By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Kierkegaard for a Rainy Friday

At least, rainy where I am. Here is the link to the N.Y. Times column exploring the theme of spiritual despair in contrast to clinical depression. The distinction made by the Dane (using this reference avoids my having to spell out his surname again!) is, of course, quintessentially Christian: in the power of the Holy Spirit, our outward circumstances are deprived of the supreme power of determining our spiritual state. Hence, you can be quite joyful and exuberant, even if your outward, objective circumstances are not what you might desire. On the other side of the coin, the outwardly beaming may in fact be deep in despair--I think this phenomenon may be possibly more common among women who tend to smile a lot even when everything is deeply wrong.

Notice how many children react. When they are truly happy, they do not hide it, no matter where they are or what they are doing. When they are unhappy, they also do not hide it, as parents know very well. Children can be happy in many circumstances--they are not yet burdened with the adult delusion that happiness requires an imagined perfection. Like Paul, they can be content with a lot or with a little. Children also are not hypocrites by nature and do not hide their unhappiness for fear of admitting failure before others.

Here is an excerpt from the column:

The man who did not become Caesar [who wanted that or nothing], the applicant refused by medical school, all experience profound disappointment. But the spiritual travails only begin when that chagrin consumes the awareness that we are something more than our emotions and projects.

Source link above.

That something more than our mistakes, imperfections, and disappointments is our spirit strengthened and empowered with the reality of the personal, inalienable love of Jesus so that we can do all things through him.