Saturday, February 28, 2015

Keep Pressing or Stay Pressed

Would it not be fair to say that attitudes in this world are not changed abstractly, as it were, by reading something-that attitudes are partly the result of working, the result of action?
(Justice Felix Frankfurter to Attorney S. Emory Rogers during a Brown v. Board of Education proceeding, as cited in  Richard Kluger's Simple Justice )
     My friend has a saying that, to me, is very apt at describing getting caught up in superficial issues: staying pressed.  Recently, a phrase popped in my head incorporates this idea: Keep pressing or stay pressed. There's a lot of talk these days about attitude being a choice. For your humble blogger, it is the effort implicated in this choice and the reason behind getting preoccupied  that is intriguing when thinking about the subject. Even more so, it shines an important light on the necessity of perseverance.
   An insightful perspective on this comes from Fr. Slavko Barbaric in his book Fasting with the Heart. He notes that "Man's entire life and all of his activity can be seen from the standpoint of a pilgrimage." (p. 56).  On it, "He journeys toward his fullness and the final truth about himself..." (56-57).  When one loses focus on this fact, Fr. Barbaric asserts,  "He stops on the way and destroys himself in the anxious concerns of the world"(57). 
     In terms of the word "pressing", using it as an analogy for life as a pilgrimage can be quite helpful, when thinking about it. The very act connotes a particular goal as well as agency in performing the action. It also implies the use of something heavy to achieve the goal. In a positive light, this could mean using the heaviness of the bad times in our lives to get to the fullness Fr. Barbaric speaks of. Losing track of that usually means being on the receiving end of the iron.
     Implicated in all of this is the will. In many instances, will is mentioned when talking about pilgrimage. That's given, as philosophy notes, action begins in the will. Hence, an important chain begins.
     Will leads to action. Action leads to attitude. Attitude shapes the journey. The journey is everything.
     Keep pressing.
Barbaric, Slavko., Fast with the Heart (Medugorje: IC "Mir" Medugorje, 2011).
Kluger, Richard. Simple Justice (New York: Vintage Books, 1975).

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