Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
June 1, 2009
Illusions of autonomy distort our nature
Reflection on social nature of human beings concludes first year of Nothing More Beautiful
When, however, we accept the truth of our dependence and that we “hang by the thread of God’s love,” we are able to choose to live in relationship, and, within relationship, to accept our vulnerability and weakness, and face the inevitable fact of suffering and contingency with real hope.
Third, because we are creatures, the result of God’s creative act, we are related to the whole of creation fashioned by God (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 344). Yet here again the problem of relationship characterized by domination and subordination describes the way in which we tend to relate to our environment.
As the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church puts it, the understanding of the environment as “home” has been subordinated to the environment as “resource” (cf. Compendium, n. 461), and we have in many ways related to it from the perspective of absolute domination.
But domination so understood and practised is very different from the “dominion” over the earth given by God to Adam and Eve in Genesis (1.26-30). By granting dominion over the earth, God charged the human being with responsibility to care for the harmony and development of all creation (cf. Compendium, 451). God did not grant us the right to ruin and exploit it.
Fourth, a true culture of life cannot be created apart from addressing the needs and cries of the poor. What are needed above all else, Bishop Corriveau tells us, are relationships of real love.
Such relationships involve the principles of solidarity and concern for the common good. These are bedrock principles of Catholic social doctrine and need to be understood and practised for a real culture of life.
By the common good we mean having the social systems, institutions and environments on which we all depend work in a manner that benefits all people.
Solidarity with our fellow human beings arise s from our common origin in God’s creative action and consists in a resolute commitment to pursue the common good (cf. Compendium, 164-170; 192-196). It is the exact opposite of the individualism that characterizes secular society.
Patrick Stewart summed up beautifully in the story of his own life what happens when we encounter Jesus Christ and are thus embraced by the life and love of the Trinity.
Our life and our relationships are transformed and we begin truly to live the abundant life God wills for each and every one of us.
To use Patrick’s words, God’s love moves us from first to third, after God and our neighbour. Our world needs and truly longs for a culture of life in our day. Let us pray that God will bring this about by transforming us and our relationships with his Trinitarian love.
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