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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Virtues - Part 3

As you no doubt recall, the Virtues I will be using here are corresponding to the previous chart of the Passions.  If this does not make sense, please go back and compare the charts to see where this is heading.

So, let's look at the Passion of Lust.  As defined, this passion ignores the humanity of the other person and gives us the 'ability' to use another person for our own gratification.  Lust is the most profound form of disrespect, since it robs the other person of their totality and reduces them to 'usable parts,' the rest of which is disposable.  Lust fragments the person who is lusted after.

However, if one lives in the light of God, the Creator, and sees His glory and love surrounding all people, and more important, sees His love in other people, then Lust becomes an impossibility.  One's vision is transformed, and all people are seen as being in the Image and Likeness of God.  Therefore, every person is treated as a whole person, but also as someone 'related' to God.

Therefore, the respect one has for God extends to all those around us.  rather than treating people as pawns in our little mental games, we treat others as 'relatives' to the One who loves us.  Everyone is an honored guest and valued presence.  The joy of the saints was in this realization, which is why monastics practice hospitality and take in the pilgrim even when to do so is a major interruption.

Other people are worthy of respect and love because of who they are, even when their actions do line up with their true identity.  This makes forgiveness much easier: we are better able to overlook the failings of people we respect, yes?

The Virtue of Respect heals all of our relationships, bringing us the gifts of patience and tolerance of others.

Now, this is different from idealizing others.  Respect is not idealizing, since idealizing means exalting a person beyond the truth.  No, even the lowly private in the Army is accorded some respect because he serves.  The Virtue of Respect encompasses a recognition of who a person really is, and by extension what it is the person is trying to accomplish.  Therefore, you can respect a criminal not as a criminal, but as a human being who's criminal activity can be seen as 'beneath him.'  On the other hand, one can respect a saint both for being a human and a saint at the same time.

Respect never creates a false narrative or ignores what is true.  But, the truth that Respect looks to is often too big for many of us to grasp without a great deal of spiritual work.

Respect, emanating from our honest appraisal of ourselves, Humility, passes through others back to the God of our Faith.  This is why Christ commanded in the same breath that we love both God and our neighbor, since how we think of one naturally effects how we think of the other.  They are intertwined since both are 'other' to us by nature.

Respect takes away anger and frustration with others, and bring peace to our hearts.  It fills us with joy.

1 comment:

  1. I think the Angelic Hierarchy is very good example for how respect truly works. The "highest" angels are equal to the "lowest" angels in dignity and holiness. The only difference is that what each rank represents follows in a specific order, but in reality all ranks complement each other, and they never "tress-pass" into the other ranks. Thus you have a hierarchy without a hierachy (a paradox). Same with The Holy Trinity. What would be if The Father would be prouder than The Son and The Spirit because He is Their Source? Obviously, this teaches us that we need to respect and love people for who they are. We are all important, if we are humble (again a paradox).