The Afterthought II

…in which I say all I wanted to say in Loneliness Sucks.

I have very little tolerance for idolatry. I would have smashed the desert’s porcelain gods along with Muhammad and torn down the golden calf with Moses. I took down my Jimi Hendrix poster because it was in line with my crucifix, and the whole line-of-vision situation was getting awkward. I make sure to not get too excited about coffee, for fear of undue praise to the inanimate, but despite such awe-inspiring intolerance, I can forgive, I can tolerate and I can understand the man who worships his next-door neighbor.

My next-door neighbors will live forever. My neighbors are made in the image and likeness of a God whose image and likeness is utterly unfathomable outside of my neighbors and I. My neighbors have  - by the sacrifice of Christ – the incredible opportunity of complete union with their Maker. My neighbors – screw what the Calvinists say – have Free Will, the ability and power to decide their own fate, while all the particles around them are slaves to the laws of thermodynamics. My neighbors are conduits of grace in the world. My neighbors have such a rich and incredible personal dignity, such beauty in the eyes of God, that to harm them would bring his fury and wrath upon me. Truly, as C.S Lewis said, “Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object present to your senses.” If the pagan religions made their gods so like men, crossing them with beasts, perhaps it was only because men are so like gods, and so often like beasts.

So the sight of a man pressing his nose to floor in front of his waiter – while strange and misinformed – is much more sensible than one pressing his nose before a stone, before a career, or before the government. We should not worship our neighbor, but the question I bring to you is this: if everything I mentioned is true, should we not at least love our neighbor? Should there not be at least a little awe in the greeting of another human being? This is the cure to our loneliness and isolation – not becoming familiar with our neighbors, for familiarity breeds contempt – but by becoming awed by our neighbors. Each human being is the central protagonist to a narrative of the highest drama. We walk among Frodo’s and Aragorn’s, Ender’s and Hazel Motes’, but we treat each other like cheap foils in trashy pulp fiction, worth a ‘hello’ or a grunt, but beyond that…that’s the cure: the constant realization that man is incredible.

In Case You're Feeling Down and Depressed...
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  • Brian

    Great post. Speaking of Chesterton (which can never be done enough)…The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people. -Chesterton

  • Sylvia

    "Each human being is the central protagonist to a narrative of the highest drama."^^^That's an affecting truth.

  • Michelle @ Catholic Unveiled

    Amen. That's pretty much all I have to say. Mind if I re-post this on my blog this week? Of course I'll give you all due credit and linkage :)

  • Elaine

    Marc! You should do some stuff on the sacredness of the human body, i'm arguing about feminism with Tim right now, and it all comes back to our fundamentally different view of human life and dignity. have you already written something about that?

  • Marc

    Elaine!Sure, if you design a new banner for BadCatholic based of Flannery O'Connor's “I am a Catholic not like someone else would be a Baptist or a Methodist, but like someone else would be an atheist.”

  • Elaine


  • -fabi-

    Hey Marc! I'm new to badcatholic, and some of my non-catholic friends have been thoroughly impressed with the way you present catholic positions :) If you want to put on your backlog of things to write about "the beauty and necessity of liturgy" that would be great since one of the main questions I got this week was: Why liturgy? It's boring, and people don't look joyful when I've visited a Mass?

  • Brian

    Fabi,You may have already read these, but the following two books by Scott Hahn answer your question and then some! Without liturgy, we have no right worship. Liturgy is the prayer of the Church and how we participate in the heavenly liturgy.The Lamb's Supper;=1304447325&sr;=8-1-spellLetter and Spirit;=1304447453&sr;=8-38

  • Marc

    fabi – i'll get on it!

  • -fabi-

    Thanks Brian & Marc! I'm rereading the Lamb's Supper right now, but I have yet to read Letter and Spirit. I'll get on that!

  • belinda

    "Should there not be at least a little awe in the greeting of another human being?" I love that sentence. Such a beautiful sentence.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I can approach another person as such- now but in my youth I could not. Broken and hurting people can sometimes barely function let alone extend Christ to others or see Christ in others. A great deal of patience is needed with these/me people as Christ goes about his healing within them/me but it's worth the wait.~~~~~~~~~~~I noticed that as I fall deeper in love with Christ, I fall deeper in love with his people and his broken people are my favorite.