Symbolic Actions in Different Cultures

Symbolic Actions in Different Cultures

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During our lives we have many actions that symbolize other things in our world. They symbolize things that are important to us, and will be important to us at all ages. They hold a deeper meaning than what the outside appearance shows. Symbolic actions are like the doorways to the sacred world. They help us hold a meaning to God that expresses our beliefs and feelings toward him. These symbolic actions express our deepest concerns and feelings toward God that no one else can express. It shows how these symbolic actions relate back to the signs and symbols that are shown for us in our world, and how these things can help us become aware of God's grace. Signs and Symbols are not the only things that draw us away for sacramental dullness. These symbolic actions that we use help draw us towards Gods grace and help keep us away from the sacramental dullness in our world.
Symbolic Actions take the place of symbols, yet are able to take us one step further than symbols do. By adding gesture and movements to these symbols we become more in touch with God and one another. Just like symbols, these symbolic actions are part of our culture and part of our communication. These symbolic actions are known as rituals. Rituals are, "symbolic actions that help us concretely, or physically, express our beliefs, values, and our deepest concerns." (Joseph Stoutzenberger) Rituals hold a deeper meaning than what meats the eye. They help us express those things that other things could not help us express, such as the love between two people. The sacrament of Matrimony helps us show this love between these two people and invites God to join and help their relationship. Not all actions are considered to be a ritual or a symbolic action. Something as simple as walking down the street holds no significant meaning, yet walking down the street in a parade on the fourth of July holds the meaning of patriotism, and pride for our country. We are able to combine practical actions and symbolic actions in our everyday lives. Something as simple as eating a mean is a practical action, but when you say grace with your meal, you are showing that you are doing more than eating, you are thanking God for that he has given you.

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These are ways to combine both practical and symbolic actions. Symbolical Actions hold a deeper meaning than that of physical actions. Just like the difference between a sign and a symbol, rituals and symbolic actions are looked at in more than one way, while symbols, routines, and physical actions are looked at in a one-dimensional way. Unfortunately many rituals loose their meanings and are turned into routine. Something as simple as saying a prayer every night can be turned into a routine, yet if we take a moment to reflect on what we are doing and why we are doing it, we will save many of our rituals from turning into routines.
Every culture holds its own rituals that are symbolic to the people who are celebrating them. The wedding of a man and a women hold symbolic meaning in every culture. The wedding rings symbolized love in the old Egyptian times because it was said that your wedding finger has a vein that runs all the way from your finger to your heart. Ancient Romans believed that jealous demons were out to get the bride and groom, and that is why we have bridesmaids and groomsmen. They were believed to protect the bride and groom from the evil spirits that lurked around weddings. Ancient Romans also believed that adding cans to the back of the vehicle would keep evil sprits away from the bride and groom, and would not follow them towards their honeymoon. Even in modern day it is believed that the brides should wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Something old and borrowed symbolizes past traditions, something new symbolizes luck brought to you in the future, and something blue symbolizes fertility and modesty. (www.frugalbride.com/traditionscustoms.html) These all shows the eight characteristics of a ritual. They consist of movements and gesture that hold a meaning to the people who are participating in them. They are repeated through out the world, and show significance to everyone. They are the symbolic celebrations that break us out of our everyday routines, and they hold significance in peoples' lives. All include words that are supported by actions, and connect the people with their past and ancestry. They are celebrated throughout the community as communal actions, and require that everyone is wholehearted to participate, and show their love through out the ritual.
"My Life on the Streets," shows how symbolic actions can help everyone in their lives. Cadillac Man talks about prayer, and how he realizes that prayer can only take him so far. His family that he has met on the street, and the family that he has made for himself, keep him going. It relates to us, and how it is our rituals and symbolic actions that keep us involved. They help us keep going, and help us stay involved and interested. Cadillac Man's symbolic actions are his family, and help him stay involved through out the world. "Holy See Backs Nuclear Disarmament," talks about how the Catholic church disagrees with the nuclear Disarmament. It could easily disrupt our spiritual meanings, and spiritual rituals that we participate in, in our every day lives.
We are shown symbolic actions in our everyday lives. They become a part of our life and mean many different things to different people. They hold a deeper meaning than what the outside appearance shows. Symbolic actions are like the doorways to the sacred world. They help us hold a meaning to God that expresses our beliefs and feelings toward him. Chapter three goes into deep thought about how symbolic actions affect our lives, and help us spread the meaning of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is shown in many different ways in our world, and we participate in them in our everyday lives.
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