Saturday, June 4, 2016
Living our Prophetic Vocation
After the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, the war between Protestantism and Catholicism continued with a fight on reason and religion.
Humanity was seen negatively by Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). Our condition: "was a war of every man against every man." A philosophy professor in the theology department of a Catholic University, in his column in the Catholic Times, believes most of his readers would have difficulty understanding Hobbes.
He mentions the humidifier sterilizer problem Korea experienced that included fatal chemicals, the cause of death and disease, and took many years to come to the attention of the public: an example of money coming before justice and public good. A society where money is necessary for certain jobs, a society where a small mistake made while driving is returned with revengeful acts; a person's feelings slightly hurt by another's action, will respond with violence; a society where the poor in the educational system end up dropping out and becoming losers, and we blame it on them; a society where we don't work for the common good but for the few. Hobbes' understanding of society is not without reason.
According to Hobbes, our natural desires are not decisions on good and evil, or concern for the virtuous life but maintaining personal security. This kind of situation makes for a very unstable society. For Hobbes the human condition of mankind was: "a state of violence, insecurity and constant threat." Is this not part of the feeling that many have in our society?
When our desires control us, and without any examination of our situation, we go in chase of our desires are we not falling prey to the thinking of Hobbes and being controlled by it?
Meaning of our daily life is not success and great deeds but little acts of concern for others and a virtuous life, which begins by looking into ourselves. Examining ourselves, we listen to the small voice that is always speaking in us. It is then we recall our vocation.
We need the belief that we are called to heal the sickness of society. It is not the picture given to us by the mass media, but the reality that we experience daily: facing it positively and objectively.
Trust in our working for the healing of society is not something that comes without a price. We are faced with these many varied desires that come to us daily, and we examine them for their meaning, and continue working for the common good. This requires effort and a fighting spirit.