Friday, August 17, 2012

Devotion for today: “If you take time to judge, you don’t have time to love” – Blessed Mother Teresa

Scripture for meditation: Matthew 5:7
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

Scripture for reflection: Luke 6:38
“Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

Fr. Michael Gaitley tells us: When we assume an attitude of judgment toward another, a gap yawns between us and them, and we can’t connect. This is a diabolical attitude that stems from pride. It’s subtle, but it does more damage to the heart than sins of the flesh – the very same sins over which it often sits in judgment.  Do I see myself as superior to others? Do I look down on particular groups of people because of their race, opinions, or ways of life? Do I impute motives to the actions of others, or do I leave such judgments to God? Am I quick to judge priests and bishops, or do I leave them, especially, to God’s judgment? Do I pray for priests and bishops? Do I tend to make rash judgments of others? In other words, do I assume as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral faults of others? Do I realize rash judgment is grave matter when it rashly judges acts that are grave? To avoid rash judgment, am I careful, as the Catechism says, “to interpret, insofar as possible, [my] neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way”? Am I insecure in my own life of faith and judge others out of a need to feel righteous? Or, while striving for holiness, do I recognize my own weaknesses, sinfulness, and attachments and go to Jesus, whom I know is rich in mercy? Do I relate to the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son (Lk 15:11-32)? (Consoling the Heart of Jesus, Marian Press, 2011)

Prayer: Oh my Jesus, I beg You on behalf of the whole Church: grant it love and the light of Your Spirit, and give power to the words of priests so that hardened hearts might be brought to repentance and return to You, O Lord. Lord, give us holy priests; You Yourself maintain them in holiness. O Divine and Great High Priest, may the power of Your mercy accompany them everywhere and protect them from the devil’s traps and snares which are continually being set for the souls of priests. May the power of Your mercy, O Lord, shatter and bring to naught all that might tarnish the sanctity of priests, for You can do all things (Diary of St. Faustina, 1052)

My thoughts: I think we have entered into a dangerous period in history. Because news is so readily available and so easily spread, I think we are becoming a people addicted to judging. People are tried and convicted in the court of public opinion every day. An attitude of superiority invades the workplace so that co-workers’ mistakes or misfortunes are mocked and ridiculed. Anyone in the public eye who makes the slightest mistake is raked over the coals and subjected to extreme levels of scorn.  We must beware of this terrible sin, for as Fr. Gaitley points out, it stems from the deadly sin of pride. We are no better than the man we look down upon. Our sins may even be worse. Our job in life to approach everyone with the mercy we hope and pray God will extend to us when we die. If we only knew the ramifications of our littlest sins, we would be horrified, for we affect the world, our families and our souls with every sin we commit. So why waste time trying to feel better about ourselves by condemning others? Why constantly compare ourselves to black, when we should compare ourselves to white (Christ)? Do that, and at best we come out a dingy shade of gray. Let us start today to have mercy on everyone, to hold our comments unless they are compassionate and understanding, and to try ourselves every day in the court of righteousness and love. As Blessed Mother Teresa says, “If you take time to judge, you don’t have time to love.”

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