Saturday, February 07, 2009

Finding a Balance

As I loaded the last of the dirty dishes into the dishwasher this morning and started the machine, I found myself wondering how such a mundane thing like the dishes could find itself side-by-side with discussions about weighty, worldwide events. The dichotomy between something as personal and human as cleaning plates - or making cinnamon rolls, which I started after that - and keeping abreast of current affairs, good and bad, appeared huge.

It seems to me that in times past, most people were probably able to live their lives more-or-less in their own little worlds. They took care of their families, socialized with their friends and neighbors, participated in local events, and only on occasion received news on a national or worldwide level. They could trust their civil and religious leaders to really take care of and look out for them. They did not need to know what was brewing on another continent... They concentrated their energy on getting their crops planted and their children clothed, fed, and educated. (That is not to say that they were ignorant - simply that their focus was more localized.)
Then came the advent of the telephone, the airplane... the internet and the cell phone. Information now travels extremely quickly, making the world seem smaller than ever. It is now necessary to keep up with global events - to bear part of the weight of the world on your own shoulders.

And so I wondered, as I paused for a cup of tea this morning, how best to strike a balance between day-to-day life and the worldwide political, economic, and religious crises whose effects we will not be able to escape. It occurred to me that the situation is a bit like being in the midst of a battlefield while not actually being a soldier. I pictured a group of civilians huddled beneath arrows that were flying overhead in all directions. And so I think it is for the average person today: it is impossible - indeed, dangerous - to ignore the battle that's going on all around us, but it is of the utmost importance at the same time to keep guard of the family unit and to keep living one's daily life.

The only unifying factor I can think of is God.
In God and with faith, we will see that by doing our duty of state to the best of our ability, we can simultaneously (if vicariously) take part in the battles that are being waged on a larger scale. All baptized Catholics are a part of the Communion of Saints, members of the Church Militant. Thus, every action done for love of God goes toward the common good.
We are therefore able to balance the vast affairs of nations and doing our laundry... on the battlefield of Life.

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