Brian’s Reflection: Friday, August 15, 2008
Feast of the “Virgin” Mary in the Christian Calendar
Discretion is the perfection of reason,
and a guide to us in all the duties of life.
- Sir Walter Scott, novelist, born on this
day, 1771, in Edinburgh
The freedom or authority to judge something or make a decision about it. From the Latin verb, discernere, to be separate or, later, to discern.
Let’s use a very “in our face” example. I have been thinking all day about Russia and Georgia and the two provinces. It is complicated. Where is the “right” solution? Let’s go to the heart of the matter, side-stepping how the situation got this way. The issue - are we surprised? - is Freedom of choice. The same with the abortion issue, government telling people how many children they can have, who can have a gun. Freedom of choice. Americans are fanatical about it. But lots of other people in the World are dealing with the same thing. And it raises other issues, including how individual freedom relates to social life, and whether majority rule is fair.
For me, based in my Christian grounding as developed over more than four decades, people should be free to decide their destiny, fate, living conditions, etc. Only when this is fundamentally true will people feel able to balance their personal freedom with the needs of the community, free to make “concessions”. I often think that we are at a time in World history where we have to start over. Everyone should be given freedom to choose. Then we will negotiate. Naïve? Maybe.
You wouldn’t think this had anything to do with the Blessed Virgin Mary. But, oh, it does! We have the freedom to judge, and to make a decision. Is Mary “God’s Mother”? If Mary is “God’s Mother”, then is Mary “born without sin”? Is this a “literal” truth? Or is this a “metaphorical” truth, pointing to a Mystery? Did a Jewish woman give birth to God’s Messiah without benefit of sexual intercourse, or is this a “truth-story” about the reality that the Mystery of God needs to be given birth by each of us in our core so that we can become human?
Discretion allows me/us to reason out the process, but the conclusion is the same. “God” and we are One. The full meaning of being human will reveal itself when, and only when, we each allow ourselves to become impregnated and give birth to that Mystery.