Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Learning How To Live Like A Fool And Be Better For It

The best-selling author of "Blessing of the Rainbow," Cha Dong-yeop, has another book now available in bookstores. In "Be Foolish," Fr. Cha, a seminary professor and founder of the Future Pastoral Institute, again shows us how to fully awaken our latent abilities.

He  follows the path of others who have praised the wisdom of foolishness.  St. Paul considered himself a fool, and we hear about the foolishness of Christ. "We are all fools on Christ's account" (Cor. 4:10).  Erasmus in his satirical way wrote one of his most popular books on folly, "The Praise of Folly." It was a devastating, humanistic look at the foolishness in society and in the Church. And with the eyes of a one-time priest, he knew well the failings within the Church. He  considered Jesus a Divine Fool to come to us as a Savior. It is not always easy when reading Erasmus to distinguish when his foolishness is intended to be seen positively, but there are times when it clearly is.  Fr. Cha, however, leads us without sarcasm to see that the wisdom of the world is not always what it is purported to be.

He says we have all been called fools at one time or another. It is often applied to those who are  simple and sentimental, those who try to realize important ideals and are not stopped by pressure from the outside. He tells us that many who have done great things for society were often considered fools. They broke the mold in which society wanted them to live. His book shows us how to free the fool in us and break out to the joy and success that the spirit within is calling us to.

In an interview with The Catholic Times, Fr. Cha refers to the prologue in the book where he writes: "In the old days when I did not know something I tried everything not to hear the word fool. But when I heard the words 'he's quite a brain,' it puffed me up, and I worked to exhaustion to merit those words and not be seen as a fool, not to be listed among the drop outs. I  struggled with all this, troubled by the pressures I was feeling. Isn't this our common self portrait?"

How do we become fools? Fr. Cha lists 12 ways to achieve this "foolish" awakening.  

 1) Be skeptical of common sense
 2) Nurse your fantasies
 3) Act immediately
 4) Consider the small things big
 5) Consider the big things small
 6) Go beyond what you can see
 7) Don't be tied to what others think
 8) Walk ahead like an ox
 9) Be honest
10) Be transparent
11) Share generously
12) Keep  laughing

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