Before we know how to act we must first know who we are. This is a basic philosophical tenet that shaped the thought of great minds such as St. John Paul II. If we look at the world today I think we can pin a majority of the problems, if not all of them, on the fact that we have forgotten who we are and therefore have failed in the ways we act.
Today’s First Reading should have hit you in the face a little with the reality of who we really are. “For God will show all the earth your splendor: you will be named by God forever.” This doesn’t sound like empty words from a distant God, but personal words by a God who loves us and knows us. So the question becomes, what do we do with this type of information?
When we are hit with the reality that we are made by a God who loves us and has created us with unmatched dignity, that must affect the way we act. The bird who is made to fly does not sit and dream about the clouds. Often, faith can become a laundry list of rules and regulations, but more than just avoiding sin, God is calling us to live in virtue.
What’s the difference? Well, virtue is seeking the good. It is to look at every moment in our lives and strive to not only recognize the good, but to do it. This is what is proper to the human person because we are made by God as good. Genesis tells us as much when we hear that we are very good.
Sin, on the other hand, is a lack of good. This is why it bothers me when people make excuses for sin and say things like, “Well, I’m only human.” It is precisely because you are human that you are called to seek that good and avoid the lack thereof. It is the very fact that we are made in the image and likeness of God that should inspire us to live virtuous lives as opposed to just avoiding evil. This is why St. Augustine could be so bold in saying, “Love and do what you will.” This is not a blanket acceptance of sin or an affirmation to not try, on the contrary, it is a higher calling to love rightly. When we love in the way that God loves, we no longer desire sin as much and we start to seek the good.
During this Advent season, let’s all try to focus on growing in virtue and arriving at Christmas as the types of human beings who when we act like a saint we say, “Well of course, that’s exactly the type of behavior a human being would have, we are made in the image of God after all, and that means something.” From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!
Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”
Feature Image Credit: Clark Tibbs, https://unsplash.com/photos/oqStl2L5oxI