Friday, August 10, 2007

Responsibility in Community

I don't know how many of you pay attention to the Catholic quotations that appear every day in my sidebar, but they really are some of the greatest bits of wisdom you'll ever find. Today's quote is just plain awesome:
  • "What a travesty to think religion means saving my little soul by my little good deeds and letting the rest go hang." — Gerald Vann, O.P., The Heart of Man
I love quotations like this because they pack a punch. They're so true too! Fr. Vann's words here expose a potential weakness in the "personal relationship with Jesus" mantra that Protestantism has stolen and made it's own. In Protestantism itself there is no community (just division), so I guess it makes sense that individualism would assert itself in their theology.

But, even as Catholics, we would do well to heed the wise father's words. I know that, at least with myself, I can get very caught up in my own feelings and my own problems. "Oh, I am so anxious, I am so tired, I don't feel well, I.., I.., I.." In times like this I forget something that I've always known but never seem to hold on to: charity covers all of those things.

I feel so much better about myself and my relationship with God when I'm helping other people. And it's no coincidence. Half of what exacerbates our own problems is our constant dwelling upon them. When we redirect that focus outwards, towards our neighbor, we begin to think less of ourselves and more of the plight of others. Then, most things we struggle with pale in comparison. We are reminded of the ways in which God has truly blessed us and loved us. Plus, if you are fixed upon everything you do wrong, it is uplifting to do something right and good for someone else, to know that you have made a positive impact on someone's life.

The, alternative, of course, is to just concern yourself with yourself, and let the rest go hang. May we never forget that whatever we do for the least of God's children, we do for him.

Pax Christi,

1 comment:

Hidden One said...

*happens to be looking for Catholic posts/documents responding/relating to the Protestant mantra.

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