"...love [means] that we allow ourselves to be parted
from that narrow view directed toward our own ego
and that we begin to move out from our own self,
in order to be there for others."
+Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
So, what's the story of your life? Or, perhaps more pointedly, how do you frame the story of your life?
In the Ego-drama, my life is all about me. I am the author of the screen play. I have the lead role; I also produce and direct the show. Or, to use the image from Mark 4:35-41 depicted above, I am the captain of my own boat, and my fate is in my own hands.
When the storms of life blow up, I am sometimes surprised that they don't exactly fit with the script I've imagined. There's always my crew to blame, of course, or the "god" of my own making, against whom I can rant. But such intrusive realities ultimately threaten my world view, and nothing is more important than me defending my place in my drama.
In the Theo-drama, on the contrary, others take center stage. The entire production, in fact, abounds with a depth and a meaningfulness because the story is not dominated by my pride, my self-aggrandizement, my agenda. When properly framed in such a theological perspective, my life is really a matter of playing an essential part in a story that's larger than life itself.
Rather than succumbing to illusions of total control, I navigate my way into the Theo-drama by humbly saying "Yes" to the role for which I was quite literally born. I embrace the fact the "my boat" is not really mine, but is on loan for a few scenes. I open my eyes to the fact that the Captain is always on board, and all is well, even though I cannot foresee the resolution of the final scene.
When framed as an Ego-drama, my life becomes a matter of making "gifts" to appease my never quite satisfied self. I wear myself out seeking to fill myself up. I have to have all the answers, all the time. I find myself shocked when deep-rooted fears or anxieties well up to ruin my day.
Such Narcicissim demands my self to expand at the expense of others; it is a "zero-sum" game bent on annihilation, one way or another. My opinions, my positions, my politics, my economics--simply because their mine--or else.
When framed in terms of the Theo-drama, my life becomes a matter of making a gift of myself to others. I'm open to mystery, to wonder and to awe. I find myself fulfilled by pouring myself into the role which the divine Director asks of me each day. I'm confident that the Captain will quiet the winds and the sea, and so I am quietly confident about the story's ultimate ending.
Such Love invites my self to contract for the good of others; it is the ultimate in "win-win" thinking, which alone can save the world. Our needs, our best interests, our common humanity, our deep-rooted communion--simply because the Director has scripted it so--once and for all.
Peace and God bless,
P.S. This all-too-real dynamic of the Ego-drama may account for part of the backlash against the recent videos exposing barbaric practices performed on unborn babies ("it doesn't fit with the position I've staked out, so blame the messenger!"); it is also a possible explanation for how 53 U.S. Senators could vote not to defund Planned Parenthood, despite these crimes against humanity.
P. P.S. If you live in the Chicago area and are open to an event which shows the natural sciences engaging the Theo-drama of supernatural realities, consider making the trip to see "Science Tests Faith" at St. Jude's Church in Joliet (conveniently located off of I-80).