the good life, virtue, and sanctification.

let it be, let it be.

silent night, holy night.

love could change the world in a moment, but what do I know? 

i hope someday you will join us and the world will be as one.

My family thinks I’m crazy, my friends think I’m crazy, The Guitarist thinks I’m crazy and in all complete honesty, they would be right. How many girls do you know that switches from annoyance at labor laws to waving her hands about the brilliance of Karl Marx and finding him fascinating? I’ve been told I’m the only one.

In the spirit of that, I can have outrageous ideas.  Out of this realm, what the actual even looks ideas.  And one of these things is that peace outside of yourself doesn’t actually exist on earth. I don’t believe in it.  That line in Miss Congeniality where they all say they want to further world peace? (shoutout to Sandra Bullock, my woman) Nope, I don’t think it’s real.  Outside of God, perhaps.  Also perfect happiness. Perfect happiness is nonexistent in this world.  Pretty happiness, sure.  Mostly happiness, absolutely.  Perfect happiness? Not going to happen.

Let me explain.  Aristotle talks about the good life and so does Thomas Aquinas. On a pagan side, Aristotle claims the good life, and in the end, happiness, is achieving virtue. If you’re not familiar with Aristotelian virtue, I will give you a brief run down.  Aristotle believed all virtue is a median between two extremes.  For example, courage is a virtue median between rashness and cowardliness.  Some things, like, lust are simply not able to be made good, according to the Man of Philosophy, and are unable to become a virtue. In Ethics, I believe, he talks about the four virtues that make up the Good Life.

  • Wisdom
  • Moderation
  • Courage
  • Justice

If you achieve these things, you have essentially achieved the highest form of living.  Now on the flip side, Aquinas says that the good life, and perfect happiness, is experiencing the divine essence. (If Aquinas scholars are out there and I worded that wrong, I apologize. Aristotle is my man I’m more familiar with.) And through Christianity, we have our three great virtues.

  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Love (But the greatest of these is love.)

See the divine essence, live these three virtues; ah, that is the good life. Now comes the tricky part that comes down maybe more to opinion.

How do you see the divine essence? I believe you have to become sanctified.  And if you believe in complete earthly sanctification, then go you.  I’d be interested to hear more about your beliefs on that; friendly discussion, I promise.  But I am more of the belief that you can’t.

“But Abby, we’ve been saved by the blood of Christ. We’ve been baptized.” Yes, yes, I know. I”m glad and I’m thankful and yes, you’ve been sanctified under the law. But are our earthly bodies in addition to our souls sanctified…? I’m hesitant to take that idea under my wing.  For the Jews too were sanctified by the law before the new covenant. But were their bodies pure? Would we have the Pentateuch and sacrifice rituals if they were? Our earthly bodies will never be pure, never be wholly sanctified, in my belief.  Rather our souls are sanctified and we continue to refine our flesh.

Now, we are going to run with these two men.  If our souls are now sanctified, we must complete our bodies.  How is the best way to do this? Well, prayer, yes.  Church, yes.  Good Christian habits, of course.  But jump back to the virtues. Can you say them with me? Faith, hope, love, faith, hope, love. But wait. That’s spirit and we need the perfect formula to help sanctify all of us, the best virtues of the flesh and of the spirit.  Let’s start again. Faith, hope, love, wisdom, justice, moderation, courage, faith hope, love, wisdom, justice, moderation, courage. 

It’s not magic, it’s just logic.  Do not these seem to go better together? For what is justice without faith, hope, and love? And what are faith, hope, and love without an application? So let’s say now that you’ve achieved all of these perfectly.  You’re essentially perfect, you’ve mastered the great virtues, the ones everyone should strive for and BOOM, you see the divine essence. And then it’s gone.  Fleeting moment of extreme perfect happiness.  And don’t get me wrong.  That. Would. Be. Glorious.

But it wouldn’t last.  In fact, I’d argue that the average person may be less happy after seeing the divine essence than before.  Disclaimer, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed actually seeing God in form, so I can’t entirely speak from experience.  But when I imagine it, I imagine myself being sad, possibly depressive, afterward knowing that I couldn’t continually see God in that way.  Maybe seeing it/Him would set me in a state of perpetual happiness of the spirit, that is a possibility.  This being said, I am not convinced you can just averagely see the divine essence.

Next, in order to be completely sanctified, I believe you would have to continually always be in perfect order with the above virtues.  I know a great many people of faith, of love, of justice.  But how many people do you know that are always in a state of love and faith and hope and justice and wisdom and moderation and courage?  If you know one, I’d really like to meet them.  In a way, they’re a walking miracle, perhaps even a saint.

It just doesn’t happen every day.  For each and every one of those pieces to fall into perfect place.  Call me a doubter, but it just doesn’t seem averagely plausible.  Through God, of course.  But for you to be in a continuous state of 7 virtues and seeing God in a form does not seem like something you can achieve while in the flesh as we know it now.

And jumping from that, I don’t think peace or perfect happiness is achievable on earth.  Perfect happiness was covered specifically there, but peace applies in that in order to have things like world peace or even peace over a country, you have to have everyone in a certain continual state of goodness.  Or at least most everyone in general agreement on what the goodness is and performs in public as such.  But we know humans and we know this doesn’t happen.  I’ve never seen it happen.  The achievement of that would be glorious.

Not exactly sure on how to sum this up, but there is my statement, take it as you will. Perfect happiness and peace outside of us and God is unachievable. Feel free to respond, I’ll be here.



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