With all the stuff wrong in the world, it seems like it’s almost selfish to, say, go to a movie, read a People Magazine, watch TV, or take a bubble bath - like, shouldn’t we be out doing everything we can to stop some of the horrendous stuff we see going on? How do we balance living “our” life versus trying to create some change in the world, like stopping abortion, etc.? I almost ask myself, why on earth am I in some mundane job when I could be doing something that directly impacts poverty, hunger, abortion, etc.? Like what, I don’t know but just wondering how we supposed to balance life out - how much time, if not all, should we dedicate to the terrible stuff around us? What do you think?
I hear you. I had a small chance to devote all my time to help with social justice, and it didn’t pan out for the long term. Now I feel like my life is often useless or frivolous by contrast, and I pray everyday to be put in a similar position of usefulness.
I have to remember prayer is very useful and my inner life may help even when my outer life doesn’t.
I always come back to this framework. Start with myself first. I have to grow in holiness through learning the faith and being totally obedient, growing in humility first and then the other virtues, and asking for the gifts of the holy spirit. Become a saint, a great saint!
After this effort is well on it’s way, I can then start to reach out to the community without becoming a stumbling block to them.
Regarding solving world hunger and eliminating the poor, Jesus said directly, “the poor will always be with you.” We should not ignore them at all. We should help them. However, never feel we should completely solve the problem. We are not in the garden of eden anymore. We can minimize problems in this world but not solve them altogether.
Let the Holy Spirit lead you in life and seek to do God’s will. God placed you in a particulare place and time for this reason. It is not necessary to quit your job and do missionary work in Africa or elsewhere. You can donate in fact to the best and most effective and efficient programs that exist by just staying where you are and working. Just like all the rest of us.
When we get to heaven, we will be able to see how all of our efforts interacted and supported each other to enable great things to happen through the Holy Spirit. It will be just great!
Thanks for responding. I know not EVERYONE can be like Dr. Martin Luther King (or whoever) but it just seems like, gosh, I wish i could do MORE. and I’d hate to look back on my life and think, Wow, I can’t believe how LITTLE I did!
Yes, and as life goes on that is all many of us can do. Peace, Carlan
Much of the trashy material in the music, TV, and movies is leading society astray. Don’t assume that people have good judgment. It’s difficult to make good decisions for others.
“social justice” is like “Catholic faith” it is not something to balance against other aspects of life, rather it informs every decision, action and purpose of life in the world.
The decisions about career, education, mode of living, place of living, how to earn, spend and invest money, where to work, for whom, doing what–all these are informed by Catholic conscience and social justice is inseparable from the conscience.
Every life choice has to include what the bishops call “the preferential option for the poor.” That does not mean every decision and act has to directly act in favor of “the poor” or “a poor person” but that our decisions and acts have to be made in the context not only of how they affect ourselves and our families–who are our first concern after all–but their wider impact.
Minor decisions like what kind of new flooring for my house: is it decimating the rain forest? is it producing a chemical harmful to my family? these are not black or white but factors that must be considered.
The key is always returning to the beatitudes and cultivating true poverty of spirit, which leads naturally to a stewardship spirituality that regards all as gifts, and all that comes under our micro-governance as stewardship. So my decision in the workplace on whether or not to cooperate with an unethical policy becomes part of the stewardship inherent in the fact I wound up in this job in the first place.
This is true. We cannot measure a person’s “usefulness” by their actions or what they are seemingly producing. What about the elderly? What about people who are disAbled? What about babies in the womb? How can we claim that they have value when we don’t see our own value unless we are constantly on the move! Dear one your value is as a child of God in the world. Prayer is everything. Jesus is calling us to communication with him and living in him.
As far as recreation and rest let us look to Christ as our example. How did Jesus live? Read Scripture to find out how much Jesus spent time in rest, contemplation and prayer. Jesus did not spend every hour of every day healing people and rushing around.
So go ahead and go to a movie! Try and make sure it is a wholesome movie, then make sure to pray and thank God for the gift of your eyes to see the movie, the gift of your ears to hear it, the gift of transportation to get you there, the gift of money to be able to afford to go and the gift of talents God gave the actors and creators of the movie.
Thank you. However, how can we justify watching television or just relaxing around when we know there is stuff going on that needs our help?