Sunday, March 3, 2013

Having a Future

Making fun of old aphorisms like this has been popular:
"Honesty's the best policy."
("Don Quixote de la Mancha," Miguel de Cervantes (1605-1615); via Bartlett's "Familiar Quotations," 16th edition)
I've done it myself, sometimes bitterly.

Some well-known one-liners aren't true. Others, like that quote from "Don Quixote," are true: but require patience.

Frustration and a Fruit

Sometimes the crisis du jour is personal: trouble with the boss, spouse, friends. Sometimes it's bigger: laws that don't make sense, laws that do make sense but aren't enforced, or economic woes.

In my youth, I wanted to see problems fixed: fast. I still do. But I've learned that patience is valuable.

I'd say 'patience is a virtue,' but technically it's a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and that's another topic. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1832)

'Life isn't Fair?'

It's easy to feel that life isn't fair: that folks who do wrong are rewarded, while those who try to do right are punished.

In the short run, that happens: not always, but it does happen.

In the long run, I've noticed this bit from Psalms play out, all too often:
"Of David. 1 Do not be provoked by evildoers; do not envy those who do wrong.

"Like grass they wither quickly; like green plants they wilt away.

"2 Trust in the LORD and do good that you may dwell in the land and live secure."

"I have seen ruthless scoundrels, strong as flourishing cedars.

"When I passed by again, they were gone; though I searched, they could not be found.

"Observe the honest, mark the upright; those at peace with God have a future."
(Psalms 37:1-3, 35-37)

Death and Memories

When I was young, a classmate's actions occasionally made my school experiences unpleasant.

At the time, I felt rage at the perceived injustices. I eventually took Luke 18:9-14 to heart, and began fighting the urge to be be 'convinced of my own righteousness.'1

Decades later, I read the classmate's obituary. It mentioned little more than his name, and when he died. I encountered a vague rumor that his death was drug-related.

I could indulge in self-satisfied rejoicing that I outlived him: but I don't.

I grieve at his death, and the choices that may have led to it. Human life, all human life, is sacred; and that's yet another topic. (Catechism, 2258)

Another person, someone very close to me, committed suicide. This troubles me more than the school bully: partly because the emotional bond was stronger; partly because I've had the same urge. Fairly often. Still more topics.2

Cackling, Matthew, and Me

I've never actually heard someone cackling maniacally while gloating over the eternal torment of 'those sinners over there.' On the other hand, I recall hearing enthusiastic discussions of passages like Revelation 14:11.

Gleeful contemplation of eternal torment for others encouraged me to learn about religion, history, and abnormal psychology. Many years later, I became a Catholic, and that's - another topic, of course.

I've felt outrage when wrong behavior didn't result in immediate punishment: or, worse, was rewarded. But I've also read that parable about wheat and weeds. (Matthew 13:24-30) There's that Matthew 7:1-2 thing about judging others, too. I really don't need that sort of trouble.

Taking "stop judging, that you may not be judged" to heart isn't the same as pretending that whatever folks do is okay. It's okay to judge actions. But we are supposed to leave judgment of the person who committed the act to God. (Catechism, 1861)

I'm quite willing to keep working on my flaws, help deal with problems when I can, and let God take care of long-term consequences. As I've said before, 'God's God, I'm not:' and I like it that way.

Related posts:
A tip of the hat to Fr. Cory Sticha and owen swain, on Google+, for the heads-up on where I found those verses from Psalms 37.

1 Role models, good and otherwise:
"He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.

" 'Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.

"The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, "O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity - greedy, dishonest, adulterous - or even like this tax collector.

"I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income."

"But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, "O God, be merciful to me a sinner."

" tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.' "
(Luke 18:9-14)
2 The Catholic Church says that suicide is wrong, but that we "...should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives...." (Catechism, 2280-2283)

I've had up-close-and-personal experience with suicide and mental illness:


Brigid said...

Funny thing, or not depending on your point of view and the exact definition of "funny" that you use, I've never contemplated suicide. I've wanted to disappear or runaway, but that's not the same thing. Dying just seemed way too painful and permanent.

Brian Gill said...


It's impressive, how dependent the meaning of words can depend on context: which is a reason I think we're a long way from AI that can handle natural language, which is another topic. Topics.

It's the "permanent" thing that helped me decide that, on the whole, living was better than the alternative. There just doesn't seem to be much of a future in suicide. Good grief: more topics.

In my case, being (firm minded/stubborn/mule headed) has been something of a mixed blessing. Harnessing that, and other qualities, is an ongoing challenge.

Like it? Pin it, Plus it, - - -

Pinterest: My Stuff, and More


Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store

Popular Posts

Label Cloud

1277 abortion ADD ADHD-Inattentive Adoration Chapel Advent Afghanistan Africa America Amoris Laetitia angels animals annulment Annunciation anti-catholicism Antichrist apocalyptic ideas apparitions archaeology architecture Arianism art Asperger syndrome assumptions asteroid astronomy Australia authority balance and moderation baptism being Catholic beliefs bias Bible Bible and Catechism bioethics biology blogs brain Brazil business Canada capital punishment Caritas in Veritate Catechism Catholic Church Catholic counter-culture Catholicism change happens charisms charity Chile China Christianity Christmas citizenship climate change climatology cloning comets common good common sense Communion community compassion confirmation conscience conversion Corpus Christi cosmology creation credibility crime crucifix Crucifixion Cuba culture dance dark night of the soul death depression designer babies despair detachment devotion discipline disease diversity divination Divine Mercy divorce Docetism domestic church dualism duty Easter economics education elections emotions England entertainment environmental issues Epiphany Establishment Clause ethics ethnicity Eucharist eugenics Europe evangelizing evolution exobiology exoplanets exorcism extremophiles faith faith and works family Father's Day Faust Faustus fear of the Lord fiction Final Judgment First Amendment forgiveness Fortnight For Freedom free will freedom fun genetics genocide geoengineering geology getting a grip global Gnosticism God God's will good judgment government gratitude great commission guest post guilt Haiti Halloween happiness hate health Heaven Hell HHS hierarchy history holidays Holy Family Holy See Holy Spirit holy water home schooling hope humility humor hypocrisy idolatry image of God images Immaculate Conception immigrants in the news Incarnation Independence Day India information technology Internet Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jesus John Paul II joy just war justice Kansas Kenya Knights of Columbus knowledge Korea language Last Judgment last things law learning Lent Lenten Chaplet life issues love magi magic Magisterium Manichaeism marriage martyrs Mary Mass materialism media medicine meditation Memorial Day mercy meteor meteorology Mexico Minnesota miracles Missouri moderation modesty Monophysitism Mother Teresa of Calcutta Mother's Day movies music Muslims myth natural law neighbor Nestorianism New Year's Eve New Zealand news Nietzsche obedience Oceania organization original sin paleontology parish Parousia penance penitence Pentecost Philippines physical disability physics pilgrimage politics Pope Pope in Germany 2011 population growth positive law poverty prayer predestination presumption pride priests prophets prostitution Providence Purgatory purpose quantum entanglement quotes reason redemption reflections relics religion religious freedom repentance Resurrection robots Roman Missal Third Edition rosaries rules sacramentals Sacraments Saints salvation schools science secondary causes SETI sex shrines sin slavery social justice solar planets soul South Sudan space aliens space exploration Spain spirituality stem cell research stereotypes stewardship stories storm Sudan suicide Sunday obligation superstition symbols technology temptation terraforming the establishment the human condition tolerance Tradition traffic Transfiguration Transubstantiation travel Trinity trust truth uncertainty United Kingdom universal destination of goods vacation Vatican Vatican II veneration vengeance Veterans Day videos virtue vlog vocations voting war warp drive theory wealth weather wisdom within reason work worship writing

Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.