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Sometimes Truth and Error Are Seen in the Same Place

May 12, 2017

Consider the commercial below. It says, “Focus on what you love.” It presents a man who, having laid eyes on his beloved, sees only her; all others vanish. The accompanying song speaks of the woman as being oblivious to his faults, as represented by “the funny way you wear your hair.”

There are truths here to ponder. With God, we must look beyond all else and see, finally, only Him; we must see everything in reference to Him. Likewise, in marriage, should not a husband and wife each only be taken with the other? Love also helps us to be less angry at the imperfections of others. Indeed, love blinds us to many of the things that can produce quick annoyance if/when love cools and the “I do” becomes “You’d better!” Would that our love would make us more willing to endure foibles and wait upon the other to grow toward greater perfection.

There are also errors to ponder. As the crowds of people disappear in the commercial, we see the modern tendency to conceive of happiness apart from human community. Jean-Paul Sartre famously said, “Hell is other people.”

Consider just a few of the amazing blessings that come to us from and through others. We dwell in cities built by others. We dine at restaurants supported by a whole chain of people, beginning with the farmer and fisherman, the harvester, food processors, distributors, and extending to the cooks and the wait staff who serve us. We use technologies like cell phones and cameras, which were designed and developed by others. We traverse roads and cross bridges constructed by others and paid for by many. The list could go on and on. The young man who loves his young lady would not have her were it not for her parents, grandparents, and generations stretching back to God Himself. Yes, most of the things we enjoy come from God through other people.

Enjoy this commercial as well as the pleasant song that accompanies it. Ponder the truths and errors as you watch and listen.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Marie says:

    Father, isn’t there another way to view the disappearance of the crowds than seeing it as an illustration of the quote “hell is other people.” If it’s meant as an illustration of that quote, it’s not a very good one. The couple clearly don’t view each “other” as hell… 🙂 Their community is a small one, but it’s a community.

    Couldn’t one instead view the disappearance of the crowds as the analogy that it is good to be alone with the Beloved (eg Eucharistic Adoration, silent retreats, cloistered contemplative religious life, or what the Bible says about “Go to an inner room and pray to your Father in secret”). And even in marriage, it is good to make time to spend time alone with one’s lower-case “b” beloved. You wouldn’t spend all your time that way, but you should spend some of your time that way. The marriage will suffer and probably even die if you don’t.

    • Msgr. Charles Pope says:

      Why do you absolutize my point? Of course it can be viewed the way you see it, its a story and stories call for interpretation. Do as you please.