The Right to Choose

Deacon Blog                                                                      Sept. 15,2019

 The Right to Choose

You may remember me telling the story of how my beautiful God-Mother, June, would teach me about GOD and Faith…often on her couch in the wee-morning hours (I lived with her family much of my high-school years). We discussed GOD’s love and mercy for humanity most of all, the pitiful ways people respond contrary to Divine Will, and the ill-effects that befall all of us when we ignore the Holy Spirit. Somewhere in this progression of thought I would invariably become agitated with the state of the world (issues like war, abortion, torture, greed) and the damage we were causing (emotionally and physically) each other and I would start to rant about how stupid and careless mankind is, and how we should “wise-up”, as they used to say. “Virtue”, I would say…”Virtues, that’s what we need to get back to” (which were concepts I was newly aware of). And this was when I was maybe 17-18 years old. You can imagine my craziness now. Just when my blood-pressure would peak she’d smile at me kindly (the way I still imagine the face of Jesus), and say to me in her soft raspy voice, “Oh, lighten up!! The Father knows what HE’s doing”. Then she’d add, “You and I have no idea or understanding of how things work…we know only our own small part and the way we should carry ourselves. The Big Picture belongs to HIM and all we have to do is develop and protect our trust in this. Learn obedience, it’s the foundation of Faith”. First of all, words like trust and foundation were lost on me then. I had no idea how to actually trust in anything, and foundations included concrete and rebar. But… it was a thought to reflect on.

So, fast forward a few decades (which is exactly what it feels like). These days I understand the wisdom and simplicity in developing child-like trust and confidence in the Church and the Faith, just as Jesus instructs us to do (Luke 18). About twenty years ago, as I finally began to understand what June meant, along comes the indescribable knowledge of the horror some of GOD’s children have endured, and… WHO was doing it. My faith is strong and I do work to maintain a “Big Picture” outlook on life, but…this has been a challenge unlike any other I’ve encountered. I can only imagine how the victims feel. On one hand my heart physically aches for them, almost in a pseudo “anxiety attack”. At the same time, I am aware that atrocities accompany every human endeavor. To my knowledge, no worthy effort made by humanity has escaped the influence of human depravity. Besides the Church, our own government comes to mind as an institution so beautifully crafted and yet so often hampered by our interpretation and application. It’s not difficult to understand the intent of the founders. Freedom and opportunity for all. Has this always been the case?  Not even close. Has it advanced these ideas in the world? Undeniably. Where would we be if the precepts of free speech and the right to protest weren’t included in our constitution? We need only reflect on the event of WW II to realize the United States has been a critical component in the fight for human and civil rights. Perfect? Not worth discussing. Essential ?…without a doubt. Improving? No question. Let’s apply the same scrutiny to the Church. Education, medicine, charity, science, humanitarianism, all contributions to the world and all introduced or furthered by the Church. We can look at pedophilia among the clergy as a modern-day abomination, or we can recognize that this practice pre-dates Christianity and was a deeply rooted, accepted behavior in pagan cultures and continues to this day as an evil confronted by Christians for two thousand years. Looking further, we should recognize that we have never been closer to abolishing this evil. Society, and its willingness to advocate for the vulnerable, has progressed beyond limits that existed even twenty or thirty years ago. We see this profoundly displayed in the “Me Too” movement. This is a special moment in history for human rights. It is foolish to believe the Church had no role in this growth, even while some of its “shepherds” pastured themselves on their sheep. For two thousand years it has championed the undeniable dignity of all human beings.

We live in a flawed world. We are part of a flawed race. Poor behavior will accompany us till the “end of time”. The teachings of the Church and the model of the Saints find real, true meaning in this context. We NEED the Church with a capital “N”. Our eternal souls depend on it. Does this mean we ignore or accept activities contrary to Christ? Not on our lives. Are we able to abandon the Church and keep the “Faith”? No more than we could extinguish our breath and keep on living. The Holy Spirit, the energy of LOVE between the Father and HIS Son, waits patiently to guide us (invited). Our role is to continue our prayer for this guidance, to respond in action to our beliefs, and to accept with gratitude the JOY we can receive in being part of these efforts. We are at a pivotal moment in history. So many egregious behaviors are being confronted and tolerated no more. The world we live in is our doing and the remedy and reparations are ours to complete. We have found voices and courage that escaped us for a long time. Just as we continue to perfect our country through the rule of law, lets place a corresponding effort into our Faith so a rule of morality can be part of the world’s conversation. Our tolerance for immoral behavior only “reloads” the weapons used against us. Weapons such as abortion, pornography, cruel language, abuse, dis-respect, and greed…should all be viewed as un-acceptable behaviors. Behaviors graphically displayed in some genres of pop culture. Understanding and recognizing history clearly shows us a “Big Picture of human existence and the path we decide to travel. Every day is our opportunity to Choose.


PAX CHRISTI, Deacon Mike

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