Thursday, January 24, 2008

Love For Christ

I realize as of late that I have been a tad...cynical in my writing. This has not been the case in just my writing, but in my conversations with others as well. I realized too that I was becoming rather arrogant in some of my views and, though I feel I may have the correct understanding in the position, does not mean I need to pontificate to others.

Thankfully, through a wonderful discussion I had this evening with 2 wonderful friends, I realized what the root of things was. Love for Christ. That is it. One may be tempted to say that this is it, that is all we need to comment on. And, to a certain extent, there is complete truth. Love Christ, there is nothing else, this is the Law and the Prophets in their fullness. We love Christ by adoring Him and thus also the Blessed Trinity, and we love Christ whom we find in others.

I remember telling my friends this evening about the conversion of Malcolm Muggrage to the Catholic faith. It was not intellectual arguments that persuaded him to become Catholic, but it was the example of Mother Teresa. And Mr. Muggrage was quite the atheistic marxist, so his conversion can quite rightly be considered as miraculous.

Yesterday, I recall hearing the homily of the new Bishop of Pittsburgh. He said "how much people must love God to be willing to scalp tickets to an installation!" And that was his homily, about our zeal to love God and act like it!

Then I started realizing through my conversation this evening, and reflecting briefly on things, how I have been this past week or so in my life. Am I being loving or am I being like the Pharisees.

To add it all up, the Gospels during Mass this week haven't really helped either. I have been especially on a Liturgical rant as of late. They have been all about the Pharisees saying "But it is not lawful to do such a thing". That got me wondering. I am getting all worried about licitness of things, about doing the rubrics, that I forgot about heart too.

Now, this is not to say that rubrics and law don't have their place. They do, and they are central. But when we follow them for the wrong reason, or when we insist that they must be a rubric when they're not, then we fall into danger.

Anyways, reflecting on all this made me realize that the most essential thing is holiness. Love for Christ, doing all things in the light of the face of Christ. That is the most important thing. Everything else flows out of that love. Without our love for Christ, we become hard.

This is a danger, I think, in blogs. We see how silly some positions are that we lose sight of the fact that we must be charitable and loving, thus becoming rather arrogant in our attitudes, as if we had the truth and it is our own personal property. The fact is, though, the truth is for all people. Christ loves all, regardless of what they've done, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I think that is so easy to forget, and so we become arrogant, thinking "look how right I am and how wrong you are, and, on top of that, are really stupid you are for taking that position". I think most have fallen into that attitude at one point or another.

I think we must look back on the Saints. We don't see them knocking others down. We see them knocking sin down, and rightfully so, but they don't knock the person. It is easy for us to get frustrated when people equate actions with personhood, we know it is why many people advocate for homosexuality and so on. But we don't equate actions with personhood, and yet we so easily fall into the same error, seeing the faulty position and thus presuming it is an issue inherent in their very personhood. We look at the splinter in their eye without looking at the log in our own.

But the Saints built people up. They would correct people if it was appropriate, but they loved them regardless, even in correction. We need to do more of that I think. Only when we do that, will things like Liturgy and Doctrine flow correctly. The Church is beautiful because of the order she promotes. But divisions in parishes and Dioceses happen when we fall outside that order and into the disorder of sin. How do we bring order back to Diocesan life, parish life, and, of course, our life? By loving God and neighbour with our entire selves. When we love unconditionally, then things will happen accordingly unconditionally.

I do not want those who may be reading this to think that matters of Doctrine, Liturgy, Morals, Current Issues, etc, are not worth speaking about. They very much are and must be constantly engaged.

What I warn about is manufacturing the truth. I do not say this in the ordinary sense. We must beware of coming to a deeper knowledge of the things the Church teaches on our own. When we first do not back up such a basis with love, we fall into becoming like the Sadducees and Pharisees. Work on love first, and then how you present the truth will attractive to a person regardless. That's what happened with Malcolm Muggridge, and that is what can happen to your friends and family whom you try to bring in.

People constantly complain that they never see anyone acting like a Christian. Heck, I know even I complain of that many times. I think "oh, no one ever acts like they ought to out of love. Where is the passion and deep yearning desire to promote Christ with the giving of our entire selves in others?" Then I recall that if I desire it in others, I must desire it in myself first. The best person to bring about love for Christ is when we first come to love Him with our whole selves. If you become a Saint, then so will others who encounter you, because you are living like a Christian, that is always deeply attractive when it is lived out authentically.


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