about 3 pages left in the Apostolic Letter of JPII On the Diginity and Vocation of Women and in it he quotes the Second Vatican Council "Man, who is the only creature on earth that God willed for its own sake, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of self."

I don't think I can say anything better to elaborate on that, so I'll just leave that quote there for consumption or comment from greater minds than my own.

Eric