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Creating Goods and Products that Heed the Will of God

October 24, 2013

I’m taking a class called Intro to the Catholic Church this semester. It involves a lot of reading of the Catechism and the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Nothing I’d ordinarily pick up and read, but nonetheless, as Church documents go, they are full of fascinating tidbits on the Church and life in general.

This week’s assignment covers the laity and what our mission in the Church is. Yes, we are considered sheep who follow the shepherd, Jesus Christ, but we, the baptized, are also the People of God, and as a result we have a mission that is complimentary to the clergy and the vowed religious. In fact, we have a principle role in God’s plan, because we are in the world much more than most of the clergy and religious.

The quoted paragraph below really spoke to me. As you will find throughout my blog, I am working on a wellness theology book. Health, wellness, and healing are gifts from God. As with anything in God’s plan, if we play by His rules, things usually turn out pretty good for us. In my view of wellness theology, God’s rules are of a purely natural bent, too much human intervention disrupts God’s plan.

This Lumen Gentium sentence in particular calls to mind that many of our created goods are hurting us, causing sickness and unease: “Therefore, by their competence in secular training and by their activity, elevated from within by the grace of Christ, let them [the laity] vigorously contribute their effort, so that created goods may be perfected by human labor, technical skill and civic culture for the benefit of all men according to the design of the Creator and the light of His Word.”

How many of our created goods are truly for the benefit of ALL men?

So much of our food stuffs are literally created goods; they are not the natural foods that God has given us. And, these food stuffs are NOT “for the benefit of all men”. We have so much sickness these days, and many an “alternative” health practitioner says that the standard American diet leads to chronic illness, i.e., cancer, heart disease, arthritis, etc. There are many other experts who deny this, so we have conflicting opinions and the general population doesn’t know who to believe.

We also have created goods in the health care spectrum. These include pharmaceuticals, biomedical devices, and testing equipment galore. These do have their place, but still too much can do more damage to the human person, especially if said person is damaged by the food stuffs mentioned above.  Propping up a person by pharmaceutically reducing his symptoms instead of truly healing him just makes the disease express itself in different ways later. No healing has been accomplished.

And so, back to the message that created goods should be for the benefit of all men. Some people will say that they were helped by a certain created good, but if that same created good hurts or even kills another person, is it truly a good creation? I say no. We need to re-look at the created good and make it better or find a new way to accomplish that which it was intended to do.

(Here, I am concerned mostly with the health creating and destroying aspects of the food and medical industries. Certainly we can stay that cars are a “good” created good that have killed people. It was most likely operator error that caused the accident. We can also say that people should know better and not eat junk food. But with so many false health claims shouting out to us on food packaging and in advertising, we go back to the confusing aspect of the food and medical industry claims. If doing the will of God is not the primary focus of creating our goods, then other things begin to be our focus, like profits or even nefarious schemes.)

DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH
LUMEN GENTIUM
SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS
POPE PAUL VI
ON NOVEMBER 21, 1964

CHAPTER IV

THE LAITY

Article 36

The faithful, therefore, must learn the deepest meaning and the value of all creation, as well as its role in the harmonious praise of God. They must assist each other to live holier lives even in their daily occupations. In this way the world may be permeated by the spirit of Christ and it may more effectively fulfill its purpose in justice, charity and peace. The laity have the principal role in the overall fulfillment of this duty. Therefore, by their competence in secular training and by their activity, elevated from within by the grace of Christ, let them vigorously contribute their effort, so that created goods may be perfected by human labor, technical skill and civic culture for the benefit of all men according to the design of the Creator and the light of His Word. May the goods of this world be more equitably distributed among all men, and may they in their own way be conducive to universal progress in human and Christian freedom. In this manner, through the members of the Church, will Christ progressively illumine the whole of human society with His saving light.

 

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