Saturday, October 31, 2009

What is Your Guiding Belief?

I am closer to six decades old than five. When I write using my own experiences I am coming from a perspective that has both observed and experienced the cultural and intellectual changes that have occurred. That a society or culture would change is not surprising, that anybody including myself would not change with it is also not surprising. Here is what surprises me: that from this single idea that as a young man, I believed, and we collectively as a country believed, as a people, we could and would make this a better world, not guided by any set of beliefs but rather by a spirit of our own independence, to a nation that now has become narcissistic, vulgar, uncivil, materially obsessed, devaluing human life, and sadly a phony caricature of its former greatness. There is no guiding principle for the nation and sadly there are no leaders. The truth is this: most Americans are not independent thinkers, not freely living according this "mythical philosophy" of independent thought, and "rugged individualism." The greatest lie (think about where the really big lies originate) is that they believe there are two kinds of people; one who are guided by a set of beliefs and thus are trapped in them and have no freedom of thought, and the smart people, who after seeing the progression of the world and humanity, know better, and are free to think wherever it takes them. What they can't and won't acknowledge is that they have a "philosophy or belief" that is guiding them, thus by their own definition they too are trapped. Many people have within their collection of beliefs some that are for the betterment of humanity and yet others that are not. They may find that at times their beliefs contradict one another or are illogical, but they dismiss this in the name of freedom of thought. Now you may say that I am cynical or disillusioned but I believe that what I possess is the knowledge that comes from someone who has experienced the changes (50+ years of watching), who has lived under the same set of relative beliefs (yes I was in their camp), has children who have spanned the years (children enable you to see first hand where the culture is headed), and am now guided by an authentic, set of beliefs or rather yet guided by Truth, Himself. It is very clear to me that the world is ordered, that the teachings of Jesus Christ are true and are the very best means of living to make the world a better place and is that through Him I may gain eternal life. I believe that the Church has faithfully safeguarded his Truth and that through a sacramental life of grace, I, though weak, foolish, a slave to sin, can live righteously, can grow spiritually and through a share in the divine life attain wisdom that is unattainable through any other means. At times I am saddened by those who cannot recognize this because I so desire for them to share in my joy. But Christ came to "seek and save what was lost" and I was certainly in that category. We all are guided by some belief and even if it is disordered and not clear from day to day what it is, it is there. The only truth that will ever set you free is the Christ Himself, the Truth.

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