Friday, September 3, 2010

Be careful what you wish for

Over at Mark Shea's blog, a question was posted. In the question, an individual who says he was a devout Catholic, but then abandoned the Faith, asks Mark why the Pope isn't more forceful. Mark gives his characteristically witty/substantive answer. But then, after explaining why the question seemed problematic on a number of fronts, Mark adds this, relative to the writer's request that the Pope be stronger in his message:

Oh, and speaking of strong messages: repent and return to the Church Jesus Christ founded or you risk the everlasting fires of hell for your pride. Jesus said of the Eucharist "Do this in memory of me." How dare you disobey him and ignore his final command and greatest gift?

How's that? Strong enough? Or do you only want to kick other people's butts while congratulating yourself? There's a parable about that:
"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:10-14)
You want strong preaching? Be careful what you wish for! For the measure you use will be the measure you receive.
That is one of the most refreshing things I have read in months - if not years. And a nice reminder, too.

That was a nice reminder of how we can so often wish for something that applies to everyone else, then be appalled at the thought it could apply to us. How often do we wish God would smite all those other sins in the world? How often do we wish the Church would kick the butts of all those other sinners in the Church? How often do we do and say those things, sometimes apparently with the comforting assurance that we would never fall into the category of condemnation that we just expected others to receive? So bravo for a refreshing answer to a common question: Why can't everyone do things to everyone else the way I think they should? We may not like the answer.

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