Thursday, October 1, 2009


Every now and then a comment will be posted or letter to the editor will be printed or some other medium for opinion will allow for some person to vent his thoughts on the horrendous state of the Church and what other people need to do in order for it to be better.

There could not possibly be a bigger waste of time.

Suppose just for a moment that you were on the receiving end of a diatribe for some action that obviously you think for some reason is acceptable (for you are doing it after all.) Then you hear someone berating your action publically. Would your first reaction be, “Oh my gosh! They are right! What was I thinking?” Most probably it would be, “Who do they think they are? They do not even know what I am going through! They neither know me nor understand me and therefore could not possibly love me. Live your life and I will live mine.” And a heart is hardened.

What good does that do?

Shaming people has never brought holiness – at least not long lasting holiness to the Church. Subordination and obedience perhaps, but not a change of heart in love for God. Neither has posters, meetings, forcing people through Church legislation, initiatives, programs, or other such means. Repeatedly, over 2,000 years we are taught the same lesson over and over that the only thing that works - from the apostles to St. Francis to St. Theresa to John Paul - is when individual men and women decide to radically live the faith. When a man or woman does that – and they find God’s joy – they become attractive. Rather than trying to win others over by degrading who others are, they attract others to the life by attracting their hearts to mimic theirs – and subsequently Christ’s.

That is not to say there are not things worth fighting and fighting hard for. And we do need to provide the avenues and means for people to engage in a change of heart. But the basic premise is still true. When rallying for the end of a particular action in society do we offer an appealing alternative? Do they see an angry person fighting for their holiness and are therefore repulsed? “I don’t want to be like that!” Or do they see someone content, joyful, full of love and are intrigued by the possibility that they could have the same?


Cracked Pot said...

I'm not a very good apologist. I know the teachings of the faith but I tend to become strident. The Lord has much work to do within my soul. You are right, Father. Gentleness attracts and harshness repells.

Carol said...

Amen, Fr. V --and I love that laughing Graphic. If you know who drew it, please pass along my gratitude for it.