Over at People for Others, Paul notes that we're "keeping it 'real.'" More evidence of that in Paul's response to my question, "How is this week different from all other weeks?" He reminds us that our faith calls and re-calls every Christian to generosity and compassion as a commitment, not necessarily a "feeling."
This has certainly been a "different" week. I want to use this post to reflect on what has been happening these last few days. I have been astonished by some of the comments our blogalogue has called forth from readers. Some have remarked that our dialogue is impressive, but others have been less pleased. One commenter expressed the desire to see us rot in hell.*
Yesterday, as you well know, I was pretty worked up about some of the nastier comments and we exchanged a couple of emails about how to respond, if at all, to negative remarks. Before we decided anything, I got word that the father of a fellow Jesuit had a heart attack. Suddenly, I had no time for moral certitude about the correctness of my opinions. My feelings of self-righteous indignation evaporated. Someone I cared deeply about needed my support and this helped me put everything else into a new perspective.
I found myself thinking about my friend's Dad -- a gun-toting (no kidding) rock-ribbed conservative who is also one of the kindest and most courteous men I know. Similarly, a staunch liberal friend came to mind. Never shy about expressing her opinions, she is unfailingly respectful of others no matter how much she might disagree with their positions,
Whether or not they know it or can admit it to themselves, our most strident critics (and perhaps our most ardent admirers) are motivated by fear and/or have been damaged by the Church. They deserve my respectful attention, not my derision. Perhaps the only thing I can offer is to pray for them and wish them well. If I don't resolve to break the cycle of vitriloic point and counterpoint, who will?
My lofty benevolence here makes even me suspicious. Check back with me in a month to see if I'm beginning to "walk the walk."
*Editor's Note: Really? Must have missed that one because I was fixated on being characterized as "boring." Pride goeth, etc.
Today, you can find out what I have to say about vocation (mine) over at People for Others.