Friday, February 20, 2004

Before we get started, a few imperative reminders about these answers:

1. I am not the authority on Theology. Study well.

2. Don't expect to be able to use these answers word for word and get away with it. Mr. Dy-Liaco will know about this website before Tuesday, so it's a good idea to come up with different explicitations on the answers you'd find here.

3. I have only finished the second and third thesis statements. I expect the rest to be done by Monday, at the latest, but preferably by Saturday morning.

4. If you do read this for reviewing purposes, please leave a comment at the end of this post, and mark your tracks on my Guestmap. I'd like to think that I'm actually helping people enough for them to let me know that I've been doing so.

5. I'm nominated for "Crush ANG Bayan" and "Gifted Child" for the batch Blue Roast Awards. I'd really appreciate votes to that effect. :)

Thesis Statement 1A: This course consists in an effort at sustained, directed, and personal thinking out of Christian Faith with the aim of fostering the ongoing growth of seniors toward full maturity in the Faith, as active members of the Christian community, the Church, capable of responding as true disciples of Christ to the urgent challenges of Filipino life today.

This thesis statement is an overview of the entirety of the course. What Marcelle needs to do here is to simply realize the telos, the ultimate end (At the very least, in temporality. It’s obvious that “salvation” would be the ultimate telos, although it’s not up to us to determine that, but it’s up to God’s Grace to do so.) of developing our faith. As such, we realize that the central and unifying notion of the whole course is simply: CHRISTIAN COMMITMENT. Our tools for determining the many facets of our Christian commitment are our basic sources for theological study. We begin to see that our faith is not merely a blind acceptance of what the Church tells us, but a critical thinking out of why they are telling us what they are telling us.

As such, we begin to consider the nature of a Christian commitment: its basis, its longevity, its scope, its cost, and its yield for us. We think out our Christian Faith in an effort to foster our ongoing growth as seniors towards full maturity in the Faith. As Christians, why should we do this? For most of our lives, we have taken everything our parents, teachers, and priests have told us without ever really asking why. These people seem to have been so firm in their beliefs that we just took their word for it. For true maturity in our faith to happen, we have to begin to comprehend why we are taking the path that we are taking right now, lest we do not root our life upon something genuine, and as such our being would fail to grow to its full potential. What good is this growth for? Well, it is good in and by itself. As far as postulates in geometry go, this is a postulate, and this is the only point where we can satisfactorily not need to ask for any further reason.

We need to sustain our thinking upon our Christian Faith because it is imperative to our growth as Christians. In sustaining it and not merely making it surreptitious bursts of contemplation, we are able to make heads and tails of the values and meanings espoused by our faith, as well as the freedom by which we heed our vocation, whichever it may be. We direct it so that we allow ourselves to focus our energies on this contemplation and truly come to answers that are of pertinence and significance to us.

Most of all, as free human beings, this thinking out of our Christian Faith must be done personally. Ideas are useless if they have no significance to our lives. Perhaps one has a friend who wants to enter a relationship with her after four years of college (“Better late than never” awardees.). Perhaps one is beginning to fall out of love, and the sizzle of the romance is fading fast. Perhaps one wishes to be a priest and commit himself to God. Perhaps one genuinely loves the Ateneo and the people within it and as such wishes to teach Philosophy or Theology upon graduation to further help people along the road to becoming. In any case, it still boils down to the fact that one has to think his Faith over because his Faith will have inextricable consequences on his life, no matter what he does.

Being graduating seniors, we are approaching a crossroads in our lives. We are about to make new commitments and either discard or renew older ones. Perhaps some of us would be going back to our province, or some of us would be migrating to another country upon learning that FPJ wins the presidency. In any case, there’s no better time than now to begin contemplating upon where we intend to go, what we intend to do, and who do we intend to be with in the near future.

With all the failures and shortcoming our mortal world disheartens us with, Faith allows us to recognize that there is more within us. Our Christian Faith is an experience of reality, as our reality is grace to us: it gives us insights on our way towards personal fulfillment. These experiences are not superficial but they aim at some sense of depth in the latent reality presented to us. We qualitatively search for what our experiences hold for us. We realize through our faith the new possibilities for the future in an imperfect world. The future that we dream of is something we strive towards. Ultimately, in our realization that we are part of a bigger picture, we begin to look at our life through heaven’s eyes. What we do can and will affect the other, and as such, commitments between persons will happen ideally because of their common wish to grow in such a commitment.

Admittedly, maturity in the faith does not happen after one semester of theologizing. Despite this fact, this course lays out to us how we can continue to mature in the faith, and allows us to realize how fides et ratio work together hand in hand, as our faith is not just a faith to think about, but a faith to think with, in fact. Our belief systems, while we ponder upon them, are also the same tools by which we will know how to act accordingly in any given situation. As such, and because we realize that Christian Commitment comes with being part of Christ’s Body, the Church, our thinking out of Christian faith has to be operationalized by our conscience, our subjective norm of morality, in a place where communion should happen. The Church, being our tangible link to the transcendent God, is that which we commit ourselves to in love, friendship, and communion, collectively known as the great humanizing goods, in order for us to make this spiritual growth a holistic one.

Our commitments indeed are part of a greater picture, and not merely the common connotation of two people pledging romantic love to one another. As such, our commitment to our Church, one we freely choose but personally oblige ourselves to when in it, is simply putting into practice what we have contemplated upon in the Word of God, through doctrine and prayer. This enactment is that which allows us to touch other lives in order for us to grow with one another.

In doing these things, after having thought upon them, we are being called to respond as true disciples of Christ to the urgent challenges of Filipino life today. Challenges such as the peace and order situation, poverty, and even structural evil, all make this country seem to be such a dismal place to live in. While we recognize that we also have our own trials and tribulations, we also recognize that we are not Christ in the fullest sense, and as such, we cannot be messiahs, but through our tribulations, we may become wounded healers, beacons of hope to all the lives we touch, that we carry on despite our own holocausts. The ethics of hope does not seek to overturn the status quo, but simply to make people aware that there is something to hope for beyond what seems to be an inescapable trapping of sorrow and tribulation.

As true disciples of Christ, our thinking upon our faith, enacted by our conscience through our communion with the Church, is concretized in the steps we take to relay this message of hope to our countrymen, who, like us, carry their own trials and tribulations, and like us, are in need of hope. Through our commitment of love, friendship, and communion, we wish to overcome guilt and evil in our self-donation as true Christian disciples who see themselves in the bigger picture, who know the transcendent beyond them who is God, who live out Christ’s example par excellence to the best of their ability, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, so they may go and transcend their wounded selves.

Only in putting all these words to action can we truly say that this course has been successful, no matter if we earned an “F” or an “A” in the final grade.

Thesis Statement 2B: Conscience is our ultimate and subjective norm of moral behavior, judging the morality of concrete individual acts by applying universal moral laws, thus involving both objective and creative subjective dimensions. The gradual formation of an informed “Christian conscience” is marked by fundamental stages (instinctive, moral, and religious) developing true freedom together with the recognition of moral obligation, and grounded on prayer and the Spirit’s prompting daily conversion towards fuller, responsible “new life” in Christ.

The mistaken notion about one’s conscience is that it is little more than an arbiter of right and wrong. Clearly, while this might seem to be the case, one’s conscience moves beyond merely that, as one’s conscience is one’s subjective compass towards whatever his flow of being takes him to. This conscience is that which enables him to develop his primordial level of commitment, as well as actually define it in order to accept or reject it. As such, the conscience, more than being a mere arbiter, is one’s ultimate and subjective norm of moral behavior. Every act one does is being judged for its morality by this subjective norm, yet applying universal moral laws in the process, which is akin to Kantian morality. Objectively speaking, these universal moral laws do stand for everyone, but subjectively speaking, it is in our autonomy as human beings who are ends in themselves to appropriate these moral laws as our own to thereby indicate to us the fact that we are indeed free. As mentioned in Marcelle’s Philosophy oral examinations, one should not “bastardize his morals” and attach a price to them, as they admit to no price and only to dignity.

At the same time, conscience has an active characteristic in that it not only tells us whether an act is right or wrong, but also nudges us towards the search for doing what is right. As this conscience is an operationalized representative of our graced reality and graced imagination, acquired through prayer, our conscience acts in accordance under the natural impulse of our nature to become what it ought to be. Like prayer, conscience is in aid of our quest to search for the truth of life, the truth of what one ought to be. As such, conscience imposes upon ourselves an obligation. Because this conscience is part and parcel of our flow of being, we can say that our conscience is autonomous when fully developed, in that we legislate laws for ourselves and do not allow ourselves to be controlled by heteronomous laws, yet their laws are the very laws we appropriate for ourselves.

It is interesting to note that both conscience and morality have their own three respective stages of development. Notice the steps they take as we compare and contrast them side by side in the next few paragraphs.

Forming a Christian conscience is clearly not done overnight, but gradually. The Christian starts from moral immaturity of having things done instinctively: there is no careful deliberation on one’s morality. This instinctive role played by our conscience is a priori to discovering our flow of being. We act in a way we do not latently comprehend, and as such, our conscience at this point is merely instinctive.

On a different but similarly immature plane, the only reason one performs moral duty is because of hypothetical imperatives. This is the first stage of morality: moral childhood. One would act morally only to avoid punishment, or only to gain reward. Clearly, morality, being an end in itself, should be done for the sake of morality, but to start someone towards this road, one must take the first step of moral immaturity. Children are very much guilty of this, but come to think of it, most politicians are, as well. They would do their moral duty as a means towards another end, or they would perform moral duty only because it is convenient not to do otherwise. This is clearly not true morality, as it prostitutes one’s morals.

On the second level of conscience, that of morality, we realize that conscience is a binding factor. It is something we freely exercise, yet upon exercising it, we are bound to what we have exercised it upon, if we determine it to be right. For instance, our reasoning freely allows us to conclude truly that 1+1=2. While we are free to arrive at that conclusion through pure reasoning alone, we are then bound, as a rational being, to accept no other sum for 1+1=2. We are now obliged to acknowledge this truth that we have determined for ourselves. Obviously, our conscience in the stage of morality is more of the same. Because our conscience is our flow of being in action, we end up being called by God in the direction we primordially are already taking. In determining this call, we then oblige ourselves towards it, though “vocation” would be a better term for it. This power of obligation towards our vocation is simply not from without, but from within, as it is our conscience that takes us here. It becomes our responsibility, thus, because our conscience is that which obliges us, hence, we are autonomously, freely obliging ourselves. Is this what we would call “making things hard on ourselves”? Not at all. It is more of “being the captain of our soul”. We answer God’s call freely, yet upon heeding it, we oblige ourselves to it by our own desire. As such, this is clearly a transcendence from being merely instinctive. As such, the human being is ideally subject to his own choice.

The second stage of morality, on the other hand, is the process towards true morality: habituation. This Aristotelian concept essentially tells us that we are beginning to realize the value of morality in and by itself, and as such, we begin to relish the good in doing what is right. Our actions of morality are no longer random and indiscriminate acts of goodness, but are coming from a stable state of character, our hexis. As such, we are beginning to learn what it means to be truly virtuous, as it is not merely a mechanical repetition of good acts, but a habituation of finding the mesotes in any given situation, working towards one’s flourishing or eudaimonia. Refer to Marcelle’s elucidations on Philosophy, thesis statement numbers one to 4, in case of any confusion on these terminologies. Thus, there is now a sense of permanence in one’s moral character, and even fidelity. Aristotle would term this man as “on the way to virtue”.

The third and final stage of one’s conscience, being fully and permanently right, can exist only in faith. Faith itself, by its nature, is a search which is certain that is on the right way, and a hope which is firmly confident of success. This explains why in the Bible, Christ believes that “Faith can move mountains”. As a quest for deeper understanding and a s a confident reaching for things not yet fully possessed, a living faith is thus ever a prayer, a stretching out for fuller communion with God. We realize, therefore, that conscience follows the same path! Only in being like a prayer (As Madonna would say.), only in being a quest for the transcendent, can we possibly realize the full maturity of our conscience. We become like dolphins trapped in a human body, longing to know who we truly are, and longing to return to the deep blue sea.

Life as a quest and a progress towards something completely transcending us and our power cannot be reached except by God’s grace, received from Him in faith and hope. Only a conscience enlightened by faith, anf functioning in hope and love, can make this power and grace of God so operative in life that life’s quest can become successful. Thus, if conscience is to function fully as fait, the Verbum Dei (Word of God) must be ever alive in our hearts, and always in the forefront of our conscience, not merely an afterthought or a subconscious desire that we cannot sustain actively. Only through constant, explicit, and devout prayer and fervent listening to the Word of God will our conscience ever function in full maturity as faith operative in life and faith working in love.

The third and final stage of morality, in contrast, is full moral maturity or moral adulthood. Here, one’s morality is already second nature, and one’s morality has truly become an end in itself, and not merely a means to an ulterior motive. Morality now no longer admits to any price and has become something of utter dignity. Thus, one is now acting morally for the sake of acting morally, following a categorical imperative at all times, that is doing the morally right without asking why.

All in all, this development of one’s conscience from instinctive to morality to faith is clearly a gradual transition that is made through the grace of the Holy Spirit. None can explicitly expect this transition to be made so swiftly, as this conversion of one’s conscience towards full maturity is a daily process, and in our fulfillment of it, by realizing our conscience as one of faith, we also recognize that we are being given a new life in Christ: one that gives us hope in something far better beyond us. We are then called to meet the transcendent. We freely choose to subject ourselves to our own moral duty; a moral duty that is universally accepted by all. As such, we responsibly act out our conscience, knowing full well that this is what we chose for ourselves, and as such, in avoidance of a spiritual and consciential anarchy, we follow the moral duty we have tasked ourselves the responsibility of.

Thesis Statement 3A: Personal primordial commitments develop through widening horizons involving breakthroughs into deeper meaning, values, and freedom. They are gradually formed within the universal human quest for self-identity, clear purpose in life, overcoming guilt and evil in the world, trust/hope in salvation, unity, and friendship.

It is quite clear that our personal primordial commitment is already intrinsic within us. We recognize the fact that the issue with a primordial level of commitment is not something that we consciously choose, but something that is already within us. As such, we might say that this is our flow of being. It’s not up to us to choose this primordial commitment or that primordial commitment, but it is up for us to recognize that we already have one, and it is our task to discover it, then accept or reject it, and upon accepting it, developing it. This is akin to the Oracle’s dialogue with Neo in Matrix Reloaded.

Neo: What choice will I make?

Oracle: You already made your choice before you came here, Neo. It’s up to you to understand why you made that choice.

Thus, in knowing our flow of being, we then act accordingly to develop our primordial level of commitment into something deeper. The flow of our being is one that we possess a priori any reflection or any notions in our mind. This development requires specific steps and actions, and as such, is to be guided by our conscience: our subjective norm of morality that is not merely an arbiter of what is right or wrong, but more importantly, our subjective compass that takes us into the direction of our flow of being. This primordial level of commitment is similar to the psychological concept of one’s “intentionality” in that everything one does is consciously or unconsciously geared towards his all-encompassing intentionality. What does a thing mean to us in light of our flow of being? Is eating meat for the ascete merely eating meat? What values do we prioritize? Does the Christian still place high premium upon worldly riches or the gains of eternal life? How then do we exercise our freedom horizontally by doing things given our status quo, and how do we deepen this through our vertical freedom, insofar as we shift our horizons itself in pursuit of a new primordial level of commitment?

While similarities between one’s primordial commitment and one’s fundamental options exist, they are not entirely the same. If anything, the primordial commitment steps even beyond the fundamental option because it encompasses one’s full being and not just one’s moral life. Everything one does has to consider one’s primordial commitment, in whatever facet of life it may be. Moreover, one’s primordial commitment is in great need of development- slow development over time, in fact, so that this primordial commitment can actually move even further within us.

Subjective though our compass may be, it still does not deny the fact that our subjective norms still fall in line with universal moral laws, which enlightens us to the realization that this development of one’s primordial commitment should take place in every human being. All of us are tasked with a universal quest. In our desire for self-identity, we turn to prayer: “Who am I? What can I be?” We search for ourselves, and as such, we ask for a graced reality and a graced imagination which our conscience operationalizes. Through prayer, we are given insights on reality, and insights on what could possibly be, and our conscience puts these insights into fruition.

In finding who we are and what we can be, the purpose of life is bestowed upon us: we are enabled to know who we are and where we wish to go, and our choices, which enact the freedom that they are ground upon, furthers into a special choice, a promise, or commitment, that is the barometer of their choices. Our commitments, furthermore, when grounded upon the great humanizing goods of love, friendship, and communion, will bear more of the same, which results in a constant act of self-donation. Self-donation is the negation of self-absorption, which involves a commitment to the self, oblivious of all others. This brings about guilt and evil, which genuine self-donation overcomes, as in our donation of ourselves, we enact the ethics of hope: we don’t promise to be saviors or messiahs, but in spite of our own holocausts (we as wounded healers), still bring hope in the promise of a better tomorrow not merely physically but more so spiritually.

To concretize this primordial level of commitment’s development, let us look at the Dakota tribe in the “Kinship Appeal”. They never considered themselves the saviors of their tribe or their kinsman’s murderer. Instead, they lived welcoming to all as wounded healers; they took him in as one of their own in unity and in friendship. So maybe they weren’t Christian, but their language, while different, meant the same thing to all of us. God the Father places us in His totality: the Dakota tribe saw this murderer as part of a greater whole that they must learn to love and accept. They were willing to meet the transcendent, knowing that they are part of a bigger picture. God the Son shows us how truly to live a human life. Truth has shown the Dakota tribe how to live a truly human life, knowing that this man has killed their kinsman, but the truth that vengeance will not solve anything showed them how to treat this man. God the Holy Spirit empowers us to go beyond our fallen selves. The Dakota tribe were given the grace to act as wounded healers who accepted this man in spite of these wounds and thus transcend themselves.

Clearly, the Dakota tribe had a primordial commitment towards community. Instead of being self-absorbed and persecuting the murderer, their self-donation to this murderer in their kinship appeal has been an act in accordance with their primordial commitment. In making him one of their own, they shifted their horizons to include him, and widened these horizons by placing such great meaning, value, and even freedom upon him. Both dimensions of their freedom were called into play by this acceptance. They, through a graced imagination and reality, were guided by their conscience to recognize that they were a family, a tribe, and they were meant to welcome this murderer as one of their own.
In deepening this commitment, they humanize him, and make of themselves a true commitment that encompasses all of them. Yes, they had their own little holocausts, but not in spite of these wounds but through them did they find it possible to make him one of their own, overcoming his guilt, proving that love is far stronger than hatred. They have formed a tribe of love, friendship, and community. Clearly, their commitment has developed from but a tiny spark from within their primordial level of commitment, a mere mustard seed that has grown to be among the greatest of all trees, just like the kingdom of God.

Thesis Statement 4: Growth toward permanence in Christian commitment comes through the gradual deepening of the roots and enhancing the quality of all our commitments. This entails focusing on the Paschal nature of their core: authentic love.

For Christians, authentic love is grounded in a personal relation to Jesus Christ, actualized by the Holy Spirit within His Body, the Church and developed through Word and Sacrament: studying, praying, and living His “Good News”, supported and inspited by a full sacramental life.

The word “commitment” is usually connotative of a romantic relationship. However, this is quite an injustice to a very all-encompassing term, as it covers more than the romantic aspects of relationships. Throughout this semester, we have realized that a commitment is a special kind of promise, and one whose basis must be upon something that is inexhaustible, specifically, the great humanizing goods of love, friendship and communion. What we need to discuss now is the actual growth involved in the commitment itself, and merely the process in vague terms, or the steps from a primordial commitment to a full-blown one.

Clearly, the first problematic about a commitment, like any of the usual romantic commitments we make, is the problem of permanence. A couple who has lasted for nine years as boyfriend and girlfriend has no genuine edge over a couple who has been together for only a year. Being with one another for so long a time is no guarantee that they will be together forever, or at the very least, be guaranteed of marriage. These things happen. Commitments are broken, and people tend to question why such seemingly strong commitments end up falling apart. Married couples of fifty years one day wake up and realize that they don’t know the person they’ve been lying in bed with for the past half century. Where do these commitments go wrong?

We have to realize that commitments aren’t simply promises made with nothing being invested into it, and with no upkeep cost. One’s growth towards permanence in Christian commitment has to come through the gradual deepening of the roots and enhancing the quality of all of his commitments. How does one do that? We have already discussed the Dakota tribe. We know full well that the deepening of their commitment came in spite of their cares and tribulations. They were clearly wounded healers. Their commitment towards welcoming their slain kinsman as one of their own was deepened by their radical exercise of their vertical and horizontal freedom: they shifted horizons to welcome this new kinsman, and widened their horizons because of what he had to bring to the table. Was this a commitment out of pure compulsion? While a strong sense of compulsion could indeed make a permanent commitment, should we make it the basis? A genuine commitment that would bring about the great humanizing goods should really be based on something deeper than mere compulsion. Basing a commitment on something other than the best ground for commitment is a Draconic way of maintaining social order.

What indeed is the best ground for a commitment? We’ve given the great humanizing goods, but for our purposes, let us focus on the Paschal nature of their core: authentic love (After all, love is a word broad enough to encompass friendship and communion.). There are many varied acts involved in authentic love, and among them is a kind of dying. When one commits himself to someone, he is still himself, yet he is also now inextricably linked to whom he committed himself to. As such, one must “die” to himself: avoid any reversion to his individualistic considerations a priori to entering the commitment. In the ideal commitment that is freely entered, our dying entails yielding our claim to another over ourselves with regards to our own respective future. It’s no longer purely what Marcelle intends to do. It’s now what Marcelle and Grace intend to do. Here, we recognize a basis of obligation in the being of the person of the other to whom we commit ourselves.

So long as the commitment sustains this other-regarding characteristic, one’s ambiguities over permanence need not be problematic. It becomes problematic when one begins to focus on himself more, and the cost of the commitment and the dying involved in this commitment. These are self-regarding notions that we must not succumb to, as they take away from us the realization that neither “dying” nor permanence can be just consciously willed, insofar as they are more aptly consequences of the love that generates the commitment.

Permanence scares us because “forever”, contrary to what Sarah Geronimo believes, seems to be such a long time. The mistaken notion here comes in that “forever” is an aspiration to persevere, as Nicole and Ewan put it, “Come what may”. A commitment is a path taken towards becoming: not a static moment that is cemented to last for all time. All parties involved in a commitment are called to grow in the commitment, and not merely to stay as they were, not to wish that they would always “stay the same” (No thank you, Joey McIntyre). In a genuine commitment, one should become, and the only thing that should stay constant is the desire to continue growing in the commitment together, and to share this becoming with the other. The commitment implies that one will “bring” one’s becoming to the other, and not necessarily that this becoming will always take place together.

Our image of permanence is that a permanent commitment is a once-and-for-all choice. Forever to us connotes fixity, a staticness of one’s being in refusing to grow and instead maintain the status quo. Many people resist commitment because of this notion. They think that a commitment is such that one drops everything and just stays in a moment of eternity. It appears to be counter-productive, and even a threat to spontaneity, hence the common excuse of “I think I have to move on beyond this commitment” as a classic break-up line. A genuine commitment would reply “Why can’t we move on together?” Permanence does not entail fixity: in fact, renewal of one’s commitments is often a way of strengthening them, which belies any notions of rigidity in one’s commitment. Once his life has taken a definitive direction, one should be more, not less, capable of growth, as their sure-footedness will enable them to make choices that yield fruits of growth in their being. Without being rooted, a tree cannot grow. This analogy of rooting the human being’s life into something like a genuine commitment will not hinder but actually foster growth.

Social conditions also give us difficulties with commitments. In today’s hurly-burly world, transiency and flexibility are key characteristics of people who are in demand. With people always on the go, commitments tend to be seen as an obstacle to success. Do we even have to wonder why people look at Marcelle in shock when they discover that he’s been committed for the past four years? In today’s social conditions, one’s place, one’s profession, and one’s family are no longer as lasting as they once were. As such, another classic breakup line is that “This commitment is tying me down.”

Thirdly, our history as people of permanence is something that is rapidly disappearing. Great minds like Marx and Hegel and Sartre have been espousing new ideas that radically seem to contradict permanence. Sartre, in particular, was a full-blown humanist, who believed in absolute freedom for the human being. Commitments, in this respect, did not have much value to him, as it seems to restrict one’s freedom (Outside note: But we have proven in fact in thesis statement 10 of Marcelle’s Philosophy orals that through similar argumentation, it doesn’t. Also see the transcript of Marcelle’s oral exams for further insights on this.).

Thus, only love can truly maintain and nourish an interpersonal commitment, and only the lack of communion and genuine growth in this commitment can validly make us question the need to persist in the commitment (Though the claim that communion does not exist is more prevalent than the actual non-existence of this communion.). Moral duty may be committed through pure obligation (Preferably self-obligation.), but it is less than ideal if the same kind of grounding is the source of an interpersonal commitment.

For Christians, authentic love has to be grounded in a personal relationship to Jesus Christ. Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. He shows us how to live our lives through His example, which is the growth of a commitment par excellence. As the source of truth, it is Christ’s example, the example that we get to know and comprehend more and more through our personal relationship with Him, that becomes part and parcel of our life’s compass (As the conscience can and will appropriate this once it manifests as the flow of our being.). The Holy Spirit gives us the grace to act accordingly and to operationalize the example given to us by Christ, and we do it within His Body, the Church, as we also commit ourselves to His Church.

Here, communion and genuine love blossom, and we develop it through the Word and Sacrament. We realize that, as we saw in Sacramental Sexuality, the goods of the commitment we enter are not merely means to a further end, but positively good in and by themselves (Hence why sex for pleasure demeans it as merely instrumental, etc.). We study, we pray, and we live out His Good News, the very retelling of Christ’s example for us of how we are to live our lives. We are supported and inspired by a full sacramental life by the Grace of the Holy Spirit, who reminds us that in spite of our imperfections (Unlike Christ.), we can still go beyond our fallen selves through these sacraments.

No comments: