Saturday, August 29, 2015
The speed of change is accelerating. Rationalism and Individualism have entered our culture from the West, and brought changes. Many of our traditions have become dead letters so writes a seminary professor in the Kyeongyang Magazine under the title of temptation.
We are looking for happiness and leaving aside the rules and regulations that were passed on to us. With the economic betterment and without serious worry about eating and what to wear we are searching for a better quality of life which means money and pleasure. The moral code also becomes centered on self. Pope Francis mentioned individualism as a danger both within and outside the Church.
However, when we talk of individualism, we need to distinguish it from selfishness. Individualism has been given great help by the teaching of Christianity. Our individuality, happiness and freedom are values that can't be replaced. When we are ignored and looked down upon, not treated as persons and used, we know the sadness that it engenders. In the Gospels, we see how Jesus related with those who were hurt, the poor, the suffering, those who lost hope they were all made in the image of God, his temple, and received God's love.
A wrong understanding of this individuality is something quite different. When you forget the dignity of others and only see your own dignity, and treat others as tools to aggrandize yourself, we have a distortion of the individual. The same way we look upon ourselves; we need to look upon others and the community otherwise we have a disordered individualism and fall into selfishness and egotism,
In spiritual words when one is only concerned with his own salvation and forgets others and not concerned with the needs of the world this is not what Christianity is all about. Nor is it on the other hand, concerned only with present needs or blessing.
How do we overcome this disordered individualism? To believe is to answer the call we have received, to give answer to God's word, his will, which requires forgetting ourselves. We also have to remember that we are called to be evangelizers and this is not only to increase the numbers of Christians but to expand God's kingdom, which is filled by the love of God. With this love, we interact with others and the world. "If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples" (John 13:35).