What a great story Barb! It just totally sums up my approach to things.
I subscribe to the free email service on quite a few indeed sites, mostly probably Catholic reliable sites. Altho I come across some gems, real gems, on non Catholic sites too. Hence these great thoughts and texts land in my Inbox now and then…altho I only check this email address (mine) for regular subscriptions all too rarely. But the emails aren’t going to ‘leave home’
I see this as the major division between so many “religious” people. There is so much “fear based” religion out there, touting God as policeman waiting to smack us down for our failures, all based on personal sin and an inability to live “the Law”.
…if I am right and indeed all these others confirm that I am right…then, let us fight all these others and convince them of how wrong they are.
I smile now and then (trained as a counsellor) at the group dynamics that rather often apply here on CAF and I am not excepting myself in anyway at all - as guilty as all where guilt applies.
There is a group dynamic I call “Let’s you and I fight”. This means that I take someone to task and someone jumps in and says “oh yes and I agree with you”. Then I become greatly confident and really start to hammer that other person taking to task, with my ‘partner’ behind me saying as it were “hit him, hit him, hit him”. Nothing like affirmation! Dont take all that too literally, it is really more clues to a human dynamic.
In group dynamics of any kind most will seek affirmation and encouragement from one or more in that group (can be person, doctrine or some quoted authority)to really be confident. It is known as the “herding instinct”. It is really amazing at just how often we will interact at the level of the animal kingdom and operate under those laws and not rise to our true potential as human beings. Mind you, John, this is all only my observation and very often my own conclusions…hence not at all reliable:D
The thing about being a student on an adult campus is that one is encouraged to reflect and conclude…tutors tend to subscribe to that philosophy “think wrongly if you will, but on all occasions think for yourself” I think it may have been Senecca who said that and I am sure Google will bring up the author. It is not concluding wrongly I think that is the great offense, it is the not being able to accept that one could be and is indeed wrong, and to continue the search for the truth of matters. Often, and I see it very much on this site, if one should be wrong - Lo and behold the hammerers appear with those sledge hammers quoting Catholic something or other. Hence my ‘student mentality’ so fondly developed by tutors, becomes an offense worthy of an ‘execution of kind’ here on CAF:bowdown2: …and I am as guilty as any at times. Stunning how I can slip out of my student mentality and grap my sledge hammer and Catholic something or other and go on the attack, execution minded!:eek:
There is so much “fear based” religion out there, touting God as policeman waiting to smack us down for our failures, all based on personal sin and an inability to live “the Law”./
Rather, Jesus is at great pains to share with us that we should expect ourselves to falter and fail, that God insights this and understands with compassion and mercy. St. Paul does point out that while The Law is Holy, all it can do for us really is prove to us that we cannot keep it as it should be kept. We need a saviour to save us from ourselves…and we have one!
Then we have those who see God patiently helping us to find that trust that comes so hard in a world where so few model trustworthiness. Who realize that God is actually using our failures for our benefit to help us learn that there is more, and that HE is the one who can provide it.
There is always the danger that those observing this God of infinite mercy can be drawn into presumption and believing that we don’t really have to involve ourselves at all and that God is just going to save us regardless of whether we care about being saved. I think it is those that the fear-based see and then generalize that just trusting in God with total sincerity is simply presumption.
Granted, John. But if others stumble around in presumption and don’t really understand indeed what they are doing, then there is no culpability or perhaps limited culpability. One can certainly trust The Lord in His Great Love to release them from their error if He Wills. My poverty is not so much in sighting that good in me, small or great, is never mine but belongs to Grace and The Holy Spirit…as failing to sight that the “splinter” in the other person’s eye may well mean simply that they are not as Graced as I have been and that my responsibility and accountability therefore is far higher than theirs. “To whom much is given, much will be expected”.
But God does just coax and then wait patiently. He doesn’t “get in our face”. The great saints recognized that and were able to let themselves fall into His arms, while the overwhelming majority of us fear trusting Him enough to allow any such thing. So instead we try to figure out how to save ourselves by “doing” things, and then demand the same standard from others. Quite frankly, we’re much harder on ourselves and each other than God is, who just wants us to love and trust Him.
…Alleluia Amen!..and if I fall into God’s Loving Arms in abundant love and confident trust, if I make that great leap of Faith and detach from even my own spiritual desires and ambitions, it is only then that I ‘see’. It is an act that needs to be accomplished, enacted, brought into actual being, to “see”…reasoning about it and understanding what it is has some profit I am sure, but one is not yet “seeing”. Experience is knowledge that simply knows. If I feel the warmth of the sun shining on me…I know the sun shining on me is warm. And no one is going to convince me otherwise, simpy because I experience and I know…I ‘see’. Not too sure I am making sense at all
I saw my doctor Tuesday (psychiatrist) for an hour and she has given me the all clear Bipolar episode wise. This rather stunned me as I didn’t go into her office in “hide and defend mode” - rather in “display and attack mode”. The affirmation that I was “all clear” was that medication is left as it is. In the past she has indicated all was well, “but to be on the safe side I will increase Seroquel to …”…then I know I am not all clear at all. This all clear despite my display and attack mode has given me confidence in my own self and my own thinking. And me in self confident mode and thinking mode has been known to rock boats, unsettle status quo. She has given me until 29th off school at my request as I have been through some major life stress - and three of them:D all at the one time. I need I feel some R&R and just do my own thing for a while. I am so blessed in my doctor and she is highly respected in the mental health field.
Peace to you Barb, and thanks for the great story!
Edit: Intrinsic to being sinners, is that we are going to arrive at incorrect conclusions and think that something is correct that is not so at all. We need to expect this rather than to fear it. Hence rather than sledge hammers at each other, we need to be understandingly merciful - mea culpa!