Jun 23rd – Homily – Fr. Angelo Geiger: On Being Judgmental

By June 23, 2008October 27th, 2011Fr. Angelo Geiger, Homily
Loading the player...

Views 1738



Homily #080623 ( 11min) Play - "You're being judgmental!" Fr. Angelo explains when we can make a moral judgment without being judgmental.
Ave Maria! Mass readings
+++
apostolate

Author apostolate

More posts by apostolate

Join the discussion 18 Comments

  • Jennifer A. says:

    Dear Father Angelo,

    I had tears in my eyes through this and will surely need to listen again (as well as yesterday’s) to digest it all. Tears were there because I, too, must humbly admit to being judgmental … to being a hypocrite and at times to rationalizing it all (as yesterday’s homily exposed). We must all remember that we our on our OWN journey coming via very different and distinct paths.

    At times I beg God to let me leave the flame of sin and destruction … to get away from it. But I always hear Him tell me that that’s where He wants me … that’s where the people are who need to see a different way …His Way. At times it seems attractive to live in a secluded community such as Ave Maria in FL … it’s exhausting to swim against the tide all alone! But, then I see communities such as the FLD polygamy groups and realize that it can be very dangerous to do this. It becomes tempting to create your own rules and strict living so that the Spirit behind it gets lost. No one from the outside can relate to you. Granted, we’re not supposed to be OF this world … but we’re not supposed to appear as aliens either or look like we stepped out of a time warp from the 18th century. Who will come to Christ through us?? Plus, you run the risk of becoming self-righteous and self-serving and where is Christ in that?

    Tears also appeared when the homeschooling prejudice was mentioned. At times it does appear that some think of those who do not homeschool as though they either are lazy or don’t really care about the souls of their children. Granted, there are surely PROBLEMS within the public (and other institutional) schools. But, if all of the Christians pull out … who will stay on top of these schools? Many kids from mixed up homes will tell you as adults that it was some Godly, functional family that loved them and gave them values and boundaries as a child that ultimately led them to Christ and saved them from total destruction as a child.

    Next year, I will have three in the public schools and one being homeschooled. I dread it … why? Because I will be accepted NOWHERE. The parents in the public school system will whisper behind my back because, to them, I will be a nutcase and think I’m too good for them. Heck … they already think we’re odd because our children cannot do all the things theirs can … this flies in their faces, of course, and at times makes them feel the sting of some possible negligence on their part such as why they stopped going to church. But, I try desperately not to judge (though if I were honest, I do at times). My job is to humbly live as I was called. At times, another parent will approach me and ask for prayers or tell me that they’re tyring to fight some heathen battle and ask for help … I see Christ in all of this and that is what I must stay focused on.

    Yet, I will not be accepted fully by some homeschoolers no doubt because I dare to send some of my kids to the heathens each day. They may whisper behind my back as well. They may not want my kids to befriend theirs because they’ve been influenced and exposed to things that theirs have not been exposed to … I will admit that my older two do not feel comfortable around most homeschoolers. They tell me that they feel judged and feel they cannot be themselves. That is indeed sad. There are those, mind you, who have been WONDERFUL and I am so grateful to their charitable love and acceptance. Truly I am and those are the people that I work to emmulate. That is where I see the love of Christ … those who can look beyond the surface.

    I believe that is what Christ did … he always looked below the surface of a person … below the surface of Mary Magdalen, the tax collector, Peter who denied Him, etc etc. He saw what others could not see … and those are the types of eyes we must all strive to have … they are not our own eyes!

    Bless you Father for the work you put into these homilies … that all of the priests at this Friary put into their homilies! It’s so hard to look at ourselves critically but if you priests don’t force us to, who will??

    Jen

  • Rachel says:

    “They may be on their way to hell, and they may very well be!” Father, as you say, they may very well be on their way to hell, but rather than tell them so, we should love them like they’ve never been loved before, hoping that a small seed of Christs’ love will enter into the darkness of their hearts and minds and eventually, someday, take root and cultivate and grow into a conversion. We believe in God’s power, therefore, we don’t need to see the fruit of our efforts to love ALL of God’s people, even the one’s we think to be the scum of the earth. Alcoholics, drug addicts, homeless, uneducated and even the mentally ill! I think such charity will do far more good than all the words uttered in condemnation. Great Homily once again! You remain eternally in my prayers.

    And they have seen a Great Light!

  • Rachel says:

    “and they get looked up and down for what they are wearing” “and it’s wrong”

    God Bless you Father Angelo for speaking such Veritas. Is it not better to wear one’s prayer veil upon the heart where Christ can see it than on the head for all to see? 🙂 Thank you for speaking out like you did in this homily. There has been far tooo much hurt amongst the faithful in communities through the years and it’s high time we start loving one another and accepting one another just as they are, right where they are, in whatever condition they may be in because we can’t ever tell what’s really going on inside a person unless we are that person. There are times when I prefer to converse with a Wican over a christian any day! They may be on the road to hell but they are far more Christlike at times than a judgemental Christian.

    Most Christians who want to act so judgemental do so because they fear that the EVIL people will rub off on them. When in all truth we should let the light of Christ within our soul rub off on them by our acts of charity, kindness and generosity – not condemnation.

    I am grateful for the priest who was as such with me. He was truly in persona Christi!

  • mayra says:

    Dear Fr Angelo
    I believe you are wrong on this one.
    As a Catholic homeschooler executing my office to teach, govern and sanctify my children in the domestic church, I have spent many hours of prayer and adoration, study and meditation to discern from the Lord His will regarding this issue. Your statement that it is wrong to keep ourselves and/or our children away from others who have pagan values is contrary to what I have discerned in my vocation to raise my children for heaven. What you have stated in my knowledge of God is not God’s will. The Lord told His people in the book of Exodus not to mingle with the pagans in the lands that they are to inhabit. We are not going to raise a generation of disciples of Christ by accepting and socializing with everyone indiscriminately. This generation of young people within this culture can be raised to love God above all else only by raising them withing the Catholic Faith in the home and associating with peers who are like minded. They are to be in the World but not of the World.
    We must not judge that which is not our business and we must not gossip. But when confronted with those who dress inmodestly at church or in our groups we should let them know charitably that they are valuable because of their soul which is created in the image of God, not valuable by drawing looks to their physique and that in our group you must dress modestly or not come. We do not sit around and tear people apart judging and gossiping, it would be sinful to do so. But we only allow practicing faithful Catholics in union with the Magisterium in the group and we have a dress code. This is in my understanding pleasing to God and in fulfillment of the Commandments, the Beatitudes and the teachings of the Church.
    God bless
    mayra lingvay

  • Therese says:

    Thank you, Father Angelo, for this homily!

    As bad as it is for us orthodox Catholics to sit at the dinner table (or for many of us women, on the phone) and trash people who we think are on their way to hell I find it stupefying that orthodox Catholics trash other orthodox Catholics! As sinful as it is to reveal the faults and sins of those who do not practice a religion, how much more sinful is it to trash those who are trying to live a devout life and grow in virtue?

    If orthodox Catholics who are struggling to grow in holiness are put down, sized up, and found wanting by other orthodox Catholics who are further along on the road, who will stop to help the weaker ones on the road?

    If we Catholics can?t love other Catholics, then how can we hope to love the heathen, the ?sinner??

    If Catholics are made to feel inferior by other Catholics, how can we ever hope to help our neighbor?

    Weren?t the pagans of old converted because of the love that the early Christians bore for one another? Wasn?t that the most salient aspect of the early Christians: They loved one another, they were kind to one another, they didn?t trash each other like the pagans did.

    This would be a great homily for Cenacle Sunday. Would any of them get up and walk out?

  • Therese says:

    By the way, I agree very much with Rachel when she says:

    “Most Christians who want to act so judgemental do so because they fear that the EVIL people will rub off on them.”

    But Saint John says that perfect Love drives out fear. If we are afraid it shows that our love is very imperfect.

  • Fr Angelo says:

    Mayra,

    I will try to answer your objection. Please note that I do not mean to imply anything about your personal way of solving very difficult issues of how to raise your children. I know that those who are trying to follow a Catholic way of life are struggling against the tide and that very often they feel as they get no support, especially from the clergy who should be most of all the ones defending them. My sole intent is to clarify the position I articulated in my homily.

    Your statement that it is wrong to keep ourselves and/or our children away from others who have pagan values is contrary to what I have discerned in my vocation to raise my children for heaven.

    I must first of all say that I do have fairly extensive experience over more than fifteen years working with various groups, all of them of the ?orthodox? persuasion. This includes working with homeschoolers, a large community of which comes to our friary for First Saturday and benefits from our support. None of this makes me infallible of course. I am not suggesting that I shouldn?t be questioned. I merely point out that I am not talking off the top of my head or from a prejudice against homeschoolers, a prejudice which I know exists among some clergymen.

    I think you misstate my position. I did not say that parents should not make judgments about who their children should and should not associate with. In fact, I made a point of making that clarification in my homily. What I said is that the habit of mind by which we categorize people and make assumptions based on superficial knowledge and facile oversimplifications is wrong. And it is.

    What I have found to be a bad habit far too frequent among ?orthodox Catholics? is to size people up and write them off without really having any knowledge of the individual persons or their families whatsoever. This is wrong. And it is one of the reasons why, for example, many clergymen are prejudiced against homeschoolers. There are other reasons, of course, not so valid. But this kind of behavior only becomes a good excuse to write off homeschoolers altogether, which is wrong also.

    Furthermore, the context of my remarks, I thought, would indicate that I am not talking about two groups of people who have radically different world views. I am talking about different groups of people who on their own volition want to come to things like First Saturday Devotions or to our Third Order and other spiritual movements. All these people are trying to live their faith and raise their children in a godly way. It is right here that I have so often found a really wretched kind of sanctimony and self-righteousness that is all too eager to find fault with others, create cliques and exclude those who might most benefit from association with such groups. This is just wrong, plain and simple. I know for a fact, that people are very often misjudged and set outside the group. It?s a fact, and the worst thing of all is that it never even seems to occur to some of those who judge that they might be wrong.

    I have also found that these general categories into which people are placed are plainly bogus. I know there are types of people, who because they are not orthodox, or because they exercise no discipline over their children, or because they do nothing to protect their children from impurity, would not be a good influence in orthodox circles. But these types of people generally are not interested in what we have to offer. The truth is that when it comes to ?orthodox circles? any family from whatever group or background are as likely to have kids that cause trouble or scandal as any other.

    That is not out of my hat. That is a something I know to be a fact.

    In regard to modesty, we enforce the traditional standards here. What I am talking about is the preoccupation with the issue and the uncharitable way in which debatable issues are handled sometimes. Modesty is also a matter of mortifying one?s eyes, being strict with oneself, and presuming the best about others. I have seen kids who may not have been the most perfectly modest in dress, but who were otherwise gems, who have been alienated by a great deal of pigheadedness and rudeness. And we the real ?orthodox Catholics? continue to justify ourselves and look down on those we have completely misjudged. Those kids would have come along, and they would have otherwise brought to the table a great deal of good example, instead we are the ones who loose. And again this fact, that we are the real loosers, does not even begin to occur to some of us.

    Finally, In regard to the occasion of sin, traditional Catholic morality teaches us that we must avoid the near occasion of mortal sin by fleeing it altogether, if possible, and by rendering that occasion remote through prayer and penance, when we are unable to flee it. Ordinary life does not make it possible to flee every occasion, and ordinary occasions, like immodestly dressed women on the street, can in the ordinary providence of God be rendered remote by a man who is trying to practice his faith. In other words, the man also has to practice modesty.

    Sure, modesty in dress for women has to be addressed, but remember that the end of such an education is conversion. If we tried exercising some kindness in the matter, and some patience, maybe we would get a lot further. Instead we are all too ready to throw the non-conforms outside the walls.

    Other occasions of sin, which are either occasions of venial sin, or otherwise already remote are always going to be a part of life. We all have to face them. No parent can protect their children from every occasion. They have to teach them the proper recourse depending on the occasion at hand. Furthermore, ?orthodox families? can and do scandalize each other quite a bit, and in very serious ways. You don?t need the ?category? of public school kids for that.

    I am sorry, I won?t back down from my indictment that hypocrisy is alive and well among orthodox Catholics. The sooner we face it and abandon self-righteous and ignorant oversimplifications, the sooner we will really begin to focus on our own conversion and make real strides in the spiritual life.

  • Corinn says:

    Wow, Fr. Angelo– If all the priests were like you– teaching in Truth and Love-(and courage) the world would be a much better place. You are such a gem, as are all the Friars of the Immaculate. Thank you and God bless you all.

  • Jen says:

    Mayra,

    I’d like to add a little more from a different angle as to what Father is saying because I do understand the sacrifices you have made on behalf of your family … after much prayer, as you stated! A friend once told me as we both discussed how we had prayed for direction and came up with different paths, that God made in one breath St. Benedict and in another, St. Thomas More! They are both totally different men with radically different callings in life … yet, God had unique purposes for each and did not want St. Thomas More to get out of the *public* nor did he want St. Benedict to be as much in the public as St. Thomas More. Did one choose the better path? I should think not … they each listened to God’s calling and obeyed. Each path had its pros and cons, its risks, those who agreed with them and those who didn’t …. yet, each path had been ordained by God. Who are we to judge?

    Maybe this is SOME of what Father is saying. I think he very clearly stated that all parents, and even hiring bosses, must discern the moral character of others at times .. sometimes correctly, sometimes incorrectly. But, what we cannot do is negate an entire category of people just because they are in that category! That’s what bigots do … they, for instance, will have nothing to do with a certain race or creed … they never bother to look at them outside of that category. This from my understanding is some of what Father is trying to say. We cannot get petty about things within our orthodox followers … maybe one woman’s dress isn’t quite as long (even though it’s an acceptable length), or maybe one woman’s heels are higher or some veil their heads and others don’t. Some send their children to Catholic schools, others homeschool, others use the public system … but if they’re *orthodox*, they are probably all doing a LOT of discerning and sacrificing and praying and sacrificing and instructing and and and …

    I think as orthodox Catholics, we must view ourselves as all in the same boat and we must all help one another paddle and we must be willing to let others ON the boat AND, I believe at times, we must be willing (if called) to jump on a different boat where there aren’t alot of orthodox Catholics … get completely out of our comfort zone! That’s what evangelization is. (Very uncomfortable.) It involves a lot of risk. It involves being criticized … it’s that fear of suffering that prevents us.

    Well, Father Angelo, you apologized for not backing down. DON’T back down. Our souls are depending upon our priests to NOT back down. You said your words with lots of love and gentleness and now we just need to digest it and pray.

  • Anonymous says:

    “It is right here that I have so often found a really wretched kind of sanctimony and self-righteousness that is all too eager to find fault with others, create cliques and exclude those who might most benefit from association with such groups. This is just wrong, plain and simple. I know for a fact, that people are very often misjudged and set outside the group. It?s a fact, and the worst thing of all is that it never even seems to occur to some of those who judge that they might be wrong.”

    True indeed. How can you be a saint if you can’t even be a friend?

  • Rachel says:

    Father:

    Like Corinn said: “WOW” What a Church we’d have if all priests were like you. I know all too well how it feels to be condemned and judged by orthodox Catholics because I too have been rejected by them because I didn’t fit their ideals. It’s painful to be so condemned and rejected by those you wished were your own.

    I sadly and remorsely walked away feeling their sting having wanted nothing more than to be loved and accepted. Instead I found condemnation and rejection and complete abandonment in my greatest hour of need, from those who claimed to be holier than I! When I was sick ? no one visited, when I was hungry ? no one fed me, when I was cold and without a bed to sleep in ? I was thrown into the streets, when I was near despair ? no one offered a comforting word. Such rejection from those who had claimed to be holy nearly led to the lost of my faith completely. Had it not been for the Graces of God and Our Lady I would have completely abandoned my Catholic faith. However, through GRACE alone I was able to trust in The love of Christ and this love brought my heart to a different place for which I am eternally grateful.

    While seeking to continue to live a life in search of God’s love I found His path for me was one whereby I would meet up with the homeless, the mentally ill, drug addicts and those mothers who had killed their babies through abortion. The most recent group of ladies that God has brought into my path has been those steeped in the occult through witchcraft! and currenlty I am an assistant to a director of Planned Parenthood. My trust in Our Good Lord has grown deeper as He has allowed me to see that these people are much like me. They are broken and wounded and seeking to be loved. The only difference is, is that they don?t know that God loves them, nor are they aware of Our Lord?s Divine Mercy.

    Can these broken souls come to know God’s love by snooty looks, or snide comments about their immodest dress? Can they come to know God’s love by way of preaching Summa Theologica? I think not! Rather they come to know God’s love by simple things. Offering to give one a ride to the local food bank, or inviting them to sit for coffee in a coffee shop, or inviting the drunk who lost his license a ride to the unemployment office. I have found Jesus more times than not in the simple, the toothless ignorant souls sleeping on the sidewalks who wreak of alcohol and urine than I have found in orthodox communities of well groomed home schoolers.

    St. Francis truly understood the paradox of Christ loving the sinners! Father, I think you have come to understand it also. May God bless and reward you for your ability to clearly communicate such truth to those who need to hear it. As for me and my soul….. well, we will remain in the world with the wretched, the wicked and the lost. This is my church, it is the Church of Jesus Christ wounded and crucified. And like Mary Magdalene, I will be here at the foot of the Cross where I can comfort the walking wounded with these tears that God has given to me to wash away their filth and their suffering.

    Man’s rejection has become for me God’s protection!

    Lastly, being IN the World and Not of it, has not soiled or spoiled me. Rather it has strengthened me to love more deeply. And! So what if one of these sinful, worldly souls gives me bad example? And so what if I get a tint of their stain upon me because I have associated with them? So WHAT? Will Our Dear Blessed Lord stop loving me? As Therese wrote in an earlier comment….”Perfect love casts away all fear”… Were the saints afraid of the lepers? Will I be afraid of today’s lepers? If one is afraid of the modern day leper, one will never know the joy of the deepest love there is…… Death to self – and union with Christ upon His cross. Christ was crucified between two sinners?
    St. Francis – pray for me.

  • mayra says:

    Dear Fr Angelo and Jen

    Thank you for your clarification, I much better understand what you were saying now. I accept what you are saying is true because I recognize you work with these groups all the time. My circle is not as wide and my experience is limited. Our experience down here in our small orthodox homeschool group within a predominantly modernist local church may be slightly different. Our homeschool group is very small down here in Orlando, we are eager to attract more people into our group, and to help the modernists learn the Truth. So I have not seen this behaviour of contempt and self-righteousness in our circles. This is why your comments threw me off. When we get new people, we fully expect them to be in need of doctrinal formation and moral formation 9 as we have been) and we are just happy to have them and try to win them over, get them to stay. That’s generally the situation here, I’m not saying we are not sinners, but because of our lowly status within the general catholic community we take new people in and eagerly nurture them as best we can. The important thing for us is that newcomers have a desire for conversion and desire for knowledge of the Truth. In our group most of us have pretty recent memories of being uneducated in Faith and Morals and living a life of sin ( of varying degrees ) until we learned just enough to want more for ourselves and our children and searched out and found this group. In our orthodox homeschool group we get doctrinal formation from a local Marian Catechist who studied under Fr Hardon. So we’re not to the point of forgetting we ourselves were ignorant and kind of lost not too long ago and we need more likeminded families to associate with –which keeps us pretty humble as a group. As our group gets larger and our bishop continues to make our local church more orthodox (which he is doing ) we will run into this danger you’re talking about and I appreciate you forewarning us.
    I very much appreciate your teachings. Thank you. Keep it up.
    God bless
    mayra

  • Fr Angelo says:

    Rachel,

    I understand what you are saying and can sympathize with you. I am not sure what you mean by saying you are an assistant to a director of Planned Parenthood. And I would recommend you be extraordinarily careful with your involvement with anyone practicing witchcraft. That is something extremely dangerous, even for one whose only intention is to evangelize the witch.

    By my remarks I have tried to counsel charity, prudence and good judgment. I hope no one misunderstands me.

  • Rachel says:

    Father:

    Thank you for your concern. It is well taken and certainly well heeded, however, no need to worry. The woman whom I am referring to as the Dir. PP is a professor who I am an assistant to. She is a director of PP aside from her position in academia. I do not assist her directly with her work for PP. I am her assistant here at the University. However, I am pleased to have the opportunity to meet such a person, to learn what makes them tick and to be a quiet, prayerful example to her on a daily basis. I am honored that Our Lord would put me in such a place.

    As for the witches! Well, you can certainly trust in the power of Holy Salt. You gave me a box 10 years ago and I still use it today! With tremendous success. It works wonders. Never doubt its power! I sprinkled some in our office where this wiccan sits next to me, she’s been out sick ever since. When she returned from being sick she decided that she would take some vacation time. Not that I rejoice in her being sick, but I do realize that God’s power is at work mysteriously here. This poor young lady’s mother died when she was only 15 years old and she’s suffering interiorly and most important….. she SEARCHING for a deep spirituality. We have had some interesting coversations. She knows I am a Catholic and I have had the opportunity to pray for her in a way that I would have never been able to pray if I hadn’t learned of her circumstances. Giving birth to souls with little seeds of love is a wonderful way to repay Our Dear Lord for the goodness He has shown to me. God is very good and I am not afraid.

    Covered with the Precious Blood of Jesus….. I fear NOTHING! Not death, not suffering, and certainly NOT even curses! I am where God wants me to be.

  • Jen says:

    Rachel!! Amen to you. I admire you for all of this work you have done on the streets ? God bless you. I, too, through prayer have come to the conclusion that it is near the flame that I need to fly and, yes, that means I will get some sunburns at times and maybe even downright scorched ? i.e., I will wind up with some of their sins upon me or apart of me. It is the price that gets paid.

    However, I do not feel that all are called to that. Some are called to minister to the already converted ? like some of the homeschoolers I know. Also, I don?t agree that you can expose young children to every kind of evil in the world while they are still being formed. Granted, when you are doing this kind of work, it?s hard not to have your children exposed but that’s when the sacrifice for the souls of your children must come first. You must sacrifice some of these good works to protect your children.

    Unlike some, I do let my kids bring (to OUR house) friends that I know are sometimes from dysfunctional homes or homes where the faith is minimal at best. (Now, I may decide that they cannot go to these friends’ homes because I may not trust the judgment of the parents … but coming to our home is different. I maintain some control.) This, to me, is what Christ would have all of us do ? to love those who need it most and many times today, that is the children! Kids that come into our home watch us pray before meals and hear our conversations of what is wrong with certain movies or video games, etc. Maybe it?s a seed that gets planted with some of these kids that will some year get watered. Do I need to detox my kids sometimes later? Yes ? and clearly if the toxic mess is too foul, I have to end the friendship and usually my kids don?t feel comfortable with that type anyway. It?s flying close to the flame and sometimes I?m sure I don?t do a great job at it and sometimes I fear i have allowed a burn to one of my kids that God is probably not pleased with. It?s a constant discernment but I want my children to SEE Christ in others. God made and loved them just as He did you and me. I just cannot see living where I restrict my family from being around PEOPLE ? all kinds of PEOPLE. I just love people. But, you know what? People are messy.

    Also, as Father mentioned, I don’t think I’d want to associate myself with Planned Parenthood or other clearly objectionable places. I’m confused by your statement and wonder if you worded it wrong perhaps. In one breath you say that you’re trying to help mothers who have killed their babies but in the next breath you’re working for Planned Parenthood. Something doesn’t sound right there.

    However, I must say that I do agree that we cannot be AFRAID of people and we cannot isolate ourselves entirely. Jesus never said to create an isolated community … He calls us to live amongst the people but to be a light to the darkness. They are tall orders because we must know that people are WATCHING us … they want the opportunity to call us a hypocrite or a bigot.

    Mayra, Thanks for your clarification. That sounds wonderful what you are doing.

  • Rachel says:

    I don’t work for PP. I work for a professor who has two professions. She’s a professor at a law school and she is also a director for PP. I work for her at the law school. I learned of her involvement at PP when she asked me to help her with something. I politely refused her request. It was a wonderful opportunity to share my conviction with her about abortion being evil. In spite of my refusal to assist her, we have been able to maintain a professional and friendly relationship. That is good News! I may have very well phrased my earlier posts in a such a way as to be ambiguous therefore, you could have easily misunderstood.

  • Other Mary says:

    Thank you, Father Angelo, for this excellent homily. It is one that I will need to replay often. It goes hand in hand with your homily on Tuesday evening (unfortunately not taped) at the Traditional Mass, reminding us to take care not to be caught up in the “smells and bells” of the traditional liturgy, but to walk the walk and work on ourselves inwardly, continuously and not just to “feel” holy because we are assisting at such a beautiful liturgy. It is so easy to fall in this regard, and we must be ever vigilant as to our disposition, working hard to not see the negative in others and working even harder to see the faults and failings of ourselves. These homilies are invaluable “shots in the arm” to keep us on our toes, hand in hand with living a deep, sacramental life – not just a superficial one.

  • Therese says:

    As Other Mary says, it is certainly true that we should not get caught up in living an external faith but instead we should internalize and live our beliefs. The greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. But the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. And in loving our neighbor we are loving God. As Saint John says in his Gospel: ?He who says he loves God but hates his brother is a liar.?

    In his comment Father Angelo said:

    “I am talking about different groups of people who on their own volition want to come to things like First Saturday Devotions or to our Third Order and other spiritual movements. All these people are trying to live their faith and raise their children in a godly way. It is right here that I have so often found a really wretched kind of sanctimony and self-righteousness that is all too eager to find fault with others, create cliques and exclude those who might most benefit from association with such groups. This is just wrong, plain and simple. I know for a fact, that people are very often misjudged and set outside the group. It?s a fact, and the worst thing of all is that it never even seems to occur to some of those who judge that they might be wrong.”

    I am saddened that I must agree wholeheartedly with Father. I know of quite a few families who are experiencing exactly what Father says in the above paragraph.
    These people, mothers and fathers along with their children, would most benefit from friendship with those more established in such groups. Yet the hand of friendship is not extended by those who are considered the ?leading? families in these groups
    of ?serious?, ?orthodox? Catholics. Instead when other families (and often it is the mother) try to make connections, try to begin friendships within these groups, they are rejected, politely of course, but it is a rejection all the same. Because they are not ?good enough?, their children aren?t as well catechized, or they don?t attend all the functions and different religious events at the local friary, or perhaps even that their parenting skills are not as efficient, or perhaps their spouse is not as fervent in the faith. And yet the fact remains that with some help, namely in the form of true, genuine friendship, those families would have come along as Father also states:

    “Those kids would have come along, and they would have otherwise brought to the table a great deal of good example, instead we are the ones who lose. And again this fact, that we are the real losers, does not even begin to occur to some of us. I am sorry; I won?t back down from my indictment that hypocrisy is alive and well among orthodox Catholics.”

    I have seen first-hand how some of the ?very? religious attend all the local religious functions and then won?t let their children socialize (outside the religious function) with the children of other Catholics whom they consider inferior or perhaps a bad influence on their own children.

    Not only this but some even trash the ?inferior? Catholic children, speaking badly of them to other Catholics who ARE up to their high standards. Thus the inferior Catholic children meet with more rejection from more ?very holy? adults. And don?t the children of these ?very holy? adults learn to treat others in the same manner, ostracizing and belittling those they consider not good enough?

    As serious, orthodox Catholics we are called to treat all other serious, orthodox Catholics as family, as close as, or rather, even closer than our blood relations on earth. Grace is thicker than blood, isn?t it?

    If your own brother were lonely and could benefit from your visit or your welcoming him and his children into your home would you neglect to do it? What if he were a fallen-away Catholic but was genuinely searching, would you close your door to him and his family??? I think not, for what would your mother say? What would your father say? What about your aunts, uncles, cousins??

    I must say that if your blood brother were to live an immoral life or raise his children in sinful ways, that Prudence and Good Judgment should be exercised as far as visits and exposing one?s own children. But I?m not talking about that. I?m talking about the sibling who wants to learn the truth, even if they be far from the truth.

    If you would do this for your blood relations, why won?t you for your family members by Grace? What would your Father in Heaven say? Your heavenly Mother?

    As Father Angelo says, ?these kids would have come along? but if you deny these children a warm welcome to your home, you are making them feel unwanted and contagious. Children, especially adolescents, know, they can sense when other adults judge them as ?no good?, of little or no worth.

    The point I want to make is that, again as Father says, ?we are the real losers?. Those families, and it is often the mothers, who keep their own children an arm?s distance away from the children of ?inferior? serious Catholics, are doing themselves and their own children a great disservice. When their own children reach adolescence, that age of critically looking at and questioning their parents? actions and beliefs, what will these children think of themselves? If their very religious parents, especially mothers, don?t think the children of other serious Catholics are good enough for them to be friends with, how will these children view themselves? Could they perhaps feel that if their parents really knew them that they, too, would be found lacking? If their parents only want ?perfect? friends for themselves and their children, might not their own children come to believe that unless they are perfect their parents won?t accept them??

    Don?t we want to show our children how to practice love for neighbor, by actually loving those who need it and could benefit from it, even if they are not up to our standards? Actually, not ?even if? but ESPECIALLY if they are not up to our standards. Isn?t that what ALL the saints did? Doesn?t God Himself stoop down to love us lowly humans? Shouldn?t all of us good orthodox Catholics step down from our pedestals and reach out our hands to our lowly brethren?

    Especially orthodox Catholic women. Especially mothers. All women are called to be spiritual mothers. Yes, your own children come first, but not ONLY. You should reach out to other children, in a loving, motherly way as much as possible. And the most important way is not to make other children feel unwanted, inferior, ?contagious? to you or your own children. That is all part of being Open to Life in its broadest sense, is it not? Killing a child in the womb is a grievous sin; hurting or helping to kill the soul of a child in need by ostracizing them because they are not ?good enough? is also a little act of murder, is it not?

    As Anonymous says: How can you be a saint if you can?t even be a friend?

    O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee

Leave a Reply to Anonymous Cancel Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.