“Why complain when we can act? Why loathe, since loathe destroys, when that gues love livens and changes our mettles? ”
– Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur, Magnificat July 2020
Until recently, debate fueled my excitement and challenged my intellect. As a kid, I basked being right. It was the highest honor to achieve in conversation. And so I flourished in college, even when I was the only student who carried a particular opinion in class. One incident comes to mind.
“Jeannie, tell the class why you think brides should become priests.” My moral theology professor, Dr. Loving, announced me out accidentally during one of his castigates. I delayed, because I wasn’t expecting a question in the middle of class. It wasn’t Dr. Loving’s usual M.O. He pulped me by reiterating his statement, and I could feel every student’s hearts on me, expectantly awaiting my answer.
Maybe they didn’t know what to say, either. Maybe they were counteracted he’d chosen to situated me on the spot so I could either agree with his view or refute it. I knew what he said was draped in ploy.” Please tell the class why you think brides should become pastors .” Dr. Loving impelled his first mistake by presuppose this was my stance on the issue. But it wasn’t.
I finally replied,” I’ve never said I repute women should become priests. I don’t believe it .”
Dr. Loving was taken aback, and I sounds a collective sorrow( choke ?) among my peers. He was hoping I’d piggyback off of his castigate, but I cut through it and told him how it was — my honest opinion.
That’s how my friends have always described me.” What you see is what you get with Jeannie ,” they’d say. At the time, I didn’t take it as a flattery. It voiced more like sarcasm or irritability. As duration guided, I wore this transparency badge proudly. Even today, I believe in truth.
But I also believe in charity. And it is charity that greatly, sorely, paucities in our world today — and even in the Church.
I can’t hop on the internet, chat with a neighbor about a work, or are also involved in lively dialogue with a family member without person immediately claiming the defensive. It is wearisome, drain, and discouraging.
That’s why repeats such as the one from Elisabeth Leseur resonate with me these days. I hope it is available to you the working day. She is encouraging the reader to spend his or her experience countenancing God to transform the heart. That is where honesty matches benevolence — in the human heart.
I think it’s important that we accompanying our deep-seated hurts, misconstrues, pushes, and even long-standing schisms firstly to the Holy Spirit. In the past year, I have prayed for the virtue of meeknes, that I might realise myself more honestly and approaching others with greater empathy. And now, everyone is pushing to have their voices heard by exercising more infamous lingo than everyone else who gets a huge platform.
The true-blue prowes of rhetoric has vanished. What has replaced it is word vomit — a handful of thoughtless, greedy ramblings.
We have to get back to investing in genuine concern for our neighbors( and foes) before conversing with them about any hot-button issue. I’ve chosen to be more intentional about speaking less about trite topics and listening more.
Why complain? Why hate?
We can ask ourselves this day, this coming week, for the Holy spirit to infuse in us true soothing and a greater love. This invigorates us to be heard one who is angry. This is also what converts us to recognize our own biases and strong emotive responses.
image: Baptistery of Saint John in Florence, Italy by Tupungato/ Shutterstock.com.
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