Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What Happened to Common Sense?

When it began, the columnist in the Peace Weekly doesn't know, but we seem to be witnessing, he says, an upsurge of activities in society that fly in the face of ordinary common sense. All of society is becoming increasingly upset by the prevalence of sexual abuse, family immorality, and violence of all kinds. And people in positions of authority, who should know better, are involved.

With the apparent unconcern of our society on matters of morality and the dignity of the human person, the responsibility of people of faith to respond to this growing scourge is all the greater. Jesus did say (Matt 7:18): "A healthy tree bears good fruit, but a poor tree bears bad fruit." And as Catholics we have the mission, he reminds us, to be the "salt of the earth." People of faith living their faith, the columnist asserts, would make a big difference in how the world functions.

He refers to the Korean proverb: "The lower stream is clean only when the upper stream is clean." This proverb is generally used to stress the importance of family formation of the children. Parents must provide, he says, an example for the children if they are to grow with the necessary virtues and character of a healthy citizen. It all starts in the family with the education of the children, he maintains.

Confucius said the same thing: a person has to first work on his own character before he goes out to teach others. Similar to this maxim is the idea often expressed: To have peace in the world one should first govern one's family and to do this, one must first learn to govern oneself--a maxim the columnist believes all leaders should make their own.

Those who work for the country and for its citizens should be following this advice, but the columnist does not find this true in most cases. When those in leadership begin working on governing themselves, they will set a good example to future generations.  

The columnist confesses that he is doing his best to be an example to his family and acquaintances, even though there is a lot still to be done. Instead of words, we need the example of deeds, he says.  Seeing this in the lives of people of faith would go a long way in making our world  a better place for all.
All this seems obvious. What's the point of stating the obvious? From experience we learn that what is supposed to be common  is not so common and what is considered obvious is really not that obvious. And since repetition is the mother of all learning it does no harm repeating the obvious.

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