Thought on Two World Views:

The Daily Caller's favorite great books bastion, St. John’s College, boasts campuses in Santa Fe, NM and Annapolis, MD. For four years, students immerse themselves in the greatest texts of Western Civilization, starting with Homer and hitting the Bible, Shakespeare and much else along the way. The curriculum is unique and wholly unskirtable. St. John's doesn't offer advanced placement credit, nor are you likely to get credit for any work done at other colleges.
Unlike the piles by my bed, I’ve actually read most of these…

While the beautiful stack of new books lies forlornly in boxes near my bed, and half a dozen partially read books that I mean to finish soon, darn it, are piled nearby, next to the cool maps I bought and have yet to assemble a frame for, and I’m showing up early and leaving work late to try to keep a couple of our dear customers happy, and I’m leading a reading group down at church, and helping out with 2 other groups, and teaching history to teenagers, the draft blog post heap ain’t a gettin’ any less heapy.  So I’ll try to capture a stray thought:

Fr. Michael Ossorgin, may he rest in peace, was a chain-smoking Russian orthodox priest and a beautiful man, who taught at St. John’s where I had the honor of attending one of his seminar classes. He used to say, as the punchline to many of his comments:  “I am not the most important thing that has ever happened to me!”  Then he would lean back, as sort of impish smile on his face, take a drag and look at you with red-rimmed eyes. He was a great man, a fact I only appreciated much too late.

I think maybe he was on to something.

Catholic*:  I am not the most important thing that has happened to me:

Post Modern: I am the most important thing that has happened to me. I may be the only thing that has happened to me.

Catholic: Getting my own way isn’t very important. Finding my calling and doing good is important.

Post Modern: What else is there beside getting my own way? Besides, my own way is good by definition.

Catholic: The things that happen to me, from birth to death, are adventures to be embraced. I am but one rather unimportant player in those adventures.

Post Modern: The things that happen to me are either well-deserved blessings I had every right to expect, or manifest injustices the world owes it to me to fix.  It’s all about me.

Catholic: I don’t get to choose the people I need to love any more than I get to choose my parents or city and century of birth. The important thing is that I must love them.

Post Modern: Nobody is telling me who I must love, or like, or even respect. Insofar as I was born in a place and among people I don’t like, I have been treated unjustly.

Catholic: More often than not, I don’t get to have what I want, which is OK, because I need to learn to want the good.

Post Modern: Getting to have what I want is what life is all about. My wanting it makes it a good thing to want.

Catholic: I will die someday. I hope to embrace my death. My life is not for me. My death is not for me.

Post Modern: Death is a horrible injustice, acceptable only when it seems to me alone to be a better alternative than going on living. In any event, death is to be kept as far away from me as possible for as long as possible.

Catholic: If I get to have friends, a spouse, children and loving relatives, as well as a job, a home, and any luxuries such as free time, those things are unmerited, and I am blessed to have them.

Post Modern: My life is my life. I don’t owe anything to my friends, spouse, children, and relatives that I don’t want to give them. I deserve every good thing I get.

And so on. Of course, nobody is this good nor this misguided – but I think this captures the essence of the differences.  If not, hey, it’s just a stray thought that wandered into my brain when I was supposed to be doing something else.

*In this case, there in no differences between the views of Catholics and our Orthodox brothers, so forgive me if I just use ‘Catholic’ to describe this particular world view.

Advertisements

Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s