Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tolerance? Forget that.


     Love is the point.

The last few days I’ve been flooded with talk radio and national news and boy that’s a downer.  I had a roommate who whenever I’d get agitated would keep saying, “why ya mad though???” and he’d repeat it over and over until I realized that there is no reason to be mad.  Or I’d start to get mad at his incessant repetition of the phrase and so I’d let go of my original complaint.  I digress, this phrase kept popping in my head while I was listening to these talking heads go back and forth.  Why is there so much anger in them trying to get their point accepted by another?  If you felt like you were right wouldn’t you be exuding peace at the fact that you know it so surely?  

You know those people on Facebook who argue about politics in comments to the point where you read it for the humor of grown people acting like kids throwing tantrums?  Yeah…I was that guy not to many years ago.  Throughout high school I would post things to entice my friends with opposite political views and would use sarcasm and gang up on people who disagreed with me.  Why?

I’ve since hung up my political gloves so to speak because I was missing something.  I was missing the why.  Today I am just as opinionated but the reason I egged on these debates in the past is because I knew that I was right and I was hoping to gain some gratification in someone seeing it my way.  I have since found that my opinions line up with those of wise and holy Mother Church.  Praise God for Her; She’s so smart.  I’ve also gained my “why” from Her as well.  Love.

In these arguments between myself, a stupid sheep, and my stupid sheep friends they weren’t rooted in love and neither are the big shots who yell on TV.  Love is what matters.  As a seminarian it seems a lot of people want to argue with me about what the Church teaches about this or that and I’ve found that because Her teachings have a pure foundation in Christ I need not concern myself with rhetoric.  I can argue, I can get loud, that’s easy.  It takes a true strength to ask the Lord to calm your heart in times of passion, and then to trust Him with the struggles.  Obviously I’m not saying we shouldn’t stand up for our beliefs, that would be absurd and totally not my style but what I am saying is make sure to keep your foundation with the  Church in love. 

This foundation of love doesn’t mean be weak.   Many people today are calling for tolerance.  I’m not calling for tolerance; I’m calling for love.  Love, especially in today’s world, is counter cultural.  Love is willing the good of another.  Love isn’t saying that sin is okay.  You’ve all heard it, love the sinner, hate the sin.  That’s what I live by.  I detest sin.  It breaks my heart when through my actions I damage my relationship with God and it breaks my heart when through your actions you distance yourself from Him as well.  Whether you believe Jesus died on the Cross for you or not, He did.  Whether you believe sin exists or not, it does.  I want to reach out and ask you to take some time to ask the Lord to open your heart, that you may share His love to everyone you meet, and that you may detest sin in order to live a life of holiness.  I also ask you to evaluate how that love is trying to move you though.  It will not be in unrighteous anger and frustration but truth and fervency of faith.  I can be quick to anger when I come home from school and am pounced on for being so closely united to the Church.  Then I think for a second, who am I that I have the privilege of enduring even just a little persecution in order to unify myself even more fully to the crucified Christ? 

“The issues” can be argued till we are blue in the face and they will be all over cable TV but more importantly for us as Christians we need to see why our brothers and sisters fall into sin; it’s the same reason we do.  We are broken and trying to find some fulfillment.  We can’t help them heal by telling them that they are wrong and not show them the true cause of our joy.  We can however allow the Lord to share the message of love through us that they may recognize that fulfillment will not be found in disordered choices. 

In a few days we celebrate the birth of the Christ, the Christ who came in the gentleness of a baby and fulfilled His loving mission giving Himself fully in death on a cross.  Let us ask Him for the strength to die to self that by our example and care of the individual, truth may be seen. 

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