But…..It’s Just Me

So we have arrived at the place that Bishop Fulton Sheen, John XXIII and JPII told us was imminent.  We’re there, the society that scoffs at all forms of life, ridicules God and has named every sin as good if it suits your pleasure and “hurts no one”.  Wow.  I don’t know about you but three slayings of black citizens by those who are supposed to protect us and the “reciprocal” slaying and wounding of a dozen police officers in the same week end has left me feeling helpless, hopeless and just wanting to hide in my closet while permanently wringing  my hands and keening. Even in urban centers like Chicago, this is not a safe place!  Exhausting, confusing!

Almost everyone I know has a similar response:  When is someone going to DO something?  Me too.  We need the system, the politicians, civic leaders, law makers, those in charge to take action and make us feel safe again!  Solutions seem so impossible and far away in this maelstrom of violence gone mad. Can’t God just take charge?  I don’t want to live in this kind of world.

When madness is present people often say things like: How can a supposedly good God allow this?  What good is faith anyway?  All of that “religion stuff” is useless    !  In light of that thinking here is a question:  If God gave you the job of cleaning up the mess along with all the skills you would need and twelve (not so able) assistants, what would you say?  No not me, Lord, I can’t, I’m busy, I’m scared!  You know what’s coming next: If not now, when?  If not you, who?  As they say, we are all in the row boat together.  “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: ‘Who, shall I send?  Who will go for us?.’ ‘Here I am,’ I said: ‘send me!’” (Is 6:8 NAB)

When hate rises, when violence manifests, those are not things that occur “en masse”.  These are things that occur one person at a time and then get passed/taught  from person to person.  Every minute of every day, you have choices.  Even if you are sitting in a location alone, you have choices.  Violence and hate are not things that you’re a powerless victim to, you have choices.  The idea that you and I are powerless in the face of these evils is the lie.  Belief in the lie is what creates powerlessness.

What it comes down to is pretty basic.  Who are you in the world and what do you bring?  When you are confronted with a choice between something that is for God or against God which do you choose? The occasions to make that choice are not as rare as you might think.  They happen in the most sacramental environments of all; the world where you and I function every day. Do you have a prayer discipline that meets God daily as you prepare for the world?  When you are with family do you choose to be helpful and positive or cryptic and negative?  When something does not please which do you choose loud complaining or thank yous for any favor done?  When you pass a homeless person of beggar do you judge them in your attitude or are you generous?  Do you ever go out of your way to be inconvenienced in order to help a stranger? Do you recognize your own attitudes of judgement and do your best to “work on them”?  Do you gladly type foul and/or negative things on social media and hide in the anonymity? Do you pray, say grace and give thanks in public places? We all have countless opportunities to “serve God” every day. Acts of kindness and service are cumulative.  Many of them happen when those who know us are not present.  Others, though, observe us, hear us, watch us. Every act that we do, no matter how small, has an effect on the world.  The truth about who will fix the mess that we have arrived at is not complicated.

We know that bread is the simplest food in the world and feeds billions. Did you ever bake bread?  All you need is flour, water, a little salt.  Beat up the dough, bake. No fancy tools, no rare ingredients.  Even nomadic people bake it on the rocks of a camp fire.  There is one additional thing, the yeast which causes the bread to be leavened. The dough literally becomes “polluted” by single celled organisms which transform the inedible flour into life sustaining bread.   Even at that level Jesus puts us to the challenge; “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” (Mt 13:33)

We are not supposed to be are waiting in despair for a super hero to slap down all the bad guys and elevate all the good people.  Look in the mirror, the simplest of truths is right there, looking at you.  Evil is defeated one person at a time. Ridiculous you say? Mmmmmmm, Catholicism, one member at the start, Mary. Today; two billion worldwide!  Wonder how that happened?

©2016, Kathryn M. Cunningham, All Rights Reserved

Kathryn M. Cunningham

Kathryn M. Cunningham

Kathryn holds a Master’s in Education from Saint Xavier University. Most recently she completed Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from The Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. This recent degree was part of a “retirement project” after teaching for 35 years. She has also worked as a spiritual director, music minister,council member and prayer team warrior. Kathryn has a deep interest in catechesis for the people in the pews. As a “sort of” convert she finds the wisdom of the Church a source for encouragement, joy and survival in a world not sure of anything. Her writing has appeared in diocesan publications and on-line sites, most recently for Zenit. To learn more about Kathryn check out her thinking at: www.atravelersview.org">ATravelersView.org.

Leave a Reply

next post: What the Zebedee Family Got Right (And How We Shouldn’t React)

previous post: Hope…