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They are out there, but you have to be able to have the confidence and social skills to be attractive to them when you first meet them. If you are shy or have some doubts with your self-confidence, but it is important to learn how to overcome these things if you want to be able to put yourself out there and meet someone special. Learning how to meet and attract a perfect life partner is important for many people in the quest to live a fulfilling life.

You're in the middle of a crowded restaurant and a man is choking on his dinosaur chicken nugget. Not only is he embarrassed to be eating chicken dinosaurs, he might die. His only hope is that someone knows the Heimlich around him. The technique is simple, and anyone can learn it with a little bit of care and research. This is a skill that every single adult should not only know but have practiced it until it is second nature. Learning this skill just might save a life.

The time to learn this skill is not when it is your child or father needing CPR, but in your own free time. CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is the simple art of knowing how to jump start someone's heart and lungs with a little bit of your own air and chest compressions. This is an absolute must-have skill in emergency situations, and it's one of the first things that professional emergency medical transporters are taught. It is also an easy skill to learn, but the potential payback is immense.

All the skills to learn are not fun things like learning to play guitar, speed cup stacking, or learning a new language. Some of them are far more useful skills than that. For example, learning how to learn. When you learn the intricacies of how to learn, every skill or bit of knowledge learned thereafter just a little bit more quickly and easily, due to the fact that you fully understand the process of learning new skills. Many of the mental skills to learn are like this. They build on essential skills that will help you learn more, do more, achieve more or generally succeed in life.

Learn Something New: 101 New Skills to Learn Starting Today

Want to learn how to improve your learning? The first and most significant mental skill any human being can learn in their lives is knowing how to ask the right question or questions. Many people seek answers for questions they have never even asked. When we ask ourselves the right question, we cut away any chance of wasting our precious time seeking that which is not what we truly need. It's a shameful thing to start a conversation if you're not truly interested anything.

You deny all of your listeners your better self. Likewise, it's a shameful thing to not act, work and behave in ways that genuinely interest you. It won't be the real you if you don't really care. This is why it is important to truly care about your work, relationships, success, your future and the rest of the laundry list. If you really get behind the things you do, then keeping up the learning process for new skills will not be a chore, but something that you actively pursue.

Critical thinking is the ability to chances of success and understanding by using a higher level of thought. Critical thinking is a mass mix of separate skills that all come together to form thought processes that lead to better results. Critical thinking is a magnificent tool for achieving higher success, and you can easily improve your results in life by simply being aware of what it's like to think critically. It decreases stress. Helps reduce suffering from many pains and illness.

And generally can help us feel healthier, happier and fitter due to the mind-body-spirit connection it fosters. In short, mindfulness means paying extreme attention to the things you do. This is the perfect example of mindfulness as a whole. When you eat mindfully you do so slowly.

You savor the taste and the flavors. Want to learn more details about mindfulness and how you can become more mindful? Why not check out some books I have written with my writing partner Barrie Davenport. Resources: Our Mindfulness Books and Journal. Declutter Your Mind. Mindful Relationship Habits. The Mindfulness Journal. If your life sucks, it's pretty obvious that you're going to want it to change. Likewise, if it's amazing, you're going to want it to either stay the same or get more amazing. Both of these scenarios present the potential for change.

Why fear it if you're going to potentially want it for the rest of your life? I have written dozens of article about how to make positive change in your life by changing your habits. There are many ways to go about changing your habits. Some will have extra steps than the skill resource below. Other may have some additional steps. But at its core all effective change boils down to following the 8 steps below. If we define useless here as having zero or worse of an impact on your goals, then simply cutting these things away would have dramatic results. Stop reading silly information you don't really care about if there's something you already know is better that you could be reading.

Stop watching TV that contributes nothing to you, and you will suddenly find yourself with far more time on your hands for your own success. Not sure what constitutes a bad habit, that you might want to change? Check out this bad habit list. And take a moment to think about changing out some of these bad habits for their better counterparts from this list of good habits.

Someone asked me how I can take risks so calmly and comfortably. My answer was "I'm kind of amazing. Now let me be clear. I do not have a superhuman ego. I rarely brag about accomplishments and spend far more time encouraging others than I do talking about myself. I am actually a bit of an introvert. But it is important to project confidence. Confidence is in recognizing your own strengths and living, breathing and speaking them. Confident people can have weak moments, but confidence is never weak. Life can be tough.

Bad things happen to us all the time. Sometimes a bad past haunts us everyday. Positive thinking is a skill. It is something you need to work at intentionally to improve. Learning the skill of positivity is certainly worth the time invested. When you have a positive mindset, you can take control of the way that you feel, behave and move forward, but you first need to start thinking in those positive, productive ways that provide energy rather than draining it. If you love quotes, poems, lyrics or excerpts, you need to be able to memorize them.

While it's great to be able to repeat them to others, we cannot remember everything that crosses us. By learning to remember the significant words we cross, we become better at instilling them within ourselves. If it's important enough to remember, it's probably important enough to embody. If you are a student, learning to have a sharp memory is even more important. Being able to memorize large amounts of classwork will keep you churning ahead of your peers.

For the rest of us, memory is more like a muscle. It is built through work, repetition and training. It is a skill that needs to be fostered, trained and built. Check out some of the best memory exercises below to learn more about building a powerful memory skill. Most people get trapped in their own plans, goals, memories and ideas.

Life happens around them without them being aware. The self awareness skill is about keeping one foot in the present and truly understanding what is going on in your life. Even as you reach for the stars of the future. What is self awareness? Succinctly" Being present to everything that's happening as it happens with no need to judge or analyze it. Embodying what it means to experience life, and awareness will come. Resource: Activities to Build Self Awareness.

Focus is another meta-skill that influences many other mental skills. The ability to fully focus your mind on a single topic is essential for getting the most creativity and productivity out of your time. If your mind is jumbled with other thoughts or busy trying to multitask your ability to focus greatly suffers.

Like many mental and physical activities, focus can be increased and improved with effort. Think your skills with focus are good? Try the White Bear Experiment. Try to go 5 minutes working on other things and NOT have the thought of white bears cross your mind.


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When you seek the information here in this list of skills to learn, remember that one source can only give you what it has to offer rather than what's truly available. Be sure to seek more information, even if you think you have all the answers, because one little epiphany could change everything. Neuroplasticity is the ability to rewire your brain. You can increase IQ, recall, reading speed, cognition by using ideas from this new brain science. The idea behind these activities is to create new information pathways. These new pathways will often help you learn like a child would, quickly and with an ease few adults possess.

The science behind neuroplasticity is new and constantly growing. With the skill of neuroplasticity when you learn something new you are actively forging new pathways in your brain for learning that will help make learning future skills a bit easier. Think about basketball. You have two guys practicing.

Both spend one hour practicing. The first guy is running around doing a bit of everything. He does some jump shots. He practices dribbling. He chases after balls as they get away from him. He is not focused on his practice, he tries to do everything. Now, guy number two is focused. He uses deliberate practice. He spends his hour practicing shooting from the key. He has a coach with him to catch his missed shots, gives advice on improving his shots and make sure there is little or no downtime.

The laser focus on a particular type of shot, means guy number two's practice will be FAR more effective than the same amount of practice time as the first guy. This is the power of deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is a keystone habit. Once you learn to practice deliberately, everything you practice in life becomes easier to learn because you know how to build your skills the right way.

Many people encounter a problem and immediately react with an emotional, erratic train of thoughts. They panic, worry, fear or generally become overwhelmed by a negative emotion. Logic is mathematical; it is the process of finding appropriate answers. Remember that the appropriate answers are what matter, not what you are feeling in times of trouble. This newsletter is a 5-minute read that's informative, witty and FREE! Everyone likes to have money. They may not have a need to be rich, but it is certainly nice not to scramble to find creative ways to pay your bills.

However, money and finances are certainly skills, and unfortunately they are skills that most people have not learned. There are skills in frugal living, budgeting, personal finances, debt management and reduction, saving, investing and more If you want to learn a new skill , and you don't know the skills of finance these would be a great place to start. They can help you make more money, spend less, keep more of what you make and even save money for investment, property or a future, "something special".

You need to start early to set yourself up for financial success in the future. If you spend beyond your means, you are setting yourself up to accrue debt and develop a poor credit score. Budgets are a lot easier with some good software to back it up. MINT is a great system that links together many essential services that will help you create and manage your budget. If you are clueless as to what a budget is, how to make one that works and how to manage a budget once you have one, I recommend you check out this class on basic budgeting below.

One of the big problems in our credit heavy society is all the little fees you pay. You pay to get money out of an ATM. You sometimes pay a small fee to HAVE a credit card. You pay huge fees if you are late with payments. And, of course, you pay interest on your purchases.

It can be nice to turn that around by getting cash back from your purchases. One of the best ways to make and save money is to have an app do it for you automatically on purchases that you make every day anyway. For making a profit from this idea your cards need to be kept near free of debt. Use them to buy whatever you need and then pay it off within days. Tracking receipts is one of the keys of keeping a good budget. You simply need some system to store you receipt documents. Learn how to Master Evernote.

But there are even simpler methods. Using software like Neat allows you to track your receipts and documents. The software extracts the key information from your receipts and integrates it with accounting and business software to help simplify how you work. This will help you keep your finances organized. To use this, it is best to have a NeatReceipts Mobile Document scanner so you can scan in all of your purchases as you make them. The software will then organize them for you.

If you do find yourself in a financial pitfall, you will need to restore your credit to be able to make large purchases in the future such as a home or a car. It is important to learn how to repair your credit in case you find yourself in a situation where you don't have the credit you need to buy something that is important. The simple answer to repairing credit is make deals on defaulted loans, getting those huge minus off your credit record. Then making payments larger than the minimums to pay down debt quickly.

But these are the broad-strokes. There are a lot of little things that can be done to improve your credit. Check out the resource below for more bad credit busting tips. Some people are too scared or lazy to apply for loans and credit cards. Using money that isn't yours can be extremely powerful, both for better and worse. But you can never enter the territory of trying if you never even applied. You DO need credit cards to build your credit rating. The important thing to learn is that you don't need to build a balance.

If you only buy what you can afford, and pay it off almost immediately, you get all of the good parts of a credit card, with none of the negatives. But if credit is still a major issue or fear, there is still the option of secured credit cards, though. If you learn something new every day, I wish more people would learn the skill of managing debt. This simple skill can help get you out of mountainous debt and get you to the point where your money goes to buy YOU things. Not pay off interest to corporate fat-cats.

After you owe money, remember that managing your debt is a simple matter of making timely payments and paying in a way that pays off the debt in the fastest way that's reasonable. In other words, don't use your rent money to pay off your debt, but it might also help to brew coffee at home sometimes and put that extra money towards your debts.

One of the best skills to learn in relationship to managing your debt is the skill of frugal living. Making those simple day-to-day choices that save you small amounts, but can add up to real debt reducing amounts. Spending money is the art of using your money as you see fit to improve your current situation. Saving money is the art of cutting back and resisting the urge to spend for the sake of your future situation. All of these arts are essential financial skills to learn. But the most dangerous can be investing. Investing has incredible upside.

It can make money on top of your money, and hopefully at some point lead to independent wealth or comfortable retirement. But there is also risk involved and it is important to understand the risk vs reward of investments. With all decisions come risk and reward. Some situations are more risky while others are more rewarding. The trick to making these decisions is to consider all potential risks alongside all potential rewards and try to figure out whether or not the choice is really worth the risk.

Part of managing your money is learning how to save it. It is important to live within your means and keep some money aside for when you might need it in the future. You don't want to have to always take out a line of credit when an emergency comes up, so having a healthy savings account is a great way to have a safety net. Saving money is a skill. Check out the link below for some tips to help you save more of what you earn. Sure, it may be easy to walk out of a room and forget to turn the light off. However, making the effort to turn off your lights and appliances when they are not being used in your home, office, or apartment can help save you a significant amount of money when it comes to your monthly utility bill.

You might be surprised how many people do not conserve utilities, and by how much can be saved by being diligent with this specific skill. And, of course, as an added benefit being good about not wasting gas and electric is a nice positive for the environment. Whether you've inherited some money or you're saving money every month, you might be wondering about how you should invest your money to make it work for you. Learning how to invest your money is actually easier than a lot of people assume it is. You do not need to be an experienced trader to be successful in the stock market and in fact, it is often best to not move your money around very often.

While you may have heard that the best time to begin your investments was "yesterday," don't rush into making investment decisions that you don't really understand. Take your time to learn about the stock market, bonds, mutual funds, and trades. Once you learn the basics, you will have the confidence to put yourself on the right path. But having real estate education will give you a solid foundation to a long-lasting business. There are a lot of possibilities that come along with investing in real estate and getting a step-by-step guide to analyzing, investing, selling, and flipping real estate can be very beneficial to you in the long run.

One of the best resources for this is the Bigger Pocket brand, which includes books, in-depth blog posts, and an active forum for you to talk with other people who are investing in real estate to learn from their mistakes and their successes. You don't need to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to learn about the real estate business. Just do a little research to see what part of real estate interests you the most and go from there. The same ones I used to research before buying my first two investment properties. This one is more of a hack than a skill.

One easy way to invest your money is to use a service like Acorns.


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  5. Making purchases with whole dollar amounts also makes tracking your money easier and the money that is put into your savings account will add up quickly. You will likely not notice the change slowly coming out of your checking account, but it can be invested quickly. Of all the skills to learn, health and fitness should be considered one of the most important.

    Many people want to learn about business, money and relationships skills. They want to meet people, enjoy their lives, have success and achieve their dreams of achievement. However, if you skip on health and fitness skills, in the longterm it will come back to haunt you. These are the skills that keep you alive longer.

    They are the skills that build a health reservoir so you are going strong when you reach 60, rather than breaking down like some other peers. These skills to learn are potential life savers and should be approached with that level of importance and reverence.


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    Learning how to breathe properly can make you happier and healthier. It is a key of meditation and mindfulness, and also has a huge positive impact on your body, health and life. Deep Breathing can help lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system, relax your mind, reduce stress, and even improve your sleep. During difficult times, it's especially useful to know how to practice deep breathing to keep yourself calm. Just a few minutes of conscious deep breathing can positively affect one's state of mind.

    Oxygen is a catalyst for our bodies that's so important, we take breaths constantly and hardly even notice. We need a constant supply or we will lose consciousness in short order. With that said, it's important to remember to breath in deeply. It should feel good to let the air in, almost like a reverse hug from the inside. The exhale should be calm and comfortable. The effects can be felt immediately. Develop this skill and powerful breathing will become second nature.

    It's important to remember that you won't become perfect at breathing better overnight, but it's well worth the wait to develop. Swimming is an amazing skill, because it's half recreation and half survival. The ability to swim produces nearly the most health benefits of any form of exercise. It exercise just about all the muscles. In most forms of aerobic exercise constant movement means constant impact with the ground. Ideally, you should be prepared to swim in the ocean for a few hours while you wait for rescue, but swimming from the middle of a lake is a decent secondary goal.

    Start small. Yoga is a mixture of physical exercise, breathing control, and meditation that has both physical and mental health benefits. Yoga is one of the most popular complementary and alternative medicine therapies to traditional medical care, and its effectiveness is supported by a plethora of evidence. If you are new to yoga, chances are you can get some great beginner level instruction at your local gym.

    If you are too shy you may want to try a video based Yoga class. Sleep is one of the key health factors few people think about. Your thinking is unclear. You make bad decisions. Your stress and anxiety increase leading to a whole host of possible medical issues. While one bad nights sleep is not likely to kill you, the cumulative effect of months of poor sleeping certainly could lead to some mistake or health issue that actually could kill you. Yes, poor sleep is nothing to joke about. In this extensive sleep tips post I covered just about every single method you can use to get better sleep.

    If none of these methods works, you may seriously want to consider consulting your doctor because it is highly possible you have sleep apnea or another sleeping disorder. Sleep Apnea is a condition where you actually stop breathing at times during the night. Aromatherapy uses aromatic plants and plant materials often the pressed plants oils to create a sense of both psychological and physical well-being.

    Aromatherapists are experts who understand the exact blends, amounts, mixtures and application methods to achieve desired effects for their clients. Most aromatherapy is done through smell. Using essential oil diffusers to spread the aromatic and healing oils into the air around the client, But aromatherapy also includes topical application, massage, and water immersion as methods of application.

    Aromatherapy not only includes the simple skills of using these relaxing and wonderful smelling oils to get your own personal spa experience, but you can learn the process of making your own collection of spa materiels from aromatherapy. Staying hydrated and drinking enough water are keys to health and fitness. Poor hydration can have effects that are both far reaching and often go undetected.

    Water is square one of personal responsibility. There are children in third-world countries that literally beg on street corners for water, and yet there are so many people who take their unending access to water for granted. When you are properly hydrated your urine should be clear and colorless.

    This often means 64 ounces of water in a single day. Learn exactly what hydration is and feels like. Seek to stay properly hydrated at all times, as it is life-changing to go from being under hydrated to constantly hydrated. It is not all about eating right, living a healthy lifestyle and being aerobically fit. It is all of those things but more.

    Being healthy also includes your state of mind. This means trying to be Happy. Having an overall optimistic viewpoint. And being positive. Check out some of the books linked below to get a better grasp on positive thinking, happiness and how to can get your mind in a better place for improved health. Having a mind-body connection means that you are able to learn to use your mind to positively influence some of your physical responses, which can help you manage anxiety and decrease stress and even help you to get rid of physical ailments.

    The idea of a mind-body connection and a truly scientific connection was first introduced by Dr. In this book Sarno, an expert in back pain relief, pointed out how many of his back pain sufferers were having their conditions created by, or exacerbated by stress, and how sometimes mindfulness techniques and meditation were veen better for relieving their pain than dangerous spinal surgery. This idea has been taken by others and expanded outside the realm of back pain. I adore all these. My prayer is that more people get this deep into their psyche. I must build myself up and enhance my world , improving my situation, to be ready to make the most of it when it does happen.

    Forgiveness of myself and others releases me from the past. I forgive, and I am free. All great stuff. I read what you have written, and many times am reminded of Hubbard, who was thought to be both a prophet and a heretic. Your email address will not be published. When you learn a new way to think, you can master a new way to be Blog About Events Books. Course: Getting Back to Happy. Can you relate? To an extent, I bet you can. Sometimes we all can. So let me ask you this: How have you written your story so far?

    Stop comparing. Satisfaction is not always the fulfillment of what you want; it is the realization of how blessed you are for what you have. Appreciate what you have today. Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful. Just because you are struggling does NOT mean you are failing. Every great success requires some kind of struggle to get there. You cannot expect victory while planning for defeat.

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    Even though you cannot control everything that happens, you can control your attitude toward what happens. And in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. Use your struggles and frustrations today to motivate you rather than annoy you. You are in control of the way you look at life. Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress; which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once. Sometimes things must change so you can change. Sometimes you must break a little so you can get a peek inside to see what an awesome powerhouse you are.

    Sometimes mistakes must be made so wisdom can be earned. Sometimes you must overcome heartache so you can begin to follow your heart again. The true measure of your success is how many times you can bounce back from failure. Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places.

    For by the very circumstance of their having been created, all things are endowed with their own stability, truth, goodness, proper laws and order. Man must respect these as he isolates them by the appropriate methods of the individual sciences or arts. Therefore if methodical investigation within every branch of learning is carried out in a genuinely scientific manner and in accord with moral norms, it never truly conflicts with faith, for earthly matters and the concerns of faith derive from the same God.

    Consequently, we cannot but deplore certain habits of mind, which are sometimes found too among Christians, which do not sufficiently attend to the rightful independence of science and which, from the arguments and controversies they spark, lead many minds to conclude that faith and science are mutually opposed. But if the expression, the independence of temporal affairs, is taken to mean that created things do not depend on God, and that man can use them without any reference to their Creator, anyone who acknowledges God will see how false such a meaning is.

    For without the Creator the creature would disappear. For their part, however, all believers of whatever religion always hear His revealing voice in the discourse of creatures. When God is forgotten, however, the creature itself grows unintelligible. Sacred Scripture teaches the human family what the experience of the ages confirms: that while human progress is a great advantage to man, it brings with it a strong temptation. For when the order of values is jumbled and bad is mixed with the good, individuals and groups pay heed solely to their own interests, and not to those of others.

    Thus it happens that the world ceases to be a place of true brotherhood. In our own day, the magnified power of humanity threatens to destroy the race itself. For a monumental struggle against the powers of darkness pervades the whole history of man. The battle was joined from the very origins of the world and will continue until the last day, as the Lord has attested.

    That is why Christ's Church, trusting in the design of the Creator, acknowledges that human progress can serve man's true happiness, yet she cannot help echoing the Apostle's warning: "Be not conformed to this world" Rom. Here by the world is meant that spirit of vanity and malice which transforms into an instrument of sin those human energies intended for the service of God and man. Hence if anyone wants to know how this unhappy situation can be overcome, Christians will tell him that all human activity, constantly imperiled by man's pride and deranged self-love, must be purified and perfected by the power of Christ's cross and resurrection.

    For redeemed by Christ and made a new creature in the Holy Spirit, man is able to love the things themselves created by God, and ought to do so. He can receive them from God and respect and reverence them as flowing constantly from the hand of God. Grateful to his Benefactor for these creatures, using and enjoying them in detachment and liberty of spirit, man is led forward into a true possession of them, as having nothing, yet possessing all things.

    For God's Word, through Whom all things were made, was Himself made flesh and dwelt on the earth of men. To those, therefore, who believe in divine love, He gives assurance that the way of love lies open to men and that the effort to establish a universal brotherhood is not a hopeless one. He cautions them at the same time that this charity is not something to be reserved for important matters, but must be pursued chiefly in the ordinary circumstances of life.

    Undergoing death itself for all of us sinners, 12 He taught us by example that we too must shoulder that cross which the world and the flesh inflict upon those who search after peace and justice. Appointed Lord by His resurrection and given plenary power in heaven and on earth, 13 Christ is now at work in the hearts of men through the energy of His Holy Spirit, arousing not only a desire for the age to come, but by that very fact animating, purifying and strengthening those noble longings too by which the human family makes its life more human and strives to render the whole earth submissive to this goal.

    Now, the gifts of the Spirit are diverse: while He calls some to give clear witness to the desire for a heavenly home and to keep that desire green among the human family, He summons others to dedicate themselves to the earthly service of men and to make ready the material of the celestial realm by this ministry of theirs.

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    Yet He frees all of them so that by putting aside love of self and bringing all earthly resources into the service of human life they can devote themselves to that future when humanity itself will become an offering accepted by God. The Lord left behind a pledge of this hope and strength for life's journey in that sacrament of faith where natural elements refined by man are gloriously changed into His Body and Blood, providing a meal of brotherly solidarity and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet.

    We do not know the time for the consummation of the earth and of humanity, 15 nor do we know how all things will be transformed. As deformed by sin, the shape of this world will pass away; 16 but we are taught that God is preparing a new dwelling place and a new earth where justice will abide, 17 and whose blessedness will answer and surpass all the longings for peace which spring up in the human heart. Therefore, while we are warned that it profits a man nothing if he gain the whole world and lose himself, 22 the expectation of a new earth must not weaken but rather stimulate our concern for cultivating this one.

    For here grows the body of a new human family, a body which even now is able to give some kind of foreshadowing of the new age. Hence, while earthly progress must be carefully distinguished from the growth of Christ's kingdom, to the extent that the former can contribute to the better ordering of human society, it is of vital concern to the Kingdom of God.

    For after we have obeyed the Lord, and in His Spirit nurtured on earth the values of human dignity, brotherhood and freedom, and indeed all the good fruits of our nature and enterprise, we will find them again, but freed of stain, burnished and transfigured, when Christ hands over to the Father: "a kingdom eternal and universal, a kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace.

    When the Lord returns it will be brought into full flower. Everything we have said about the dignity of the human person, and about the human community and the profound meaning of human activity, lays the foundation for the relationship between the Church and the world, and provides the basis for dialogue between them. Coming forth from the eternal Father's love, 2 founded in time by Christ the Redeemer and made one in the Holy Spirit, 3 the Church has a saving and an eschatological purpose which can be fully attained only in the future world.

    But she is already present in this world, and is composed of men, that is, of members of the earthly city who have a call to form the family of God's children during the present history of the human race, and to keep increasing it until the Lord returns. United on behalf of heavenly values and enriched by them, this family has been "constituted and structured as a society in this world" 4 by Christ, and is equipped "by appropriate means for visible and social union.

    She serves as a leaven and as a kind of soul for human society 7 as it is to be renewed in Christ and transformed into God's family.

    That the earthly and the heavenly city penetrate each other is a fact accessible to faith alone; it remains a mystery of human history, which sin will keep in great disarray until the splendor of God's sons, is fully revealed. Pursuing the saving purpose which is proper to her, the Church does not only communicate divine life to men but in some way casts the reflected light of that life over the entire earth, most of all by its healing and elevating impact on the dignity of the person, by the way in which it strengthens the seams of human society and imbues the everyday activity of men with a deeper meaning and importance.

    Thus through her individual matters and her whole community, the Church believes she can contribute greatly toward making the family of man and its history more human. In addition, the Catholic Church gladly holds in high esteem the things which other Christian Churches and ecclesial communities have done or are doing cooperatively by way of achieving the same goal.

    At the same time, she is convinced that she can be abundantly and variously helped by the world in the matter of preparing the ground for the Gospel. This help she gains from the talents and industry of individuals and from human society as a whole. The council now sets forth certain general principles for the proper fostering of this mutual exchange and assistance in concerns which are in some way common to the world and the Church. Modern man is on the road to a more thorough development of his own personality, and to a growing discovery and vindication of his own rights.

    Since it has been entrusted to the Church to reveal the mystery of God, Who is the ultimate goal of man, she opens up to man at the same time the meaning of his own existence, that is, the innermost truth about himself. The Church truly knows that only God, Whom she serves, meets the deepest longings of the human heart, which is never fully satisfied by what this world has to offer.

    She also knows that man is constantly worked upon by God's spirit, and hence can never be altogether indifferent to the problems of religion. The experience of past ages proves this, as do numerous indications in our own times. For man will always yearn to know, at least in an obscure way, what is the meaning of his life, of his activity, of his death.

    The very presence of the Church recalls these problems to his mind. But only God, Who created man to His own image and ransomed him from sin, provides the most adequate answer to the questions, and this He does through what He has revealed in Christ His Son, Who became man. Whoever follows after Christ, the perfect man, becomes himself more of a man.

    For by His incarnation the Father's Word assumed, and sanctified through His cross and resurrection, the whole of man, body and soul, and through that totality the whole of nature created by God for man's use. Thanks to this belief, the Church can anchor the dignity of human nature against all tides of opinion, for example those which undervalue the human body or idolize it.

    By no human law can the personal dignity and liberty of man be so aptly safeguarded as by the Gospel of Christ which has been entrusted to the Church. For this Gospel announces and proclaims the freedom of the sons of God, and repudiates all the bondage which ultimately results from sin. This agrees with the basic law of the Christian dispensation. For though the same God is Savior and Creator, Lord of human history as well as of salvation history, in the divine arrangement itself, the rightful autonomy of the creature, and particularly of man is not withdrawn, but is rather re-established in its own dignity and strengthened in it.

    The Church, therefore, by virtue of the Gospel committed to her, proclaims the rights of man; she acknowledges and greatly esteems the dynamic movements of today by which these rights are everywhere fostered. Yet these movements must be penetrated by the spirit of the Gospel and protected against any kind of false autonomy. For we are tempted to think that our personal rights are fully ensured only when we are exempt from every requirement of divine law.

    But this way lies not the maintenance of the dignity of the human person, but its annihilation. The union of the human family is greatly fortified and fulfilled by the unity, founded on Christ, 10 of the family of God's sons. Christ, to be sure, gave His Church no proper mission in the political, economic or social order. The purpose which He set before her is a religious one. As a matter of fact, when circumstances of time and place produce the need, she can and indeed should initiate activities on behalf of all men, especially those designed for the needy, such as the works of mercy and similar undertakings.

    The Church recognizes that worthy elements are found in today's social movements, especially an evolution toward unity, a process of wholesome socialization and of association in civic and economic realms. The promotion of unity belongs to the innermost nature of the Church, for she is, "thanks to her relationship with Christ, a sacramental sign and an instrument of intimate union with God, and of the unity of the whole human race. For the force which the Church can inject into the modern society of man consists in that faith and charity put into vital practice, not in any external dominion exercised by merely human means.

    Moreover, since in virtue of her mission and nature she is bound to no particular form of human culture, nor to any political, economic or social system, the Church by her very universality can be a very close bond between diverse human communities and nations, provided these trust her and truly acknowledge her right to true freedom in fulfilling her mission. For this reason, the Church admonishes her own sons, but also humanity as a whole, to overcome all strife between nations and race in this family spirit of God's children, an in the same way, to give internal strength to human associations which are just.

    With great respect, therefore, this council regards all the true, good and just elements inherent in the very wide variety of institutions which the human race has established for itself and constantly continues to establish. The council affirms, moreover, that the Church is willing to assist and promote all these institutions to the extent that such a service depends on her and can be associated with her mission. She has no fiercer desire than that in pursuit of the welfare of all she may be able to develop herself freely under any kind of government which grants recognition to the basic rights of person and family, to the demands of the common good and to the free exercise of her own mission.

    This council exhorts Christians, as citizens of two cities, to strive to discharge their earthly duties conscientiously and in response to the Gospel spirit. They are mistaken who, knowing that we have here no abiding city but seek one which is to come, 13 think that they may therefore shirk their earthly responsibilities. For they are forgetting that by the faith itself they are more obliged than ever to measure up to these duties, each according to his proper vocation. This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age.

    Long since, the Prophets of the Old Testament fought vehemently against this scandal 15 and even more so did Jesus Christ Himself in the New Testament threaten it with grave punishments. The Christian who neglects his temporal duties, neglects his duties toward his neighbor and even God, and jeopardizes his eternal salvation. Christians should rather rejoice that, following the example of Christ Who worked as an artisan, they are free to give proper exercise to all their earthly activities and to their humane, domestic, professional, social and technical enterprises by gathering them into one vital synthesis with religious values, under whose supreme direction all things are harmonized unto God's glory.

    Secular duties and activities belong properly although not exclusively to laymen. Therefore acting as citizens in the world, whether individually or socially, they will keep the laws proper to each discipline, and labor to equip themselves with a genuine expertise in their various fields. They will gladly work with men seeking the same goals. Acknowledging the demands of faith and endowed with its force, they will unhesitatingly devise new enterprises, where they are appropriate, and put them into action.

    Laymen should also know that it is generally the function of their well-formed Christian conscience to see that the divine law is inscribed in the life of the earthly city; from priests they may look for spiritual light and nourishment. Let the layman not imagine that his pastors are always such experts, that to every problem which arises, however complicated, they can readily give him a concrete solution, or even that such is their mission. Rather, enlightened by Christian wisdom and giving close attention to the teaching authority of the Church, 17 let the layman take on his own distinctive role.

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    Often enough the Christian view of things will itself suggest some specific solution in certain circumstances. Yet it happens rather frequently, and legitimately so, that with equal sincerity some of the faithful will disagree with others on a given matter. Even against the intentions of their proponents, however, solutions proposed on one side or another may be easily confused by many people with the Gospel message. Hence it is necessary for people to remember that no one is allowed in the aforementioned situations to appropriate the Church's authority for his opinion.

    They should always try to enlighten one another through honest discussion, preserving mutual charity and caring above all for the common good. Since they have an active role to play in the whole life of the Church, laymen are not only bound to penetrate the world with a Christian spirit, but are also called to be witnesses to Christ in all things in the midst of human society.

    Bishops, to whom is assigned the task of ruling the Church of God, should, together with their priests, so preach the news of Christ that all the earthly activities of the faithful will be bathed in the light of the Gospel. All pastors should remember too that by their daily conduct and concern 18 they are revealing the face of the Church to the world, and men will judge the power and truth of the Christian message thereby. By their lives and speech, in union with Religious and their faithful, may they demonstrate that even now the Church by her presence alone and by all the gifts which she contains, is an unspent fountain of those virtues which the modern world needs the most.

    By unremitting study they should fit themselves to do their part in establishing dialogue with the world and with men of all shades of opinion. Above all let them take to heart the words which this council has spoken: "Since humanity today increasingly moves toward civil, economic and social unity, it is more than ever necessary that priests, with joint concern and energy, and under the guidance of the bishops and the supreme pontiff, erase every cause of division, so that the whole human race may be led to the unity of God's family.

    Although by the power of the Holy Spirit the Church will remain the faithful spouse of her Lord and will never cease to be the sign of salvation on earth, still she is very well aware that among her members, 20 both clerical and lay, some have been unfaithful to the Spirit of God during the course of many centuries; in the present age, too, it does not escape the Church how great a distance lies between the message she offers and the human failings of those to whom the Gospel is entrusted.

    Whatever be the judgement of history on these defects, we ought to be conscious of them, and struggle against them energetically, lest they inflict harm on spread of the Gospel. The Church also realizes that in working out her relationship with the world she always has great need of the ripening which comes with the experience of the centuries.

    Led by the Holy Spirit, Mother Church unceasingly exhorts her sons "to purify and renew themselves so that the sign of Christ can shine more brightly on the face of the Church. Just as it is in the world's interest to acknowledge the Church as an historical reality, and to recognize her good influence, so the Church herself knows how richly she has profited by the history and development of humanity. The experience of past ages, the progress of the sciences, and the treasures hidden in the various forms of human culture, by all of which the nature of man himself is more clearly revealed and new roads to truth are opened, these profit the Church, too.

    For, from the beginning of her history she has learned to express the message of Christ with the help of the ideas and terminology of various philosophers, and and has tried to clarify it with their wisdom, too. Her purpose has been to adapt the Gospel to the grasp of all as well as to the needs of the learned, insofar as such was appropriate. Indeed this accommodated preaching of the revealed word ought to remain the law of all evangelization.

    For thus the ability to express Christ's message in its own way is developed in each nation, and at the same time there is fostered a living exchange between the Church and the diverse cultures of people. With the help of the Holy Spirit, it is the task of the entire People of God, especially pastors and theologians, to hear, distinguish and interpret the many voices of our age, and to judge them in the light of the divine word, so that revealed truth can always be more deeply penetrated, better understood and set forth to greater advantage.

    Since the Church has a visible and social structure as a sign of her unity in Christ, she can and ought to be enriched by the development of human social life, not that there is any lack in the constitution given her by Christ, but that she can understand it more penetratingly, express it better, and adjust it more successfully to our times. Moreover, she gratefully understands that in her community life no less than in her individual sons, she receives a variety of helps from men of every rank and condition, for whoever promotes the human community at the family level, culturally, in its economic, social and political dimensions, both nationally and internationally, such a one, according to God's design, is contributing greatly to the Church as well, to the extent that she depends on things outside herself.

    Indeed, the Church admits that she has greatly profited and still profits from the antagonism of those who oppose or who persecute her. While helping the world and receiving many benefits from it, the Church has a single intention: that God's kingdom may come, and that the salvation of the whole human race may come to pass. For every benefit which the People of God during its earthly pilgrimage can offer to the human family stems from the fact that the Church is "the universal sacrament of salvation", 24 simultaneously manifesting and exercising the mystery of God's love.

    For God's Word, by whom all things were made, was Himself made flesh so that as perfect man He might save all men and sum up all things in Himself. The Lord is the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilization, the center of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings. Enlivened and united in His Spirit, we journey toward the consummation of human history, one which fully accords with the counsel of God's love: "To reestablish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth" Eph.

    The Lord Himself speaks: "Behold I come quickly! And my reward is with me, to render to each one according to his works. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end Rev. This council has set forth the dignity of the human person, and the work which men have been destined to undertake throughout the world both as individuals and as members of society. There are a number of particularly urgent needs characterizing the present age, needs which go to the roots of the human race. To a consideration of these in the light of the Gospel and of human experience, the council would now direct the attention of all.

    Of the many subjects arousing universal concern today, it may be helpful to concentrate on these: marriage and the family, human progress, life in its economic, social and political dimensions, the bonds between the family of nations, and peace. On each of these may there shine the radiant ideals proclaimed by Christ.

    By these ideals may Christians be led, and all mankind enlightened, as they search for answers to questions of such complexity. The well-being of the individual person and of human and Christian society is intimately linked with the healthy condition of that community produced by marriage and family. Hence Christians and all men who hold this community in high esteem sincerely rejoice in the various ways by which men today find help in fostering this community of love and perfecting its life, and by which parents are assisted in their lofty calling.

    Those who rejoice in such aids look for additional benefits from them and labor to bring them about. Yet the excellence of this institution is not everywhere reflected with equal brilliance, since polygamy, the plague of divorce, so-called free love and other disfigurements have an obscuring effect.

    In addition, married love is too often profaned by excessive self-love, the worship of pleasure and illicit practices against human generation. Moreover, serious disturbances are caused in families by modern economic conditions, by influences at once social and psychological, and by the demands of civil society. Finally, in certain parts of the world problems resulting from population growth are generating concern. All these situations have produced anxiety of consciences. Yet, the power and strength of the institution of marriage and family can also be seen in the fact that time and again, despite the difficulties produced, the profound changes in modern society reveal the true character of this institution in one way or another.

    Therefore, by presenting certain key points of Church doctrine in a clearer light, this sacred synod wishes to offer guidance and support to those Christians and other men who are trying to preserve the holiness and to foster the natural dignity of the married state and its superlative value.

    The intimate partnership of married life and love has been established by the Creator and qualified by His laws, and is rooted in the conjugal covenant of irrevocable personal consent. Hence by that human act whereby spouses mutually bestow and accept each other a relationship arises which by divine will and in the eyes of society too is a lasting one. For the good of the spouses and their off-springs as well as of society, the existence of the sacred bond no longer depends on human decisions alone.

    For, God Himself is the author of matrimony, endowed as it is with various benefits and purposes. By their very nature, the institution of matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation and education of children, and find in them their ultimate crown. Thus a man and a woman, who by their compact of conjugal love "are no longer two, but one flesh" Matt. Through this union they experience the meaning of their oneness and attain to it with growing perfection day by day. As a mutual gift of two persons, this intimate union and the good of the children impose total fidelity on the spouses and argue for an unbreakable oneness between them.

    Christ the Lord abundantly blessed this many-faceted love, welling up as it does from the fountain of divine love and structured as it is on the model of His union with His Church. For as God of old made Himself present 3 to His people through a covenant of love and fidelity, so now the Savior of men and the Spouse 4 of the Church comes into the lives of married Christians through the sacrament of matrimony. He abides with them thereafter so that just as He loved the Church and handed Himself over on her behalf, 6 the spouses may love each other with perpetual fidelity through mutual self-bestowal.

    Authentic married love is caught up into divine love and is governed and enriched by Christ's redeeming power and the saving activity of the Church, so that this love may lead the spouses to God with powerful effect and may aid and strengthen them in sublime office of being a father or a mother. Thus they increasingly advance the perfection of their own personalities, as well as their mutual sanctification, and hence contribute jointly to the glory of God. As a result, with their parents leading the way by example and family prayer, children and indeed everyone gathered around the family hearth will find a readier path to human maturity, salvation and holiness.

    Graced with the dignity and office of fatherhood and motherhood, parents will energetically acquit themselves of a duty which devolves primarily on them, namely education and especially religious education. As living members of the family, children contribute in their own way to making their parents holy. For they will respond to the kindness of their parents with sentiments of gratitude, with love and trust.

    They will stand by them as children should when hardships overtake their parents and old age brings its loneliness. Widowhood, accepted bravely as a continuation of the marriage vocation, should be esteemed by all. Thus the Christian family, which springs from marriage as a reflection of the loving covenant uniting Christ with the Church, 9 and as a participation in that covenant, will manifest to all men Christ's living presence in the world, and the genuine nature of the Church.

    This the family will do by the mutual love of the spouses, by their generous fruitfulness, their solidarity and faithfulness, and by the loving way in which all members of the family assist one another. The biblical Word of God several times urges the betrothed and the married to nourish and develop their wedlock by pure conjugal love and undivided affection.

    This love is an eminently human one since it is directed from one person to another through an affection of the will; it involves the good of the whole person, and therefore can enrich the expressions of body and mind with a unique dignity, ennobling these expressions as special ingredients and signs of the friendship distinctive of marriage. This love God has judged worthy of special gifts, healing, perfecting and exalting gifts of grace and of charity.

    Such love, merging the human with the divine, leads the spouses to a free and mutual gift of themselves, a gift providing itself by gentle affection and by deed, such love pervades the whole of their lives: 11 indeed by its busy generosity it grows better and grows greater. Therefore it far excels mere erotic inclination, which, selfishly pursued, soon enough fades wretchedly away. This love is uniquely expressed and perfected through the appropriate enterprise of matrimony. The actions within marriage by which the couple are united intimately and chastely are noble and worthy ones.

    Expressed in a manner which is truly human, these actions promote that mutual self-giving by which spouses enrich each other with a joyful and a ready will. Sealed by mutual faithfulness and hallowed above all by Christ's sacrament, this love remains steadfastly true in body and in mind, in bright days or dark. It will never be profaned by adultery or divorce. Firmly established by the Lord, the unity of marriage will radiate from the equal personal dignity of wife and husband, a dignity acknowledged by mutual and total love.

    The constant fulfillment of the duties of this Christian vocation demands notable virtue. For this reason, strengthened by grace for holiness of life, the couple will painstakingly cultivate and pray for steadiness of love, large heartedness and the spirit of sacrifice. Authentic conjugal love will be more highly prized, and wholesome public opinion created about it if Christian couples give outstanding witness to faithfulness and harmony in their love, and to their concern for educating their children also, if they do their part in bringing about the needed cultural, psychological and social renewal on behalf of marriage and the family.

    Especially in the heart of their own families, young people should be aptly and seasonably instructed in the dignity, duty and work of married love. Trained thus in the cultivation of chastity, they will be able at a suitable age to enter a marriage of their own after an honorable courtship.

    Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and educating of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents. The God Himself Who said, "it is not good for man to be alone" Gen.

    Hence, while not making the other purposes of matrimony of less account, the true practice of conjugal love, and the whole meaning of the family life which results from it, have this aim: that the couple be ready with stout hearts to cooperate with the love of the Creator and the Savior. Who through them will enlarge and enrich His own family day by day. Parents should regard as their proper mission the task of transmitting human life and educating those to whom it has been transmitted.

    They should realize that they are thereby cooperators with the love of God the Creator, and are, so to speak, the interpreters of that love. Thus they will fulfil their task with human and Christian responsibility, and, with docile reverence toward God, will make decisions by common counsel and effort. Let them thoughtfully take into account both their own welfare and that of their children, those already born and those which the future may bring.

    For this accounting they need to reckon with both the material and the spiritual conditions of the times as well as of their state in life. Finally, they should consult the interests of the family group, of temporal society, and of the Church herself. The parents themselves and no one else should ultimately make this judgment in the sight of God.

    But in their manner of acting, spouses should be aware that they cannot proceed arbitrarily, but must always be governed according to a conscience dutifully conformed to the divine law itself, and should be submissive toward the Church's teaching office, which authentically interprets that law in the light of the Gospel. That divine law reveals and protects the integral meaning of conjugal love, and impels it toward a truly human fulfillment.

    Thus, trusting in divine Providence and refining the spirit of sacrifice, 12 married Christians glorify the Creator and strive toward fulfillment in Christ when with a generous human and Christian sense of responsibility they acquit themselves of the duty to procreate. Among the couples who fulfil their God-given task in this way, those merit special mention who with a gallant heart and with wise and common deliberation, undertake to bring up suitably even a relatively large family. Marriage to be sure is not instituted solely for procreation; rather, its very nature as an unbreakable compact between persons, and the welfare of the children, both demand that the mutual love of the spouses be embodied in a rightly ordered manner, that it grow and ripen.

    Therefore, marriage persists as a whole manner and communion of life, and maintains its value and indissolubility, even when despite the often intense desire of the couple, offspring are lacking. This council realizes that certain modern conditions often keep couples from arranging their married lives harmoniously, and that they find themselves in circumstances where at least temporarily the size of their families should not be increased.

    As a result, the faithful exercise of love and the full intimacy of their lives is hard to maintain. But where the intimacy of married life is broken off, its faithfulness can sometimes be imperiled and its quality of fruitfulness ruined, for then the upbringing of the children and the courage to accept new ones are both endangered.

    To these problems there are those who presume to offer dishonorable solutions indeed; they do not recoil even from the taking of life. But the Church issues the reminder that a true contradiction cannot exist between the divine laws pertaining to the transmission of life and those pertaining to authentic conjugal love. For God, the Lord of life, has conferred on men the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life in a manner which is worthy of man. Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.