"In the vocabulary of the Old Testament, suffering and evil are identified with each other. In fact, that vocabulary did not have a specific word to indicate ‘suffering’. Thus it defined as ‘evil’ everything that was suffering. Only the Greek language, and together with it the New Testament…use the verb "I am affected by … I experience a feeling, I suffer"; and, thakns to this verb, suffering is no longer directly identifiable with (objective) evil, but expresses a situation in which man experiences evil and in doing so becomes the subject of suffering."
— Salvifici Doloris
"In itself human suffering constitutes as it were a specific ‘world’ which exists together with man, which appears in him and passes, and sometimes does not pass, but which consolidates itself and becomes deeply rooted in him."
— Salvifici Doloris
"Now it is an outstanding manifestation of charity toward souls to omit nothing from the saving doctrine of Christ; but this must always be joined with tolerance and charity, as Christ Himself showed in His conversations and dealings with men. For when He came, not to judge, but to save the world, was He not bitterly severe toward sin, but patient and abounding in mercy toward sinners?"
— Humanae Vitae
Reading Humanae Vitae for the first time. Struck by very many passages, but also by this sentence: “And now We wish to speak to rulers of nations.” That’s so badass: just a serenely assured assumption that it is the Church’s, and the Pope’s, job to address presidents and kings and prime ministers, and that they ought to listen.
"The question of human procreation, like every other question which touches human life, involves more than the limited aspects specific to such disciplines as biology, psychology, demography or sociology. It is the whole man and the whole mission to which he is called that must be considered."
— Humanae Vitae
I love Mary Karr. Here are some of the reasons I’ve always felt kin to alcoholics:
"I used to think of it as an adherence to rules, and the really horrible thing about quitting drinking is, I think, inside my mind I was so divided against myself. Nobody really talks about what happens to you and your level of self-confidence when you tell yourself every fucking day you’re going to drink X, and then you drink 10 times that—or you’re not going to drink at all and you drink anyway. You become very split off against yourself. So there was a part of me that would yell and scream and say, ‘You stupid bitch, goddamnit, you said you weren’t gonna drink and you drank anyway.’ And there was this other part that was like ‘Fuck those people! Fuck the rules!’ you know, blah blah blah…"
(Whole interview is here.)
Heading off to see my shrink. Looking forward to this session, because she gave me homework (a month ago) and I finally did it: it was to draw pictures of myself. I was supposed to use some medium I was unfamiliar with, so I picked crayons.
It was a really weird experience, and I’m glad I was alone for it, because when I drew the picture of a depressed me — looked like a dripping piece of bloody meat infected with black goo — I was suddenly sobbing; but then when I drew the lively, confident, solid me — something impish with an incredibly dashing forelock — I was suddenly humming and making goofy noises. That picture is titled “Zim Zam”, for reasons that are surely obvious.
The other two were just weird, so I won’t talk about them.
Anyway, we’ll see what she says, but I like ‘em.
I ditched my smartphone the other day. I’d been thinking of doing it for a few months, on and off, but kept thinking of all the things I’d miss: GPS, streaming music, facebook. Then I got the ditching urge again and suddenly remembered some very good advice I heard once about generosity: when you get a generous impulse, follow through on it quickly before the impulse goes away. So I ditched the sucker.
Haven’t missed it a bit so far, but the plusses keep showing up: easier to get up in the morning (because no facebook), easier to get around to making dinner at night (because no facebook), no temptation to browse while driving, no empty feeling upon realising that you’ve been going in circles for the last half hour, just refreshing your twitter feed, your facebook feed, your email…
Smartphones are like cigarettes. I think they’re probably objectively good, or at least morally neutral — but for me, being what I am, I can’t go half measures. I’m either a pack-a-day smoker or not a smoker at all. Moderation in these things is, for me, impossible. If thy Google Nexus offend thee…
I have friends who don’t go out of their way to spend time with me, but who nevertheless really do enjoy my company. I always have to combat the delusion that they don’t really like spending time with me.
I also have friends who DO go out of their way to spend time with me. And I always have to combat the delusion that they’re going out of their way to spend time with me just so that I will be convinced that they really like spending time with me.
So, to reiterate: if they don’t spend time with me, I’m convinced they don’t like me. And if they do spend time with me, I’m convinced they don’t like me.
Being this neurotic is like being schizophrenic, except the voices aren’t actually audible.
"We’re hesitant to admit that our lives are difficult in any way. We feel the pain, but then we look around at our washers and dryers and smartphones and televisions and all the other trappings of our first-world lives, and we feel embarrassed to complain about anything. It feels easier, and certainly more noble, to blame ourselves, to assume that the problem must simply be moral failings and character defects on our parts.
"But what I found with my undiagnosed medical issues is that when we refuse to accept real suffering as legitimate, it actually makes it harder to be grateful. We spend so much mental energy fighting the wrong battles and beating ourselves up over phantom failings that we don’t have much energy left to take stock of all the wonderful things in our lives. Living in a false reality is exhausting and demoralizing. It’s much easier to be happy, peaceful, and close to God when we acknowledge the truth, even if that involves acknowledging that some things are hard.”
— From A meditation on the shocking idea that maybe we’re actually not just lazy whiners, by Jennifer Fulwiler