Week of 3/4/2018
When we look at the unrest going on in the Middle East, there are many political analyses that offer interesting points about why this is occurring. A big question: is there a deeper root cause for this human restlessness? Why do human beings rebel? In the animal world animals are motivated by survival, so they battle based on the instinct to survive physically. The human person, while an animal in the scientific sense, battles in this world for far deeper reasons than simply living; man and woman want to live freely. They desire to choose a way of life that will bring happiness and not simply survival. This elevates man and woman from the animal kingdom to a much higher plane.
We must always remember that while we are told we have similar instincts to animals, we still have very different ones as well. Man and woman can not only think and reason, but they can also think about thinking; this is far removed from the animal world. God has made man and woman in His image; therefore our deepest instinct is to be like God. Since God is total, infinite selfgiving love, we can only find happiness in doing the same. We can only find happiness in true freedom, which is being united to God and participating in His freedom, which always rejects sin and leads to virtue.
Adam and Eve were the first human beings to rebel. The answer to the “why” question is very extensive but still clear: they desired to be like gods. But one can never be like God by rebelling against Him; we can only be like God by uniting ourselves to Him. We desire to be like God at our inner core; to be happy, to be fulfilled, to completely give of ourselves to others and have that love returned to us as well.
The revolutions that happen across history, when man turns against man, come from the desire to seize control of one’s destiny and open the way to one’s personal happiness. The human heart is utterly restless until it rests in the love of God. Unfortunately, this desire is many times, like Adam and Eve, twisted into believing selfishness, pleasure, and power are the elixirs that will satisfy the human heart. They never do. Only God can. In the American Revolution, the documents show powerful, though not perfect, insights into human nature; its fallen and corruptible state, yet its eternal yearning for freedom, justice, and happiness based on fulfillment of the individual. Revolution in this case sought to establish deeper freedoms and not tyranny.
As the world grapples with rebellion, let us pray very fervently that new leaders and governments lead to greater love for every human life and the human desire for authentic love, justice and freedom. That the world may come to know, love and imitate the ultimate man, Jesus Christ. That violence is contrary to Our Lord. That all recognize the most powerful weapons of love, forgiveness, and self gift are the only forces that satisfy the deepest instinct for happiness in God alone.
God love you,
Fr. Brian Gannon