Thursday, December 03, 2015

Fling wide the doors of mercy: who is there to judge?

I find it hard to shake the long ingrained conviction, as basic as child psychology, that love and forgiveness mean little in the absence of justice and punishment. In fact, justice and punishment themselves properly can be expressions of love. The opposite of love and forgiveness is not justice and punishment, but indifference. And love and forgiveness divorced from just punishment quickly dissolves into nothingness. Instead of being appreciated and treasured as a costly gift of pearls, they are received as pearls cast before swine who trample them underfoot and turn to attack the giver (Mt 7:6).

"Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy," says the Holy Father, in the opening line of Misericordiae Vultus, his Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. The Father is "rich in mercy" (Ph 2:4); has revealed Himself to Moses as "a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness" (Ex 34:6); sent His only Son into the world, born of the Virgin Mary, to reveal His love for us in a definitive way.

Indeed. I get that. That is my only hope in life and in death, and I've staked my life on it, as many of us have. But I know that I am not good enough a man to be moved to forsake my sins and flee to the bosom of the Father simply by knowing that He is there to welcome me. The power of sins is not negligible; and the standard of perfect contrition (to "detest all my sins ... because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love") is not low or easy. No, in the absence of such love, a lowly sinner such as I often finds that the only thing that will move him is imperfect contrition (to "dread the loss of Heaven and pains of Hell"). This, at least, may move me.

But what will move the many who don't seem to have the foggiest idea that they are even sinners? What can possibly move them? Well, yes, the Holy Ghost, of course; but we find that even the Holy Ghost usually uses human instruments:"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Rm 10:14)

But if the preacher preaches nothing but mercy and love, what then? How can Christ be the "answer" to people who have no idea what the "question" is? I know God's offer of mercy and pardon is extended to all, even if few there be who take it. Yes, God is merciful. But taking the long historical view, what do we see? We may still be living under the aegis of an age of mercy; but as I observe happenings throughout the world and the Church, I fear we may be rapidly transitioning to an age of judgment. Our Blessed Mother has been clear enough about this in her many and diverse warnings, just as her divine Son has been in His words about the fullness of time in Sacred Scripture. Have we forgotten, too, that the opposite of an indifferent God is not only a God of love and mercy, but of just wrath and chastisement?



Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Doc. Do you ever get the feeling that the reason our Generalissimo spends so much time spiritually wounding his own troops is because if he didn't (he never wounds enemies) then there would be no need for his field hospital?

Bluto said...

Contrition based on fear may be imperfect, but it is genuine. Fear is the most powerful motivator, as any lover knows. Contrition based on love may be considered "perfect," but only if what is called "love" is built on fear of loss of love. Sorry Francis, you can't remove fear from the formula, and contrition is not possible without it.

Love that is given away like free cocktail sausage samples is better known as pleasure, and is regarded by those who receive it (basically everyone) as inessential: ok, but you wouldn't walk across the street for it. Pleasure is insignificant, and indifference is exactly what it breeds. If you've been to the local NO mass lately, you understand exactly what I am trying to say.

If you're not afraid of losing it, it isn't worth having. The "love" offered by Catholic leaders such as Francis is not love at all, but a form of spiritual masturbation. Our fool of a pope seeks to purchase it in our name, and one day he will have to answer for it.

KK said...

Wow. Here is something to fear for you: Matthew 5:22.