Far As the Curse is Found | First Things

“No more let sins and sorrows grow, / Nor thorns infest the ground; / He comes to make His blessings flow / Far as the curse is found, / Far as the curse is found.”Like many other carols, this rarely sung verse of “Joy to the World” leads us into the profound mystery of the Christmas feast. In the little child whose birth we celebrate, we gaze on the face of our champion in a struggle that could not be won without him. Listen to St. Leo the Great:

For unless [Christ] the new man, by being made in the likeness of sinful humanity, had taken on himself the nature of our first parents, unless he had stooped to be one in substance with his mother while sharing the Father’s substance and, being alone free from sin, united our nature to his, the whole human race would still be held captive under the dominion of Satan. (Epistle 31, 3; LH vol.1, 321)

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How We Dehumanize God’s Creations – THE WANDERER


CHICAGO — Dehumanization is easy, convenient, and politically expedient in some cases. As defined in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the word “dehumanize” means to deprive (a person) of human qualities, personality, or spirit. The listed synonyms under the definition are: animalize, bestialize, brutalize.

Isn’t this what the abortion industry does to the unborn? I would say so. There is something horribly wrong when our nation’s laws deny someone the full rights and recognition as a human person.

To deny any and all unborn persons personhood is to deny their humanity. In essence, our society dehumanizes the unborn.

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The Real World

St Catherine's Monastery

What is it that is so inspiring about the monastery or convent life? Those men and women who live sheltered lives in remote out of the way places. Their lives seem totally useless to a world full of abundant trappings, so it seems for many. If one does not have the eyes to see, it appears a total waste of a person’s life.

There are those who do not understand the life but are drawn to these souls for what seems to be unknown reasons. What, one might ponder, is worth giving up everything in this world for a life of solitude and hard work? What is worth the effort and the sacrifices these men and women make? Are they merely running away from life or hiding from a past they would sooner wish to forget?

I too, pondered over these souls when I was young. For nothing in this life seemed to have an allure like it. You never forget the shock of finding out that there are people on this earth that count everything of this earth as nothing and look joyous in their trials and labors while separating themselves from the draw of the world and from their very nature as human beings.

Most people, I gather, take little notice of these men and women. They go about their lives in the real world and never give the religious life a thought. They fill their days striving for love, affection, money, honor or skills that might make their lives useful and fulfilling. It is the road we all follow, is it not?

Apparently not! The religious, if asked, might very well expound on the meaningfulness and excellence of the religious life led in seclusion. They might go into detail as to having found the real meaning in life. In short, they would counter that they are living in the Real World: a world that was created by God, held in existence by God, and which glorifies God. They suffer no delusions. It is our honor and our duty to live our lives for our Creator, to pray to Him for all our needs and unceasingly give praise to Him throughout the day and night. Their lives are ordered to their Lord and Savior as the only truly important activity that the human soul can perform – a total gift of themselves. They are ordered to their final end: an eternity of Love Itself.

Now if we were to take the time to evaluate who leads the better life, we might begin to see the futility of our lives lived in the world. Our goals and dreams are met and lost, good and evil comes and goes; and when all is said and done, it turns out to be vanity. It was much ado about nothing. Dust to dust. “Remember O man that thou art dust and to dust thou wilt return.”

So when ever asked about the courageous religious lives of those in the monastery or the convent, I simply remark that those are the people who chose to live in the Real World.

God: the end for which man was made

Examplatory drawing for the concept of the foo...

Man has a purpose in life. Just as all created things are ordered to an end, so too are we. Of course the ultimate end of many created things are well known due to our observations from daily life; they can easily be studied and recorded by scientists and others. For instance, we see in nature the assimilation of minerals to sustain the lives of plants and the use of these plants as food for animals and man alike. This food chain is but one observable set of events that indicate the importance of everything in creation and the apparent ordering of the lower to the higher.

English: Street clock in Globe, Arizona, USA F...

Man is also a creator of things and the intended purpose of our creations is normally apparent; a clock keeps time, a chair is to sit in, etc. These are the ends, if you like, or purpose for which they were created. In fact we judge the ‘goodness’ or ‘badness’ of our creations by their ability to conform to the purpose for which we made them. A clock that cannot keep time is useless (bad) in regards to the purpose for which it was created and useful (good) according to its accuracy in keeping time etc. The same can be said of all created things.

But what is the purpose of man? If it makes sense that we create things with a purpose and aim and that the natural order seems also to have a purpose, then should we (creations of God) not also have some purpose in life? Since we are not ordered to a higher form as food nor are we created to enhance the ease or comfort of a superior being here on earth, perhaps we are ordered to that which is not observable in our physical world. We might say that our aim is of a higher order; ordered to the spiritual rather than the physical.

We are not man-made creations devoid of fault for our defects. If we were clocks, we would be clocks that could self-direct our obedience to, or deviance from, our intended purpose. We could decide if we were going to run fast, slow or not at all. In fact, we might even declare that we were not clocks at all. We could decide that we would not adhere to the purpose of ‘clock’ to which we owe our existence. We might decide that we are beautiful and should be adored for our beauty or that we are beholding to no one and therefore should only seek self-satisfaction as a goal. Though we could make such a decision, it would not have any bearing whatsoever on objective reality. Since we possess such freedom of choice we bear culpability for the decisions we make to either accept or reject our intended purpose.

God has revealed to mankind the purpose for which we were made. This aim and purpose as taught by His Church is that we are to know, love and serve Him. It is through this means that our destiny is fulfilled and that we are able to seek happiness not only in this life but also throughout eternity. If we have heard and assented to this purpose as revealed by God, we might then measure success or failure by our conformity to this intended purpose. By obedience to this fundamental Truth we find our happiness and achieve peace of soul. All else might be considered a life completely devoid of reality; a life lived in conformance to a lie. Such a life brings unhappiness, confusion, and conflict. Yet many prefer such a life to that which is consistent with Reality.

The world may think the Christian soul, living in accord to God’s plan, a complete fool . . . though nothing could be further from the truth. This would be like an employee who refuses to do the work for which he has been hired, criticizing those who do their appointed jobs. He may deride them as zealots or mad men because they labor ceaselessly rather than lounge around . . . but a day of reckoning will eventually cost him his job. In regards to the Christian life we find ourselves a minority and thus tempted to abandon our purpose – the narrow path that leads to eternal happiness. We must continually remind ourselves that wrong is always wrong and that right is right even if the whole world is wrong. To know our purpose in life and to live according to this purpose frees us from a life of slavery to our own whims and those of others. It frees us from taking a poll in order to decide what is right or wrong. To know our purpose in life and to live in harmony with this end is mere common sense. It is the homecoming of the prodigal son, the raising up of oneself from the fall of Adam, the return to our original nature – that for which we were made.