Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Hard Decision of the Black Kite

Korea has no serious problems with the changes that came with the Second Vatican Council. Most Catholics entered the Church after the Council was over. Few  remember the Latin Mass or the liturgical life of the past. Nostalgia is not part of the thinking of our Catholics. The Society of Pius X (followers of Archbishop Lefebrev) has few members in Korea.
The desk columnist for the Catholic Times recalls that next year is the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council. This Council was the foundation on which the Church grew in Korea.

'Renewal' is the word that is often used when talking about the Council. Nowadays all of society is using the word renewal: you and I are to become 'renovated.' But the columnist is disturbed when the desire for renewal is used as a motivational tool to get us out of some crisis we are presently in. It should be much more than that, he says.

What is necessary is to know oneself. Knowing yourself, he says, is the beginning of change. Socrates knew he didn't know everything, which enabled him to search for wisdom.
For a Catholic, renovation comes, he says, when we desire to become more like Christ. It is the promise of Jesus and the Holy Spirit's presence in us that leads us to wisdom--the message of the Gospel. To be evangelized is the first duty of a Christian.
But what is self-evangelization? he asks. It is to become familiar with God's word in the Scriptures. Reading and study of the Scriptures is the first step in the change that will come.

The columnist uses an example that the internet has made popular but without any basis in fact. It probably goes back to Psalm 103: "Your youth is renewed like the eagle." Instead of the eagle, in Korean it is the black kite. The story is presented in video's and articles that try to inspire us to change in all facets of life. As a prod to change it may have some value even if not true. The story, briefly, is about a black kite with a life span of 40 years. To live to 70 it has to make a hard decision. At 40 its talons can no longer grab prey, its beak becomes bent, its feathers become thick and stick to the breast. It is faced with the option of dying or getting renewed. The renewal is painful, requiring that it break its beak against a rock, pluck out its talons and feathers, and wait for them to grow back; doing the difficult and painful thing, it lives another 30 years.

The columnist concludes the article by comparing our life with that of the black kite. It takes much more than just thinking about change to bring about change; it takes making some difficult decisions. If we are satisfied with the way things are, we will not mature and life will end in failure. Change requires effort and pain.

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