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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Self Restraint

One of the benefits to living in South Jersey is the ability to spend one sunny, albeit cool Saturday at the beach picking up shells and a snowy Sunday watching my husband drag two of the kids around on sleds, all in the same weekend.
Despite the family fun, I found my blood boiling over several AP online reports, stories in the Sunday newspaper and blog updates. I kept thinking, I have to blog about this, and this and rant about that. Having colorfully discussed most of the issues with my husband, I cooled down and realized an important lesson. Yes, things suck in the world and in the Church in many ways. I can go to any number of Catholic blogs and read angry posts detailing the problems with American bishops, priest and liberal parishes. I can find in many of the same blogs, angry rants against the moral decline of society. I myself have done some. However, by getting online and pointing out the splinters lodged in the worlds' eyes-which can be cathartic no doubt-we are ignoring the large plank in our own eye of anger. It is still one of the seven deadly sins isn't it?
Yes, we may feel justified in our anger sometimes. Lord knows I'm frustrated about the rumored motu proprio as much as anyone but we won't convince skeptics in the validity of releasing the Tridentine rite by calling the pope weak and ranting about French bishops. We can't begin the 'reform of the reform' by lashing out at any novus ordo parish with alter girls. Some people brag about being Evil Traditionalists or Rad Trads. Fine, I agree in principal with a lot of what they say but they're preaching to other angry trads. Angry people will not save the Church or society from it's downward spiral. Anger begets anger. To all those converts out there or Catholics who returned to the Church; was it the expletive laden online commentary criticizing the Church that won you back or the priest/layperson who took the time to explain the faith to you with genuine love, understanding, patience and zeal?
There are times when tough love and a firm hand is needed. The spiritual works of mercy include admonishing the sinner, instructing the ignorant and counseling the doubtful. We should never shy away from proclaiming the truth, however we might consider the ways in which our words may work against the will of God when they are laced with bitterness and contempt.
Blogging is wonderful. I am grateful for the outlet. I enjoy reading others thoughts on issues of the day. But let us not give into the temptation of anger, especially when talking about the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, lead by the holy spirit and guided by Christ's vicar on earth. For Lent, bite your tongue, cool off on the keyboard and benefit eternally.