Misfiring of the Longing for Goodness

From my earlier post ‘Virtue and Classical Education: A Commencement Address to a Graduating Class’:

“We all long for Christ’s presence, for the beatific vision. We long for Him like flowers stretching forth towards the light of the sun, for it is in our nature as human beings to aim towards what is good, true and beautiful, and all goodness, truth and beauty is but a dim reflection of the Creator. But the impulse towards the good can misfire, as we follow after merely transitory and temporal goods rather than the Eternal Good, or as we pursue the fleeting ephemeral beauty of this world that cannot satisfy the soul. The power transitory goods have for enticing us away from the Ultimate Good lies precisely in the fact that they are genuine goods. Because of our fallen state, we do not approach God directly, but through the good things of creation. For example, the sense of wonder and awe we feel when contemplating objects of beauty prepares our hearts for the beauty of Christ; the sense of completion we feel when we love and are loved by another prepares our hearts for unity with God; when we experience human forgiveness, understanding compassion and encouragement, these qualities become icons of God’s love for us. The temptation, however, is to treat these things of creation (which, though good, are still transient goods) as if they are ultimate ends themselves rather than means towards the One who is Ultimate Good.”