We are all shocked and saddened by the recent events in Las Vegas. This shooting is saddening as well as disturbing. It also is the fact that this event has come on the tail of some of the worst events we’ve seen in many years: horrendous natural disasters, threats of war, and more terrorism. I’ve talked in the past about natural evils like the hurricanes and such as being a result of original sin that broke harmony with god, man and nature. Now a little about moral evil, the evil choices man can make.
To start we notice that all these travesties, though divided by place, race and type of event they all have something that is uniting in them. There is an attack on something that transcends mere culture, race and location; we are very centered on something so familiar yet also so mysterious, and that is our own human nature. We are united, as St. Paul tells us as members of one body. Also as St. Paul tell us, when one member suffers, all of them suffer. We feel the pain not just in a sentimental way because we hate to see these events, but because something more overarching is being attacked: our brothers and sisters. No matter where these events happen, no matter what culture, we become united. St. John Paul II says:
“It must certainly be admitted that man always exists in a particular culture, but it must also be admitted that man is not exhaustively defined by that same culture. Moreover, the very progress of cultures demonstrates that there is something in man which transcends those cultures. This “something” is precisely human nature: this nature is itself the measure of culture and the condition ensuring that man does not become the prisoner of any of his cultures, but asserts his personal dignity by living in accordance with the profound truth of his being. To call into question the permanent structural elements of man which are connected with his own bodily dimension would not only conflict with common experience, but would render meaningless Jesus’ reference to the “beginning”, precisely where the social and cultural context of the time had distorted the primordial meaning and the role of certain moral norms (cf. Mt 19:1-9). This is the reason why “the Church affirms that underlying so many changes there are some things which do not change and are ultimately founded upon Christ, who is the same yesterday and today and for ever”.97Christ is the “Beginning” who, having taken on human nature, definitively illumines it in its constitutive elements and in its dynamism of charity towards God and neighbour.98 “
For too long we have allow culture to tell us who we are, rather than we define culture. It is our human nature and goodness that we must rediscover, and sometimes through these tragic events, in order to reorder our world. We are made in the image and likeness of God! We have been given dignity and worth by Him! He gave us freedom for our good and the good of all! How we have forgotten…
One of the greatest enemies we face in this world is the world itself. We become filled with its ideas, its desires, its passions, its definitions of the world and we forget the truth. We are attacked by the lies and lust of the world. The world makes us forget about our dignity. One of the best things we can do in the face of these tragedies is the call to strength our morals. To weed out the temptations of the world, to mortify our flesh against these desires, to renounce the lies that we are told and to cling to Christ and be filled with his goodness.
This in the end become the source of moral evil in the world: the ill informed man, the man who has allowed the world to define him. We look at the crisis of marriage and the source is that people have allowed culture to define not only what marriage is, but what is man and what is love. The world tells us that unlimited freedom is the greatest good and you define your good. There is no more evil, hence, no one owes a debt of justice to anyone else. Hence, man can take what he wants, even if its another person, as his object to be enjoyed.
We must remember that every person is a good that can never be used and the only righteous action in return, is love. We look at our human nature as something beyond even the mere biological which sometimes leads to a certain determinist dualism saying we can define man as whatever he is based on mere biology. Let us again reclaim the world and its goods. Let us cultivate culture again. Let us live morally, die to sin in our life and slowly allow us to do as God commanded and take the earth and cultivate it.