Sunday, June 4, 2017
Is Sacrifice First?
Often words used leave impressions that are beyond the intentions of the speaker. Extremely difficult to qualify all that we say so the words say what we mean. A priest working in spiritual counseling in the Seoul diocese has written a book: "Live And Take Care of Yourself" which was reviewed in the Catholic press.
"We often hear that our Catholics are very kind and more concerned about others than of themselves, the good child complex. However, a healthy mental outlook and living in peace with others requires concern for ourselves."
In the Church, we hear a lot about sacrifice and working for others. Many of our saints have lived this kind of life. The writer of this book makes clear that he wants his readers to be concerned also for themselves if they are to go out to others.
Self-interest has a bad reputation within the Church and brings to mind some very bad images. In psychology, self-interest is a natural trait that we all possess. We need to have the proper balance between altruism and self-interest.
Jesus wants everybody no matter what situation they find themselves in to be happy. What makes this difficult is the attitude which we have in facing our problems. For the most part we don't know what is inside bothering us. Our parents, school, the wrong education we have received, the faulty ways we have formed our consciences and virtues and even the way we have accepted religious truths, confines us. We need to ask in prayer for release from the prisons we have made. When we find it difficult we make this known and when we are sick we say we are sick and we work from there to change the situation as best we can.
When we hear the word help, it is others that first come to mind but we need also to take care of ourselves. When we think only of the other we are prone to the 'good child complex' and often this militates against having a good relationship with others.
When we feel uncomfortable inside we should not see this as something negative but a voice telling us to do something to remedy the situation. This requires a good relationship with ourselves. When things are not right inside and we don't work to heal the scars they only get worse and our personalities become barriers to good relationships. This is what the writer means by self-interest.
We as Christians dream of sacrificing and offering everything up to God but the ones who arrive at this are few. Most of us living in peace with ourselves and with others is living well.