Pseudo-profound nonsense

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

I WAS amused to read recently an article that claimed that we might be living now in an age of pseudo-profound nonsense. It was referring to supposedly inspirational quotes now proliferating in the social media and expressed by all kinds of people who try to define what “living fully” is.

I was amused because I cannot help but agree with the many observations the author of the article made. It seems that all of a sudden everyone, including the millennials and the post-millennials, is now an expert in what is to have a full and happy, contented life on earth.

Of course, when you read lines that come from advertisers, politicians and some people in the media, we can easily get the immediate impression that things are being bloated to the limits and, therefore, should be taken with a grain of salt.

These people want attention and they will do anything to achieve that, including exaggerating things, indulging in fantasies, or just telling sweet, nice lies that will always look and sound true but actually are not.

Of course also, clerics, at least some of us, are not exempted from that mischief. If we choose to be unscrupulous, tricky and foxy, we can easily take advantage of the abstruse spiritual and supernatural messages of the gospel and the gullibility of many people today to invent attention-grabbing ideas, doctrines and other teachings that are not anymore in line with what the Church magisterium teaches. The possibilities for doing this are actually limitless.

And so what Shakespeare wrote once can come true: “A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” There is a lot of embellishment, hyperbole and sophistry involved, all made to serve one’s self-interest rather than to give glory to God and serve the common good.

We have to be wary of this emerging phenomenon and be reminded of the need to be most faithful to the source of all truth and beauty. While it’s true that we should try our best to be inventive, creative, innovative, we should also be strongly reminded that we need to always stick firmly to the objective perennial truths that should remain unchanged even if they have to be continually dressed up differently as times and circumstances vary.

In all those so-called pseudo-profound nonsense that tried to explain what “living fully” means, what is clear is that everything is made to serve men’s self-centeredness. There is no reference to God. Just one’s own so-called intelligence and wisdom.

It is actually a useless attempt because no matter how smart we think we are in defining “living fully” by our own light alone, we cannot change the law given to us by our Creator. All that effort is described in the Bible as “vanity of vanities.” (Ecclesiastes 12,8) No matter what we do, it is God’s will that will prevail, if not now then later. God will always have the last word.

We cannot alter the gospel truth about where the fullness of man and our joy can be found—in God, in Christ who taught us that we have to be completely detached from earthly things so we can give our heart fully to him, and with him, we can have everything else that we need.

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” (Mt 6,33) Christ told us. We have to give our total trust in these words of Christ rather than in the sophisms of many of our self-proclaimed wise guys in the world today.

Besides, if we want to truly wise in describing what “living fully” is, our description would be, in the words of St. James, “pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (3,17) It is not arrogant, vain, conceited.