Internet Ire and Righteous Results

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The readings for February 6, 2015:

First reading: HEB 13:1-8
Responsorial Psalm: PS 27:1, 3, 5, 8B-9ABC
Alleluia: LK 8:15
Gospel: MK 6:14-29

Google-pope
Pope Francis “hanging out” via Google with kids with disabilities from around the world

There is a lot of hostility being generated in the online worlds. I teach my history students that this is the result of fear. Fear prompts a tongue lashing, or a dismissing of people and ideas. Fear prompts distrust, disloyalty, and a vengeful spirit. There is no peace where there is fear, and the growth of hate.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid? 

Who do we hate? We hate the ones who disagree with us, who challenge us. We hate that our pope makes gaffes (like we all do – and none ex cathedra, I might add). We hate when fellow Catholics misrepresent the universal Catholic Church. The Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen rightly said, “Not 100 in the United States hate the Roman Catholic Church, but millions hate what they mistakenly think the Roman Catholic Church is.” The kaleidoscope of faith should keep us humble. Too often, however, we miss the irony of ourselves not showing mercy and love to others.

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart,
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

The ability to be kind in the face of cruelty is the redemption of humanity; to seek to benefit others, not just ourselves; to spread love instead of coveting it; to know the race is worth running, even when we struggle to keep up. This is what sainthood means: to be generous in this life as God is with us, and to bring Christ to others in reflection of the way He seeks us. To know of Christ and to know Christ are two different hearts.

Let brotherly love continue.
Do not neglect hospitality,
for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.

In all our interactions, we must love. These are the greatest commandments. It is our love of God which motivates us to love our neighbor as ourself. Hospitality is in the home, yes, and in all interactions. The internet is not a safe-zone. It is a place where hearts can be met, changed, and nourished. Today, let us not be as King Herod – let us not slaughter the righteous because they mis-worded their argument, or believe something we disagree with, or fear others if we do not publicly act in a certain way.

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.
Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Jesus Christ is the same forever, no matter what someone’s Facebook post or Tweet said. Let the Lord be our light!

J.R. Baldwin

J.R. Baldwin

J.R. Baldwin is the Editor-in-chief at Ignitum Today. A former statehouse reporter, she teaches history for a classical school and writes for The Imaginative Conservative. She blogs at The Corner With A View, and tweets from @thejulieview. A Midwesterner by birth, she lives out East with her husband and bebes.

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5 thoughts on “Internet Ire and Righteous Results”

  1. Pingback: When Would We Have to Resist Pope Francis? - BigPulpit.com

  2. I don’t disagree with what you wrote above; however, the first demand upon authentic Christians is to be uncompromisingly faithful to the Truth of Catholic dogma and doctrine. The crucial distinction must be made between being kind and being perceived as kind; being generous and being perceived as generous; loving and being perceived as loving.

    Nowhere is this better illustrated by the over-worn use of the word “welcoming.” Someone on the relevant committee at my parish has proposed that we embark on an effort to make the parish “welcoming” to homosexuals. However, “welcoming” is a loaded word because the same word is used rhetorically by homosexual activists to mean complete acceptance of their lifestyle to the degree that it in fact amounts to approval, if not actual endorsement.

    Obviously, we cannot abide such an interpretation of any “welcoming” we might extend to anyone openly engaged in abject mortal sin. We MUST, however, strive to find a way to love them by challenging the falsehoods they live by while inviting them into the life of the parish insofar as they are able to fully participate. This is a qualification most engaged in obstinate mortal sin will normally refuse, as I did for over 30 years outside the Church while fully participating in the sexual revolution on my terms, and not those of the Christ.

    I used the homosexual example above, but the dynamic within applies to so many other forms of sin and disobedience to God’s law as taught by His Church and in Scripture.

    I have found that when I have successfully struggled to control my own anger and to modulate my response when confronted by angry attacks on Church teaching (most of which consist of downright falsehoods), my words are still characterized as mean hate speech. I realize it is our responsibility for each of us to become aware of our word choices, facial expressions, and tone of voice when we speak truth.

    If these factors are accounted for successfully, then the crucial distinction is not external but interior. If I relish the impending battle because in my love for wielding the sword I eagerly anticipate “beheading” my opponent in retribution for his error, then I must step down. I may indeed be afforded an opportunity by the Holy Spirit to help bring the person in error before me, but not for my own pleasure or other purpose. It is incumbent upon me to humbly recognize that on this day I must leave the field of battle until I can speak truth impartially.

    The rub comes in that even if I fulfill the conditions I now lay down for myself, the odds are great that many will nonetheless accuse me of being uncharitable because hearing truth causes them great pain and distress.

    Kindness, generosity, and most importantly, love require that I/we stay firm while exercising prudential judgment over how we speak, but never by compromising on the Truth we are called to speak.

    1. I also agree with you! I am discussing more charity between people who already agree with each other (in terms of Church doctrine and dogma!) 🙂 Thanks for writing!

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