July 08, 2007

Love Others, Judge Yourself

An anonymous commenter on a prior post hurled a lot of adjectives at me that indicated Anonymous thinks I love myself more than anyone else and that I think I'm holier than anyone else and judgemental.

I'm always grateful for any occasion of self-analysis anyone can provide.

I've wondered that myself. Do I think I'm holier than anyone else? Do I think I'm better than everyone? Do I act like I do? Do I sound like I do?

I pray I don't act or sound like I love myself more than anyone else or that I sit in unfair judgement of my fellow man.

Honestly, I don't love myself more than anyone else. There was a time when that wasn't true.

In my dissident Catholic days, I thought I was better than anyone who had not found the enlightenment of the "Third Way" as I had. Anyone, who embraced the teachings of the Magisterium was an ignorant, brainwashed, fool in serious need of counseling.

How could I not love myself? I decided on my own what was right and what was wrong. I professed to be a Christian but I discarded any of His teachings that were inconvenient to my lifestyle.

I surrounded myself with people who thought the same way I did. People who were sure they knew everything. People who professed to love everyone and respect everyone no matter what they believed, yet, sneered at those people who happened to have beliefs contrary to ours.

Now, that I have fully embraced Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium, I find that I don't love myself the way I used to. I still love myself, but, now, only as a creature of God. I don't love myself anymore for MY sake. In fact, I realize how far from enjoying the perfect love that is Christ Jesus I really am. My shortcomings are brought into sharper focus than ever. The exercise of daily examining my conscience (which I NEVER did in my old life) forces me, each day, to assess how I lived that day, how I thought, how I acted, in light of God's will for me. Was I too harsh? Was I unfairly judgemental? Did I violate a Commandment? Do I need to go to Confession?

However, I love OTHERS more than ever. The "theology" of relativism teaches you to be inward and think of yourself in each situation first. When you are the one weighing how bad each vice is, what you think Scripture really says, what you would do in each situation in light of your personal truth: how can you love anybody more than yourself? When you don't care about anyone else enough to tell them what they are doing is wrong because you don't want to interfere with their personal space, isn't that a form of cruelty, not compassion?

When you accept the Truth in its entiriety without putting your own personal spin on it, you don't have to spend time analyzing each situation and interpreting it relative to your relationship with the world. You think in terms of Christ's relationship to the world.

Does this make us mindless? No. It takes a lot of effort, thought and reflection to live in the Law. Nonbelievers will tell you otherwise. Don't believe it. I spend more time now each day THINKING and REFLECTING then I ever did before. I think before I do something, I think before I go someplace. I think each moment of Him. I don't always do the right thing. But, I know what I should be doing. I'm aware of it at all times. I'm aware of Him at all times.

We all judge. We all judge each situation. As part of our (hopefully, daily) examination of conscience we have to judge OURSELVES in relation to others and judge OUR conduct in relation to His will.

As Christians, we know and believe and accept that certain behaviors are wrong. It is not judgemental on OUR part to think so or to say so. If the teachings say it is wrong to cohabitate without marriage then it's wrong. That's not ME saying that or thinking that because I came up with that on my own, it's God. If I reiterate God's teaching to you, it is part of my duty as a Christian to do so. I'm not here to keep my mouth shut and watch you go merrily to Hell while I stand by and do and say nothing to help you. My failure may mean I'll be there with you. I'd rather join you for dinner.

Let me be clear, just because I, as a baptised believing Christian, deliver God's teaching does not mean I think, or that I'm saying, I'M God.

I believe that we who accept the Church's teachings love others but judge ourselves. Really.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! You are on a roll Cathy! Good stuff!

July 08, 2007 3:22 PM  
Blogger Adoro te Devote said...

Well said, Cathy.

And anon was out of line; it was an over-reaction, what we normally see from people who become uncomfortable when someone speaks the truth.

I used to get uncomfortable, too, and you know what? I still do when I'm not living out the truth that confronts me.

That's why I'm supremely uncomfortable when I read the Saints. Just as it should be; as you pointed out, we are all sinners. Discomfort is our true conscience, and when we sense that discomfort, we "bite" at the one delivering the message. Even if we cite our own "conscience", if we are angry when hearing the truth, and engaging in ad hominem attacks, well, that's a sign that somewhere in there, the Holy Spirit is working to convince us of our own sin.

It's painful. Still is painful, but I thank God for that pain because that's the kind of pain, if we respond appropriately, brings us to the physician, (Jesus) in the Confessional, in the Sacraments, and allows us to be healed.

July 08, 2007 4:00 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

Good post. Sometimes when we are accused of judging - we may simply be discerning a situation or an issue, even a behavior. In these times it is critical that we do so, when good is presented as bad, and evil presented as good. Ya know what I mean?

And when people say we are mindless in our faith, or our obedience, they do not realize that faith is a supernatural virtue. Neither do they recognize the value of obedience, which is an act of worship. They presume themselves to be wiser than over 2000 years of teachings defined and made understandable to us by men wiser than Solomon because they were filled and guided by the Holy Spirit.

Very good post.

July 08, 2007 4:34 PM  
Anonymous nab said...

Terry's comment on obedience and worship made me remember this:

Jesus Christ, being God, would not be satisfied with steadfast faith and immortal love; He must exact adoration. Adoration is the annihilation of one's self before a superior being..." (Lacordaire, and thanks to Rorate Caeli back in Lent)

July 08, 2007 7:12 PM  
Anonymous L. said...

Just catching up on reading your blog-wow! Excellent post in response to anon.

July 08, 2007 9:42 PM  
Blogger Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

A fabulous post, and something I need to bear more in mind, myself.

July 09, 2007 6:44 PM  

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