Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Reflections on Fundamental Matters by John H.T. Francis @JohnHTFrancis

Excerpt 3: Reflections on Fundamental Matters: Not for the Satisfied Mind – Chapter: On
Jacob lived in a middle-class community in a normal quiet suburb. Most of the neighbours in the community
shared in the same religious practices. Some were more deeply religious than others, but overall Jacob could
not say of the community he lived in to be overly religious. They had their Shabbat, their Passover, and their
Hanukkah. Jacob himself did not care much about religion or religious duties and ceremonials. He never
engaged in religious discussions, and when he was taught religion at school, he mostly day-dreamed through it.
Jacob loved having fun; he was a cordial and joyful young man with no prejudices. He never cared to know
who followed which religion and who believed what. For him, life was too short to worry about those things.
One day, Jacob woke up to discover his community the victim of vicious attacks because of its religion. Some
of the key religious symbols in the community were desecrated, and a couple of young men were tortured and
killed. Jacob did not know the victims personally. A mood of great shock, anger, and fear swept his
community. Jacob could not but feel provoked and threatened. He came to discover that his religion is part
of his identity independently from how he felt about its content. Jacob associated himself more strongly with
his religion from then on while still not bothering about the details.
Jessica had a troubled childhood and a difficult life growing up. Her parents abandoned her at a young age for
unknown reasons. She spent her childhood going from one foster home to the other. She was rarely looked
after, suffered too early in life, and in the process lost all capacity to trust anyone. Jessica was eager to come
of age and be able to escape from the vicious environment she grew up in. Only Jessica did not know what to
do with her freedom once she became eighteen. She went from one relationship to the other, and from one
odd job to the other. She never managed to trust anyone, and she constantly felt deeply lonely and isolated.
She was incapable of building long-term relationships or committing to one job for a long time. Jessica took
to drugs and became highly addicted which worsened her condition. She spent all the little money she made;
her addiction drove away everybody she knew, and she was about to die alone, on the street, suffering from
sharp withdrawal. On one of her daily walks, a wonderful nun discovered Jessica and took great pity on her.
The nun took the young woman under her care and brought her into her monastery. She helped Jessica break
her addiction and was always patient and caring with her. Jessica did not always react well–it was a natural
defence reflex she had acquired since childhood. But the nun was patient and caring, and Jessica could see the
love and care in her eyes. Jessica never experienced this level of care and attention before. The nun talked
about God and his Son, their great love, which all of us need to replicate, and how Jessica needs never to feel
lonely anymore; Jesus is always there and she can always trust him. Jessica, in her character, was not naturally
inclined towards religions. However, through the nun and her religion, through the crises and the subsequent
life-changing experience, a large part of the void in Jessica’s psyche was filled with love and care. Jessica
started to believe again that there are people she can trust. Moreover, she started to find some meaning and
purpose in her life, and she came since to associate herself with the religion of the nun. Religion filled the
great need for love and compassion Jessica had constantly lacked; the nuns became Jessica’s family.
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Genre - Philosophy, Non-Fiction
Rating – G
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