Truth

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April 7 – Saint John Baptist de le Salle

April 8 – Saint Julie Billiart

April 9 – Saint Casilda

April 10 – Saint Magdalene of Canossa

Truth

“The most wicked men are the most severe censors of the conduct of others, whether because of the disorder of their minds, or their hypocrisy, or their false zeal.”  (Note 1)

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“Jesus must be served while his time remained, and then, after his departure, be consoled by our service to the poor, whose care he accepts as if it is given to him.”  (Note 2)

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“Our difficulty today is that we are surrounded by good, well-meaning folks who are swept along in a stream of shallow options.  Not only is the good made increasingly difficult to do, it is even increasingly difficult to recognize at all.  It seems that affluence takes away the clear awareness of what is life and what is death.  I do not think the rich are more or less sinful than the simple and the poor, but they just have many more ways to call their sin virtue.  There is definite deadening of the awareness of true good and true evil.  In its place, we have mostly opinionated folks and sentimental opinions at that.”  (Note 3)

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“The Lord is my light and my salvation;

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life; 

of whom shall I be afraid?”

Ps 27:1 (RSV)

I’ve been away from this for a bit — we had a stomach bug that swept through the house.  I’m going to try to catch up, but I’m not really going to talk about anything but today’s meditations.  I read the others, but I just can’t get back to them right now.  My time is limited enough without sickness limiting it more.  Suffice it to say that they are good readings, and if you have the books, you should read them.

Both meditations today touch on the rich and the poor; and on the conduct of others as compared to self (one noting wicked men and the other the affluent).  Richard Rohr, OFM, is correct to say that the rich don’t sin more or less than the poor, but they have greater ability to disguise their sin as virtue, much like the wicked men who so harshly judge others for committing the same sins which they commit.  People will often blame the rich and point to the whole ‘camel through the eye of a needle’ quote (cf Mt 19:24; Mk 10:25; Lk 18:25).  I studied part of the book of Genesis under a visiting professor from Tel Aviv University.  He told us we always see the image of a camel trying to go through the eye of a needle, but that is not accurate.  The eye of the needle was a gate in Jerusalem that required a camel to squat down and be pushed through.  I’m sure it was some type of customs enforcement, but that was over 20 years ago and I don’t really remember it fully, nor want to look it up — just go with the anecdote!

There’s a lot to say on this, but I’ll confine myself to this.  Not all rich people are bad and not all poor people are good.  But the Truth is the Truth — we just have a hard time recognizing the Truth when the world persecutes us for believing in the Truth. The Church is a Church of persecution, just look at the attack in Egypt yesterday, Palm Sunday, and witness the plight of Christians in our (Christian) historic homelands.  We don’t see this type of persecution in the western world — the persecution here is more insidious:  a creeping relativism that attempt to destroy the Church by destroying Truth.  The sad thing is, in the historic Christian homelands, our brothers’ and sisters ‘persecution ends in martyrdom — all we see is a sliding back from Truth, and thus from Grace, and thus a descent into purgatory and even perdition.

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Notes:

1.  Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, Meditations for Lent, trans. Christopher O. Blum (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2013), 158.

2.  Bossuet, Meditations, 159.

3.  Richard Rohr, OFM, “Disguising Sin as Virtue”.  In Renewing Our Discipleship, Daily Reflections on the 2017 Lenten Readings for Mass, ed. Steve Mueller (St Louis, MO: All Saints Press, 2017), 41.

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