Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Time and a Place

"If thou desirest too inordinately these present things, thou wilt lose those that are heavenly and eternal. Use temporal things, but desire eternal. Thou canst not be satisfied with any temporal goods, because thou wast not created for their enjoyment." - Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Ch. 16

Something might be good in and of itself, but it becomes bad when done in the wrong time or the wrong place. Brushing your teeth is a good activity, while brushing your teeth during a job interview is an excellent way to make sure you don't receive a job offer.

To know what we should make of any number of goods in this life -- e.g. food, exercise, sleep, speech --- which have to first know what are lives are supposed to be ordered to. Thus, "What is the meaning of life?" should be the first question one answers, not the afterthought.

The meaning of life is to love, serve, and obey God in this world so that we can enjoy supreme and unending happiness with him in the next. The many good things in this life are aids to help us accomplish this goal. When we lose sight of that goal, or when we treat the means as a goal unto itself (e.g. money), we fall into the tar pit.

"But I don't believe in your God or your notion of the afterlife or your philosophy," plenty of folks have informed me. Sure; say hello to Br'er Rabbit for me.

Br'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby

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