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Archive for September 28th, 2017


Joshua 13-21Boundaries

Caravaggio: Narcissus

Thursday, September 28, 2017

A Favorite from September 18, 2010.

We are a fairly narcissistic society and there was a recent flutter among journalists regarding the connection between Facebook and narcissists as *a few links below will tell us.  No matter where we stand on this issue, even the idea that there might be a connection brings out defenders and critics alike.  Clearly, we are interested in one way or another, in our own faces . . . and the conversation that erupts when the disease of narcissism is brought into the spotlight is not easy to miss.  This disease is one in which its sufferers cannot distinguish appropriate boundaries, and it brings havoc into many lives and many families.

Joshua and the early desert peoples were wise to follow God’s instruction to establish borderlines around their family camps; their hope was to bring order out of the chaos that from time to time took hold of them during their wanderings.  Each clan might get a grip on its own people and come up with a design to help one another to live in harmony and unity.  Of course, boundaries can also cause conflict and turmoil, but when we know where emotional, political and even physical boundaries are, we have less difficulty understanding our spiritual boundaries.  When we know that we humans are created and loved by God, and that our purpose is to seek and know God, to obey and serve God, then we have fewer problems with the world.

If you have some time this afternoon, and if you are thinking about boundaries, you may find something else to think about:  Do we recognize, repair, and celebrate the boundaries in our lives that are meant to bring order out of chaos through God’s love?  And do we look for God’s guidance as we work at transforming our human selves into our divine selves with God’s grace?

I offer two citations for us to ponder during this weekend in late summer.  The first is the poem “The Mending Wall” by Robert Frost – one of my favorites – about repairing a property boundary.  Frost speaks of gaps in walls and we might think of the gaps in our lives.  “No one has seen them made or heard them made, but at spring mending-time we find them there”.  When our spring mending-time arrives, do we willingly repair the gaps we find? https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44266/mending-wall

The second is from 1 Corinthians (15:35-37, 42-49) which is today’s first Mass reading.  In this letter Paul tells us that our own resurrection is sown corruptible and is raised incorruptible through Christ.  It is sown a natural body and is raised a spiritual one, through Christ.  Are we aware of this process of transformation going on in our lives?  Do we recognize our own spiritual self as we look at our natural face?  When our own resurrection arrives, will we recognize it?

*A CNN poll shows some fascinating correlations between Facebook and narcissism: http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/social.media/08/30/facebook.narcissism.mashable/index.html 

*THE ATLANTIC, “How to Spot a Narcissist Online”: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/01/how-to-spot-a-narcissist-online/283099/

*SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, Study of Facebook Users Connects Narcissism and Low Self-Esteem: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/status-update-im-so-glamorous/

 

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