Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wisdom from Yoda

Okay, so you're probably thinking: "What could George Lucas's great Jedi Master possibly have to do with faith, body image, or fitness?"

More than you might think.

No, I'm not a Star Wars junkie (I did not dress up like Princess Leia to go see any of the movies nor do I own a lightsaber), but I've always liked Yoda and the wisdom he imparts. Plus, who doesn't like to see a little guy use some serious Force to kick the tails of some pretty big and fierce enemies?

Recently, I stumbled across a Yodaism that immediately made me think of how we place far too much emphasis on appearance. Yoda wisely says, "Judge me by my size do you? And well you should not!"

Looking at this little green, old guy with pointy ears and wiry white hair springing from his wrinkled head, you wouldn't immediately think, "Now there's a great warrior!" But that's exactly what Yoda is.

Society has taught us to assume so much based on appearance. It's easy to "size people up" just by looking at them. We assume beautiful people are happy. We assume tall, lean people are athletes. We give meaning to fat and thin people. Slender, attractive men and women are always successful and popular. Whereas too often people conclude that overweight people lack confidence or perhaps self-control.

What we're doing even more than jumping to unfair conclusions is seeing people not as human beings but as objects. The Catholic Church is very clear about the dignity of the human person and that we must recognize each person's worth - from the unborn child to the disabled adult.

It would be unwise for any enemy to see Yoda as old and weak and to judge him by his small stature. Likewise, we must not turn people into objects; we must "see" beyond appearance and not draw conclusions based on how a person looks or dresses.

Judge others by their appearance? Well we should not. Instead, we must look at people through Christ's eyes, a lens of love. Then and only then will we begin to recognize that everyone has worth and everyone is beautiful.

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