A couple of years ago, we had a Jesuit retreat master for our priest’s retreat in the Archdiocese of Toronto. He was very good, but made a comment about the state of our political climate of our country and even within the political climate of the Church that in a desire to be open to everything going on in the world around them they were what they might fashion, open-minded. The retreat master added, “their minds were so open, their brains fell out”. Of course, we all laughed at the humourous quip; but I can imagine that we all sat there and imagined somebody else, someone we knew or had met or had listened to – and we knew that person but I’m guessing that if you read most of our minds in that room (I’m sure it was mine), hundreds of priests though we were – not one of us was that person.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if Jesus would come and tell us directly and without any possibility for interpretation; whether He preferred we celebrate Holy Mass facing the people or ad orientum, in the Extraordinary Form or Novus Ordo, what how exactly He wants us to treat the topic pastorally of same-sex relationships, trans-gender, divorce and remarriage and the list goes on. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we weren’t left hanging or guessing? Well, based on my best guess about what we were thinking when our retreat master presented our current world reality to us – is to ask: is there a chance we’d miss it anyway?
This is only one man’s guess, but I think part of the reason that Jesus doesn’t give us every single answer is that He gives us exactly what our disposition as Christian Disciples is meant to be, and because He gives us that and expects us to apply it to our lives – everything else should be seen with the lens of that. I’m the first to admit (right now) that I get caught up sometimes in all the polemics of the Church and I tend not to read the paper because the commentary on our political landscape and the politicians tends to rile me (and I don’t want that in my life, in the morning especially). It is true that what some present as open-minded is not that at all, as there are very clear signs that those same people are closed to something else, someone else and someone else’s opinion. I am not saying that we need to be open to all opinions, because that isn’t necessarily true either; but our disposition should be open to all people and seek to understand things before being understood about things. This very basic principle of life is one which I think many of us need to pause and consider – how many of our arguments are a result of our needing to be heard and be right?
Jesus speaks Elijah having come (John the Baptist) and some heard, but many did not. He spoke in their midst and how many heard and recognized God among them? How many of us would? This is why we need to work on our disposition, and Jesus gives us EVERYTHING we need to do that.
- Love above everything else; we need to love one another with the greatest love
- Try to understand others first, before wanting to be understood by others
- Acknowledge our own wrongdoing (the “log”) before pointing out the wrongdoing (the “speck”) of others
- it sounds cliche, but ask honestly “what would Jesus do?” not the Jesus in our mind, but the Jesus we know intimately through His Word (Scriptures) and Deed (Sacraments)
Surely there are other things, but these are a few thoughts for the day. If we focus on these things, we can and will build on it from there. We need to have Christ’s disposition before we’ll ever recognize Him in our midst.