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Community service in simple terms can be said to be a form of charity that is offered to the society. Ideally, community service has all to do with being in pursuit of the common good. Actually, the common good has a very rich tradition and culture in the Catholic social and intellectual thought. A service to the common good was core to the normative visualization of the good life through a lot of Western thought, from typical Greek moral way of life. If we can borrow from the example of Boyle (pp.10-20), being human involves following the common good of fellow man. Common good is indeed a difficult theory to understand. It starts with the proposition that each individual is social and sacred and more even stating that human dignity and rights, the human well-being and potential of each individual are attained in a single moral ecology.
The concept of having meaning and purpose in life has commonly been thought by many as being happy with life. Happiness has been defined as the meaning and the purpose of life which actually is the main aim and end of the existence of human beings. Life finds its real purpose and fulfillment in the expansion of contentment and happiness. All human beings born into this world come into it with a specific purpose. Apparently, human beings will not find this purpose until they make a commitment to search for it. This is how human beings should live.
It would be very disastrous if there was no purpose for which people live. If human beings could live without a purpose, then there will actually be no difference between them and animals. The most important part of being human is living a meaningful and purposeful life. Essentially, the meaning of life is acknowledged through the things that we do, the way we do these things and the people to whom the things are done. The lives of human beings apparently mean different to people of different kind and the meaning changes as the humankind improves. Making life meaningful is something which can be easy since it is within us. Thus, people do not need to rely on others to make their life meaningful.
Understanding and appreciating the natural world means learning through a first hand experience of what transpires in the world and taking good thought and care of whatever and nature provides through learning, observing and experience. Having a continuous hands-on experience with the natural world creates a deep instinctive understanding of the natural world that is the basis of sustainable development. The natural world has a lot to teach human beings and people really need it to connect with their purpose in life.
Forging a more just society for the common good is an effort of working towards the achievement of moral values in the society attaining a point of compromise where everybody is treated fairly. Social justice is the main virtue that familiarizes an individual with moral actions towards this common good. The basis of social justice is ideally a moral vision for the entire society since human beings share a universal humanity and freedom. Therefore, each individual and social group will make a commitment to the good of everybody in the society because of the fact they see that they are vitally responsible for the welfare and quality of life of every other person.
Boyle narrates his twenty years of working with “homies” in the county of Los Angeles having 1,100 gangs and with a membership of almost 86,000. Boyle has found meaning and purpose in life as he engages in a gang intervention program. As a priest, his Christian beliefs seem to connect so well with Catholic social traditions. He offers tattoo removal, job training and employment to all the members of the foe gangs. This kind of charity and community service is very instrumental as it gave Boyles a purpose of living. Life has its meaning in the engagement of such activities that seek to promote the well-being of everyone in the society (Boyle, pp. 33-67). His efforts were made towards the improvement of the quality of life of the members of these gangs.
The charity and community service that Boyle offers is connected to the belief that he has in the social well being of humanity. He narrates the despair of looking upon the children we love corporate in working doom upon their lives. He promotes the aspect of standing in awe to what the vulnerable and poor people have to bear instead of just judging them based on the things that have befallen them. Catholic social traditions teach such values of finding meaning and purpose in life by addressing the problems of others. From stirring vignettes concerning gangsters breaking into many tears or finding themselves candidates of love and affirmation, to times of spiritual likeness and side splittingly humorous banter between him and the homies, Boyle creates a persuading and even blissful treatise on the sacred nature of each and every life. Boyle lives the true meaning of life and having a purpose in the life he leads as embedded in the Catholic social tradition. He shows the way the church is supposed to exist for the non-members. The purpose and meaning of life in the religion is found in such activities that work for the common good of all in the society.
Being human is defined through having such a kind of a feeling and sympathy towards the poor and the vulnerable. His efforts forge towards a just society for the common good of everyone (Pross, Justice and common good). Boyle has buried many young people from violence that is linked to gangs. This shows how Boyle has understood and the manner in which he appreciates the natural world. He actually appreciates the lives of these gang members by making a commitment to help them (pp. 25-89). Charity and community service happens to be one of the core values of Catholic social traditions.
The actions and decisions of a just individual will habitually develop the good that is concurrently common for all people and the community at large. This is why charity and community service are seen as virtues done to the society. Apparently, Christian moral traditions do not expect a person to look on the plight of an individual without doing anything. Christian moral traditions are characterized with humane actions. To be human is a concept that is highly valued as a Christian moral sense. It is very important to develop capabilities for all people through an elimination of everything that causes the lack of freedom (Pross, Justice and common good). Creating freedoms can be achieved through charity and community service. Liberating these people in abject poor or in dire need is an aspect of Christian moral values and traditions.
The decision an individual takes in helping others shows an understanding of some kind. It is not the responsibility of human beings to pass on judgment to others because that is not human. We are all similar and face the same things in life. Appreciating the lives of others ignites the desire to be involved in community service and in the service of others. Charity and community service seek to eliminate lack of opportunities, social deprivation, overactive repressive regimes and intolerance among other issues.
Jewish ethics traditions have also not been left out in contributing towards charity and community service. The teachings of Jewish ethics of tradition are aimed towards healing a fractured world which initially calls for having a responsibility. When we have found a responsibility in life, then life is worth living. Life gets meaning and purpose. It is human to make commitments to heal a fractured society. The theology of responsibility according to Jewish traditions teaches about taking positive reaction towards the evil in the society. Being ready to deal with the forces that go against a just society and the common good for all in the community is a very important aspect that connects Jewish ethics traditions to charity and community service (Sacks, pp.5-17).
According to Jewish traditions, following responsibility ethics develops character. This is a very important aspect that is required in charity work and community service. This is a mark of leading a responsible life (Sacks, pp. 15-33). Responsibility brings meaning and purpose in life. Taking responsibility to take part in societal work shows good understanding of our natural world. It is also an indication of appreciation of the things that surround us. The charity work and service given to the community is something that seems to rhyme with the Jewish ethics traditions. For instance, Boyle at the Homeboy Industries ministry makes us forget that the youthful gang strike any fear in many people in America. Branding the gang as a reckless group does not help and may actually be working against the development of a just society. This gang is indeed a threat to the society but Boyle goes beyond such experiences and shows everyone that every person deserves the love of God (Boyle, pp. 87-124).
Charity and community service as demonstrated by Boyle are fully backed by Catholic social traditions. These young individuals are not actually monsters. They are sacred people who in essence are looking for a meaning and purpose in life. When they make a choice of leaving gang life, they come to Homeboy Industries ministry for career placement, counseling, job training, education and tattoo removal. Catholic social traditions have thus been useful in solving the evils of guns, poverty and gangs. Again, it is all about having a Christian moral obligation to live with the poor and the outcasts. While Homeboy Industries ministry has assisted many young individuals to get out of crime and secure jobs, Boyle does not focus on the outcomes and the success. He is just in the jail, the streets, and homes and in the lives of other persons.
Just like Boyle, Sacks depicts Jewish ethics traditions as a multifaceted and subtle predisposition that seriously handles responsibility ethics at a time of corporate malfeasance, religious strife, political chicanery and religious strife. Boyle finds joy from seeing people come and unite together. As earlier aforementioned, happiness and joy defines having a meaningful life. A meaningful life must seek to fulfill a desired end (Sacks, pp. 20-60).
Approaching any challenge and difficult with a positive response coupled with a heart full of compassion are key elements in charity and community service. Boyle is such kind of a person who has demonstrated these elements. Sacks also confirms this from the Jewish ethics traditions that do not seek to pass judgment. The ministry of Boyle is a very good example of the way Christians should live the gospel in their lives. This can only be through reflecting the love and compassion of God. Love and compassion are apparently a direct translation of charity and community service.
Sacks presents Jewish ethics tradition in a way that requires people to be partners towards the work of creation (pp. 23-89). Everybody is called upon to make a difference in the environment and amongst people by forging a more just society for the common good. This actually is the backbone of charity and community service. The truths of religion are highly valued although the duties are very close at hand. We know God more if we are in a position to emulate rather than remaining in contemplation. Emulating God’s work according to the Jewish ethics traditions is emulating the work of creation. Indeed, the difference is between actions and faith. People’s actions express their faith in God. This becomes more real in the lives of others and the humanity general. Jewish ethics is apparently a direct translation of charity and scrumptiously down-to-earth. If an individual is in need, people must be ready to give. This is a human attribute. A lonely person should be given company and the bereaved should be comforted. Definitely, Jewish ethics act as the basis of community service. Undoubtedly, Jewish ethics teaches the understanding and appreciation of the natural world.
The human actions of helping one another through charity and community service are defined as the true religion. It is regarded as religion at its most humane and humanizing nature. This is also greater than having a divine presence. What Sacks reiterates in Jewish ethics tradition also identifies with Boyle’ efforts in emulating the work of creation.
Charity and community service is founded on Christian moral traditions and also on Jewish social ethics and other concepts of love in action, justice, sanctification of the name of God, peace ways and mending the places where the world is fractured. It is a collective responsibility in all these faith covenants. It comes out as vital for humanity entirely. This practice and concept is a part of the monotheistic thought and the challenges that come along with being both good and holy. It is no doubt that Jewish ethics tradition forms a very important aspect in charity and community service. Jewish ethics seek to transform suffering, incarnate dreams, redeem evil and practice virtue. Being kind and doing well are not burdensome. Instead, these actions promote faith and having joy and happiness as well. In fact, Jewish ethics tradition propels the charity and community service engagements. Jewish ethics tradition even go ahead to state that charity is needed even though the greatest act is one that permits an unemployed individual to become self-sufficient (Sacks, pp. 112-27).
Religion has a very huge connection to charity and community service. It is undeniably true that the values expressed in catholic social tradition, Christian moral tradition and Jewish ethics tradition contribute a lot in the process of community service and charity. For instance, Jewish ethics assert that we are ambassadors of God on the face of earth. The manner in which people live affects how others see God. God requires us to carry on the work of creation and this can be realized by helping others realize themselves and make progress through charity and community service (Sacks, pp. 201-215).
Understanding and appreciating the natural world is the first step of moving towards charity and community service. If people do not understand the reason why things are the way they are they may not see the need to help others. Living well makes a person become a blessing to another person according to Jewish traditions and also as evident in Catholic social conventions as propagated by Boyle in his program with the gangs. This is a witnessing fact to the power of transformation of the divinity. In essence, charity and community service was created in human beings. It is therefore human to be involved in charity work. God has put meaning and purpose of life in people. This should be realized through charity and community service to others in forging a more just society for the common good of other people. Sacks says that a holy person must translate the word of God into actions in a similar way which waves are converted into sound through radio.
As a real image of charity and community service, Sacks strikes very high reflections on redemption of little steps, kindness, faith as being with uncertainty and morality of faith among other concepts. Sacks also makes reference to the language of tears which is presented as the only universal language. It is a language of compassion leading to charity and offering the community service. The meaning of life is therefore achieved in leaving an impact in the lives of individuals. What matters in the life of an individual is not what goes in but rather what is felt by others in surrounding. Charity and community service requires a person to be human. Being human would require a person show love towards other people. Showing this kind of love will require a proper understanding and appreciation of the natural world. Other people are equally important as us. Charity and community service is therefore at the heart of God and we are supposed to execute what God has implanted deep within us. It is very important to know how religion connects to charity and community service. The teachings in Catholic social traditions, Christian moral tradition and Jewish ethics tradition are apparently the backbone of charity and community service.