We need to remember that “contemplation of the face of Jesus, died and risen, restores our humanity, even when it has been broken by the troubles of this life or marred by sin. We must not domesticate the power of the face of Christ”. So let me ask you: Are there moments when you place yourself quietly in the Lord’s presence, when you calmly spend time with him, when you bask in his gaze? Do you let his fire inflame your heart? Unless you let him warm you more and more with his love and tenderness, you will not catch fire. How will you then be able to set the hearts of others on fire by your words and witness? If, gazing on the face of Christ, you feel unable to let yourself be healed and transformed, then enter into the Lord’s heart, into his wounds, for that is the abode of divine mercy.
All the responses in the Catholic media to the Vigano letter have made me want to (1) throw up (2) cry (3) use my tears to clean up my vomit and most importantly (4) hide in my secret room and pray.
I’m amazed by how shallow some of these responses are. You would think that all these godless articles were being published by secular outlets, but alas, they are being written by “orthodox” Catholics. I think we as Catholics have gotten distracted by the worldly ethos that so many have given themselves over to in the current political climate, and we’ve become forgetful.
We’ve forgotten the virtues of humility and charity, we’ve forgotten the importance of prayer and holiness, we’ve forgotten that the Church is not a worldly nation and that the pope is not a politician…and most of all, we’ve forgotten Christ, who alone is good.
While I was hiding in my secret room this week, I kept going back to passages like the one above from Gaudete et Exsultate. It’s ironic that Pope Francis has been talking about how holiness is the whole point of Christian life and is the solution to the Church’s and the world’s problems since way before this media firestorm. While I won’t assert that Francis is 100% perfect and sinless, he is the Holy Father. No matter whether Catholics like him or not, they need to take his teachings seriously.
A Church that is more concerned with moral “righteousness,” pointing fingers, and slapping bandaids onto spiritual diseases is much less attractive than One that is constantly seeking to draw nearer to the heart of Christ. He must feel lonely…why don’t you try paying more attention to Him? (This is what He wast trying to tell you today in the Gospel lesson).
The “answer” to any problem will never be one that humans themselves generate…it will only come from us growing in awareness of His presence…of He who is the answer to the “problem” of the human heart.
So before pointing the finger at anyone, remember: You are the problem. You are not holy enough. And the pope has been trying to tell you this for 5 months now. Will you open your heart, eyes, and ears, and start listening?
I’ll leave you with this quote from G et E:
Christians too can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forums of digital communication. Even in Catholic media, limits can be overstepped, defamation and slander can become commonplace, and all ethical standards and respect for the good name of others can be abandoned. The result is a dangerous dichotomy, since things can be said there that would be unacceptable in public discourse, and people look to compensate for their own discontent by lashing out at others. It is striking that at times, in claiming to uphold the other commandments, they completely ignore the eighth, which forbids bearing false witness or lying, and ruthlessly vilify others. Here we see how the unguarded tongue, set on fire by hell, sets all things ablaze.
Francis may be far from perfect, but you gotta admit his words are prophetic.