The lure of beauty

Narcissus was a hunter and stunningly beautiful. Because he disdained others’ love, he was lured by the gods to a still pool where he beheld his face for the first time. Entranced, he lost his will to live and died of hunger. Perhaps our civilisation is going through a similar crisis.

The need to confess

It’s important to realise that ‘I confess’ has two meanings. First it means to acknowledge, to admit reality. Second, and closely related, it’s to admit that I have fallen in love with images and acted heedlessly and cruelly.

Waking to reality is to acknowledge that God is the utterly other: intelligent, loving, creative beyond all we can conceive or dream of. Many people now proclaim that humankind has usurped the place of God. We can shape the world and human life just as we like. As we shudder on the brink of environmental chaos – droughts, hurricanes, pollution – many are beginning to see the extent of our foolishness.

Freeing ourselves to love others

On a personal level such foolishness is showing its face more and more. When I first studied psychology, narcissism – believing myself to be the centre of the world and everybody else was there to serve me – was a rare clinical condition. Now it seems to infect hordes, from drug lords to presidents.

We all seem to need a healthy dose of humility, seeing our planet and all on it as having a limited and precarious life. This insight grows out of personal confession, admitting to God and to one another our pretences and unkindness, to say aloud, I have sinned.

Once I’m free to acknowledge and accept freely what I am, I’m then free to love others.

Father Neil Vaney

Next steps

This writing is based on the content of ‘What Catholics Believe’, Booklet 7, ‘Sacraments of Healing’ referencing pages 9 – 10. Should you like to read more just click either of the links below to download ‘Booklet 7’ or the complete set of ‘What Catholics Believe’.