I know. Irony alert, you're reading this in an article online. What prompted this? The verbal exchange between Trump, the Pope and the explosion of despair, rage and dark glee at the idea the Church no longer teaches that using contraception is morally wrong all over the internet.
The plethora of social media has rendered all of us twitchy and itchy to take offense, and equally outraged at our team when the one representing our team doesn't do what we think they should have. I liken it to when I watch Notre Dame Football. I don't just want them to win. I want them not to make stupid mistakes. I yell at the coach when I think he's called a bad play. I stomp around when we get a penalty that was so so so easily avoidable. I snarl at the refs if I think they're giving too much credit to the other side. Watching this Pope and those who struggle with him, and this President, and both those who fight, and those who defend, no one ever presumes good faith, no one has any forbearance for those of the opposite side. Yep. It's exactly like when I watch Notre Dame Football.
The tyranny of relativism is when each of us declares ourselves the arbiter of truth, and that no one else has a claim on truth, then the only way you can assert your truth is truthier than anyone else's truth, is majority. You have to have your truth trend. We no longer try as a society to keep up with the Jones, but rather to assert, we are the Jones. The rest of you...get with the program.
This pope, like this president, is the first to have everything he ever says and does, doesn't say and doesn't do, recorded, parsed and proclaimed and interpreted instantly.
Ergo, expect, presume, they will speak badly, they will stumble, they will fail, they will fall, they will err, they will disappoint. They will sin. They will sin. They will sin.
The only question is how? The social media at our fingertips allows us to know or at least, think we know.
Now. Imagine putting our own selves into that fishbowl. Just take your yesterday, and imagine everything you did, said, wrote, didn't say, didn't do, and didn't write, went viral.
It's enough to make one crawl into the fetal position.
We no longer allow anyone who has garnered more than ten seconds of fame, to make an error, make a choice we disagree with, or speak over broadly.
An instant chorus on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere else begins to shout "They should know better..." "They should have been handled...."
In this media age, we cannot afford to have anyone on OUR SIDE, ever make a mistake. We've all become armchair quarterbacks for everyone else's game, it allows us not to have to really play.
No. No. No. No. No.
This is the Jubilee Year of Mercy. We need to have Merciful Hearts.
Some tips for how to cultivate one.
First, some digging in the soul.
If your politics and your religion match up perfectly, politics is your religion.
If your religion precludes allowing even the Pope from irritating, sinning, failing as a person, then your religion is not one of mercy.
If you cannot see any of God in the face of someone with whom you hold a disagreement, this is the one for whom you pray.
If you cannot think that someone who disagrees can possibly be good, educated or a worth while person, this is the one for whom you pray.
To be Catholic, is to hold to it all, to hold both to all the catechism and all of its detail, and to throw out your arms around all of the world, to be both and.
To be Catholic in this mess of life, is to be obedient to the Church in all things, even in that which I do not fully understand because I trust the One who created it.
To remember that each of us, is a sinner, seeking to become a saint.
Next, the seed:
What to do: The Rosary, adoration, scripture. Any or all, for that person on the internet, or in real life, that drives you to rage.
Take a trip: The Church has opened Holy Doors of Mercy all over the world. Here's the Vatican list. Find one near you. Go. Make a pilgrimage, for your family, for your country, for the Pope, and for all those who hurt your heart or drive you nuts. Catholic Pilgrimage.
Make this your Lenten gift:
We must practice the virtue of forbearance, and when people drive us crazy, be it a politician or the Pope or the news or a teacher, our neighbor's kids, the person on the radio, whoever it is, learn that this is a form of fasting, to not feed your soul on your own irritation. You might not be eating meat, but feeding one's irritation (and the news and social media thrive on stroking this in the soul), you are consuming, you are tearing into yourself.
Seek and practice forgiveness.
Will vary based on the degree to which practiced, and are an ongoing process toward perfection. Repeat tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow after that until death.
However, there is one thing I can promise from implementation of these practices: You'll be able to keep calm and Catholic on.