An appeal to your inner nobility

The other day, a friend of mine shared this extraordinary quotation by one of my heroes – Fr. Alfred Delp:

A community that gets rid of someone—a community that is allowed to, and can, and wants to get rid of someone when he no longer is able to run around as the same attractive or useful member—has thoroughly misunderstood itself. Even if all of a person’s organs have given out, and he no longer can speak for himself, he nevertheless remains a human being. Moreover, to those who live around him, he remains an ongoing appeal to their inner nobility, to their inner capacity to love, and to their sacrificial strength. Take away people’s capacity to care for their sick and to heal them, and you make the human being into a predator, an egotistical predator that really only thinks of his own nice existence.

Fr. Delp was a German Jesuit and those words were his response upon viewing a 1941 Nazi propaganda film.

Who, in our lives, is appealing to our inner nobility?

Who is drawing us out of ourselves and our “own nice existence”?

To whom do we let ourselves to explode our inner capacity to love?

For whom do we let our sacrificial strength be tested?

These may not be the most natural questions to ask ourselves, which is why luminaries like Fr. Delp are so important.

Photo: My mom visiting her brother-in-law’s mother Mrs. Hall. My mom’s care for Mrs. Hall in her final years is one example among many of my mom’s inner nobility and sacrificial strength.

Jordan Peterson challenges us to have strength at funerals

This evening I finished reading Jordan Peterson’s latest book, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life.

In the last chapter, Rule XII: Be grateful in spite of your suffering, Peterson mentions that he has repeatedly suggested to his various audiences “that strength at the funeral of someone dear and close is a worthy goal” and he notes that “people have indicated to me that they took heart in desperate times as a consequence.”

After a worldwide book tour and many other public appearances, Peterson has had the opportunity to test and play with his ideas with many audiences. And it is interesting to read his thoughtful reflections based on his careful observation of the reactions of persons in the audience.

Earlier in the book, he mentions, as he has said elsewhere, that he sees people’s faces light up whenever he speaks about responsibility. Peterson is keenly aware that people have been raised with a greater emphasis on rights and the corresponding sense of entitlement that ensues with this focus. Yet, a sense of responsibility is what ennobles and fills persons with a sense of their proper dignity and capacity.

Accordingly, this challenge to have strength at funerals is an extension of his usual exhortation to responsibility.

He writes:

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