Submitted by: Charlene G. Samoy Philosophy Essay October Elements that Compose a Justified Life Occasions of suicide and suicidal attempts are happening all over the world. This makes us think about life – what are life’s essential elements? Is life fair? People have tried different ways to survive life: relationship, education, career, fame, money and power. These things seem very important for many people that even their own lives are put at stake whenever these things are not achieved.
Aside from the material things that people aim in life, there are actually more important qualities necessary to live life to the fullest. We can find these elements in the lives of the secular saints. Simone Weil, Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa have common qualities that make them exemplary. The elements of self-denial, service and spiritual enlightenment can be seen in the lives of these persons. Their reputations are founded on these qualities that enabled them to be considered as living saints.
Although Weil, King and Mother Teresa came from respectable and affluent families, they denied self in order to reach out to others. Simone Weil exercised “detachment from material things” (“Simone Weil”, Wikipedia). In the latter part of her life, she was still actively involved in her social projects despite her physical sufferings. Martin Luther King also sacrificed time and his own safety just to help fellow black Americans gain their rights as citizens of the United States of America (Carson, “Biography of Martin Luther King Jr). Mother Teresa left home and school in exchange for the slums of India (“Mother Teresa – Biography”, Nobelprize.org). This ability to deny self for the benefit of others is rare among people. But during those times when underprivileged people were neglected, these three persons were willing to sacrifice.
Because of their self-denial, they served people with all heart, mind and soul. This kind of service arose from their inner desire to help alleviate the sufferings of their fellowmen. Weil aided the working class in the demand for their social rights, even joining a local factory just to experience the lives of these people (“Simone Weil”, Wikipedia). King, in spite of the “increasing resistance he encountered from political leaders” – which could be the reason for his death – continued his objectives for the benefit of the black Americans (Carson, “Biography of Martin Luther King Jr). Teresa devoted her resources for India’s “poorest of the poor” (“Mother Teresa – Biography”, Nobelprize.org). Their labor of love resulted to fruits that other people cannot harvest by simply doing mediocre service.
Their exceptional services were possible because of one important element deemed very necessary among saints – spiritual enlightenment. Weil experienced being touched by the Divine when she first prayed in the spring of 1937 at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli (“Simone Weil”, Wikipedia). After this event, she grew more determined to finish what she started in spite of the physical limitations brought by her disease. King prayed earnestly during his participation in the bus boycotts (Carson, “Biography of Martin Luther King Jr). Although he had a good foundation, this occasion gave him the spiritual spark that allowed him to face the risks of being an advocate. Mother Teresa was only twelve years old when she felt the call of God (“Mother Teresa – Biography”, Nobelprize.org). From her calling to her death, she depended on Divine Providence for her sustenance. These persons were willing to deny self and serve others because they considered more importantly the higher vocation given to them by the Divine.
These three special elements present in the lives of Weil, King and Teresa are unique. The blending of these elements compounded to a life that aspires, not for material possessions, but for love, justice and equity. This hope for justice fueled them to reach further than where average human goes. The ancient Greeks had a justice philosophy whereon Weil based her ideology. The philosophers from ancient Greeks suggested that “only the wisest man and women should rule the people” (Elsai, “Greek Philosophy”). This was evident in Weil’s life when she mentioned that “Plato is the most representative of this tradition” (Bergery, “Simone Weil”). We can also find similar beliefs in King and Teresa’s life. They used their intelligence to move people. They used their wisdom in order to facilitate justice to people.
Life may seem unfair to many, but these three persons gave us an example that life is necessary. We just have to emulate how they lived life. We need to treasure and utilize the elements found in their lives so that we also can promote justice in our own life and in the lives of others.
Bergery, Benjamine. “Simone Weil.” SimoneWeil.net n.p. n.d. Web. 27 September 2011
Carson, Clayborne. “Biography of Martin Luther King Jr.” mlkonline.net. n.p. n.d. Web 27
Elsaie, Adel. “Greek Philosophy.” USIslam.org n.p.n.d. Web. 28 September 2011
"Mother Teresa – Biography". Nobelprize.org. n.p. n.d. Web. 27 Sep 2011 .
“Simone Weil” Wikipedia n.p. 22 September 2011. Wikimedia Foundation Inc. Web. 27