Thursday, September 06, 2007

In All Things, Charity

I know what it is to be denounced. I went from Protestantism to seeking Catholicism, seeing smiles of some old friends turn to scowls. I went from seeking Catholicism to a pseudo-Catholic cult. I left that cult to the tune of a public denunciation, followed by doors shut in my face, and heads turned from me. I later moved from a community where I was respected as a leader to a community where I was seen as the “liberal” one, where I was not quite shunned as I was in the cult, but where I felt like an “outsider” with little to contribute. I have come to a better place in my life, but I tend to get upset when I see someone “put down”. We called it “ranked” in public school.

And so, when I see someone using their blog to “rank” my good friend Nancy Brown, because she wrote a literary guide to a controversial book series (Harry Potter), I find myself asking some questions. Who is this person who is passing judgment not just on books (that she hasn’t read) but on persons (whom she doesn’t know)? And I find the blogger has no name; her profile isn’t public. Ah. Anonymous posters have gone from comment boxes to their own anonymous blogs. Well, when I slow down and breathe deeply, I realize that I’ve “been there, done that”…no, not with blogs, and not anonymously, but that there have been too many times in my past when I’ve passed judgment, times when I’ve been tuned to Channel N for negative and F for fear. Mea culpa. I learned the hard way that negativity and fear are not the way to peace, and that living that way is not the way to draw children and youth to holiness and heroism. I had to decide to change. And so I need to be careful not to judge those who judge or else I will, once again, be judging. I need to be patient with others.

You already know, I suppose, that St. Peter and St. Paul disagreed. But did you know that St. John Marie Vianney didn’t believe that Our Lady appeared at La Salette? After meeting one of the “seers”, he was convinced that it was not a true apparition. Finally, one day he prayed to Our Lady under the title of La Salette and received his favor, and ever after was a devotee. He later said, “I am a firm believer in La Salette….That boy and I did not understand each other. But I have asked heaven for signs to bolster my faith and I have had them.” (Source: A Woman Clothed with the Sun, edited by John J. Delaney, story by Msgr. John S. Kennedy.).

So what is my point? First, what my point is not, lest I be accused. I am not comparing the Harry Potter books to Our Lady’s appearances. I am simply pointing out that good people, many times saints and devout Catholics, have disagreed or had misunderstandings. There have been many cases of this throughout history. We don’t have to agree on everything. We aren’t going to agree on everything. But the second of the two great commandments is short and simple: Love thy neighbor as thyself.

I know that you, my dear readers, know that. But it makes me feel better to say it. So thank you for listening. God bless!

1 comment:

Maureen Wittmann said...

You're right MM, we can disagree as did Sts. Paul and Peter and still be brothers and sisters in Christ. While the saints disagreed, their example is not to judge the state of another's soul as is happening to Nancy. Good points MM.