I had a dream last night, and well, it seems the Lord may be challenging every area in my life. I’m in this muscle car with my wife crossing a bridge running from the enemy. The brakes are shot and somehow my wife manages to get out of the vehicle. I go up the block to turn around and I use a church parking lot to do a U turn. I drive through this church service without even noticing what was happening until I’m turned around. I feel like a complete heel. The pastor shows me mercy and invites me to church, I explain to him I’m a son of the Mass and that was simply not an option. He graciously relents and invites me to an alternative workshop, like a retreat of sorts, and is quite hopeful I’ll show.
I start dialoguing with some of the people there. They are very kind and I begin to realize two things. One they are very sincere and two they are liberal. Please don’t say it–they are liberal! I begin to see them in a different light in my dream; they are so filled with compassion towards some of the ethical hot buttons in our culture that it has blinded their objectivity.
They could not see their views on ethics as wrong not due to a hard heart, but a misguided empathy. Then I saw the lack of empathy I have shown them over the years and felt shame. It was I with the hard heart, the one lacking compassion.
This is the lesson I think the Lord was trying to show me, Steve you can be right and still be wrong. Wrong in not seeing the situation as it is. Wrong in misunderstanding people’s intentions, even if they are wrong or misguided, and your attitude has been wrong. If I can discern all truth and have not love, I am a resounding gong, and as far as the Christian liberal camp that is so pervasive in my Church or any other, I have been wrong. I have had a hard heart. Walk in love toward all and malice toward none, and no man is your enemy.
My Bible-brother Christians repudiate the sacraments, often have stronger oppositional feeling toward the Catholic Church than liberals, and walk in rigid private absolutes. Yet somehow I’m able to show them mercy. I think because I come from this world, compassion is easier to give, yet their minds are not guided by the Catholic Church.
Misguided zeal directed in any direction if done with right intention needs to be approached with love, not my sense of justice. Am I saying I should condone any deviation from the faith? NO. I think what the Lord is showing me is that many well-intentioned Christians simply don’t know the truth regarding all sorts of issues, even if I think they are obvious.
The longer I walk this journey of faith, the more I understand how absolutely necessary the magisterium is to keep us on track toward the good, the true, and the beautiful.
What I would say, and in compassion if that is possible, is to my Catholic brothers and sisters, family of God, we would do well to stay close to the teachings of the Church. It is our responsibility and it is what all of us have promised to mother Church. We are neither Bible-only Christians nor Liberals; we are sons and daughters of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Our convictions about truth are not ours to determine. Where the voice of the Church has spoken it is finished. Our response is love and obedience, trusting in the guidance of our bishops, particularly the Bishop of Rome.