So, being the good Catholic that I am I went to Mass this past Sunday and as is often the case, got there early and sitting quietly in my usual pew read the weekly bulletin. The first sentence I read kind of disturbed me.
Gospel Love is not about feelings. It’s about choosing to care regardless of how we feel. It’s about making decisions based upon the vision of Jesus regardless of how many other visions are demanding our allegiance. (Rev. Joseph J. Juknialis)
I doubt the author meant for me to conclude this, but after reading the sentence I grasped why I believe Chesterton was and still is right: “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” (Gilbert K. Chesterton quotes from BrainyQuote.com) The difficult part of this Christianity thing if you ask me is precisely what the above author downplays, feelings. Speaking for myself, if I don’t feel my brother’s pain (compassion) I won’t act. Fear that I’m not capable will keep me aloof, above the fray. I must feel the pain before I will dare to act.
Christianity for me is not done by people who just know the right answer, although this is the beginning; it’s done by people who take the next step and feel, like parents, teachers, health care givers, ordinary everyday people who love their children, students, patients, and neighbors. While it’s material for another whole post, I think it’s important to note here that the opposite of love is not hate; it’s fear.
Hillary Cottom says the same thing, but a little differently in today’s TED selection. She calls it relationships. She is talking about fixing the welfare state, reducing 80% of the waste. Sounds improbable, but I think she’s got something and what get’s me most excited, it involves using modern technology. In less than 17 minutes she tells three stories to demonstrate her findings. Enjoy!
Ms. Cotton kind of reminds me of the Catholic women religious whose history is one of building relationships through teaching, health services, social services and a whole host of other ministries. You can hear about that at the You Tube “A Different Path – Catholic Nuns”.