We tend to fall into the trap of, “if I just had (insert name of desired thing here) then I will be good.” That in itself isn’t necessarily boring; it creates a chase, a drive towards something, a compulsion to achieve that goal. What happens when we get it though? One: we’re never as satisfied as we think we’ll be. Two: what’s next?
Our problem is that we’ve taken care of our basic needs and have an overabundance of ways to satisfy our entertainment desires. This has set us up to become really boring, and we have. We think, “we’re there.” We’ve convinced ourselves that “the American dream” has been achieved and we’re living it.
And yet, we’re not satisfied. More to it, we never will be. Unless we obtain the infinite, something eternal, that cannot be diminished in any way, we will never be satisfied. I’m talking about the good, the true, and the beautiful. They never cease to lift up our nature and bring us into a realm beyond that of our banal lives. They’re why Beethoven’s 9th symphony will forever be played and sung and you almost never hear about Lady Gaga anymore (until she’s does something else weirder than she already does, and then after that she’ll be forgotten again).
Catholics are called to strive for the good, the true, and the beautiful. We are called to go beyond ourselves and to reach further into the heights and the depths of these three things than we think is possible. And we must always remind ourselves that we are not there yet, we aren’t perfected yet, that there’s always more to be realized. We’ll never have it all in this world. But that doesn’t mean we don’t try, because we live and thrive off of the glimpses we have of these things, perhaps as much as we do off of food and water. The death of a society is when we forget the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.
One of the phrases I hate hearing most coming from someone’s mouth (especially young people) is this, “I want to make enough money to be comfortable.” I would like to respond, “Then you will be remembered as the one who challenged no evil, conquered no adversity, and won no victory, because you couldn’t get comfortable enough.”
Thinking on our Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, his great message needs to be carried in our hearts (especially young people):