Friday, September 18, 2009

A meditation by Fr. James E. Sullivan

In two previous posts, which may be found here and here, I've examined harmless religion (which is so popular today) and the false notion that all anger is something unholy or sinful. The problem with this line of thinking is that it it attributes sin to Jesus Who cleansed the Temple. And that is nothing short of blasphemy.

In the wonderful Catholic classic entitled "My Meditation on the Gospel," published by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood, Rev. James E. Sullivan provides us with the following meditation on Christian Fortitude:

"After a few days' stay at Capharnaum, Jesus and Mary and the first five Apostles made the journey to Jerusalem for the Passover. When they entered the Temple, they heard its usual peace broken by a great uproar. Men were shouting and bargaining, oxen and sheep were bleating. Jesus stiffened, His Father's house made into a market place! A fierce, set look came over His features. His hands seized some cords and tied them into a whip. His eyes never left the scene before Him. He walked forward then, arms outstretched. 'Take these things away!' He cried out. His voice was strong, yet trembling with anger. An uneasy fear came over the crowd, as His eyes burned into theirs. They hurried away their oxen and sheep, those in back urging on those in front. The money-changers alone held their ground. Jesus seized the end of their tables and sent them flying end over end. They became panic-stricken then. They grasped what coins they could and ran. Jesus stood alone in the courtyard. Peace settled again over the Temple.

My Lord, how I admire You in ths scene! We are so liable to think that being a Christian means being a weakling and a 'mouse'! How wonderful to see that distorted notion so firmly dispelled by the example of Your magnificent courage! Your Father's house was being desecrated; there was reason for the fighting - so You fought! You didn't care what they thought or what they would say. His glory was primary! Nor did it matter to You that You were alone against them all. Your courage was so great and Your cause so just that the entire crowd fled before You.

Dear Master, it is so easy for me to get confused on this important point. I'm so liable to think that Your command 'to turn the other cheek' means to take any insult and never fight back! And so I become afraid to fight - or if I do fight, I feel very badly, as though somehow I had let You down. Teach me the real meaning of Your words. Turning the other cheek means being willing to forgive and forget when the injustice is over. It does not mean giving into the injustice, or being a weakling. Give me Your courage then, Lord, to fight for justice and fairness. Give me the backbone to say what I know is right, even though others oppose me. Courage, Lord! Magnificent courage like Yours!" (pp. 125-127).

As faithful Catholics, we have not only a right but a duty to oppose dissent from the Church's teaching. The Lord Jesus has not called us to be weaklings but to defend His Church and its teachings. Do you think it any coincidence that the men closest to Jesus were men of great zeal? Cowardice is not a virtue. We cannot allow cotton-candy Catholics to instill us with feelings of guilt for standing against dissent and with the Church's Magisterium. If such confused souls lack the courage to fight against error and falsehood, that's their problem. Not ours.

No comments:

Site Meter