Sunday, January 12, 2014

Being Myself: Catholic Style

Back when I was a teenager, some folks asserted their individuality with long hair and jeans. Instead of donning the conventional nonconformist's uniform, I wore white socks and used a pocket protector.

"Be Yourself," or Not

"Be yourself" was a common bit of advice back in my 'good old days,' and still is.

A page on wikiHow tells women "How to Be Yourself:" with headings like "find yourself and define yourself on your terms;" "avoid fixating on the past;" and the familiar old "develop and express your individuality."

A dedicated apostle of angst might dredge an affront out of the advice given: but I won't.

Then there's Rob Waugh's opinion piece in Mail Online, "Why 'just be yourself' is the WORST possible advice for the workplace - people who conceal their 'real' selves are happiest."

Oscar Wilde and the Image of God

The "How to Be Yourself:" page quotes Oscar Wilde: "Be yourself, everyone else is already taken." I'm not on the same page as Oscar Wilde in most ways, but that's funny: and quite true.

Each human being is a "me," a unique person, made in the image of God. We're finite and God isn't, so that leaves lots of room for individuality. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 202, 357)

Free to be Me

I've got a mind of my own, like everyone else. Even if I decided to 'go along with the crowd,' imitating the actions of others, the decision would be mine.

I'm supposed to conform my will to the will of God, but it's my choice. I could decide to follow my own whims, but that would be a daft idea.

My job is to work within God's guidelines, accepting the realities of this creation. (Romans 12:2; Catechism, 1730, 1992, 2085)

I don't feel 'trammeled by the shackles of an oppressive society,' though: and don't think God is trying to ruin my fun. I've long since realized that serving what is good and just is good for me, too.
"The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to 'the slavery of sin.'28"
(Catechism, 1733)
This freedom comes with responsibilities, and that's another topic.

Related posts:

"...We were thought of and desired; thus, there is an idea that preceded me, a feeling that preceded me, that I must discover, that I must follow, because it will at last give meaning to my life. This seems to me to be the first point: to discover that my being is truly reasonable, it was thought of, it has meaning. And my important mission is to discover this meaning, to live it and thereby contribute a new element to the great cosmic harmony conceived of by the Creator."
(Benedict XVI (July 24, 2007); from "The Pontifical Academy of Sciences Yearbook 2008")

"Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. And he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead."
(Catechism, 357)

"God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions. 'God willed that man should be 'left in the hand of his own counsel,' so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him.'26
"Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and is master over his acts.27 "
(Catechism, 1730)

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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.