Showing posts with label forgiveness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label forgiveness. Show all posts

Monday, August 1, 2022

It’s Iimi! The Final Dream of Paula Ochlos

With Paula’s adoption date approaching, she still has some feelings to work out before she’s 100% on board and prays for resolution. When she closes her eyes to sleep on the night before the court date, will there be comfort in…  The Final Dream of Paula Ochlos

Post-Comic Notes: And thus ends the story arc of Paula Ochlos becoming Paula Iscra. It’s not the end of It’s Iimi!however. I plan to keep doing this for as long as God makes it possible.


When I first conceived of the character in 2020, I had no plans to do this story arc. But as I developed her character, Paula evolved from a foil to a friend for Iimi. The idea began to germinate with Paula reaching out to Thea in It’s Iimi! My “Friend” Has A Problem… (published slightly over a year ago), and by the end of the Paula’s Abortion arc, I knew it was the story I wanted to tell. But I did not want to rush the cancer revelation, because that would feel too contrived. So, it wasn’t until It’s Iimi! End Games and New Games that I was ready to start dropping the hints that would commit me to the story.


I hope the development of Paula’s character and story was worth reading, and I hope the next major story arc (already developing) will also be worth reading.

Friday, June 10, 2022

It’s Iimi! Desperate Defiance (Part II)

“Amnesty lasts until you walk out the door,” Paula was warned. But she declined to accept it. How will Thea balance discipline in a way that gets her point across while still showing love and mercy when Paula is determined to commit… Desperate Defiance.

Friday, August 13, 2021

It’s Iimi! When God Closes a Door, He Opens a Window…

The expression When God closes a door, He opens a window is trite to be sure. But have we ever considered what it really means when we go beyond using it as a meaningless condolence?

Iimi is staggered by how a rumor turned her into a pariah right on the heels of what happened to Paula. She feels angry with God and feels guilty about feeling angry. But Father Gabe reminds her of what Pope Francis said on being angry with God (June 3, 2020) and encourages her to think about what this saying means.

We might have a hard time with reconciling God’s being all powerful and loving with what happens to us (and there are some enduring tragedies that might make me collapse if I had to face them). But God does love us and work to our good, even if we can’t always see it.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

It’s Iimi! Lone Wolf and Bug: Handcart at the Gates of Heck

All Iimi wanted to do was take a nap before youth group. But Chela wanted to wrestle. That resulted in both of them being sent on an errand. She’s not sure what’s worse: a hyperactive little sister or the third degree her friends give her along the way.

This was an experiment with telling a story with apologetics in it, instead of making the apologetics itself the story.

Post-Comic notes: The title and the cover is a parody of the manga and live action movies, Lone Wolf and Cub. (I don’t particularly recommend them to the Catholic reader as they tend to be excessive in the violence, sex and nudity categories and would probably get an O rating from the USCCB.
The main character is Ogami Ito... hence the parody Oga-Iimi-to.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Pharisee and the... Bishop?

The Pharisee and the Publican. James Tissot (1894)

This will probably be a controversial article, but I think it needs to be said, lest we fall into the trap of focusing on the evil of others to the point of self-righteousness and judgmentalism. There is a lot of anger directed at the bishops—individually and in general—over the latest scandals. This is understandable. But it can also be dangerous if it tempts us to justify ignoring Our Lord’s teachings when an evil seems too much to bear.

I think we forget that the audience Jesus spoke to was an audience of victims. The Romans had conquered Judea, and were running it unjustly. Some of the Jews (like the tax collectors) collaborated with the Romans out of self-interest, enriching themselves at the expense of their own people. Hope was high for a messiah who would drive out the Romans and restore the Kingdom of Israel.

But that’s not the message Jesus preached. That’s not the reason Jesus came. He preached salvation from sin, and spoke of the need to forgive those who wronged us. He warned against attitudes of self-righteousness and judgmentalism, telling us not to assume our following the rules and not being as bad as others made us worthy of salvation.

Understanding this shows how scandalous Our Lord’s teaching was. In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14), Jesus tells us that the Pharisee—who sincerely kept the teachings of the Law—was not justified in God’s sight while the tax collector—who was viewed as a notorious sinner—was justified. The difference was one of attitude. The Pharisee spent his prayer time praising himself and judging others. The tax collector pleaded with God for mercy.

I think of this, watching Catholics on social media expressing sneering contempt for the bishops. There is an ugly, self-righteous demand for them to abase themselves and grovel for our forgiveness. There is an ugly contempt that considers them to be human garbage. There is an ugly belief that we, the laity, are superior to them.

But, following the theme of Jesus’ parable, if a sinful bishop echoes the prayer of the tax collector, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner,” it is he who leave justified while we will not. Does that shock you? It should, just like the parable shocked the Jews. Like us with the bishops, the Jews had to struggle with the thought that Jesus was turning a blind eye to real wrongdoing. But He wasn’t. He was pointing out the need for repentance...from each one of us!

We should remember Our Lord’s warning to the Pharisees: (Matthew 21:31) “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.” Our Lord picked out the two classes of people who were seen as the furthest from God. But repentant, they are closer to God than the proud. So we should beware: if we are proud and self-righteous, we might be horrified to hear: “the abusive priests and cowardly bishops are entering the kingdom of God before you.” 

No doubt people will angrily reply, “THEY AREN’T REPENTANT!” But this brings us to the (oft misquoted) “Judge not” of Matthew 7:1ff. No, Jesus wasn’t saying “don’t judge the morality of actions.” He was saying, “don’t judge the person’s soul or worthiness of salvation.” When we assume that the other is irredeemably evil unless they show repentance on our terms, we are violating Jesus’ teachings.

Nothing I have written above should be interpreted as ignoring or writing off real wrongdoing. Some have done things that require censure. But we must not forget that the Church has a mission to bring Christ’s salvation to all.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Incredibly, I have seen some say “we cannot show mercy,” or “there has to a limit to forgiveness.” But that flies in the face of The Lord’s Prayer: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Scripture warns us (Matthew 6:15): “But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

Now leaving aside the cases of actual victims and their families (counseling these people goes beyond my wisdom, training, and experience, so I do not presume to tell them what they should do), I would remind my fellow Catholics of Ephesians 4:26–27: “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger, and do not leave room for the devil.” If we are letting our anger fester into revenge and wrath, we are creating an eight lane highway for the devil.

So yes, let us work for reform in the Church. But let us make sure that our work is free of sinful anger, and make sure the reform we work for is compatible with the Church Our Lord established and promised to protect.