Thursday, August 28, 2008

On the Exercise of Charity

I was recently told (by someone who was there), of a certain elderly Roman Catholic lady, unwilling to be so uncharitable as to pray that the unhelpful bank teller be damned in hell, compromised by indicating her intention to pray that the teller would be stuck in Purgatory.

I don't bring this up to suggest that the woman was in any way expressing proper Roman Catholic doctrine or approved practice. I suppose that most Roman Catholic bishops would acknowledge that such a prayer would be improper.

I bring it up to highlight the need to distinguish between our own perceptions of Charity and true Charity. True Charity is turning the other cheek, not punching the villain with only 50% of your strength. It's a lesson we can all learn, not just this otherwise sweet old lady.

-TurretinFan

2 comments:

natamllc said...

I don't believe there are any sweet old ladies. The lady is either forgiven for her sins before she dies or she dies in her sins!

A story:

A very wealthy woman went to a Car dealership and bought an expensive car, A Rolls Royce Silver Shadow Convertible. She took it out for a spin driving the most famous of streets in Palm Beach, Florida.

She saw a friend sitting at a sidewalk cafe and decided to park the car and have a coffee with her.

As she slowed and then stopped, turning and backing up to parallel park her new Rolls Royce a young man in a smart sports car convertible came quickly up and nosed into the parking spot this old lady was about to parallel park her car. She hit the brakes quickly and yelled at the young man, "hey you, you took my parking spot"!

The young man, hopping out of his car now parked in the spot the old lady was just about to park her car, yelled back with a smile and a skip in his step, "hey old lady, that's what you can do when you are young and swift" walking away from his brand new small sports car convertible with a skip in his step!

Moments later you hear the crunching noise of metal to metal. The young man startled by these sounds turns to see the old lady backing her new Rolls Royce car into his smashing in the side of his small brand new sports car convertible with her brand new heavy Rolls Royce convertible. In horror he runs back towards his now damaged sports car yelling obscenities at this old lady.

The old lady stops smashing his car with hers and yells back at him:

"well, that is what you can do when you are old and rich", and drives slowly away! :)

To this fictional story, maybe true, I paste this Psalm as the Way of the Lord when we indeed have a certainity of His "purpose" for our lives:

Psa 57:1 To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave. Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.
Psa 57:2 I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
Psa 57:3 He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
Psa 57:4 My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts-- the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.
Psa 57:5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!
Psa 57:6 They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah
Psa 57:7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!
Psa 57:8 Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
Psa 57:9 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.
Psa 57:10 For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
Psa 57:11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

Nick said...

I am glad this message was directed at all readers, not just Catholics.

The HARDEST teaching (IMHO) of all time is from the Sermon on the Mount:
"46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?"

Ouch! It is a daily struggle...