Friday, June 16, 2017

Don't worry too much about the salvation of others ... if it means you neglect your own.

The importance of 'shame'.

Don't let others shame you though.  A healthy sense of shame comes in recognizing, as Pope Francis says, that we are weak, vulnerable and in need of healing - in need of mercy.  Not 'fixing' - but healing.  We discover that in the light of God's love, wherein we recognize our absolute need, dependence upon Christ's merciful love.

I like what the Pope said this morning at Mass...
In order to be saved and healed by God we must recognize that are weak, vulnerable and sinful like earthen vessels ...
"All of us are vulnerable, fragile, weak, and we need to be healed,” the Pope said. But recognizing our vulnerability is one of the most difficult things of life. At times, we try to cover this vulnerability with cosmetics in order to disguise it, pretending it does not exist. And disguises are always shameful, the Pope said. “They are hypocrisy."
Pope Francis explained that besides being hypocritical towards others, we are also hypocritical within ourselves believing "to be something else”, hence not needing healing and support. This, the Pope pointed out, is the path to vanity, pride and self-reference of those who do not feel themselves made of clay and thus seek salvation and fulfillment in themselves. Instead, as St. Paul says, it is the power of God that saves us because of our vulnerability. Hence we are troubled but not crushed; we are shaken but not desperate; we are persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not killed. There is always this relationship between clay and power, clay and treasure. But the temptation, the Pope said, is always the same: to cover, conceal and not believing we are made of clay. This is the hypocrisy towards ourselves.
It is shame that broadens the heart to allow the power of God in - the shame of being clay and not a silver or gold vase. - P. Francis

Don't worry about the salvation of others, or removing the speck in your neighbors eye without tending to the log in your own.  Don't be a hypocrite.  Don't pretend to be concerned about the salvation of others, going to the ends of the earth to make one convert who in turn embraces the same hypocrisy of looking down upon everyone else while claiming to be better than everyone else - in some cases even better than the Pope.   There are people who tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and attempt to lay them on the shoulders of others, but they will not help them except to condemn and discredit and shame them if they fall short.

That is not the shame the Pope speaks of.

Some people use the canons, the rubrics, even the catechism to beat up on other people.  They pound the truth over people's heads because they love them so much.  Watch out.  I often recall Pope Francis saying, "I will tell you sincerely, I'm scared of rigid priests. I keep away from them. They bite!"  Speaking of those who follow them or imitate their zeal, the Holy Father added, "There are often young men who are psychologically unstable without knowing it and who look for strong structures to support them. For some it is the police or the army but for others it is the clergy."

If you really seek God, don't go to strangers.  Go to Christ, to the Church.  He is living and present in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.  Peter points the way for the Catholic.  The Pope is Christ's vicar on earth.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  Catholic teaching cannot change.  God's mercy is inexhaustible.  If on your way you see it differently, keep praying, keep trying, keep seeking, the Holy Spirit will correct you.  Be close to the Blessed Virgin and trust in the Divine Mercy.

"What the devil can't do himself he does by using other people. He takes up his position on the tongues and in the hearts of his servants and before their mind's eye. He makes them see what doesn't exist. So they conceive within their hearts all sorts of evil thoughts and resentments regarding their neighbors - often regarding those they most love." - S. Catherine of Siena

Read the Scriptures, the New Testament.  Go to adoration - it doesn't matter if the Sacrament is exposed - Christ is in the tabernacle.  Visit him.  Pray deeply, hidden with Christ in God.

It is the will of God, even if you were living among devils, you should so live as not to turn back in thought to consider what they are doing, but forget them utterly. You are to keep your soul wholly to God, and not to suffer the thought of this or that to disturb you. - John of the Cross

1 comment:

  1. I once heard a talk by a nun who said, "Truth without love can kill." I think that's an important point to meditate on. But I don't know what Pope Francis means when he talks about "rigid" priests. Being "rigid" about doctrine is a good thing. Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Doctrine does not change. A priest who is not rigid on the faith is not loving to his flock. He's an ear tickler.

    On the other hand, if the pope equates being "rigid" with being unkind, that is another matter. Unfortunately, in many of his talks the implication is that those who are "rigid" about the doctrine and not willing to be "pastoral" like the German and Maltese bishops undermining the indissolubility of marriage, then they are the pharisees. It is very troubling.

    We need Socrates. He always defined his terms so that everyone involved in the dialogue knew what they were talking about.


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