02 August 2010

The Fashionable Concern of 'Self-fulfillment'

"Although in Liturgy and Personality von Hildebrand never uses the term self-fulfillment, the book's theme sheds light on this fashionable concern.  It shows that self-fulfillment is not something toward which one should strive.  It can only be attained indirectly as a consequence of striving for a worthy goal.  For (as he emphasizes repeatedly) the Liturgy develops our personality only when our attention is focused on God and on the proper worship of Him through the Liturgy.  As soon as our attention turns away from God and toward ourselves, that development ceases.

"Ironically, today's society generally measures the worthiness of a goal in terms of the self-fulfillment it promises.  This inverted standard leads husbands to leave wives, mothers to leave children, nuns and priests to leave religious life, and many others to search for self-fulfillment instead of for the service and due-response that alone brings self-fulfillment.  Because they have adopted a subjective standard (self-fulfillment), these persons have turned away from the objective world of values.  They find themselves spiritually impoverished and starving in a desert of their own choosing."

Alice von Hildebrand
Forward to the 1993 edition of
Liturgy and Personality
Dietrich von Hildebrand
Sophia Institute Press

+Laus Deo!