Mask Wearing, Humility and Virtue

Mask Wearing, Humility and Virtue August 9, 2021

Recently, I shared this meme, only to be questioned as to whether it was an act of humility to wear a mask if one acknowledged one needed humility to wear a mask.

It got me thinking about the misunderstandings most have of the concept of humility. Humility is not the absence of awareness that our acts have meaning, but a profound recognition that our acts have consequences beyond what we imagine. Humility is the willingness to serve even if no one else does. Humility is to allow one’s self to do this, because it wills the good of another.

I firmly believe this little act of civil obedience is a kindness to all those who are vulnerable –children under the age of 12 and those who for whatever reason have not received the vaccine. I further recognize that it is not pleasant or comfortable at all moments to do so, and thus some self sacrifice is required for each individual to acquiesce to this request. Love is based on sacrifice, and this little act requires some degree of sacrifice, hence to do so is to love.

I did not create but shared the meme but I will defend the assertion of act of wearing a mask as a humble one. Protecting from others and one’s self is loving your neighbor as yourself, because you do this despite inconvenience and occasional discomfort. The heath of your family and everyone else’s rest in this act. One may do it out of duty (local ordinance), fear, or virtue, the motivations do not negate the reality …it is kindness intended. The benefits of said act are primary –stemming the possibility of infection –either carried or received, and secondary, for those around us.

The nature of the internet is to suspect, and to presume bad faith.  The constant gnashing of teeth online has left us tempted to presume any and all good acts are only for show, and that they lack conviction or purpose beyond self-affirmation.  The goal is to protect everyone.    Anyone who spends time weighing and measuring why someone else does something needs a better hobby.

Criticism is shaming, and advocating a good action, whether personal or public, online is “Virtue signaling.” The net result of such caustic suspicion is to encourage everyone to remain silent about the bad and the good, and pretend everything is awesome even if it’s not to avoid conflict. If no one flinches, we can all just float along.
I have never been good at fitting in, so I’ll just say, that’s a stupid way to live. It’s a way to exist without actually affecting anything, and life is not meant to be without consequence, and without effect. Our wits, our words, our witness should affect people. Our lives, our bodies, our minds and our souls should have greater impact than a passing shadow we create by going by. Covid-19 remains a vivid and visible reminder that our lives are in each other’s hands and we are our brothers’ keeper.

So on my soapbox today I’ll say, “Get the vaccine if you can, and wear a mask for everyone else until we get this thing gone.”

It’s been 514 days since the world shut down normal, and we’re still having this stupid discussion.

I’m telling the world, stupid has long since passed its sell by date.

The disease is real and thinking otherwise doesn’t make it so. The mask help curb the spread, and the data bears this out. To proclaim that being forced to do something for the common good when out in common ground is somehow an offence against God and man, doesn’t make much sense since we have plenty of common good laws in place designed to stem infection in the general public. Also, God wants us to do what is good for others, to not be islands unto ourselves who only service our own petty wants and needs, so I’m at a loss how God feels injured by us trying to make sure no one is rendered ill or dead by our own negligence. We have required vaccinations. We have required attire (no shoes, no shirt, no service). We have seatbelt and helmet laws.

Willing the common good is a Christian/Catholic values. If you need further motivation to get the vaccination, here:

Get the vaccine, wear the mask and recognize that in these two acts, virtue is not being signaled, (I intend to be thought well of by doing this), virtue is being practiced (we intend that you not get sick by doing this). Be virtuous because someone else’s life may depend upon it.

If you need a reason beyond this, a non secular reason, we are our brothers’ keeper, and our spiritual health  requires we do this.  “Look at how they love each other.”  is the witness each of us aspire to, so let us begin today, to do little things with great love.

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