North Coast Catholic June 2012 : Page 2
from the bishop Pleasure and The Spiritual Life My Dear People of God: S ummer is a time in which many seek to indulge themselves in a variety of recre-ational pursuits. These pursuits are not, in any way, separated from our daily living of our Catholic faith. A paragraph from The Spiritual Life is very instructive: “Pleasure in itself is not evil. God allows it when directed toward a higher end, that is, toward moral good. If He has attached pleasure to certain good acts, it is in order to facilitate their accomplishment and to draw us on to the fulfillment of duty. The moderate enjoyment of pleasure, if referred to its end – moral and supernatural good – is not an evil. In fact, it is a good act, for it tends toward a good end, which is ultimately God Himself. But to will pleasure without any reference to the end that makes it lawful, that is, to will pleasure as an end in itself and as an ultimate end, is a moral disorder, for it is going counter to the wisdom of a God-established order. Such disorder leads to further evil, because when one’s sole motive is pleasure, one is exposed to love pleasure to excess; one is no longer guided by an end that raises its barriers against that immod-erate thirst for enjoyment which exists in all of us.” This paragraph requires further reflection. Recreation is a good thing because it is directed toward the health of the body, which, hopefully, enables us to serve God more actively, con-sistently and effectively. There is a certain pleasure attached to recreation which helps offset at least some of the pain of physical exercise. This pleasure is attached to recreation, by God Himself, because He wants us to be healthy and so He makes recreation pleasurable. The purpose of recreation and exercise is, however, good physical and moral health. The purpose of recreation is not the pleasure it provides. Some time ago, I talked to an X-treme kayak addict. I use the term addict decidedly. He is a thrill seeker and a risk taker and his search for yet another adrenalin rush is simply excessive. His willingness to risk his very life for the sake of a thrill is simply dis-ordered. That may sound a little harsh, but I believe it to be true. For such a thrill seeker, the sole motive becomes a quest for an adrenaline rush, pleasure, thrill or excitement. Such a quest lacks a proper relationship to a God-established order. Without the God-established order, there is literally no barrier to that “im-moderate thirst for enjoyment which exists in all of us.” This immoderate thirst is unquenchable. Hence, the risks get greater and greater, while the thrill which was great last week is “boring” this week. Greater risk is required to achieve a similar rush. So it is with risks, with alcohol, with drugs, with sex, with rac-ing, with recreation, with eating, with body piercing, with shocking dress, even with work. If it is not somehow directed toward God and the things of God, toward heaven and the things that lead to heaven, then it runs a serious risk of being disordered, that is, not ordered to God or to godliness. The words “I’m bored” are indeed very dangerous because they are literally a declaration that I intend to be ordered to my own enjoyment, my own pleasure, and that it is my goal to seek these things as ends in themselves. They are false gods, which promise much, but have no power to fill us with what God knows we need. When young people and even us older folks seek God and the things of God and seek to order all things in our lives according to God’s plan, then all things are exciting, nothing is boring and “that immoderate thirst for enjoyment which exists in all of us” is kept properly in check. Praying that you have a blessed and safe summer, I am, The Most Reverend Robert F. Vasa, Bishop of Santa Rosa El Placer y la Vida Espiritual Mi Querida Gente de Dios: El verano es un tiempo durante el cual muchos procuran deleitarse de una amplia variedad de búsquedas recreacionales legítimas. Estas búsquedas no estan, de ningún modo, separa-das de nuestra vida diaria en nuestra fe catolica. Un párrafo de la Vida Es-piritual es muy instructivo: “ El placer en sí mismo no es malo. Dios lo permite cuando esta dirigido hacia un fin más alto, es decir hacia la buena moral. Si Él ha amarrado el placer a ciertos actos buenos, es a fin de facilitar su logro y dirigirnos hacia la real-ización de nuestro deber. El gozo moderado del placer, se refiere en si a la – moral y bondad The Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa continues its commitment to provide a safe and welcoming en-vironment for all young people. We also are eager to reach out to any who have experienced past abuses through clergy, staff or volunteers. If you or someone you know has been harmed by sexual misconduct by clergy, a church employee or volunteer, please contact Julie Sparacio, victims assistance coordinator, at 707.566.3308 or jsparacio@srdiocese. org. If you have cause to suspect young people are currently at risk, contact the local police. Bishop Robert F. Vasa is the sixth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa, Calif. 2 North Coast Catholic / June 2012 / www. srdiocese. org Liturgical calendar: St. Justin, martyr June 1 | Ss. Marcellinus and Peter, martyrs June 2 | Most Holy Trinity June 3 | St.
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