Our Business

Here’s a post I first ran in my Gazette blog on Dec. 3, 2008.

As much of the world starts going into holiday mode, I thought I would share an excerpt from one of my favourite articles about one of my favourite pieces of literature and movies, which always brings tears to my eyes.

It serves to remind us that the holidays are more than about shopping and gifts and feasting. — Jillian

Here’s the excerpt, with link provided at the end.

From: Mankind Is Our Business, by Ingrid Van Mater:

One of the most moving statements in (Dickens’s A Christmas Carol) is by Marley’s Ghost when despairing over “life’s opportunities misused.” Scrooge, trembling with fear and beginning to share in Marley’s guilt, says: “But you were always a good man of business, Jacob.” Upon which the Ghost cried out in anguish:

“Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

These words stand as an eloquent expression of our grand human purpose, suggesting that it is our inner thoughts and feelings, our motives, our priorities, which contribute to making our lives an emptiness or a fullness. What we are in our whole being is so much grander than anything we can measure by surface values. In Goethe’s words, “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.” The “comprehensive ocean” brings to mind the vast spiritual resources in ourselves, that ocean of truth within, that we are just beginning to discover. From this standpoint our routine activities in themselves are but a “drop of water” compared to our total duty or “business” as innately caring and responsible human beings.
— Ingrid Van Mater

Here the link to the full article: Mankind Is Our Business

3 thoughts on “Our Business

  1. Yes. The words are powerful. And remain important to “remind” humanity of what is must do everyday Life is supported on this Earth. Unfortunately, there are other passages from this author and his famous work. The one that comes to mind is when the spirit of Christmas Present shows Scrooge the two children hidden from view by his robes. “They are Man’s,’ said the Spirit, looking down upon them. ‘And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy,
    for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it.’ cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. ‘Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end.” i have found that ‘ignorance’ is indeed the most dangerous for it is everywhere and precipitates much evil and malice. But humanity has seen Dark Ages as well as Renaissance men. Of this, sadly, we cannot control because there are few who have the courage and will to fight fear and the uncertainty of our precarious, fragile existence. So, once again, Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth towards all men of Good Will.


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