Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Merle Haggard and Rules for Discernment

Today, my bishop, His Excellency Paul D. Etienne, posted an article (Go read it) to his blog where he connected Merle Haggard lyrics to the Christian life. Basically, as Merle looked for happiness in a bottle and failed to find it, Bishop Etienne saw in that an analogy to how we so often look for happiness in the things of this world, but they fail to satisfy. This world is good because God created it (Book of Genesis) but the Prince of this world is indeed the Devil himself (John's Gospel), so the things of this world cannot satisfy. We only use the things of this world-creation-in order to get to God-the Creator.

During my first year in Denver, I studied the First Principle and Foundation of St. Ignatius's Rules of Discernment. They are guidelines for getting through life, and they are worth sharing:

Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.

The other things on the face of the earth are created for man to help him in attaining the end for which he is created.

Hence, man is to make use of them in as far as they help him in the attainment of his end, and he must rid himself of them in as far as they prove a hindrance to him.

Therefore, we must make ourselves indifferent to all created things, as far as we are allowed free choice and are not under any prohibition. Consequently, as far as we are concerned we should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short life. The same holds for all other things.

Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created.

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