Sunday, January 25, 2015

Practicing What We Believe

The devil is in the details, begins an article in the Catholic Times. Often it is the small things, overlooked, that cause the problems. A priest writer wants us to understand how this reality is manifested when speaking about matters of justice.

The social gospel is the foundation of our teaching:   the principles of human dignity, common good, solidarity, subsidiarity, the universal use of our resources for the good of all, are all basically accepted by most Catholics. In the details is where we have disagreement.                                                                                                                                                                                          We are made in the image of God and have dignity,  but when we bring up issues in our society and our place besides the poor, and those whose human rights are ignored we have a difference of opinion. We speak a lot about the  common good but when it comes in conflict with our good we have a can of worms.

Solidarity is where one is willing to strongly  participate in the work for the common good, uniting ourselves with the sacrifice of Jesus for us. However, the problem comes when instead of working to undo the darkness in the world we add to the darkness by being more concern with our benefits and interests.

Subsidiarity is respecting a person's autonomy, spontaneity and independence. To explain this principle he uses the example of a person who knows how to catch a fish and give it to another, not feeling a need to help the other to catch the fish. If we look at the family we see where this principle is often ignored and the  government when she doesn't respect the characteristics of different areas of the country and uses benefits to the country as an excuse, to bring harm to its citizens.

What we possess is not only for our use but for the good of all. My money, possessions, and knowledge are to be used for the good of all. A very beautiful teaching we can admire from afar but when we get into particulars such as raising the tax on the wealthy and trying to achieve a better balance on equality we have confrontation.

In the Church Today Document  of Vatican II #24 we hear: "This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself." When we are in church praying and feel close to God, and the small detail of 'the other'   comes to mind and the way we need to put what we believe into practice we can't just be content with knowing the principles. 

Today in Korea at all the Masses we are collecting funds for aiding the poor overseas, another prod to open our eyes to the other, and not just a small detail.