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No to "Self Help"

The history of philosophy can be divided into three distinct periods: ancient, medieval, and modern. Each period has a unique focus. Ancient philosophy focused on the cosmos as the centre of all inquiry, we call it cosmological approach. In this cosmological approach people saw beauty and wonder in all that surrounded them, and looked for wisdom in those realities. Cosmos provided them with the necessary content for thinking, reflecting, and understanding. In the Middle Ages philosophy shifted to a theocentric approach. This approach looked towards God as the focus of all wisdom and wonder. Reflections on the existence of God and His creative power became the key to understanding a sense of meaning and purpose for our lives. With Rene Descartes and his famous quote: “I think therefore I am” modern philosophy was born. Modern philosophy is anthropocentric, meaning that it is focused on the human experience as the source of all wisdom and wonder. From our faith’s perspective we would say that this modern approach to philosophy has moved us away from God and from the world around us. It placed me, a human being, as the centre of the universe. We see the influence of this modern approach to philosophy even today with the very popular “self-help” approach to resolving our problems. Just go to the book store and see how many “self-help” books exist, with their modern philosophical approach to resolving human dilemmas, namely, only you can help you. As Christians we have a very different way of responding to human problems. Instead of helping ourselves we look to God and seek His help. After all, if we look honestly at our past experiences it is hard to deny the limitations that exist within ourselves. We can’t do it alone. This modern approach to philosophy and human existence has failed us, leaving us isolated, frustrated, and lonely. The Church provides us with a much better approach to life. It is focused on a realization that we are not alone, we were created by God, we exist with God’s help, and we are called to move closer to God. God also provides us with the best help on this journey. Instead of a “self-help” book, God gives us Himself. The best way to fight against difficulties is not by retreating deeper into our own selves, but moving closer to God and His holy people. Next time you feel in need of some help, don’t look for a “self-help” book. Instead, pick up God’s Holy Word and seek God’s wisdom for your life. Come to Church and be with others who believe in the One who can heal. Know that you are not alone, God is with

you, God has something to offer you.

Fr. Wojtek Kuzma

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