I was in a conversation a few weeks ago regarding relativism. Particularly in reference to the thought that hey, if a belief feels right to someone for the situation then it must be okay. I brought up the point that that if something feels good, it doesn’t necessarily translate that it is true. As an example I pointed to a tree and stated if someone views that tree as a god, and they believe it with every fiber in their body, it doesn’t mean it is true. I have mentioned before that by the nature of truth itself, there can only be one truth. In the tree example, that belief may make the person feel very good, and even give them comfort. However, it cannot go any deeper beyond that feeling. A tree can give them no more spiritual guidance, grace or counsel than could a rock, a pen or a tire for that matter. They place themselves at risk because the tree can give them nothing, can do nothing for them.
After that conversation I kept thinking. Through this thought I finally came to a personal revelation that helped me resolve something I have been perplexed about. I have in the past also mentioned that the Ten Commandments can be better construed as our roadmap to a peaceful, happy life instead of being looked at as rules for the sake of rules. God loves us so much he tells us point blank how to find peace with our spirit. There were however two commandments I couldn’t quite resolve in this light. I couldn’t quite grasp how they fit in with the roadmap concept. One was the first commandment. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me. There is one God and it makes sense to worship no other false idols, I get that, but I couldn’t see how this quite fit with the thought of the commandments being a guide to happiness. Then it occurred to me, God is saying there is only one God, and it is He who can help you. He is the one who can give you solace, bring you peace and guidance. It is only God who can take suffering and help you become a better person through it. God is saying here I am, I wish happiness for you and I can provide for you. The other commandment in question is Honor thy Father and thy Mother. Again, there is no question they deserve respect and love. As for our happiness, I realize now more than ever that God is showing us one of our greatest resources for guidance. Parents have gained lessons born from experience and if we respect and at least consider their knowledge we have a better chance to avoid making many of the same mistakes in our lives, thereby straightening out our own path to happiness.
On another personal revelation note, but still commandment oriented, In the Gospel according to Mathew when Jesus is tested by the Pharisees and Sadducees He is asked what the greatest commandment is. His answer is quick and concise, Love God with all your heart, soul and mind. He also quickly adds that the second greatest commandment is like the first, love your neighbor as you love yourself. In John 15:13, God clarifies this love. There is no greater love than to lay one’s life down for his friends. If you think of this only in the strict physical sense it seems pretty drastic. Surely giving your physical life up to save another is a great act of love, but perhaps the message goes past just the physical. This occurred to me while attending Fr. Acuri’s 50th anniversary. The accomplishments of this man throughout his life as a priest are inspirational, commendable and heart-warming. He didn’t build the biggest bridge, fly to the moon or become a CEO of a fortune 500 company. He has however, left an indelible mark on this earth through his love for his fellow man. This work came about because he answered God’s call. Our priests and religious, in essence are called by God to lay down their lives in order to follow the work God asks of them for humankind, the body of His church. I think it appropriate to keep Fr. Acuri, and all our priests and religious in your prayers.