Wednesday, May 21, 2008


University psychology majors would have a field day with some people if they really were allowed to delve below the surface and see the personalities that lie just a few fathoms below the ripples. On the outside, some people have all but mastered the art of putting on the brave face, but for a significant proportion of the population in these parts, the hidden battles rage on to find a self image that is acceptable and even pleasing.

The struggle to feel comfortable in one's own skin can lead to all kinds of other dangers: eating disorders, lack of proper exercise, vulnerability to relationships that prove to be more destructive than enhancing ... in short, the picture gets more and more cloudy the further we allow ourselves to travel down that road.

Images of physically fit and happy, healthy individuals are famous in various media, but attempts to live up to this image of perfection have led too many people into the spirals of anorexia, bulimia and other such dangers, all in the name of 'looking good' or 'fitting in' to an image that is perpetuated by the advertising world.

By contrast, the Church has always emphasized the dignity of the human person, taking the focus off such worldly dimensions as physical beauty and focusing rather on the value of each human life. Pope John Paul II was one of the most recent promoters of this teaching as was evidenced in his first encyclical letter published on March 4, 1979.

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