Welcome to my Near Occasion of Sin
From the Old Oligarch, we learn that best wishes are in order to a young woman, identified only as "The Chevalier," who is author of the weblog The Return Curve. Barely six months into her authorship, she has decided thus:
Because of our courtship and engagement, I have been blogging a great deal less. Also, I intend to cease blogging upon entrance into the Sacrament of marriage. Renewing the culture only comes about through action in real life, from which blogging detracts. However, I must say I have received encouragement from encountering the many traditionalists out there in the "blogosphere."Now, I'm happy for the young couple, don't get me wrong. My problem is with the statement:
"Renewing the culture only comes about through action in real life, from which blogging detracts."
Oh, it does, does it?
Is that just for her personally, which is within her capacity to judge for herself? Or is it equally problematic for the rest of us, in which case she can be especially grateful to all otherwise good Catholic "traditionalists" in the blogosphere who endangered their immortal souls while providing her with "encouragement." (Is this where the "double effect" comes in?)
Marriage changes everything, no question about that. But what are the things that constitute it? I presume they will (if they are like most) both continue to work for a living, until such time as her obligations require her to work within the home -- you know, childbearing, that sort of thing. Even then, it is more incumbent upon the Lucky Man to continue being potentially distracted by the demands of his work. (As I recall, Mom rarely spent time on the phone during the day with Dad while he was at the office. "When I'm at work, young man, I'm in another world," I often heard him say.) And let's not forget bowling on Friday nights, a round of golf on Saturday, or the many other things that could "detract" from a marriage.
When we marry, we bring who we are into the union. But the necessary dying to one's self is not to be confused with changing who we are, for it is who we are that the other party has embraced. Each party has interests and endeavors that form the whole person.
I'll give an example from my own "real life." I play the guitar. I've been playing for nearly forty years, and have no intention of stopping. When I played and sang ballads to my young son before bedtime, did my outside interest "detract" from my responsibility to him? If I spent an evening serenading his mother at the end of a hard day, did this outside interest not bear fruit in the marriage? (Not enough, apparently; see earlier entry today.) And so, the act of surrender takes that whole person, and in cleaving to the other, becomes greater than the sum of its parts -- a resultant state which, in German, can be translated as "gestalt." As it does, and given the grace-filled state of the union, God is truly there, thus reinforcing the "gestalt."
My act of typing on a page cannot be construed as being outside the bounds of "real life." It is by living one that I have something upon which to comment here. My discourse with other similarly engaged is an act of sharing that life, which bears fruit inasmuch as virtue or other goods may be derived from it. The same can be said of the workplace, or the bowling alley. This hardly "detracts" from anything.
Because, if it does, my colleague Ms Welborn is in more trouble than I am. The statement rendered by "The Chevalier," considered by itself as an absolute, presumes to speak for the rest of us. It shouldn't have to.