I had great plans on how exactly Friday morning was going to go down. Pope Francis was dropping an exhortation and I was going to be one of the first people to read it (well, one of the first among us bloggers who don’t get to read it before it is open to the public) and it was going to be great. I love papal documents. I was so excited, like a kid on Christmas morning. I have a whole system in place and I can’t sleep the night before, it’s awesome.
Then my uncle got sick and was put in ICU and everything in my world stopped so that I could go and see him for a few days. I am so behind on life now, but there is nowhere that I would have rather been than sitting with him. He is very sick and I would ask everyone reading this to pray for him and my cousin who is by his side non-stop.
What I hate more than anything is reading commentary on papal documents without reading them myself. Mostly, because a lot of the commentary is being written by people who haven’t read it themselves. Or people who read it looking for all the ways that it sucks. That’s the way that it’s been with Pope Francis anyway, I wasn’t Catholic when Pope Benedict’s documents came out and I’m sure that social media adds a lot to the way they are received now. It seems like no matter what Pope Francis does, there are some who will never be happy with him. I’ve seen people pray for his death so a new pope will be elected. As if God can’t fulfill His plans in His way, without our approval. It reminds me of when Peter told Jesus that He wouldn’t have to die and Jesus called Peter satan.
People who gnash their teeth every time the word Mercy is said need to remember that it is only because of Mercy that God hasn’t destroyed us all. Honestly, I would if I was Him. We are awful, never happy, never doing what we are supposed to, we deny Him, betray Him, use Him, make sure and get our share of Mercy while lamenting about others getting it and we just simply suck most of the time. Nothing is proof of that like social media when Pope Francis releases a document. It’s ugly. Not all ugly, but man.
Why do we do this? Honestly, why? What exactly do we think we will get out of it? What is the big deal with letting people know that God loves them? Even if they don’t want that love, even if they have no use for it? Explain it to me because I don’t get it. We do realize that God is not stupid right? He knows the human heart. So even if there is someone who is saying all the right things and by the looks of it seems to be the best Catholic ever but in his heart he is far away from God, God will know it. We can’t hide our true selves from the One who made us. He knows everything about us, even things that we don’t know or don’t want to know about ourselves. And He will judge us when we die. We can’t fool Him. So even if some poor sinner has the wrong idea about God approving of their sins, what exactly are we going to change about that by beating him over the head with the fact that he’s wrong? What’s the point of sending him away from the only One who can heal him?
My guess is this: it makes us sure that we aren’t in the “bad sinner” club. If we can know for sure what the list of horrible sins are and that we haven’t committed them, then we know that we are good and those who are guilty of them are bad and we can feel better about ourselves. If we can say gay people can’t go to heaven as long as they are having homosexual sex then we can be confident that we will go to heaven because no matter what, at least we aren’t guilty of sodomy. Frankly, I see more obsession with sodomy coming from the anti-gay crowd than I do at a gay pride parade. That’s just keeping it real.This is the thing: we live in a fallen world. I don’t really know how bad things were at any other times in history, because I didn’t live in those times, I live in this time. I know the issues that plague our society and that things are going downhill fast. We can’t say we are fighting things that are full-blown ingrained as good in our culture at the moment, because we have flat out lost on a lot of fronts: why IVF is immoral, birth control, being open to children, what marriage is and how to love each other or even what love is. We are often behind what is happening. For example, while we are talking about the objectification of women, women are starting to objectify men (it’s true, it is happening and has been for awhile.) While it does seem overwhelming, there is always work to be done and we are the ones called to do it. But we can’t really do anything when we refuse to accept reality. Wanting to be detached from reality is the exact reason why people think that our genitals have nothing to do with whether or not we are male or female. That same detachment happens when we refuse to look around and see what we are doing as Catholics isn’t working to help bring people to God. It happens when we insist on being legalistic as if God is an idiot who needs us to tell Him who the bad people are, that’s not reality at all.
We have to evangelize in the world that we live in, not the world that we want to live in. We have to know how to deal with gay couples who want to baptize their children, trans people who want to go to Mass, how to help people who feel helpless but don’t want anything to do with God, how to deal with the family who has a drug addict in their midst that wrecks so many things, and how to handle kids who are having children out of wedlock without alienating them. These things are not easy.
The ideal situations are easy and I’m sure come with their own crosses (I wouldn’t know since never in my life have I been in an ideal situation, it’s all chaos for me thanks!) Mercy and compassion is talking about how to love and live with those situations that aren’t ideal in our families. It’s not about just accepting behaviors that are wrong, but also about setting boundaries and taking care of our own priorities. How the hell is anyone supposed to know how to navigate through these situations in their families if all anyone ever wants to talk about is the perfect children who are virgins when they get married in a huge wedding Mass celebrated by the most pious Bishop to ever live where doves are released and the heavens open up to tell the parents of said virgins how great they did to raise these model Catholics?! Do you know how fucking rare that story ending is for most of us?
Well, let me tell you, I need to know how to love the crazy people that I’m actually related to while being Catholic. My gay cousin, my drug addicted ex-husband, my son with two kids out of wedlock, my aunt who is a real bitch and my mom who does everything she can to make me feel like I suck at everything in life. How do I witness to love of Christ to them when I want to cut them out of my life and pretend that they don’t exist so I can sit in the pew looking like I know what the hell I am doing? That is my reality. Thank God someone is bringing it up, because I need to know how to love these jackwagons.