Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Finally Getting Back to Dubay's Authenticity

Authenticity: A Biblical Theology of Discernment by Thomas Dubay, S.M. (Ignatius Press, copyright 1997)

Dubay really packs a punch. His material is challenging. Not so much in the sense of difficult to understand, as forcing the reader to examine their own conscience and look at themselves in a more complete way.

Some notes and quotes:

Scripture says a great deal about the conditions necessary before one is uncluttered enough to detect the gentle voice of God speaking in the depths of the person. (pg. 25)

We live very cluttered lives here in the 21st century.

Authenticity is reality without sham. (pg. 26)


The human person must be whole to be completely authentic. ... There is only one enough for man, and that is the divine Enough. Anything less is incomplete, truncated... The Father made us in the image of his Son, so that anything less than conformity to this image is a falling away from the authentikos, the original. 'The disciple of Christ consents to live in the truth, that is, in the simplicity of a life in conformity with the Lord's example, abiding in his truth (CCC 2470).

The genuine man or woman measures up to the real, to the factual situation. He is humble because he knows and professes himself to be neither more nor less than he actually is. He is single-minded in his pursuits, for he operates with the pure motivation of eating and drinking and doing all else for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31).. He accepts the whole gospel, not simply the popular, pleasant parts of it. He welcomes correction because he knows himself to be ignorant of many things and a sinner besides (Prov 9:7-9)... Especially is he authentic because he is a total lover of God, and love brings all the other ingredients of authenticity (1 Cor 13:4-7). (pgs. 26-27)

This last part reminds me of a Latin proverb that came up in Lunch Bag Notes by Al and Ann Marie Parisi (Loyola Press). The proverb is...

Age quod agis.
"Do what you are doing." I really like that (and need to be reminded often!).

Part of living the truth is an acceptance of a reasonable dependence on others, an acknowledgement of a need for admonition and advice. (pg. 33)

This is so true. I think we homeschool moms especially need to be reminded. A lot is expected of us and we're doing a lot. Sometimes we think we're failures if we can't do "everything". Or we think it's wrong to burden someone else with our problems. But the Sacrament of Marriage doesn't guarantee that we'll be able to handle every single one of our children's needs without assistance. There's nothing that says we'll be good at teaching Algebra or handling every teaching challenge that comes our way. I always like the analogy (can't remember where I read it) that homeschool parents are like contractors on a construction project - an important part of the job is finding people/resources for tackling parts of the job. The contractor isn't inadequate if he can't do everything himself.

Most people tend to allow the truth they possess so to dominate their thinking that they see few other truths that place their one truth in perspective and balance it out. There is probably no heresy in the history of the Church that did not have its truth. The problem invariably is that the one truth so took over the heretic's mind that he was committed to cast out any number of other doctrines that clashed with his interpretation of it. (pg. 34)

This is a really challenging concept and it can be tempting to blow it off as just politically correct, "open-mindedness" stuff. But it's not. One example that struck me was that we can be so passionate about a cause that we can throw the virtue of prudence out the window and end up hurting the very cause that we care so passionately about. (An example of this might be a pro-Lifer who decides to use violence to accomplish his goals.) This segment reminds me of a term I like better than "open-minded", and that is "broad-minded."

Philosophers have long noted that error proximately is due to an extension of one's judgment beyond evidence. (pg. 37)
I really liked that phrase "an extension of one's judgment beyond evidence." Very helpful to remember.

Good stuff.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Someone once told me that the phrase "Age quod agis" [literally, "Do what you are doing"] was often used by St. Vincent de Paul and his translation was: "Do the good work that presents itself to be done." In other words, keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities that come calling at your door. And act accordingly....