Thursday, June 25, 2009

Quote of the day
Daniel A. Lord on 'playing God'

"Whenever I hear or read of anyone who has a strong desire to play God, I feel like shouting, 'Well, why don’t you?' When someone boasts in my presence about what he would do or not do if he were God, it comes to me with a shock that he constantly has a chance to make good his boast and evidently is not aware of it. For throughout our lives God is constantly asking us to substitute for Him and do for our fellow men the godlike things that will make life beautiful and rich and full.

"Sometimes we answer this challenge rather well, and the happiness that follows for ourselves and others is glorious. Sometimes we fail miserably, disgracefully, and unhappiness ensues. On a thousand occasions mothers stand to their children in place of God. Isn’t the world a vastly happier place because they play that part so well? Many a fine physician plays God when he saves a life, brings back health to those who call upon him. I think that a cook in the kitchen plays God for those she feeds quite as much as a great lawyer plays God when he wins justice for a frightened client. I think the young man who protects a girl from sin and temptation plays God very beautifully and strongly, as does the young woman who adds to the beauty of the world the sweet fragrance of her own virtue.

"Yet, given the chance to play God, we have a way of failing too, too frequently. We are appalled at human cruelty and thoughtlessness and sin in others. Then God gives us a chance to do His work for someone, and we refuse. ...

"I do think that, before we start telling God how to run His world, we might prove that we, given a chance to stand briefly in the place of God, have done a first-class job with ourselves. If we have played God beautifully in the little corner of the world that depends on us, we may have some right to aspire to higher responsibilities. I notice that people who really try to do a Christ-like job in the spot they occupy are usually too humble about their work to aspire to run the whole world, and usually so busy spreading happiness where thay are that they haven’t time to taunt God or even to think too much about His running of the universe."

— Father Daniel A. Lord S.J. "Man Says — 'If I Were God ...'" (1940)