My daughter, you were born into a time and a culture where it is both easier and harder to be a girl. The reason why it is easier is pretty obvious. Over the last fifty years, girls and women have had innumerable doors thrown open to them that were not open before. You can pursue whatever major or career you would like without anyone saying, “Girls can’t do that.” [click to continue…]
About Lou Markos
Be a man of your word. Now there’s a phrase you don’t hear very often these days. There was a time when most good fathers would lay that injunction on their sons with an almost sacred tone of high seriousness. Today, that injunction, if it is given at all, is more often reduced to “follow the rules” or “protect your reputation” or “watch your back” or, worst of all, “don’t get caught.”
Of the three theological virtues, faith, hope, and love, the one that is perhaps most misunderstood today is hope. Yes, faith and love are sometimes reduced to generic belief and strong emotions, but at least neither faith nor love is dismissed as adolescent at best and reactionary at worst. Too often, people mistake hope for some vague promise of pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by. They view hope as a crutch for people who can’t look reality in the face, who prefer to see the world through rose-colored glasses. Such weak-kneed dreamers, who would rather moon after heaven than labor under the sun on the fields of earth, are an affront to the modern spirit of progress.
Charity comes from caritas, a Latin word which means roughly the same thing that agape does in Greek. Although, sadly, modern English usage has reduced the word charity to the giving of alms to the poor, caritas and agape bear a richer meaning. In their fuller, Christian signification they describe a self-giving love that moves out of itself toward the other.
During the spring of your senior year in high school, I took you to see one of my favorite Broadway musicals, Camelot. Through songs whose soaring melodies are matched only by the charm and wit of the lyrics, the musical swept us away to the court of King Arthur and his knights. With great joy and greater sorrow we watched together as the ideal of the Round Table was born and flourished through the idealism of Arthur, the love of Guinevere, and the chivalry of Lancelot, only to be broken and die when Guinevere and Lancelot commit adultery and are exposed by the scheming illegitimate son of Arthur.
There are many people today who read the account of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet and jump too quickly to the conclusion that Jesus was an egalitarian who wanted to break down all distinctions between people. But that is not the message of the story. Had Jesus meant that to be the message, he would have concluded the lesson by informing his disciples that from now on they were all on an equal level with no more rulers or servants. Here is what he actually says: