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An Image of Dying and Rising in a Touching Animation

May 19, 2017

One of the greatest paradoxes told to us in the Scriptures is that if we would save our life, we must lose it in Christ (Luke 9:24). That is, we must die to this world in order to inherit eternal life. “Eternal” does not simply refer to the length of the afterlife, but to its fullness as well. To inherit eternal life is to become fully alive.

This idea that we must die to ourselves to go up to something higher is evident throughout nature. Minerals and other aspects of the soil are taken up into plants by being leached out of the soil, but in so doing they “come to life” in the plant and are no longer simply inert minerals. Plants must die and be taken up into the animal that eats them, but in so doing they become part of sentient life. Animals must die and be taken up into the human person that eats them, but in so doing they go up higher, joined to the life of a person with a soul, one who ponders meaning, studies the stars, writes poetry, and knows God. Man, too, must die to himself, die to this world, in order to be swept up in the life of the Trinity in the glory of Heaven. In every stage, we die to something lower in order that we may go to something higher.

The video above presents a very moving story, one which requires us to suspend some notions of reality. Obviously, robots do not have consciousness and feelings—but this one does. The robot in this video is sent to the home of an older woman in order to take care of her.

When the robot is first taken out of the box and turned on, he behaves just like a robot, going through his chores mechanically. In his association with the woman, however, he begins to go up higher. Dying to himself and serving this woman puts him in association with her. This relationship begins to give him almost human traits: love and loyalty, joy and sorrow, and even desire. We see the first change in him as he admires a sunset, in imitation of his mistress. The lesson here is that we learn what it means to be more fully human from one another and by gazing into the light of God’s glory.

It seems that the circus is coming to town. And oh, how the robot wants to go! The tickets are purchased and the anticipation builds.

One thing we notice in the story, though, is that this robot lives on battery power. No matter how good battery power is, it can only last for so long.

The day of the circus arrives, but alas, his mistress dies that very day. Misunderstanding the higher life he has been serving, the robot tries to revive her by putting batteries in her pockets. Obviously, no amount of battery power can help, for the power of this world is powerless over death. Upon her death, the robot sits gazing at the sunset, remembering a time when he first began to experience life.

We who view the story know that the robot cannot last forever because his batteries, which symbolizes the things of this world, are bound to fail. Sure enough, five days later, his lights go out, and his eyes close in a kind of death.

In dying, however, we are born to eternal life. Suddenly the robot’s eyes open and he is in a world brighter than he has ever known; and there she is, his mistress, the one he served. She has come to walk with him to the circus, a circus far more glorious than any he could ever have imagined. In dying to his battery life, he has gone to real and eternal life.

But Father, but Father, robots don’t have life! I know, it’s just a story; but like many stories, it’s really about you and me. For now, we are like servants, depending on battery life. We learn what it means to be more fully human from one another and by gazing at the light of God’s glory. To become fully alive, however, requires that one day our battery finally die. Then, a new and more glorious life awaits us, if we faithfully serve in the house of mother Church, in the house of God’s Kingdom. In losing our life for the Lord and His kingdom, we gain it back more richly. From battery life to real life.

Filed in: commercials, Science

Comments (2)

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  1. RAY - PORTSMOUTH - UK says:

    Thank you Msgr Charles
    This has given me an opportunity to post something deeply moving – and – deeply true!! This is just the blog for it!
    I take your words below:
    “Man, too, must die to himself, die to this world, in order to be swept up in the life of the Trinity in the glory of Heaven. In every stage, we die to something lower in order that we may go to something higher.”
    And –
    “Man, too, must die to himself, die to this world, in order to be swept up in the life of the Trinity in the glory of Heaven. In every stage, we die to something lower in order that we may go to something higher.”
    I don’t know how many reading this blog would even have seen or known about a very special testimony, written on his Facebook account, in the last few seconds left to a pilot of the Brazilian footballers’ plane, which crashed in south America just before Christmas last year.
    His words were so apposite and a wonderful statement of his faith in his last moments on earth.
    He wrote – presumably for his family and no doubt his friends too:

    “Where do you look for your life? Forward or behind? May the Lord grant you the grace to leave things behind, even those which you consider precious in this life, and may He allow you to look ahead, where Christ is waiting for you, for a glorious meeting that will open the gates of eternity.” Gus Encina – Pilot.
    I was so moved by this beautiful profession of faith and the understanding that we must ‘all’ ‘move forward’, to attain ‘higher’ things.
    I have prayed for him since that day that his faith was as strong as the very poignant, yet trusting words that he expressed in the jaws of death.
    I don’t know about you, Msgr Charles, but I think it encapsulates the whole of your blog/sermon.
    Of course – he still had a few seconds left before his plane hit the ground.
    WE may well not be quite so fortunate. So – let’s get it right NOW!
    God bless all.

  2. Damian says:

    “I know, it’s just a story.” says Msgr Pope.

    Forgive me for being a bit of a killjoy, but I think it’s more.

    Some fictional impossibilities are benign and even helpful (for example, the talking animals of Narnia), and some are dangerous and harmful; even if we can manage to read a good meaning into them, like Monsignor Pope has done well in this case. Kudos to him for that.

    But the sorry truth is that we live in a world where it is increasingly difficult to convince people — especially the youth — that humans really do have souls and computers/robots really don’t. I am a philosophy professor and I am finding this to be a startling reality. Thanks to the increasing prevalence of absurd sci-fi stories (e.g. Star Wars), wherein the robots are the characters with the MOST personality, people today are becoming more and more sympathetic to the “rights” of non humans and less and less sympathetic to the rights of humans.

    “Ah, but I am a good Catechized Catholic, so I know better!”

    That is pride. All art affects us and forms us; like it or not, we will wind up making decisions and guiding our lives in a way that is deeply and thoroughly affected by the art we have chosen to expose ourselves to. This was known and taught all the way back to Plato.

    Dear friends; be on guard. Your character is a product of yoru decisions. Only expose yourself to art — whether movies, YouTube clips, music, plays, shows, etc. — that forms you in accord with the Truth. That is, art that helps you to choose the good!