Monday, March 26, 2007

Good face day

This week has been a billion times better than last week. Thus It is time for another profile update...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bad face day

After having a bad week at work last week, I thought I would update my profile to show people the expression I wore most of the week. It was a pretty bad week...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Emotions, Feelings, and Desires

I was recently thinking about how often I do what I feel like doing. It brought back memories of some teachings I received several years ago about feelings/emotions and their role in a person.

In the original creation of man, everything was properly ordered. Pertaining to this subject, it meant that his will was subject to his intellect which was supported by his emotions/feelings. When that original man sinned, disorder was brought upon him and the world. Since that day, our emotions/feelings no longer act in a supporting role to our intellect, but they contend over the will against the intellect. Admittedly, I think emotions/feelings win this battle just as much as they lose it in my life. So as disordered beings, we must work hard to live a properly ordered life, which often means doing those things we must do/should do/need to do instead of the things we want to do.

Of course this does not mean that we should throw our emotions/feelings out the window or kick our desires out the door. Doing this would be committing a worse error than giving into them all the time! God made us with emotions/feelings and desires, so they should not be rejected. Instead we should occasionally take time to reflect on which side is in control of our will, intellect or feelings. If feelings are too often taking charge, it is time to practice a little self-control (which can be quite painful) to gain some proper order in our lives. We should also occasionally evaluate our desires, which can come from one of three places, God, evil, or ourselves. Ideally, as in original man, our desires are perfectly aligned with God's desires for us, but that changed with original sin and now we are often unaware of the source of our desires. Either source can look like our own desires and the opposite as well. This is a more difficult thing to discern, but well worth the work.

It is amazing how good life can be when proper order is established, within us and around us. It is something definitely worth working for.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Why do anything at all?

The title of this blog is a question I have been asking myself at various times throughout the last 15 years of my life. It can be rephrased into a specific question as, "Why do I do x?" I find it personally interesting that my answers have changed since I have been asking this question. 15 years ago I would have said something like, "Because I want to," or "Because I can." It evolved to something along the lines of "Because it makes me feel better," or "It's simply the right thing to do." When I became Catholic about 10 years ago, my answers made a radical shift to the lines of, "So I can get to heaven," and "It's what I'm supposed to do as a Catholic."

I have realized that deep down in my heart I have lived many years as an apathetic person. I cared little for my job, for hobbies, for friends, and as hard as it is to admit, I cared little for my family relationships. But what I now know is that, as a man, I need something to fight for; something to live and die for; an ideal higher than myself. The only thing I have personally found worthy of fulfilling this is the Beatific Vision. (The immense and mystical idea of living forever with God in heaven). As I have grown in my faith, I have realized that everything here is a mere passing shadow compared to what life with God in heaven is supposed to be like.

Have you ever looked out a window in the early spring and realized that because the window is dirty (on the outside and the inside) all of the colors look faded and because the window is down, all the sounds are muted and the smells entirely blocked. But because we know that the window is impeding our experience of the real thing we can imagine what it must be like outside. Sometimes (weather permitting) we will throw open the window and let in the fresh smell of spring and the chirping of the birds and see how vivid the colors of the spring flowers are.
This is like my experience thus far here on earth. There have been moments of grace where I was allowed to experience the reality of God; small moments of grace and God's personal and deep love for me. Because I have experienced this, life here seems dull and dimmed, like looking out that dirty window. I long to throw open the window and let the fresh air in! But alas I cannot; it is not within my power.

Now when I ask myself the question, "Why do anything at all," my answer is "Because I have found something worth living for!" I have a vision of what life can be like - life in God. I have realized that outside the context of the Beatific Vision, life holds very little meaning, and any meaning it does hold is but a mere passing shadow of a greater Truth and Reality that comes from God. What I have also realized these past few years of my life is that the thing that makes life bearable here on earth is relationships. My family, my friends, and hopefully someone special some day and children of my own. If I take people out of the equation, life here is no longer worth living in my opinion. So while I'm here, it's all about people - about caring for, serving, and loving them.

So why do I do x? Because doing x helps me to love and serve someone, and ultimately, makes life here worth living until I attain that great throwing open of the window.