continuity liturgy and personality

Continuity and Cakes

6:00:00 AMMarisa Ramos

Any  given good, when it is taken in its full essence shines forth a splendorous quality of its own. For instance, a cake you made from scratch. You look on it with a satisfaction because it is whole, complete, and if so, it is exactly how you intended to make it. Another example we can look at is the person who is happy. This person is happy, healthy, holy, and successful with a loving family. When you talk to them, they appear to you as being whole. They seem to be living as they ought to; they have a continuity in their lives. The finished product of a cake or the continuity within a family share something in common. The wholeness projects an element of goodness when we look upon them.

If we see goodness in wholeness then we desire to be whole because we desire goodness in our own lives. The continuity we experience in our lives is “the fact of knowing oneself to be one throughout the stream of time and of moments filled with the most varied contents.” Continuity necessitates a wholeness, a oneness, within the person through time. A person cannot simply be in continuity at one time but not at another. If he did, he never would have real continuity, for one cannot have continuity and then not for it is a necessarily continuous state. By this I mean that through all of mans many different experiences, he does not become shallow and ‘two-faced’; a person would have real continuity when he responds to values as they deserve to be responded to and moves through his life in light of the values that he has encountered and how the values affected him.

Continuity should exist in a person throughout all time. This does not mean that a person stays the same after every experience every day. For example, a student goes to class throughout the semester and experiences this over and over. But some classes affect him more than others, thus he has a different understanding after these classes so he is not the same identical person he was before. Instead, continuity means that a person knows for himself that he is one and whole throughout every event that takes place in his life.
For example, Sally goes through her life experiencing events like growing up and getting a job and responding to them as they deserve. But not every event is connected or related. When Sally participates in the beauty of the mountains, she feels gratitude for their breathtaking beauty. Yet, later on in the day, Sally is informed of the loss of one of her family members moving her to feel great sorrow. These two events are completely disconnected, but we would not say that a separate Sally experienced them. She experiences both events as one person. Each time we authentically respond to value, we cultivate a sensitivity to what is truly important. We are able to differentiate between two similar qualities because we have developed our openness to value. She knows that during these experiences she is still Sally but with a greater ability to respond to value, she is not disconnected within her self in the way that these events are; Sally is a whole being who possess continuity within herself.

Continuity is an essential mark of a true personality for it means that the person takes each event that happens to them, can respond to them in the present, can recollect them when they have passed and they learn from them thus making them a whole and awakened being. Like when making a cake, flour alone does not do. The flour must be combined with eggs and sugar to make a whole cake. Once this cake has been made whole, it is a being that has continuity within it. As with a person who has continuity, they are whole and cannot be separated within themselves like the events that happen to them. So, unlike a cake which is meant to be shared, making it only one in accident, the human person is substantially one. Their unity goes deeper then a layer of icing.

Dietrich von Hildebrand, Liturgy and Personality, page 102

Mt. McKinley

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