Joy and Blessing of the Human Condition

HEADLINES January 30, 2007
January 30, 2007
Slavery’s Legacy
January 31, 2007

In rebuttal of the contempt of Innocent III, undue centuries after the tenure of his papacy, and in honor of those proclamations which life did not allow, I offer these small tenets, and profess unfaltering faith in the goodness of mankind.

I.

From the sediment of heaven, the human person is brought forth into the world. He is not deceived into thinking his creation glorious, but must earn this understanding through the discernment of the spirit. It may be said that the absent choice in our birth is fodder for contempt of God; even He must recognize the august love of the creature who comes, by his own terms, to the recognition of personal majesty. We cry out at our delivery for the inequity endured by humankind, we bolster our wailing with argument when age supplies the necessary logic, and ultimately collapse into the frail cynic when our command of the world has slipped away. Yet we confess: we believe in one God, Father the Almighty, Maker of Heaven and earth. If the instrument reflects the agency and devotion of its maker, such that he who plays it will produce the better melody, then we are likewise imbued with every potential glory. It is our choice, once living, to harvest these glories or to shun them. But if one choice is positive, then choice itself is providential. And who would demur from nurturing the fronds of goodness if opportunity allowed?

II.

But you say: what of the man who is lazy, broken, brittle, rebuffed, and retired? He has opted for the easier path, though it be one of temporary gain and permanent pain. Yet he is satisfied, and often through his entire life. And this was his choice. Therefore, is choice a blessed thing? What is a choice where the selection is pre-determined? If it were the disposition of men to always amass goodness and disseminate it, what purpose is there to a detestable alternative? Who would seek it out, let alone give it attention? No, there is something artificially glorious in the avenues of choice which makes divergent paths seem likewise delicious; and who can say whether one is made for eternity and one is made for temporal satiation?

III.

It has been said of men, that he is wont to address the nature and nurture of his physical being, surpassing what is unseen, that is, the spirit of God within Him. And so it has been urged by Eucherius, Bishop of Lyon, among many others, to divest oneself of the terminable fruits of physical joy so as to adhere to the fruition of the spirit in God. It would seem, in this argument, that every physical gift is endowed with some equal infection, being made for the poisoning of the human heart. But this is utterly contrary to goodness and love, being the eminent core of the Father. If we are given a nature, it is tasked to us that we should uphold its dignity and our own through understanding the blessedness of such a gift. Would the body appear contrary to the language of the spirit, graced by God, disrupting it from unadulterated communion with the Father? This is itself a confession of fault, and a deviance from divine witness. For what is it to hate the body and love the spirit? Or, likewise, to love the strong and despise the weak? For do we not come to know the spirit, strengthen it, renew it, charge it, and supply it imagination through the gift of human flesh? So we do – in that we may be the more observant and more carefully devout of God in the experience the body provides. Let us not then, toss aside all the physical world as obstacle to the greater love of God. For such would suppose it was not His engendering, nor His appointment. But the office of the physical world stands full of the tenderness of God, and in its inherent composition, allows the maturation of the soul. So I commend to Eucherius the providential investiture of the human body and all its earthly surroundings. Curse and condemn it as we may, it leads the greater path to God in joy and suffering.

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