About a month ago one of our adorers made a comment to me about how much he liked reading my weekly articles and how he always makes copies to pass along to his friends and co-workers. He then made sure to point out to me that he doesn’t like it when I write about politics, primarily because he has a different political philosophy than I have. We’ll call him “political man.”
The Sunday after political man told me he doesn’t like it when I write politically oriented articles, another one of our adorers stopped me after Mass and said: “I love reading your articles. I love all of them. Every one of them.” She emphasized the words “all” and “every.” We’ll call her “adventurous lady.”
Last week another adorer who always makes an effort to tell me how much she enjoys the articles made it a point to tell me that she thought I was drifting too far away from what she thought I should be focusing on. She felt that my articles about the “3 Foot Giant” and “America’s Doctor” were too secular. We’ll call her “spiritual lady.”
So there you have it. Political man doesn’t like it when I talk politics, adventurous lady likes all of the articles regardless of the topic covered, and spiritual lady wants me to stay focused on prayer and spiritual growth.
Before I go any further, let me tell you what I believe is the number one (secular) sin committed by most writers and speakers. It’s the sin of being boring. I don’t take the time and effort to write every week just for the fun of it. I sincerely believe that our Lord wants me to write on a regular basis. I knew over 10 years ago I should be writing, but I (conveniently) never got around to making the commitment. Writing is hard work and I don’t like hard work. But if I’m going to do the work of piecing together an article every week, the last thing I want is for the article to be boring. I’m never going to be able to retain people’s interest in what I have to say unless my articles are interesting, thought provoking and, at times, entertaining.
Alright, so let’s move on and discuss the comments from my readers. We’ll start with politics.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it the political wizards of the day who sanctioned and oversaw the torture and murder of the son of God? I seem to remember something about a governor washing his hands of the matter of a crucifixion because he was concerned about the political ramifications of standing in the way of the Pharisees. You know who I’m talking about don’t you? I think his name was Pontius Pilate.
So every once in awhile I write an article about how our modern-day politicians are really no different than the politicians in our Lord’s day. Today’s politicians are doing the best they can to methodically tear apart, piece-by-piece, the Christian foundation our country was built upon. If Jesus and his apostles were courageous enough to speak out against corrupt politicians, why should I be any different? Of course, they faced a little stiffer penalty for speaking out than I do, namely torture and death. So if they were willing to literally die for what they believed in, I should at least have the courage to imitate them when the only threat to me may be a little bit of criticism.
I’m not under any illusion that I’m going to change the political beliefs of political man or anyone else, but I am hopeful that I’ll be able to at least open up his mind to new ideas, concepts, and arguments that he may not have been aware of or thought about on his own.
Next we have adventurous lady. All I really know about adventurous lady is that she is a very talented artist, which means she operates from a different side of her brain than most other people. She appears to be the type of person who doesn’t feel threatened by someone who thinks differently than her. I’m sure she is a very curious individual who is easily bored and enjoys the stimulation of abstract ideas and concepts. When she’s in a group setting, if there’s not much going on, she most likely makes some off-the-wall comment, teases someone, or pits one person against another (in a friendly way), just to liven things up.
Why do I think this about adventurous lady? Because I believe she has a lot of the same traits I have. How else could it be that she relates to and enjoys every single one of the articles I write?
Finally, we have spiritual lady. She is a devout Catholic who prays more than any woman I know. I can easily have a two hour conversation with her about religion and everything that is wrong in the world and we end up agreeing on almost everything we talk about. The only problem I have with spiritual lady is she seems to be too focused on the dark side of humanity. To someone who does not know her as well as I do, it would appear as though she derives satisfaction from focusing on all of the negative things that are happening in the world.
I don’t believe that’s the case with her. As you can imagine, there are different levels of holiness that can be attained by an individual, with spiritual perfection being the top level. It’s no different than the various levels of intelligence you see among people or the different skill levels you see among athletes. What I’ve noticed about people who have reached an advanced stage of holiness, is that they have a much greater awareness of the evil that exists in the world. It’s almost as if they live part of their lives in the physical world and the other part in the spiritual world where they can, at times, see the battle that is going on between good and evil.
The danger of being more spiritually aware of the true evil that exists in the world is that it can be so overwhelming that the person starts to give up hope without really realizing it.
Christ’s admonishment that we should all be like little children was about living a life of humility, vulnerability, innocence, faith, and trust. As parents, we would be upset if our young children constantly worried about whether there was going to be food on the table or a roof over their heads. We would tell them: “Don’t worry about that. We’re your parents and we’ll make sure you’re always taken care of. Now finish your work and go outside and play with your friends!”
Yes we should be very concerned about the state of affairs in our Church and in our country. And yes we should pray and do everything in our power to turn things around. But ultimately, our personal destiny and the destiny of our country lies squarely in the hands of the King and Queen of Heaven. Although they want us to be diligent, they do not want us to go into despair or worry excessively about what might happen in the future.
So what advice would Jesus and Mary have for spiritual lady? Here’s what I think they would tell her: “As long as you do what you’re supposed to be doing – living a pure and holy life and serving God to the best of your ability – we don’t want you to worry about anything. You do your part and we’ll take care of the rest. Now finish your work and go have some fun with your family members and friends!”
I think we could all benefit from that advice.