When they stood in ranks before God,
Joshua addressed all the people:
“If it does not please you to serve the LORD,
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
“Decide today whom you will serve”.
What Joshua, the leader of the Israelite tribes after the death of Moses, referred to is the Fundamental Option.
In his chapter on “The Theory of the Fundamental Option and Moral Action” in Bernard Hoose, ed., Christian Ethics: An Introduction (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1998), Dr. Thomas R. Kopfensteiner defines fundamental option as a person’s orientation toward the moral good which penetrates our entire life project. It is the nucleus of our moral identity—every subsequent moral choice that we make is sustained by it and every decision substantiates it.
In the encyclical Veritatis Splendor, St. John Paul the Great wrote:
Christian moral teaching, even in its Biblical roots, acknowledges the specific importance of a fundamental choice which qualifies the moral life and engages freedom on a radical level before God. It is a question of the decision of faith…by which man makes a total and free self-commitment to God, offering ‘the full submission of intellect and will to God as he reveals’…. This faith…comes from the core of man, from his “heart” (cf. Rom 10:10), whence it is called to bear fruit in works (cf. Mt 12:33-35; Lk 6:43-45; Rom 8:5-10; Gal 5:22).
As such, the fundamental option is the most important choice we make because it governs nothing less than our last end—be it beatitude or eternal damnation.
John 6:61, 63-64
Jesus…said to them,
“…It is the spirit that gives life,
while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”
So what is your Fundamental Option?
Decide today whom you will serve.
Is it God or is it your own self, which, of course, is really that first temptation in that first garden to be “like gods” (Genesis 3:5).
May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,