“What is to give light..

 must endure burning.”

Wise words by the great psychotherapist Viktor Frankl. Something for us to ponder while we enjoy the brand new year and accept the realities of life.

Compliments of the Season and a Happy New Year to one and all! May you fill 2017 with whatever your heart desires without any regrets.

 

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Life ‘n Teleology

With so many beginnings and endings – end of the Western calendar year fast approaching and the new beginning, my birthday recently past, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ today, my cousin’s wedding tomorrow – it is easy to be swept aside and forget the point of it all.  It is at these times that I am reminded of the following excerpt from Catholicism – A Journey to the Heart of the Faith:

“Aristotle said that the best activities are the most useless. This is because such things are not simply means to a further end, but are done entirely for their own sake.”

 

And in doing so one fulfills one’s teleology: being human, and what being human means.

For those who wish to learn more and understand the Catholic faith better I highly recommend checking out Catholicism – A Journey to the Heart of the Faith, by Bishop Robert Barron. And for the more visually inclined there is the Catholicism DVD box set  The Catholicism video series was also shown on PBS and was well received.

What is My Reality? What is Yours? The Possible Limitations of Evaluation Tools.

Becoming self aware and using this knowledge helps us to lead fulfilling lives.  We have many tests/tools that evaluate personal characteristics to help with this such as EQ, MBTI and StrengthFinder so you become better at knowing yourself.  Yet, how often is it taken into account what language/culture you are part of.

Let’s look at a real life example, a colleague of mine.  You have grown up in China.  Coming to the US and doing the MBTI test in English and Chinese results in significant differences.  Then the next question is to what extent the latest MBTI test creators – originally designed by English cultural people – understand the Chinese culture and language to create an accurate test?

Becoming more self aware is great and it is nice to have tools that facilitate that. At the same time it is just as important to question the underpinnings of these tools, their possible biases and limitations.

Examples of the role language plays in behavior as well as links to interesting talks and more can be found here on the TED website.

Unofficial Papal Mottoes: Part II – Pope Francis and Limitless Divine Mercy

How does the role of Divine Mercy” as an unofficial motto play out with Pope Francis? When asked about homosexuals Pope Francis replied, “Who am I to judge”. This should remind us of the deliverance of the adulterous woman where Jesus Christ told those who wanted to stone the woman, “Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to throw a stone at her [John 8:7]” That Pope Francis, said, “who am I to judge” does not mean that the Church accepts homosexuality as ok. Note that at the end of the adulterous woman story when the woman says to Jesus that no one in the crowd has thrown a stone he replies, “Neither do I condemn you. []Go away, and from this moment sin no more [John 8:11].” This was a nuanced and merciful response, like Pope Francis today. Francis has repeatedly said that he accepts the basic tenets of the Catholic faith such as marriage, family, and sacredness of human life…that he simply is not spending as much time on polarizing issues as that is not what his triage of the Church is calling for.

This message of “divine mercy” is revitalizing and energizing the church.  It is making it more attractive and relevant to the people of the world. Pope Francis was the person of the year in 2013 for Time and many other magazines.  There are many other measures of popularity and positive awareness that can be tabulated, as well.  In recent times there has been a call for “The New Evangelism”.  It is the right time too, as Pope Benedict XVI said, re-propose the Gospel “to those regions awaiting the first evangelization and to those regions where the roots of Christianity are deep but who have experienced a serious crisis of faith due to secularization”, clergy scandals like child abuse and more.  Pope Francis in his daily actions serves as a model of how to do so.  It is easy to simply label something black or white.  It makes life easy, but not necessarily right.  Let us follow the more nuanced merciful example of Pope Francis.