Recently our world rocks us yet again with many instances of violence and death that are projected onto our consciousness by way of print and electronic media. Unrelenting in detail, we find it almost impossible to experience any peace at all even as we try to end our day with sleep.
As has been demonstrated for millennia, even those entrusted with “spreading God’s word” have on occasion not been able to avoid doing so without some form of violence. It has remained such that as we try to convince others that God loves us, we sometimes do so in a loud, forceful and intolerant manner. All in the name of “doing God’s will.”
There have been, however, many other voices who have tried over time to ask that each of us embrace the silence required for hearing God speak. We are asked to ignore as much as possible even block out the strident sounds of violence and death; we are asked to embrace the solitude that, while precious in terms of time taken, is so essential to the very peace of our souls. Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk and contemplative, once said, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”
Jesus has asked us to do this over and over yet we cannot truly hear it if we do not rid ourselves of the temptation to seek revenge, inflict any form of harm, or in any way diminish those who we find to be in disagreement with our own deeply held beliefs.
The Spiritual Works of Mercy include Admonishing the Sinner and Instructing the Ignorant. We can accomplish neither if we allow our hearts to be filled with hate, disdain, rejection or outright dismissal of their right to seek God with all their hearts. “They” will understand what we are trying to do when we live a life of mercy rather than preaching a message of death.
In the Jubilee Year of Mercy may we be thankful for all the catechists in our parish of Holy Family who work tirelessly to share God’s word. They do so constantly reminding us of God’s loved and peace. We are grateful for their willingness to help us hear about one another’s faith journey with respect and kindness. They help us “get it.”