St. Anthony – Monthly Meditation
by Deacon Dan Barone
Webster’s Dictionary lists the definition of “common sense” as “sound practical judgement that is independent of specialized knowledge or training; normal human intelligence.” Hm-m-m-m…sound practical judgement…normal human intelligence. Okay, I will buy into that statement. How about yourself? After all, there ought to be an explanation as to why we respond the way we do and act the way we do, in a specific situation that we have not been specifically trained for; shouldn’t there be?? (Wow, that was a mouthful). I bring this to your attention because of an experience I had quite a few years ago. Allow me to explain…
Several years ago, I attended a class on Humanities. The presenter of the class asked if anyone could explain why we do, and react to, certain situations the way we do. Well, I answered and said it is because of the common sense we have. (I thought that that was a fairly good answer). Not so. Not so at all. “Actually”, the presenter said, “there is no such thing as common sense”. Whoa…that was like a slap in the face. No such thing as common sense?? I could not believe what I just heard. The presenter went on to explain; “we act and react to a specific situation because we have been trained on how to act and/or react.” I honestly cannot remember ever being trained to not jump in front of a moving bus or trained to not walk up to a mountain lion saying “‘here kitty- kitty’.” I just have “that feeling” that if I were to do either of those things, I was going to get hurt…really bad! To me, “that feeling” was and is the common sense that we as human beings, all possess (to various degrees). That feeling prevents us from doing things that otherwise might be harmful to our wellbeing. I suppose that if common sense did not exist, (as per the presenter of that class) we could refer to this “feeling” as “uncommon sense” (just a thought). Regardless, the word “common sense” is in the dictionary and there is a specific definition for the word; therefore, by definition, “common sense” exits.
Now that we have clarified that common sense exists, (I hope we have), I have a question for you. Could this common sense challenge our belief that God exists? Maybe…maybe not. Situations have and continue to challenge my common sense. Case in point, I have seen, and I have pictures of a tree growing in a crack in a large boulder. Common sense tells me that this is not possible. A tree needs to be in soil to grow. And yet, here the tree is growing and thriving in this crack in this boulder. How can it? It just is not possible… Then why is it? Bible scripture tells us that nothing is impossible for God. Maybe the example of the tree is Gods way of reminding us that He does exist. His challenge to our common sense…
Deacon Dan Barone
St. Anthony Catholic Church