Friday, July 19, 2019

Evading Responsibility

This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another. (John 15:12-17)

The Church teaches us about following Jesus and keeping His commandments. Those commandments follow the Great Commandment, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37–40). When the Church teaches, “We must do X,” or “We must not do Y,” we can be sure that X and Y are areas that either respect or violate those commandments. 

But all too often, we evade our responsibility by making excuses for why we don’t obey the Pope or the bishops when they teach. For example, saying “I’m personally opposed to abortion, but I don’t want to impose my beliefs on others,” while supporting laws that impose the belief that abortion is good. Or saying “Those immigrants came here illegally, we should help others who live here instead,” while failing to help either immigrants or citizens in need.

These evasions do not excuse us. These commandments are not limited to those who are born or those who are legal citizens, and, as Lumen Gentium #14 reminds us:

He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a “bodily” manner and not “in his heart.” All the Church’s children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.

It seems to me that if we’re making excuses for refusing to hear the Church (a dangerous thing. cf. Matthew 18:17, Luke 10:16) in the current magisterium, we should ask ourselves “Why?” What excuses can we give before God at our Judgment for refusing to hear those teachings on how to obey His commandments.

Perhaps we should consider the possibility that when we accuse the Pope or bishops of “getting into politics,” the real issue is that we refuse to get out of politics. If so, we do this to our own peril: in doing so, we’re making our preferences into an idol which we obey rather than God. No matter what excuses we might make, it will not justify our evading obedience.

No comments:

Post a Comment