November 5, 2017
When human beings get to thinking that they have permission or excuses to treat other humans as tools, instruments, possessions, toys … things, in brief … something has gone radically wrong. Whether we are talking about slavery as it was practiced in this Country or surrogacy as an alternate way to parent or the latest sensationalist revelations emerging from the ‘entertainment’ industry or violations of international conventions on the treatment of prisoners or rampant pornography or cynical profiteering from the sale of addictive drugs, all are practices that share this one trait: persons are deprived of their personhood in the interest of someone else’s goals.
That makes last Sunday’s Gospel particularly poignant: You must love you neighbor. What is not said is that you must not enslave or ‘rent’ or abuse or take advantage of or torture or profit from your neighbor. And yet, all of these things go on and seem to have gone on from the earliest days of human existence.
Actually, the Biblical accounts of the Creation of humanity are unique in world literature in that they depict the existence of all that is a happening, not after a consultation with a committee, or a struggle with one’s significant other or an accidental event amongst or between ‘superior beings’. A solitary God, operating in unconditional and unconditioned freedom – and thus out of and for love alone – brings the ‘other’ that is the universe – and human bearers of his image – to be.
Various people will want to assert – for reasons of their own -- that there is no for to the universe and no personal from. But that position – even the holding of that position -- flies in the face of the capacity to ask whence and whither. The asking is unique; it has not arisen in any other terrestrial species and, as far as we can tell, it has not arisen elsewhere in the observable universe. To say that it might arise is even more problematic for the deniers of intentionality in being: the subjunctive arises when what is contemplates what is not. Only humans think about a universe without themselves in it.
An inhuman universe has no source of purpose and no way of generating it. Unless we have the caring needed to notice, to inquire of, to accept things as they are their being might just as well not be and their non – being will be unmourned. But if we take the notice, ask the questions and embrace the reality of something that is not nothing, then purpose enters in with that human choice and humanity shapes all that is in its own image and likeness.
This is what a famous thinker of the last century meant when he described humanity as the home and shepherd of being.
All of this is a long and fancy way of asserting that love makes the world go ‘round. There is nothing in the non-human universe to explain the origins of love. Thus, there must be a source of love that is not in the universe.
Really and truly and lovingly yours,