Monday, April 12, 2010


A prudent person perceives difficulties ahead and takes precautions; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. Prov. 22:3
Most of us think we are pretty savvy 21st century types. Wise. Is this so? My experience as a parish priest as well as an oil patch construction manager tells me that most of us move from crisis to crisis. Currently, on the political scene, we prefer to posture, pummel, and pontificate (for the cameras) rather than work together to solve or cut off real problems. My mom used to say, "Fiddling while Rome burned" a reference to Roman emperor Nero.
We avoid or put off looking at marriages ("It costs too much," we say, not realizing how much a failed marriage costs.) We seek happiness more than character as a life quest and are surprised when drugs or sex enters our family life unwelcomed or when we seemed surprised that drug wars (murders) happen on the borders of a country (us) that is awash in drugs of all sorts. We are amazed that anyone could bilk savvy people out of billions when Credit is King (no deferred gratification here!) and the worth of a person is measured in dollars and stuff.
"Simpleton" is a quaint bible word. "Stupid" is more like it. God tells us the truth. It is stupid not to plan ahead and to seek relief as often as possible. It is stupid to hold out all options until the last minute and bail out of the hardest ones and wonder why we are busy unto death. It is stupid not to know what our personal or family mission is. Satan has one for us if we default. It is stupid not to build character and, instead, aim for happiness.
God tells us the truth, building character inherently makes us happy even if circumstances don't always go our way. God tells us the truth when he says the way of the Cross (read deferred gratification) is the way of Life. God tells us the truth that when our hearts yearn for money, people, especially those close to us, suffer. Character trumps expedience. Expedience often leads us to be unhappy and unfulfilled even when circumstances do go our way.
God wants us happy. God sees we often are not. God tells us the way and then permanently opens the way to all who follow his Son. Character building (see Romans 5) does not disappoint.

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