Friday, March 9, 2007


To do is to be.

To be is to do.

Do be do be do.

My Dad is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s. “Why don’t you ever come and see me?” “Dad, I was here Tuesday.” “No you weren’t, I’d remember.” “Okay. (Uncomfortable pause) So, what did you have for lunch today?” “I don’t remember.”

My father is not able to “do” anything for me anymore. It is excruciating even to carry on a conversation with him because anything that happened more than thirty seconds in the past has been forgotten. The challenge now is to love him for being, not for what he can do for me.

It is easy to love persons who make you feel good, who can provide you with things and services or joy. They are useful to us. But that is like loving a car. We cherish it and baby it because it serves us (and looks so good! Be jealous of me!) But wear and rust and dirt soon make the repair bills annoying, the glory faded, and we start searching for a replacement.

But unlike a car, you have an inherit dignity. You are lovable because you are, not because of what you can do for someone. That is how God loves you. He has no need of you per se. After all He is perfect community and self-sufficiency. The IV weekday preface in ordinary time reads, “You have no need of our praise, yet our desire to thank you is itself your gift.” We add nothing to his glory. And as a human race we have worked hard at showing God how much we do not need Him. Yet He still loves you, died for you, forgives you, welcomes you, shares with you, is with you.

It is imperative that each of us to understand both our unworthiness of God’s love and how abundantly we share in it anyway by His free gift. It is then we can realize how God can love even those we name our enemies, our least desirables, our inconvenient, our useless, our difficult, and call us in our dealings with them to remember their inherit human dignity and to act toward them accordingly.


Rob said...

In the future, as our society becomes more firmly entrenched in sin and abortion becomes the norm and the euthanasia gurneys are rolled out for all the undesirables (old, crippled, ugly), the Church will become an even brighter light to the world. Many who are merely selfish now, and see the abortion issure as just one way the Church tries to control women, will come to realize that we have all along been trying to save lives and souls.

Of course, many will just dig in their heels even more firmly and persist in their beliefs, until they become undesirable...

uncle jim said...

and then?

can everybody say, "Soylent Green"?

Rob said...

Truky, I don't believe soylent green is far off the mark. Only, there won't be any "overpopulation" or starvation spurring the consumption of our "unnecessary" fellow man, just as there was no driving reason behind throwing people to the lions in ancient Rome. People will just do it because it amuses them.

uncle jim said...

amuses them?

amuses them?

did you say, "...amuses them."?

and that is why they threw people to the lions? ...because it amused them?

instead of feeding the beasts, they could have just had a weekly banquet and fed the starving thousands with these excess useless Christians. i guess they hadn't read the book yet.

UltraCrepidarian said...

I wrote something about this post over at my blog:

"If I had to have only one reason to be Catholic, this would be it...."


Tiber Jumper said...

Hey Father:
I am a geriatrician working exclusively at nursing homes. Reuniting with my Catholic faith has given me more insight into the inherent dignity of life than I ever had before as a devout evangelical. The Churches teachings on life have been my guide and guard as we navigate through a society hell bent on terminating the "suffering" of people they deem poor "quality of life."
God bless you and your Dad

Fr. V said...

Thanks Tiber Jumper. Can you imagine what it would be like if everyone - at least every Catholic believed in treating those with whom they work as you do? Man.