So there we have it!!
Fr. Mike forgot to mention something yesterday
Paragraph 1882 says, “Certain societies, such as the family and the state, correspond more directly to the nature of man; they are necessary to him. To promote the participation of the greatest number in the life of a society, the creation of voluntary associations and institutions must be encouraged ‘on both national and international levels, which relate to economic and social goals, to cultural and recreational activities, to sport, to various professions, and to political affairs.’ This ‘socialization’ also expresses the natural tendency for human beings to associate with one another for the sake of attaining objectives that exceed individual capacities. It develops the qualities of the person, especially the sense of initiative and responsibility, and helps guarantee his rights.”
What do we need?
Family and the state
That is the most basic
There is participation in other voluntary institutions
For example, those that relate to economic and social goals
Like the Boy Scouts or the Girl Scouts
Things like the Lions Club
Or the local volleyball league or softball league (NO PICKLEBALL!!! I declare pickleball to be ANATHEMA!!! 😛)
These things add dimension and color and power to life
Let’s listen to Fr. Mike’s example…
It is so important to have societies because we are made for relationship
Societies enable the gifts of the individual to go beyond the individual
Societies enable us to share our gifts and enables us to share others’ gifts
St. John XXIII said in Paragraph 1886, “[We should] always be readily disposed to pass on to others the best of their own cultural heritage; and eagerly strive to make their own the spiritual achievements of others.”
WE BELONG TO EACH OTHER!!
Even in the sense of the global community
Whatever I have, if I can share it with you, that is wonderful
Whatever you have, if I can take that and incorporate it into my own life, that is just a blessing
IT IS SO GOOD!!
One of the things we have to realize is that there are many expressions of society
Paragraph 1887 says, “The inversion of means and ends, which results in giving the value of ultimate end to what is only a means for attaining it, or in viewing persons as mere means to that end, engenders unjust structures which ‘make Christian conduct in keeping with the commandments of the divine Law-giver difficult and almost impossible.’”
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!
The ultimate end, meaning God, has to be the ultimate end
We can never replace the means for that end
We can never value the means MORE than the ultimate end
We can never view persons as mere means to that end
Remember, the human person is the only creature that God made as an end in Himself
So we must NEVER treat human beings as mere means to any end
We have to have the right valuing of our priorities
The term PRIORITY is really interesting
Let’s listen to Fr. Mike explain…
The reality is that there can only be ONE priority
If priority means FIRST then there can only be ONE FIRST
GOD IS THE PRIORITY!!
GOD IS THE ULTIMATE END!!
Therefore, all other ends are subordinate to that ultimate end
WE HAVE TO KEEP FIRST THINGS FIRST!!
Paragraph 1888 says, “It is necessary, then, to appeal to the spiritual and moral capacities of the human person and to the permanent need for his inner conversion, so as to obtain social changes that will really serve him. The acknowledged priority of the conversion of heart in no way eliminates but on the contrary imposes the obligation of bringing the appropriate remedies to the institutions and living conditions when they are an inducement to sin, so that they conform to the norms of justice and advance the good rather than hinder it.”
Human beings are physical
We are also spiritual
We are also moral
The freedom that we have, which is intrinsic to our nature, must always be respected
There is a degree to which we will always need inner conversion
While we have dignity and goodness, and while we are made in God’s image and likeness, we are also BROKEN
There is a PERMANENT NEED for inner conversion
Any hope for some future far off utopia does not exist
It is impossible in this life to create this utopia
We think that if we get our social structures, education, healthcare, and society RIGHT, then we will be fine and have utopia
THAT IS A LIE!!
Because we are not mere animals or robots
We have moral capacity and we have brokenness
We have a permanent need for our inner conversion
If we are going to have social changes, we HAVE to have interior change
There are such things as broken structures that are unjust
These broken structures come from a broken heart
These broken structures come from a broken human person
We always have to acknowledge that there is a permanent need for inner conversion
Every human being is called not simply to change social structures
Every human being is not simply called to try to fashion a utopia of this world
We can’t do that
Saying that does not mean to just take care of yourself
Part of having a conversion of heart and living a virtuous life is seeing how we can make an impact on the world around us
When we see injustice, how can we make sure that we are acting against that injustice?
How can we make sure that we are willing to right wrongs when we find those wrongs?
THAT IS PART OF INNER CONVERSION!!
Just because we are concerned about our own individual soul does not mean that everyone else can go their own way
Placing a high value on your own immortal soul does not mean that we simply ignore everyone else
It means that we do what we can to address remedies to institutions and living conditions when they are an inducement to sin, so that they conform to the norms of justice and advance the good rather than hinder it
Paragraph 1889 says, “Without the help of grace, men would not know how ‘to discern the often narrow path between the cowardice which gives in to evil, and the violence which under the illusion of fighting evil only makes it worse.’ This is the path of charity, that is, of the love of God and of neighbor. Charity is the greatest social commandment. It respects others and their rights. It requires the practice of justice, and it alone makes us capable of it. Charity inspires a life of self-giving: ‘Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it.’”
Remember what justice is: giving another what is their due
Love alone makes us capable of justice
Charity inspires a life of self-giving
If we are going to be able to discern between the cowardice that gives into evil and the violence which, under the illusion of fighting evil, only makes it worse, we have to be able to walk the PATH OF CHARITY
We have this rich history of Catholic social teaching
We have this view of what it is to have a Christian society or what it is to be a Christian living in a non-Christian society
What is a well-ordered human society?
What is the way in which human beings can flourish the best?
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I’ll see you when I see you!!