It would be nice to have some concrete examples of how to love your neighbor. I am grateful for the strong rebuke that was the catalyst that caused me to choose what side of the fence I loved more, God's side or the world's side. Though that rebuke was harsh, I know it was wrapped in God's love.When I only hear "love your neighbor" with no examples of how this should be done, I get the feeling (right or wrong) that what the speaker is implying is that we should make no waves and be all embracing and accepting of even that which we know is abhorrent. But I know, Love "does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;" ,and "For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives."I understand "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." I also understand that "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, But he who hates reproof is stupid." Paul said, "What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a spirit of love and gentleness or with a rod?" If love and gentleness is sufficient to help me pass through the narrow gate, then fine. But if it is not, then I pray God will not spare His rod, because He has shown me how important it is to enter through the narrow gate even if it takes a rod to do so. I know there is a balance. There is a time to show yourself as kind and gentle, but there is also a time that if you show yourself as only and always kind and gentle you are likely not doing the recipient any favors. So, how about some concrete examples of how to love your neighbor that covers the whole spectrum. I know the story of the good Samaritan who proved to be a real neighbor while all the others crossed the street to avoid helping. When I have opportunity to be a good Samaritan, I make sure the recipient of my kindness knows that the real person they need to thank is Jesus, because if it wasn't for Him it is very unlikely I'd be helping. Some good Samaritan experiences can even make a person understand and have more compassion toward those that crossed the street and avoided helping. And, the good Samaritan Jesus spoke about actually had it very easy since all the experience cost him was a just little extra money. Kind Regards, Davidp.s. Now more than ever: "...take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm." Ephesians 6:13
Great question, and something that I've thought and prayed about a lot as well. I'll share some thoughts that I have.1) I feel your pain with regards to wanting more examples. I stopped where I did because it was already a long homily, and my main goal was to answer the objection that even some Catholics have bought into, namely "why does the Church care about what happens civilly?" We care because if we don't get these basic things right, our society is toast.2) As for ideas, I would say one comes to mind from today. I don't use myself as an example too much, but it is fresh on my mind. I am working with a prisoner here locally who was baptized Catholic but hadn't been practicing in a long time. When his home parish called and asked me to visit him the first time, I realized he had been convicted of child pornography. When I went to meet him, though, I went in and just was myself. I asked him how he was doing, if there was anything we could do for him as a parish...I didn't start off with anything about child pornography. At no point did I say "I don't care about child pornography", nor do I believe that me not leading with a question about his child pornography conviction was a signal to him that I was accepting of his past sins.I think some Catholics are so afraid of the sin that is a part of a person's life, that they can't love the person, welcome them, accept them, whatever word you want to use. If I heard that a person who lives with same sex attraction wanted to meet with me, I wouldn't treat that any different than if it was Pope Francis or Mother Teresa. The same would go with anyone that wanted to meet with me or talk with me. As you are likely aware, love is not something I can feel for a group of people, as Dostoevsky mocks in the Brothers Karamazov when one of the depraved brothers mutters: "I love mankind, he said, "but I find to my amazement that the more I love mankind as a whole, the less I love man in particular.” If our baptism calls us to be prophets, then in a sense I have to be "frustrated by mankind, but love the man in particular", or at least that's how I understand it. Some see our prophetic unhappiness toward mankind, and assume that we hate particular people as well. Others see our not hating the individual in particular, and so assume that we don't hate sin. Obviously, these are both wrong. How do we walk the third way, straying neither too close to prophetic resignation, nor too close to a false love that has no care for sin at all?
Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I will try to remember to keep you on my prayer list for the Holy Spirit to continue to help you to hear and obey. I've just recently became aware of your work. I believe I will continue to watch it with interest and pray that our Lord Jesus will continue to bless you with a powerful anointing which is so very much needed for these times.Kind Regards, Davidp.s. "Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin." James 4:17 It is one thing to be able to discern right from wrong, and quite another to have the strength to do what is right especially in the face of adversity. May Jesus help us both with our discernment and the strength to do what is right.
thank you, wonderful words I have been praying the litany for religious freedom. It is a wonderful litany. I will pray for relgious freedom till the severe threat passes and hopefullly then I can pray in thanksgiving.
thank you Fr. Hollowell.. very inspiring! As a Catholic singer, songwriter, I wanted to share my voice in defending LIFE, Religious Liberty and sanctity of marriage.. hopefully a positive way of impacting our culture. http://youtu.be/PnAXRqMM1rA
Just a quick tidbit on adultery being illegal, Father. It is currently a crime in 22 states and subject to court-martial in the U.S. military. At the time of the founding and for most of our nation's history, it was a crime in every state. Obviously the enforceablility of a law has to be measured, but outlawing adultery would not really be the same thing as enforcing Baptism.