Are you a betrayer like Judas or Peter?

We have all betrayed our Lord at different times in our lives.  Some of us betray Him often; other people betray Him rarely.  But when you do sin, who do you emulate?  Judas or Peter?  Judas had deep regret for His betrayal, but what did he do?  Did he seek forgiveness?  Did he ask for mercy?  No, he went and committed suicide.  He received no forgiveness for his sin because he didn’t seek it.  God is merciful.  His ocean of mercy is greater than your sea of sin.

Now, Peter.  He denied Christ three times just as Jesus told him he would.  At the cock’s crow, Jesus looked at Peter.  Peter realized his betrayal and went and wept bitterly.  Theologians say he had a deeper conversion at that moment.  Peter was forgiven because he was open to it, unlike Judas.

So the question is, are you a betrayer like Judas or Peter?  Will you seek forgiveness and mercy while on your knees?  Or have you become distant and unbelieving of the mercy of our Lord?  Never think you cannot be forgiven.  No matter what your sin is, no matter how many times you’ve sinned, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve been to confession, you will ALWAYS be forgiven if you are truly repentant, if you truly regret your sin, if you truly mean to go and sin no more.

Jesus is called the “Divine Mercy” for a reason.  Because His mercy is endless if you only go to Him and throw yourself on the mercy of our Lord.  He loves you with a love you cannot even imagine, and His desire is that you be with Him in heaven at the end of your earthly life.  If you haven’t been to confession in a long time and are afraid to go, pray and ask for the courage.  The priest is always ready to receive you.  There’s really no need to be embarrassed or frightened or nervous, even though it is human nature.  Just go to your local priest, confess–if you don’t remember how, just ask, priests are more than willing to help you–and you will be absolved of all your sins.  Those words of absolution can make you cry.  It feels as if a great weight is lifted off your shoulders.  Freedom from the slavery of sin is an amazing thing.

You have betrayed our Lord.  Now be like Peter.  Then go and sin no more.


Catholics Attacking Catholics

Catholic? Aggression

Of late, I have seen attacks against Catholics by other Catholics.  Why are we “attacking” each other, especially for such petty reasons?  Aren’t we being attacked enough by those of this world, whether by those in the government who are trying to restrict religious liberty or by militant atheists who are trying to eliminate public signs of religion?

One recent instance that comes to mind are the comments against Catholic blogger Lisa Graas because of her blog post about why Rick Santorum, a Catholic, should not help raise funds for the Salvation Army.  The Salvation Army, by the way, is not a charity.  It is a protestant ecclesial community that, like many other religious (including Catholic) organizations, does corporal works of mercy.  A surprising number of people chastised her for her position on a prominent Catholic raising funds for a protestant “church.”  I couldn’t help but wonder why her perspective on the subject was so controversial.

The second instance of an attack that comes to mind–and far worse in my view–is by Catholic blogger Simcha Fisher and her co-blogger called “The Jerk.”  They malign fellow Catholic Michael Voris of Saint Michael’s Media and ChurchMilitant.TV.  Not liking Voris’ style is one thing, calumny is another.  Fisher is a prominent blogger whose writings appear in numerous outlets, so her writings, including this verbal aggression, are read by many, and if her readers are unfamiliar with Michael Voris, they will automatically have a negative view about him.  The blog post harms his reputation.

There are numerous places to learn that we should not attack each other.  Let’s start with “Love one another as I have loved you.”  That, from the mouth of the Son of the Living God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We can learn from the handbook for the Catholic faith, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).  If you ever have a question about the faith, look there.  I highly recommend owning a copy.

According to paragraph 2477 of the CCC:  “Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty…of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.”  Personally, I believe one harms one’s own reputation by insulting another person so publicly.

As Catholics, we are supposed to be one body (the body of Christ), CCC 791:  “The unity of the Mystical Body produces and stimulates charity among the faithful: ‘From this it follows that if one member suffers anything, all the members suffer with him, and if one member is honored, all the members together rejoice.’  Finally, the unity of the Mystical Body triumphs over all human divisions:  ‘For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.'”  So to insult or attack another member of the body of Christ is to insult or attack all members, including yourself.

Let’s look at what the Apostles said.

Saint Paul, where he tells us what “love is…” in chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians, says this:  “[Love] is not rude.”  I must say that Simcha Fisher and The Jerk were especially rude.  They were even rude to people who tried to defend Voris, even to someone who tried to admonish politely and quoted the CCC paragraphs I mentioned above.  (Thanks for those.)  As a Catholic who is taking the time to learn more and more about the faith, and in doing so learning to love my neighbor better, I don’t understand this behavior by this well-known Catholic blogger, who even contributes to the respected National Catholic Register.

Saint Peter, whom Jesus selected as our first pope, in his first letter, second chapter, tells us to “rid yourselves of all malice…and all slander.”  So if you disagree with someone, do so with charity.  Don’t be mean.  Don’t name call.  Should we not “do to others whatever you would have them do to you”? [Matthew 7:12]  Are we not to “be perfect as [our] Heavenly Father is perfect”? [Matthew 5:48]

Saint Peter reminds us in chapter 2 of his first letter:  “you are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…'”  If this is true, we should not act like the people of this world, i.e. secular people who are hostile towards Christians.  We are called to be different…better…perfect.  We are “called…out of darkness into His wonderful light.”

In Saint Peter’s second letter, we read this:  “Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.  For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.”  One builds on the other, and how does it end?  Love!

It’s all about love.

Look.  If we see a fellow Catholic failing in living the faith, we should admonish–with charity [which means love]–to guide them back onto the righteous path.  If we simply disagree about a point of no consequence, like a Catholic politician who helps to raise funds for a protestant church or the presentation style of a Catholic media personality, discuss calmly, with charity.  We don’t need to “rip” anyone.  We have enough of that from the secular world.

I know I am not a prominent Catholic blogger like Lisa Graas or Simcha Fisher, and I will be able to count on one hand the number of people who read this post, but for those of you who do read this, be good to others.  Remember love.  It is at the core of our faith.

Published in: on December 26, 2012 at 23:44  Comments (4)  
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