Saturday, November 14, 2009

Personal Mission Statement

I am Teófilo de Jesús, a son of God by grace and adoption, purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ and saved from sin and death unto eternal life. I am a human being, a man with many faults and defects, a miserable sinner, yet also a forgiven sinner. I was saved, I am being saved, and I hope to be saved by the grace of Jesus Christ our Lord, the Lamb of God, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, True God and True Man.

I stand in the world with a personal ideal or mission, a purpose made for me by God from all eternity, for which God has given me a set of physical, psychological, and spiritual gifts and talents to attain them. As a far as I have been able to determine this ideal and to put it into words, this is to find and then stand at the center of God's will until the end, so that I can be like another Christ and a pillar of the Church.

I gratefully receive with divine and catholic faith what God has revealed in Jesus Christ and what the Catholic Church has handed down to me for my salvation. I give total assent to these truths. I hereby hand down the core of this faith to you:

I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. I believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

My Christian faith is also a Marian faith. I believe that Mary is the Mother, who remained ever a Virgin, of the Incarnate Word, our God and Savior Jesus Christ, and that by reason of this singular election, she was, in consideration of the merits of her Son, redeemed in a more eminent manner, preserved from all stain of original sin and filled with the gift of grace more than all other creatures. I believe that because of her close and indissoluble bond to the Mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption, the Blessed Virgin, the Immaculate, was at the end of her earthly life raised body and soul to heavenly glory and likened to her risen Son in anticipation of the future lot of all the just; and I believe that the Blessed Mother of God, the New Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven her maternal role with regard to Christ's members, cooperating with the birth and growth of divine life in the souls of the redeemed.

I receive and treasure the divine, Catholic faith as handed down through the 21 Ecumenical Councils of the Church. The list is here. I want to state particularly that I receive the Second Vatican Council in its documents without nuance, watering down, or reinterpretation as voicing the Ecumenical mind of the Catholic Church, and resist all attempts from some so-called "traditionalists" and "progressives" to render it meaningless through endless nitpicking interpretation or through appeals to a non-existent "spirit of Vatican II" that go beyond the Council's orthodox boundaries.

I am a husband, living a vowed life of marital chastity and exclusive fidelity to a loving wife until death do us part; I am also a father of two precious sons and a daughter-in-law, and a grandfather; a son, a citizen, a civil servant, and a military officer, oriented in service to others in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, with a vocation to Love God above all things and my neighbor as myself, in order to be reasonably happy on this life and eternally happy on the world to come.

I am a Roman Catholic Christian. Though my pilgrimage within this the Church of Christ has been fraught by accidents and incidents and doesn't lack unhappy moments, and at times I've even been unfaithful to her, now, in her I take my stand, I can't do otherwise. Within her I was born, within her I intend to die with God's grace. The Catholic Church centered in Rome, the See of St. Peter, is Christ's One True Church and those who have known her as true cannot be saved if they refuse to remain within her.

My rule of life is the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I find two adaptations of the Gospel message as useful for study, reflection, meditation, and action. One is ancient: the Rule of St. Benedict. One is modern: the Scripture Rule of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity. I have been far from perfect in living out the Gospel and many times I have fallen short. Yet, I have resolved to stand up and continue walking by the Gospel's light after each fall and after each failure, in Jesus' Name.

I maintain that "Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves."

I stand on the Western intellectual tradition that has its roots in Classical times and that saw its birth in the crucible of Jewish, Greek, and Latin thought, in the Hebrew prophets, and most importantly, in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I am a dwarf standing on the shoulders of giants: hence, I stand, humbly and humbled, on the towering achievements of all Catholic men and women of the past, present and future. Among these I'll mention: Sts. Augustine, Leo I, Benedict, Basil, the two Gregories, and John Chrysostom; Francis of Assisi, Domenic, and particularly, Thomas Aquinas; also, Julian of Norwich (a woman writing under a pseudonym) Sts. Teresa of Ávila, and Charles Borromeo. I'll also mention Suárez, St. Therese of Lisieux, Lord Acton, Pope Leo XIII, John Henry Newman, Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Jacques Maritain, Etienne Gilson, Thomas Merton, John Hardon, Michael Novak, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Popes John XXIII, John Paul the Great, and Benedict XVI.

I am a Christian Humanist. As such, I vow not to be a stranger to any realm of human activity that is ennobling, uplifting, and truth-yielding. Hence, the arts and sciences are also my business and like before, I stand on the shoulders of giants on all fields of human endeavor, this time, too numerous to mention by name without doing justice to someone that may remain unmentioned. But they all come out in my writings. They include men and women in the fields of philosophy, literature, history, the arts, cosmology, astronomy, physics, biology, mathematics, planetary sciences, astronautics and aeronautics, psychology, military science, government, politics, human rights, and the law.

Since I am a Christian Humanist, I also believe that I can learn from other religious traditions, philosophies and modes of thought without compromising my basic stance as a Roman Catholic Christian. Hence, I will listen to what Protestant and Eastern Orthodox Christians want to tell me, as well as Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Deists, Agnostics, Atheists, or any principled human being of good will.

My sense of moral philosophy stems from the conviction that there are moral absolutes and that these may be discerned by natural reason, hence my reliance on Natural Law philosophy as preceding and validating positive law when I defend certain principles and certain rights.

The sources of my political philosophy are found in the principles of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church. These are the principles of: the dignity of the human person, which is the foundation of all the other principles and content of the Church's social doctrine; the common good; subsidiarity; and solidarity. These principles, the expression of the whole truth about man known by reason and faith, are born of “the encounter of the Gospel message and of its demands summarized in the supreme commandment of love of God and neighbor in justice with the problems emanating from the life of society”. In the course of history and with the light of the Spirit, the Church has wisely reflected within her own tradition of faith and has been able to provide an ever more accurate foundation and shape to these principles, progressively explaining them in the attempt to respond coherently to the demands of the times and to the continuous developments of social life. Also, I am convinced that the separation of church and state is the best thing for the Church, but I do not assert that this entails the mandatory renunciation by the individual citizen of his core beliefs as a prerequisite for a career in public service. I assert that the State is under the judgment of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I also defend the separations of powers, the existence of checks and balances, the rule of law, the virtues of a republican, representative democracy, and the Culture of Life. I hold the conviction that government is best when it governs the least, that all persons are equal under the law and that each one is endowed with basic, God-given, inalienable rights among which I can mention Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, from conception until death; that cultural solutions to problems take precedence over government intervention unless there is a clear and imminent danger that a basic right is being denied; that solutions should be pursued at the lowest civic level possible. I hold that everyone has a right to self-determination, to one's own personal dignity, to due process, to a civic and value-centered education, to the keeping of one's property justly earned in a free market of goods, services, and ideas, as well as erecting social protections around those who cannot legitimately compete in the free market for reason of age or infirmity.

I believe that this fallen world is perfectible, if not by the work of man—and to me this is looking less likely each passing day—then by God's, who was, is, and is to come. This eschatological fact, however, does not absolve us from our responsibility of making this world the best possible world. I believe human history will one day come to an end, and that we all will be held responsible for all our thoughts, words, and deeds against God and Man, judged against the standard set by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. On that Last Day, God will sanction the choice we've made for Him or against Him in our earthly lives for the rest of eternity. Those of us who cling to Jesus' mercy hope to live with Him, Father, Son, and + Holy Spirit, forever and ever, in a New Heaven and a New Earth. Maran atha! Yes, come Lord Jesus!

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