No subtitle for this entry. Just the generic "Day 2."
Keeping up with Lenten posts for the year, today I'll be writing about something that truly amazes and impresses me about Catholic faith- the dual simplicity and difficulty of our mission in life.
More than anything, a Catholic's life is centered around love of the neighbor, an order that seems easily accomplished, until we try to define the context of the word "neighbor." To illustrate his definition, Jesus gives us the parable of The Good Samaritan; a story about a man who is rescued by someone who is supposed to be his enemy. In today's context, it would be the same as saying an American who is saved by a member of the Islamic State, or visa versa.
This mutual love for all humanity (or even all living things) is what gives us the strength and the willingness to turn the other cheek when under attack, to believe in the goodness of humanity, and most importantly, to forgive the sins we commit against each other.
That so much can be achieved by such a simple rule (indeed, this has opened many doors to me throughout my life) is marvelous; even the ten commandments all stem from this singular concept. Even more amazing is that this "Golden Rule" is the cornerstone for almost every community building ideology ever conceived.
This is not a concept that is difficult to understand or apply to our everyday lives.
Why then do we find it so hard to live by this principle? Why is this attitude so often written off as naive and impractical? Is it really that hard for us to have that level of empathy or insight into the circumstances of others? It would seem to me that many problems could easily be solved by being willing to put aside our differences and genuinely care for one another.
Even in fiction, heroes like Superman and Batman- even my favorite super hero Captain America- are often portrayed as not hesitating to use force to save the day. The reason that is given for this is often that there are times in life when one must fight to protect themselves and those around them, or as Steve Rogers says, "If you start running, they'll never let you stop." This is a sad fact, but I do not think that it always has to be this way. It is rare to find a character who truly embodies this love for all, though I can think of a couple (in Madoka's case, her embodiment of this is why I admire her so much).
Even the characters in my own stories are violent and not too interested in extending boundless love to the villains. Admittedly, it is pretty darn fun drawing a good fight scene- you can use lots of colors and dynamic poses, layouts and shapes, and even writing good back and forth dialog can be really refreshing and gratifying.
Really, I've said this much but have only managed to scratch the surface of this topic and I could go on writing pages and pages about it, but at the end of the day the best way for me to really understand and experience Jesus' ideal of humanity is to take these ideas to heart and live it. I could philosophize about it all day, but this is type of philosophy that is best put to action, rather than analyze and over think it. Rather than think about who my neighbor is, perhaps it is better to think about why I am still asking that question.
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