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Pope John Paul II wrought that “the world in which we live is composed of many objects”. Then he clarifies the meaning of this sentence: “An ‘Object,’ strictly speaking, is something related to a ‘subject’ It is then possible to say that the world in which we live is composed of many subjects.”
Why this talk of objects and subjects? And what are such words doing in a book about love? Because the Pope fears “it is easy to treat everything which is outside the subject, i.e. the whole world of objects, in a purely subjective way, to deal with it only as it enters into the consciousness of a subject, establishes itself and dwells in that consciousness.” The Pope then concludes the first paragraph of his book firmly: “We must, then, be clear right from the start that every subject also exists as an object, an objective ‘something’ or ‘somebody’ (his emphasis).”
The Pope makes clear from the start that each person has a value in and of themselves, and that we must be on guard against our natural inclination to view others only in terms of what they do for us. In our dealings with others, what we want should never take priority over what is best for others.
The meaning of words is important to the Pope, and in the first pages of the book he labours to define important terms. One word dear to the Pope is “Person” . Person – “it is not enough to define a man as an individual of the species Homo (or even Homo sapiens) but this term ‘person’ has been coined to signify that a man cannot be wholly contained within the concept ‘individual member of the species’, but that there is something more to him, a particular richness and perfection in the manner of his being, which can only be brought out by the use of the word ‘person.’ The most obvious reason for this is that man has the ability to reason, he is a rational being, which cannot be said of any other entity in the visible world, for in none of them do we find any trace of conceptual thinking.”
So here we see that persons are not mere animals, “although physiological processes more or less similar to those in man take place within their organisms.” The Pope stresses, “the person as a subject is distinguished from even the most advanced animals by a specific inner self, an inner life, characteristic only of persons.”
This is a key point, as “The person’s contact with the objective world, with reality, is not merely ‘natural’, physical, as is the case with all other creations of nature, nor is it merely sensual as in the case of animals. A human person, as a distinctly defined subject, establishes contact with all other entities precisely through the inner self.”
Man’s nature differs fundamentally from that of the animals. It includes the power of self-determination, based on reflection, and manifested in the fact that a man acts from choice. This power is called free will.”
The Pope continues: “Because a human being, as a person – possesses free will, he is his own master, sui juris. Personality is alteri incommunicabilis – not capable of transmission, not transferable. The point here is not that a person is a unique and unrepeatable entity, for this can be said just as well of any other entity – of an animal, a plant, a stone. The incommunicable, the inalienable, in a person is intrinsic to that person’s inner self, to the power of self-determination, free will. No one else can want for me. No one can substitute his act of will for mine.”
The Pope concludes: “It does sometimes happen that someone very much wants me to want, what he wants. This is the moment when the impassable frontier between him and me, which is drawn by free will, becomes most obvious. I may not want that which he wants me to want—and in this precisely I am incommunicabilis. I am, and I must be, independent in my actions. All human relationships are posited on this fact”.
Love is an expression of personal responsibility, responsibility to another human being, and responsibility to God. How, he asked, can men and women become responsible lovers, so that their sexual love embodies and symbolizes a genuine freedom? How can our love become a fully human love?
The first meaning of “To Use”:
Its first meaning: to employ some object of action as a means to an end. The Pope says this is OK with things and animals (so long as “use” is never attended by suffering or torture), but anyone who treats a person merely as a means to an end does violence to the very essence of the other.
We avoid using each other as an object when two genuine freedoms meet each other in pursuit of a good we hold in common. This encounter of two freedoms is the substance of love. Loving is the opposite of using.
In pursuit of goods —common aims—he says “Marriage is one of the most important areas where this principle is put into practice…. Such an end…is procreation, the future generation, a family, and at the same time the continual ripening of the relationship between two people.”
“Positive charge of pleasure” and the “negative charge of pain.”
The second meaning of to Use = Enjoy means to experience pleasure, the pleasure which in slightly different senses is associated both with the activity itself and the object of the activity.
For man because he has the power to reason, can, in his actions, not only clearly distinguish pleasure from its opposite, but can also isolate it, so to speak, and treat it as a distinct aim of his activity. His actions are then shaped only with a view to the pleasure he wishes to obtain, or the pain he wishes to avoid…..
Utilitarianism – the primary rule of human morality is the maximization of pleasure accompanied by the minimization of pain.
Principle of unity = maximum of pleasure for the greatest number of people—with a minimum of discomfort for the same number. Love is a “union of egoisms which can hold together only on condition that they confront each other with nothing unpleasant, nothing to conflict with their mutual pleasure.”
The real mistake of utility
arianism is the recognition of pleasure in itself as the sole or greatest good. This is the danger of “using” a person and of treating a person as a means to an end.
“A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.” – The commandment to love.
St. Augustine distinct between “UTI = pleasure for its own sake, with no concern for the object of the pleasure” , and “FRUI = which finds joy in a totally committed relationship with the other precisely because this is what the nature of the object demands”.
Sex: Instinct or Urge? The Pope concludes: Man is by nature capable of rising above instinct in his actions. Man exercises self-determination, decides for himself about his actions, takes responsibility—this is the point at which human freedom and the sex urge meet.
Although love grows out of the sexual urge and develops on that basis… It is nonetheless given its definitive shape by acts of will at the level of the person. Man is at once a social being and a sexual being.
The existence of the human species depends upon the sexual urge. The man and woman facilitate the existence of another concrete person, their own child, blood of their blood, flesh of their flesh. This person is at once an affirmation and a continuation of their own love. The natural order of human existence is not in conflict with love between persons but in strict harmony.
“Rigoristic Interpretation” ( naturalistic or empirico-sensualist principles) – conjugal life is only good because it serves the purpose of procreation. Pleasure/enjoyment is a necessary evil.
The Pope’s response to puritanism: “There exists a joy which is consonant both with the nature of the sexual urge and with the dignity of human persons, a joy which results from collaboration, from mutual understanding and the harmonious realization of jointly chosen aims, in the broad field of action which is love between man and woman. The Creator designed this joy and linked it with love between man and woman in so far as that love develops on the basis of the sexual urge in a normal manner, in other words in a manner worthy of human persons.”
Libido = enjoyment resulting from use.
Freud’s pleasure principle: interprets all the phenomena of human life from earliest infancy onward as manifestations of the sexual urge. Procreation is a secondary end (accident). Inner human life almost totally negated — “this conception puts human psychology on the same level as the psychology of animals.”
The Sexual Urge here is not purely “libidinistic” but existential in character. A subject endowed with an inner self as man is, a subject who is a person, cannot abandon to instinct the whole responsibility for the use of the sexual urge, and make enjoyment his sole aim—but must assume full responsibility for the way in which the sexual urge is used.
Socioeconomic Context —Thomas Malthus. Some argue there is the threat of overpopulation, that production of subsistence cannot keep pace with population. We must not succumb to the danger of subordinating the person to economics.
Two basic instincts:
instinct of self-preservation – is egocentric, centered on the existence of the “I” sexual instinct – always transcends the limits of the “I.” Objective purpose of the sexual urge might be called “altero-centrism.” But the “libidinistic” interpretation of the sexual urge confuses these two topics.
“Marriage, objectively considered, must provide first of all the means of continuing existence, secondly a conjugal life for man and woman, and thirdly a legitimate orientation for desire.”
Why did God create the world and allow us to be “cooperators” in the ongoing existence of the human species? It all comes down to God’s great love for us. Without existence, there is no opportunity for love. And in fact procreation provides us with an outlet for our own love.
Good parents are not able to be selfish people! And in some sense the Church is reminding to us that, marriage is not primarily for us; it is surely
1 a gift but also
2 a challenge and
3 a sacrifice.
Pope warns us not to interpret sexuality as being merely an instrument of God. A better interpret it that God wills you to procreate because you are meant to love.
For example: The aim of marriage, a conjugal life for man and woman is defined as man and woman living together, complementing each other and supporting each other (mutuum adiutorium). He relates this to education in marriage, mutual education between husband and wife, as a necessary basis for bringing children into the world. “If there is intimate cooperation between the man and woman in a marriage, and if they are able to educate and complement each other, their love matures to the point at which it is the proper basis for a family.“
Joen – Marriage as a sacrament – provides sanctifying grace, that is, grace that makes you part of God’s love. He drew a visual image of iron and fire; iron becomes red hot like fire as it draws close to fire.
Alberto – marriage is a reflection of the original unity of man and woman in the Garden of Eden. Yet because of Original Sin, the sacramental graces of marriage are necessary to unite a man and woman with God.
The realization of the full potential of love or to provide opportunities to grow in love could only be found in a committed marriage welcoming the possibility of having children.
Love is always a mutual relationship between persons. Love’s basic elements:
Wojtyla’s three characteristics of love:
To attract someone means to be regarded as “a good.” Attraction also involves knowledge, a cognitive commitment; but attraction is not purely cognitive… the emotions and the will are involved as well. To be attracted does not mean just thinking about someone as a good—it means a commitment to think about that person as a good, and this commitment is effected only by the will.
Love being a decision – love does draw from the intellect and from reason, yet it is guided and oriented by emotion. Marriage and commitment are decisions.
“For every human person is an indescribably complex and, so to speak, uneven good. Man and woman alike are by nature corporeal and spiritual beings.”
Attraction has as its object a person, and its source is the whole person. Such an attitude to a person is love. “Attraction is of the essence of love and in some sense is indeed love, although love is not merely attraction”. Attraction to another depends on two things:
This explains why two people react differently to the same person and are attracted to different persons.
Sentiments – have the power to guide and orient cognitive acts.
Feelings – arise spontaneously, and the reaction which one person feels towards another often begins suddenly and unexpectedly. But this reaction is in effect “blind” and because of this feelings – can be very dangerous to love, ultimately causing emptiness and disappointment.
“… in any attraction… the question of the truth about the person towards whom it is felt is so important.”
Attraction must never be limited to partial values of a person, to something which is inherent in the person but is not the person as a whole.
Beauty – is a value in the context of attraction one must discover and be attracted by inner as well as outer beauty—a full and deep appreciation of the beauty of the person.
Desire – also belongs to the very essence of the love. “This results from the fact that the human person is a limited being, not self-sufficient and therefore—putting it in the most objective way—needs other beings.” Sex is a limitation, an imbalance—a man needs a woman to complete his own being, and a woman needs a man in the same way. Love as desire originates in a need and aims.
Love as desire cannot be reduced to desire itself. Love as desire is a longing for some good: I want you because you are good for me. Desire goes together with this longing but must be overshadowed by it. We know that desire must not dominate or overwhelm love, for when desire is predominant it can deform love between man and woman and rob them both of it.
Love as desire is incomplete – it is not enough to long for a person as a good for oneself. One must long for that person’s good.
Love is the fullest realization of the possibilities inherent in man.
A Genuine Love – is one in which the true essence of love is realized – a love which is directed to a genuine good in the true way.
Love as desire is incomplete—it is not enough to long for a person as a good for oneself. One must long for that person’s good.
Love as desire and love as goodwill – are not incompatible, but are closely connected: if one person wants another as a good for himself or herself, he or she must want that other person to be a real good.
Goodwill is quite free of self-interest. It is the same as selflessness… I long for that which is good for you. Love as goodwill is love in a more unconditional sense than love as desire.
The love between man and woman cannot but be love as desire, but must as time goes by move in the direction of unqualified good will. What is the difference between being in love and love? On my wedding day, I will be in love. Forty years later, I will love.
Genuine love – as love which is directed toward a genuine (real)—not merely an apparent (visible) — good. “The route from one ‘I’ to another leads through free will, through a commitment of the will.”
Unrequited love , when this route is one-sided, does not have the objective fullness which reciprocity would give it.
Fully realized, love is essentially an interpersonal, not an individual matter. By its very nature, it is bilateral (double-sided), not unilateral (one-sided). Yet bilateral love is not in itself enough, since it still involves two ‘I’s rather than one ‘we.’ It is reciprocity that determines whether the ‘we’ comes into existence. Marriage is often called a “school of love” in which both persons develop together as Christians, learning how to love through marriage. The sacrament gives the marriage the grace to attain mature love and to strive for perfection at a spiritual level.
This foreshadows Wojtyla’s work “The Original Unity of Man and Woman.” Love matured to unity is reciprocity. Jorge added that at this point, your ‘I’ is identified to another; you are willing that other person’s good. Alberto commented that marriage has a subjective characteristic—two flesh become one, in a mystery like the holy trinity. And, as well, it has objective unity, existing sacramentally. Aristotle described different kinds of reciprocity:
“To be able to rely on another person, to think of that person as a friend who will never prove false, is for the person who loves a source of peace and joy. Peace and joy are fruits of love very closely bound up with its very essence.”
This trust founded on reciprocity brings freedom from suspicion and jealous often spring from human weakness. Wojtyla describing two types of reciprocity:
Ask yourself about your underlying motivation.
Sympathy – is based on emotions and sensations, on “vibes,” or “chemistry.” Sympathy can awaken a positive emotional response, and that response enhances the value of the other person. In this respect it is very fragile (wick), due to this subjectivity. “Mere intellectual recognition of another person’s worth, however whole hearted, is not love… Sympathy brings people close together, into the same orbit, so that each is aware of the other’s whole personality, and continually discovers that person in his orbit.”
Yet sympathy is only one element of love. The most profound, and by far most important, element is the will.
Sympathy is the necessary basis of friendship but will has a decisive (definitive) role.
Friendship – brings with it the unification of persons, the doubling of ‘I’s. “Friendship consists in a full commitment of the will to another person with a view to that person’s good. There is, therefore, a need for sympathy to ripen into friendship and this process normally demands time and reflection.”
Comrades – People who are attending the same class, working in the same laboratory, are employed by the same company, have the same special interest (philately, say).
The social characteristic of comradeship is conspicuous in the fact that people linked by it usually form a distinct circle. This is another reason why comradeship may be very important for the development of mutual love between a man and a woman, if their love is to ripen into marriage and become the cornerstone of a new family.
“They try to understand me from the outside. But I can only be understood from inside” – in other words, you have to experience what I experience.
Gift of self – is the only thing that is going to last: “And everything else will then turn out to be unimportant and inessential, except for this: father, child and love.” The only realities, he is saying, are father, child, love.
What is the ‘I’?
Who am I?
Where have I come from?
Where am I going?
The bored self – why the self is the only object in the cosmos which gets bored? Self:
Betrothed love – has as its decisive (definite) and unique character the giving of one’s own person “I” to another, a giving which is radical; “’I’ not as consciousness or some sort of thought, but about the ‘I’ as being” .
In a marriage a woman experiences, in a psychological sense, a surrender – her role in marriage is to give herself, whereas the man’s role is possession. But objectively and ontologically, there is a mutual gift of self on behalf of both the woman and the man; else there is a danger that one treats the other as an object to be used.
We lost our primordial (primary, original) humanity through sin, and he’s trying to recover it. God was revealed to be a triple ‘I’ – Yahweh, a revelation of subjectivity (Yahweh means “I am who am with you.”)
God had man name the animals, and in so doing, man experienced solitude and being alone. God put him to sleep (genetic sleep) and recreated man as male and female, and he then brought them together. The man knew the woman was different from the animals (man is not an animal…)
God gives three commands to the primordial man:
After naming the animals (Gen 2) he suddenly has an experience of being alone. Other words man now has the experience of being an ‘I’ — he has exercised himself, since he is deciding for himself the names of the animals. In the act of naming, he differentiates himself. Naming is a way of subduing — by naming them, he owns the animals. In so doing, he actualizes his ‘I’ and exercises his subjectivity. This is self-determination.
The subduing of the animals –as well as the tilling of the earth — is a priestly act. Priesthood means “mediation.” Christ is the supreme priest because he is perfect God and man. He exercises his priesthood as God and man by subduing himself and relating to the Father, making a gift to the Father through the human will of Christ. Also, man is the priest of the universe. Our mission is to
subdue ourselves and to turn it all into gift to God and to one another — and that act is the priestly act.
What is involved in this topic is the transformation of the world. The subduing (transformation ) of self, experience of solitude, the gift of oneself to another is the basic anthropology, the basic meaning of man and woman… and it involves everything.
It is not good for man to be alone. As soon as God sees that man has named the animals, and man has started to feel bad because he is alone, God said “it is not good to be alone.” There is something wrong with the state of being of man alone.
Notice that the talk is not body / soul — the body is the whole person. In this way, we find ourselves almost at the heart of the anthropological reality that has the name “body.” Man says to woman: Bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh. The man uttered these words as if it were only at the sight of the woman’s body he sees an ‘I’ — whereas with the animals he did not see an ‘I.’ The body reveals man. Your body is your ‘I.’ Your body is a language of ‘gift.’
He has a consciousness of himself by naming the animals, a consciousness of being an ‘I.’ He experiences his body by naming. Then he looks at the animals and says “I’m alone.” The woman is given to him, and he looks at the woman and says “I am not alone. Hi!” He sees in her body the experience he has of his own. She is an ‘I’ as I am an ‘I.’ She is a subject, rather than an object like the other animals.
“The body, then, is not an object, nor a “thing” understood in the modern sense of a machine (machine) or reducible to machinery.” Here we see the body is not a “thing”, the human body is the person. Organisms must be explained as organisms and not summations of genes (geny) — a huge refusal to be deterministic. It means that in living organisms, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. They can’t explain the totality of a person.
Where do we get the notion of good and evil from? From an experience of ourselves from being. To be evil is to be alone.
The man became the “image and likeness” of God not only through his own humanity (by being an individual, by being alone, by having intellect and will), but also through the communion of persons which man and woman form right from the beginning.
The function of the image is to reflect the one who is the model, to reproduce its own prototype. Man becomes the image of God not so much in the moment of solitude as in the moment of communion (man and woman).
This means that the human person is never fully a person alone. God is gift so man is gift. To be alone, to turn back on yourself, to think about yourself, to worry about yourself, not to think about others — is death. To reflect the
prototype, man must be in union with another. Self-giving is the recreation of man as imaging the trinity.
This is the reason why there can’t be contraception. Since the Body is the ‘I’ and the ‘I’ is relation, you can’t have sex and withhold egg and sperm, because they are you. Sex always has to be gift. With in vitro you are furthering life, but you don’t have love, you don’t have self-giving. It has to be self-giving, and it has to be physical, because you are the body.
St. John of the Cross — his ‘I’ is not the result of reflection on the act of thinking or willing; it is discovered as the cause (freedom) of an experience of self-determination, as a free act.
To know – is to “be identified with”. In sex, the man “knows” the woman. In Genesis, the word for the act of sex is “to know.” And knowing is a direct experience of — to know is to “be one with.”
The root of knowing — to “become one with.” But as the need increases to understand the human being as a unique and unrepeatable person, especially in terms of the whole dynamism of action and inner happenings proper to the human being — in other words, as the need increases to understand the personal subjectivity of the human being — the category of lived experience takes on greater significance, and, in fact, key significance. For then the issue is not just the metaphysical objectification of the human being as an acting subject, as the agent of acts, but the revelation of the person as a subject experiencing its acts and inner happenings, and with them its own subjectivity.” So lived experience is going to reveal to me my ‘I.’
The ‘I’ is being, not consciousness. But the experience which discloses the ‘I’ as being is the work of consciousness. He distinguishes consciousness from thought which abstracts and reduces relation to categories. In its non-abstractive function, consciousness captures the subject in two moments:
Wojtyla distinguishes between:
This capturing of both states (of pre and post self-determination, as potency and act with respect to itself) constitutes the experience of the ‘I’ as ‘I.’ ‘I’ as being, which becomes gift.
What’s the difference between being a subject? Reflecting on a subject as an object? Experiencing the subject as the efficient cause of its own action?
Notice how important the word experience is for Wojtyla. He say: (p34 of Crossing the Threshold of Hope) that there is:
Wojtyla’s point is that in the experience of the ‘I,’ which is the imaging of the three persons, I am experiencing God by experiencing myself.
He writes: “…it is one thing to be the subject, another to be cognized (that is, objectivized) as the subject, and still a different thing to experience one’s self as the subject of one’s own acts and experiences.” This experience is to enter into the prayer of Christ, it is the experience of giving oneself, it is non-contraceptive sex but it is to live for others, it is to have a preferential option for the poor — another way of making the gift of self. ”
“Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.” Wojtyla says that “flesh and blood” is a reference to man and the common way of understanding things (by abstraction.)
Luke 9:18 gives us an indication when Jesus was praying alone — Jesus’ prayer to the Father is self-gift.
This is the faith in it’s most profound experience, before sin, and we can do that because Jesus Christ is God, prelapsarian. He who is man and God can tell us what it was like from the beginning. What it means to be man is to be Gift, so come pray with me to the Father, Jesus says. And in that prayer, experience what it means to be God.
Human person. “The human being, who is the only creature on earth that God willed for itself (i.e., is self-determining), the person cannot fully find himself or herself except through a disinterested gift of himself or herself.” Gaudium et Spes No. 24 The only thing that is going to last is gift of self.
Saturday (Vigil): 4:40pm Rosary & Rec., 5:00pm Mass
Sunday: 7:30am, 9am & 6pm, Vietnamese 11:15am.
Monday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
Tuesday: 6:15pm Ador., 6.30pm Rosary & Rec., 7pm Mass
Wednesday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
Thursday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
Friday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
First Friday: Ador. 7am-7:30pm.
Masses at 9:15am & 7:30pm with Anointing of the Sick and 4pm in Vietnamese.
Ador. – Adoration.
Rec. – Reconciliation.
Office Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30am to 4 pm.
Office Location: Presbytery (Entry Via Beaconsfield St).
Priest: Rev Dariusz Basiaga SDS PP JP
Phone: (02) 9773 9065
Email: Parish Office
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