Friday, July 20, 2012

Gateway Kindness

One of the things I love about Catholicism is the great hard reality that our faith faces bravely in every aspect of its practice. It argues against sin of all kinds because in her wisdom, the Church understands that little sins are the gateways to larger sins.   It is true with every type of sin.  Whatever appetite we feed, if it is sinful, will become more demanding.  We are creatures of appetite, of addiction, of habit.  Holiness is a daily act of the will.   Grace runs counter to appetite, to addiction, to indulging the self.  

Fortunately, just as little acts of evil lead to greater ones, so also little acts of grace lead to greater ones.  We can be pulled away from our lesser selves via the little habits of grace that are the gateways to greater spiritual acts of holiness.  If we pray for example, on a daily basis, we will become naturally, more attuned to the needs and sufferings and prayers of those around us.  We will naturally pray for others and thus feel prompted to reach out to others.  

If we reach out for others, we will in turn be given opportunities to perform corporeal acts of mercy, to live out the beattitudes, and given even greater reasons to pray and to serve.  We will thus then recognize the graces in our own lives that we have tacitly ignored, and find ourselves praying harder, seeking the sacraments to help mitigate our tendencies towards self indulgence and self satisfaction. 

The cycle will further expand our hearts outward, to greater need for the sacred, greater need for the sacraments, greater understanding of something of the deep mysteries of our faith, and greater zeal to pray and serve others.  We will be those endless fountains of grace and living water for others because we will be perpetually going back to the endless well of grace that is available for those who seek it with their whole hearts.

So also, when we stumble, we will find it harder to pray, harder to serve, we will want to rest on all the ways in which we have already given, to justify our present choice of sloth over zeal. This will in turn, engender further sloth. (That didn't hurt me yesterday, so it won't hurt today either, God's not like that, He understands).  If we don't bother to talk to God, why do we presume to call Him friend?  God is not a Call me maybe kind of God.   We lose friends and connections when we cease to reach out, to seek others, to be present.  It's true with God as well. Not because God isn't ever ready to take us back, but because we stupidly do not seek what is good, true and beautiful and only. 

In light of the great ugliness that happened this week at the movies in Aurora, CO, let us all try to implement a few more of those gateway kindnesses to each other and to strangers as well, in hopes of healing the next angry heart that might otherwise be prompted to create so much pain.   It is the best way we can fight back against the scars left by this kind of sin, wilful deliberate goodness and beauty.  Prayers for all of the victims and their families, and for all of us. 

Gateway kindness does work, it does bring us back to the door of greater holiness.

1 comment:

maria mcclure said...

Amen, Sherry. Beautifully said.

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