‘America is United’
I recently read the above headline. I thought to myself… united? This must be another one of those news headlines designed to get your attention but has nothing to do with the actual story. So, I read the story and watched a video. After which, I happily admitted that I was not deceived by the headline and sadly found myself faced with yet more illusions about the world we live in.
Are we united as a country? I would argue that we are not. How can we be united? We can’t agree on what it means to be united! Therein lies much of the problem in our country and in countries around the world. If we are to be united, we need to understand what it means, objectively. We cannot strive toward a universal ideal when we actively deny the very existence of universal truths.
This is true of Unity, and of such ideals as Love, Peace, Justice, Truth, Freedom, Wrong, Right, Good and Evil. In order to achieve a society built upon objective universal ideals, we would need to root their existence in something other than ourselves, especially considering that we also don’t agree on what it means to be a human person. So, we are left with a fundamental question that we will fail to be united in answering… the question of God.
Although the answer to the question of God’s existence, defines everything else, there is a much deeper problem that exists and it will cause continued problems everywhere human beings live. We are at war within ourselves. We are tormented by the conflicting desires of our nobler and more selfish selves. So unless the ‘New Man’ dream of Eugenics comes into existence or governments manage to give ‘happy drugs’ to everyone… Unity, Peace, Love… all of it, will be as elusive for future generations as it is for us and has been since the beginning of human history.
There is a way forward. It’s a path that isn’t paved with illusions. It’s the most intense reality, requires absolute commitment and unwavering practice of living the principals. Since the dawn of humanity, there have been those among us who became free and turned from gazing into the pool of their own reflection, who were freed from the power of the lying mirror. Maybe you’ve met some of them.
These are the people who embodied the best of who we can be and keep us and have kept our world from complete destruction. They sustain the little unity, peace, love, truth, justice that there is in the world. They will readily admit that theirs is not an easy path. They will also tell you that the path cannot be found without first encountering the one who blazed the trail. Just like a French woman named Margaret Mary, who was changed forever because he touched her. His heart and her heart were brought together and hers became engulfed in the burning intensity of his love. It’s an encounter that no one can have and remain unchanged. It’s the answer to every question.
So, we will not end war, poverty, or any of the other inhumanities that human beings insist on inflicting upon each other… But we can experience an end to the war within ourselves. One person at a time we are freed to live in a county that knows perfect unity where life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the universal norm.
Fr. Blair Gaynes has been in the Diocese since 2008.