Another Lenten season is complete. Hopefully, it was a time for you to reflect, to examine yourself & your conscience, to internally soul search, and to grow in all aspects of your life.
It is not easy to examine one’s conscience and search one’s soul. We don’t always like the answers that we find, or the path on which one is to take if one is to better oneself.
Throughout LENT, I listen to many audio CD’s from Catholic Lighthouse Media & DynamicCatholic.com such as recordings of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Saint Mother Theresa, & one of my favorite authors & speakers, Matthew Kelly. I find that their words are incredibly meaningful, inspirational, & self-reflective. I believe their words are equally uplifting to Catholics & non-Catholics alike.
In this blog, I’d like to focus on some words by Matthew Kelly regarding seriously examining ourselves as a civil society, and the underlying causes of our present cultural decline. The following are excerpts from Matthew Kelly’s book, “Building Better Families.”
“What is the purpose of culture? In general, the purpose of culture is to offer a broadening experience for the people of a society. But even a broadening should serve some greater overall purpose. Broadening, simply for the sake of broadening is dangerous, irresponsible, and reckless. In its truest expression, culture would expose people to a broadening set of ideas and experiences that would be aimed at inspiring and assisting each member of that society to become a better version of themselves. Every aspect of the human experience should be seen with our essential purpose in mind. Culture is therefore only valuable to the extent that it helps the members of a society celebrate their best selves. It is needless to say, and blatantly obvious, that our modern culture fails to deliver in this regard in too many ways to list. At every turn, we are assaulted by ideas and experiences that do not only not assist us to become the best version of ourselves, but even worse, often introduce obstacles that significantly prevent us from embracing our best selves, and following our destinies…”
“So, what exactly is our culture trying to achieve?”
“This is where we stumble upon the alarming truth… The stark reality is that our culture does not have a vision for the human person. If that sounds a little confusing, imagine how confusing the actual experience…is for the average teenager.”
“If there is no grand vision for our culture, what is driving it? What is driving the modern popular culture in which our society is immersed? The answer? Advertising and consumption. The goal of much of what drives our culture today seems to be nothing more than to create and encourage consumption. The practical reality is that the modern culture does not elevate a person, it consumes a person…Anyone interested in becoming the best version of himself or herself has an uphill battle in today’s culture. It is true that this desire to become all we are capable of being would be difficult even in a culture that attempted to help people in this quest. The internal obstacles, laziness, procrastination, addiction, make it difficult enough as we strive to fulfill our destinies. A culture that opposes our quest adds a whole different set of challenges.”
“Someone who seriously wants to grow in the midst of this culture is required to make a very concerted effort, to seek out the resources necessary to nurture such a journey, and to still themselves against the never-ending onslaught of ideas and images that constantly present themselves and try to lure you away from your path.”
“Why? No real reason, no real vision, no great agenda, other than to sell you something…And again, we discover that consumption is not driven by the self-assured individual, dedicated to being a well-rounded, healthy, contributing member of society. No, consumption is driven by the self-centered, self-interested, pleasure-seeking, insecure soul who needs the latest of everything to feel that he or she has any real worth. An emotionally healthy person consumes less than an emotionally unhealthy person… With every passing day, our culture caters more to the lowest common denominator. In doing so, the great center of society continues to be dragged to lower levels. The least possible version of ourselves is where the culture is leading us.”
I found this excerpt to be truly profound. I believe it is time to realize, recognize, become fully aware of, and daily affirm this information. Let it settle in, digest it, and come to a conscious decision to change our present course. It takes great discipline, and I’m sure that many of us will backslide at times. The important thing is to get right back up, dust yourselves off, and get back on the good path. It’s narrow, and sometimes difficult to see amongst the darkness, but it’s there, and our hearts know the way. Sometimes, just being aware of something, gives you a better sense of how to deal with it. Once we know, we can gather the resources necessary to make the correct decisions in our lives. This is why I decide to strive to be the best version of myself.
With soul searching and self-examination, the answers are before us. And with those answers, we have the ability to strive to become the best version of ourselves.
~ A Remedy Reflection
Matthew Kelly’s inspirational books & audio books are available at www.DynamicCatholic.com, & I highly recommend them. I had the privilege of meeting Matthew, and he is a true inspiration to our world, and is unmatched in his approach. If more people were exposed to his words, I believe we’d change the world.
A Happy & Blessed Easter & Passover to all!!!
God bless you.
Until next month,
~ John D.