The popular culture/the world has taken onto its persona a vengeful overlay. The “Me Generation” (truly encompassing all generation from Baby Boomers forward) has become one of self-absorption and a general disregard for the affairs of others which has eroded common courtesy shared between fellow people. The once thread that bound our cultural fabric together has frayed severely. What we once shared in common as a human family has become arthritic and disjointed not with age but with selfishness. Yes, there are good people in the world and you are likely among them loving others and sharing the compassion of Jesus. Like the Good Samaritan, it is our duty as warriors for Jesus and members of Our Lady’s Blue Army to take upon ourselves the love and dignity shared by this faithful servant to a stranger out of love for God rather than self interest or personal gain.
I find many worldly people often try to justify their cruel actions toward another in their misinterpretation of scripture such as Exodus 21:24, “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” By Hebrew law and The Law of Retaliation, the offended was allowed to take from the offender what was taken from him, but is this the life of compassion to which we are called? Furthermore, is it our right to act upon revenge? Remember God’s words from Deuteronomy 32:35 & 39, “Revenge is mine, and I will repay them in due time, that their foot may slide: the day of destruction is at hand, and the time makes haste to come … See ye that I alone am, and there is no other God besides me.” Jesus further defined an eye for an eye in Exodus 21:24 in Matthew 5: 38 – 40, “You have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you not to resist evil: but if one strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other: and if a man will contend with thee in judgment, and take away thy coat, let go thy cloak also unto him.” It is pride that drives vengeance and humility that brings forth true Christ-centered love.
As well, “right” should not be replaced with “license.” Many people misunderstand their rights and are acting with license; these are not interchangeable terms. You have a right to protect yourself and your family. You have a right to openly love the Lord without persecution. License is entirely different. Let me give an example. Did King David have the right to send Uriah to war and his death that he might take Bathsheba as his own? It was David’s lust that drew him to “license” or to act with no regard to standards of respectful conduct. Do we have the right to drive another off the road because they cut us off in traffic or are we acting upon license and doing as we please with no regard to others or our personal safety? We cannot center our lives on worldly wants or human egos. If we choose the path of the world, then we too, like beauty (Proverbs 31), will fade never having grasped the Eternal.
I cannot speak for you personally, but I have a temper and from my childhood a passion for justice. When I encounter an unjust act upon myself or those I love, I can go from calm to angry in 1/10th of a second. When angry, neither I nor anyone is rational for anger draws us selfishly inward solely to lash out at the attacker – an eye for an eye. This cannot be how we live our lives; it is now how the Lord calls us to be. When I read stories on the news or Facebook of unjust actions against others for nothing more than selfish means or due to ones indifference toward another’s dignity, I again can allow that vengeful side to take control, but it is not how I wish to live. When I do choose vengeful actions, I am generally left feeling unfulfilled and angry with my poor choice. Compassion, prayer and mercy are all the ways of Jesus. We must take this persona on ourselves – putting on the armor of Christ. When we unite with the Lord, He is in us and we are in Him.
Our duty is clear. It is to die to ourselves. In doing so, we die for Christ for the sake of those who do not know Him, those who reject him and those who hate Him. Given to the children at Fatima, we can say often The Pardon Prayer, “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.” As Christ’s army we take our lives to the Cross. In the moment of anger, in the moment of grief, in the moment of disgust, agony, loathing we are to die to ourselves – get out of the driver’s seat and surrender to the Great Shepherd: listen to His voice, read His Word, immerse yourself in Him and He will immerse Himself in you. “I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me. As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep.” [John 10:14]
As a concluding note, I leave you with the words of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people man cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. it was never between you and them anyway.”
God Love You,
Note: all scripture is taken from the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible which predates Vatican II.
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