During the present Jubilee Year of Mercy in our Diocese, we are focusing on the Spiritual Works of Mercy. This weekend, our attention is directed to our mission to Counsel the Doubtful.
We cannot share with others what we ourselves don’t have. If we doubt our own value and worth, we are not able to help others to appreciate their God-given importance.
We all have a point of reference or a context within which we see ourselves. Every day, the Lord invites us to see ourselves first and foremost in relation to Him. As we strive to do this, we will grow in the ability to see the following truths about ourselves: 1) As individuals, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Hopefully, this awareness will influence both what we do and what we choose not to do. 2) With others, we form the Body of Christ in the world. This gives us a communal identity. We need not ever live with the notion that we are all alone or cut off from others.
As we continue to take to heart our individual and communal identity in the Lord, we will have what it takes to counsel the doubtful. An important aspect of doing this is that of bringing out the best in others. This happens as we assume the best about them.
We and all with whom we associate have a dark side to our nature. We each have the potential to act in selfish, loveless and uncaring ways. At times, we and others give in to the inclination to hurt others. As we do this, we can quickly recognize the evil and shortcomings that are in others. If we continue to pounce upon others for the loveless ways in which they act at times, we can crush their spirit, making it hard for them to enter into and to grow in trusting relationships. As we remain close to the Lord, we will have what it takes to assume the best about others even when they act in hurtful ways. We will grow in the ability to come across to persons who act in hurtful ways that they are part of us, that we want and need them. After His Resurrection, our Lord expressed to His disciples that He wanted them and needed them, as untrustworthily as they had acted on the last night of His life in this world.
As we grow in the ability to give ourselves and others the benefit of a doubt, we will grow in the ability to give the Lord Himself the benefit of a doubt when we experience that which is painful and unfair. Time and time again, we can observe that persons who act in hurtful and in unjust ways seem to prosper. On the other hand, persons who strive to live upright lives experience injustice, suffering and hardship. On this side of death, there oftentimes is not an answer to the question as to why we suffer as we do.
In spite of all of the injustices that were heaped upon our Lord as one of us, He remained faithful to what the heavenly Father counted on Him to do. In and through His faithfulness to the Father to the end of His Life, He has gained eternal redemption for all persons. He counts on each of us to extend His redeeming work in the world. This happens as every day, we take to heart the assurance that regardless of what might happen to us, the Lord is working for our good and that of countless others through our on-going trust in Him, a trust that comes to expression in our determination to be faithful to what He asks of us each day of our lives.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor