Georges et Pauline Vanier

« Durant les derniers mois de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, un soldat avait affirmé à propos de Georges Vanier que le seul fait de l’avoir rencontré l’avait rendu fier d’être Canadien. D’une certaine façon, l’histoire des Vanier, c’est l’essence même de ce que le Canada a de mieux à offrir; en soi, cela devrait aussi faire la fierté de tous les Canadiens. » – Mary Coady

Je viens de commencer à lire un livre à propos Georges et Pauline Vanier parce que je suis à la recherche de Canadiens honorables et héroïques. Continue reading “Georges et Pauline Vanier”

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Having vs. being better

Throughout the past two days I’ve been attending the Manning Networking Conference. There were more than a dozen panels on a wide range of topics. However, as this conference convenes conservatives, I found the common tendency of participants to reduce political topics to economic calculations. For example, during a panel on end of life care, someone asked whether palliative care is not too much of a “drain” on the healthcare system (as if the people are to serve the system rather than the system to serve the people). Then, some advocates of carbon taxes suggested that, even if carbon taxes are a total fraud and don’t do any real good for the environment, conservatives should still support them if that’s the trade-off for lowering income taxes. Continue reading “Having vs. being better”

The dignity and resoluteness of goodness

“Thus we see the fundamental features of goodness,” writes Dietrich von Hildebrand in The Art of Living. “Luminous harmony, inner freedom and serenity, the victorious superiority of love–which is the secret of eager and ready service–openness to the life of other men, warmth, ardour, meekness and mildness, all-embracing breath, awakedness, and the capacity to grasp values.”

More and more, I am finding this little gem of a book by von Hildebrand to be a sort of examination of conscience. Throughout it, he is continually juxtaposing what it is for a person to cultivate the particular virtue under examination with what it is for a person to disregard the value of it altogether.

For example, he suggests that there are “three types of men who embody a specific antithesis to goodness: the indifferent or cold man, the hardhearted one, and the wicked one.” He proceeds to give brief character descriptions of each.

In a time where I am listening to political platitudes and slogans, it is refreshing to contemplate goodness as both “the queen of all virtues” and the “fruit of moral life.”

Even though his language can seem a bit abstract, any self-examining person can ask him or herself questions about how he or she is living or failing to live the virtues Hildebrand discusses.

Humility is truth: Hildebrand on veracity

This evening I read Hildebrand’s brief chapter on veracity in The Art of Living.

Just this very day, a colleague of mine quoted the expression “Humility is truth” and we discussed it a bit. Hildebrand has an excellent description of its meaning:

The truthful person does not seek compensation for his inferiority complexes. The kinship that find its expression in the words ‘Humility is truth,’ may also be expressed conversed. The humble person alone is really truthful. The source of all ungenuineness and all untruthfulness is found in the proud desire to be something different from what we really are.

Veracity, like all important values, concerns not only the individual but human relationships. Thus, Hildebrand explains, “To lie is to misuse the quality entrusted to us as witnesses to being, in speech, in the spoken or written word. […] To deceive another person implies a fundamental disrespect, a failure to take him seriously.”

These are lucid and enlivening reflections to read, particularly as I attend a political networking conference.

“In comparison with the ‘heaven of heaven’ even the heaven of earth is still earth.” These words of St. Augustine echo in my soul. Seeing reality rightly and being spiritually free to have “deep reverence for the majesty of being.” This is what matters.

DNA is not what makes you you.

The results of the moral tests we face are more defining than the genetic tests we take. 

Recently, I was in Washington, D.C. No matter how often I visit the States, it always amazes me how obsessed Americans are with race. During a conference I attended, the other millennials spent their lunch hour going around the table sharing the breakdown of the ethnic percentages from their recently conducted home DNA tests. This struck me as a rather odd way of making introductions.

Click here to read the rest at HildebrandProject.org.

Faithfulness: mastering every moment from the depth

This evening I read the second chapter in Dietrich von Hildebrand’s The Art of Living. The topic of this chapter is faithfulness, which Hildebrand describes in its large sense as “the continuity that first gives to a man’s life its inner consistency, its inner unity.”  Continue reading “Faithfulness: mastering every moment from the depth”