I have a condition called Hydrocephalus. It is an “invisible condition”, meaning that my outward appearance looks fine, but more often than not, I’m physically hurting inwardly.
My condition is one of the reasons used by some to argue for abortion. Thankfully, I was born. Many don’t receive that opportunity.
What do we see when we look at others? Do we mistakenly just focus on their outward appearance and think, “they look great, they must be feeling good.”
Sadly, perhaps a majority of the time, what we see on the outside is different than what’s going on inside. As a precious friend once shared with me, “People don’t know someone’s story until they get to know them on a deeper level.”
I am reminded of the phrase, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” That should apply to people too! We should strive to stop rushing around so much that we assume just because people look good outwardly, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re doing fine (physically or emotionally) inwardly.
Let’s strive to see people as Jesus sees them – inwardly.
I Samuel 16:7b – For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Let’s spend more time building genuine friendships with others because of who they are on the inside, not just how they appear on the outside. Everyone needs at least one genuine friend who will take and make time to see them not as they appear, but for who they are.
There is no amount of money or material things that can replace genuine friendship. Your investment in someone’s life may just be what they have been praying and hoping for.
2 Corinthians 4:18 – As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
So, how do we keep our focus on seeing people for who they are, not just how they appear? After all, everyday life is so rushed. We hardly have time to keep up with our own schedules, let alone take the time to be there for someone else.
Hebrews 12:2 – Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Every day, ask the Lord to give you opportunities to see people as HE sees them and for the time to simply be there for them.
Your time with someone doesn’t need to be long. It can be a text, a card in the mail, an encouraging email, or even a phone call.
Everyone is searching for hope, peace, comfort, etc. Let God use you. Don’t worry, you don’t need to “fix” anything. Simply allow God to share His love through you!
In a recent editorial, Heidi Schlumpf, editor of the National Catholic Reporter, suggests that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is the “future of the Catholic Church.” Her encomium was inspired by the congresswoman’s expression of outrage, after a Republican congressman had referred to her by a commonplace obscenity, muttering as he made his way down a hall.
Ocasio-Cortez, naturally, complained about a culture “of a lack of impunity” [sic], portraying herself as a victim of violence, as other women are. “Patriarchy” came in for automatic blame. The congresswoman seems unaware that every one of the 1,500 cultures we know of has been patriarchal, and that the most violent areas of America are those from which the married father has disappeared.
I was raised never to raise a hand against a woman, and never to aim obscenities her way. That was the protective arm of Christian patriarchy at work. No such consideration need be given to men. As a matter of fact, with the obvious exception of rape, men are far more likely to be the victims of violent crime in America than are women: to be beaten, mugged, knifed, shot, and so forth. Even criminal men generally target other men for their violence, not women.
* Ocasio-Cortez is not the future of the Catholic Church. She is not the future of anything that has a future. She cannot be. She is a rather stupid woman, without the learning that comes from arts and letters, or the experience that comes from struggling with the natural world and its resistance to human will. She is neither a scholar nor a farmer. She can neither parse a sentence nor dig a well.
Her youth (she was born in 1989) might beg for some clemency, except that she shows no inclination to learn from her elders. Indeed, a few days ago she spoke out against a Hawaiian memorial to Saint Damien, the priest who gave his life to bring the lepers of Molokai out of their abandonment and squalor. He too was, for her, but an exemplar of white colonialism.
What staggers me is how an editor, even an editor of the National Catholic Reporter, could say something so silly. I think I have the answer. It comes to me by way of Mikhail Sholokhov’s novel, And Quiet Flows the Don (1928-1940): Political ideology makes man stupid. Political ideology is an index card onto which you aim to sum up the whole experience of mankind. Political ideology is to wisdom as a paint-by-numbers portrait of Stalin (or Mussolini, or Mao, or any ideologue) is to the Mona Lisa.
Maxim Gorki said that And Quiet Flows the Don “can only be compared with Tolstoy’s War and Peace.” There is no comparison. Tolstoy is the moral philosopher with profound insight into human good and evil, who drinks from the springs of a faith that is two thousand years old. Sholokhov has no such insight, and his water is bottled by Karl Marx. The Los Angeles Times said that “this book is an experience, just as The Brothers Karamazov is an experience.” No, it is not. Dostoyevsky is in conversation with a gallery of great thinkers, saints, and villains. Sholokhov is in conversation with Lenin and Stalin.
Let me illustrate the spiritual constriction and the blindness that comes along with it. The scene is the novel’s moral climax. A machine gunner, Bunchuk, and his protégé Anna are energetic members of the Red Guards, i.e., Bolsheviks fighting against the “enemies of the revolution” during Russia’s civil war. They have kept themselves from sexual intercourse, as that would compromise their effectiveness. But nature asserts her rights, and they fall in love and they go to bed. Still, says Anna, “the personal cannot stifle our desire to struggle” – “and conquer, damn it!” says Bunchuk, finishing her sentence.
What do Mister Ideologue and Miss Ideologue talk about, when they are in love? Not love, not children. Says Anna, her head on her comrade’s soldier:
** How poisonous and petty seems any care for the achievement of one’s own individual little happiness at the present time! What does it signify in comparison with the uncompassable human happiness which suffering humanity will achieve through the revolution?
Sholokhov wrote those words after Stalin had reduced the Ukraine to mass starvation, killing millions. But let Anna continue: We must be wholly absorbed into this struggle for liberation, we must. . . fuse with the collective group and forget ourselves as isolated parts.
Said no woman, ever. Note the inhuman and bathetic parody of the communion of saints. More: You know, Ilia, I perceive the future like a distant, distant, magically beautiful music. Just as one sometimes hears it in sleep . . . Do you hear music in your sleep? It is not a separate, slender melody, but a mighty, growing, perfectly harmonized hymn.
Think of John Williams’ play on Soviet-style gigantism in the music he gives to Darth Vader and the Empire he serves. Now comes Anna’s starry-eyed prophecy: And won’t life be beautiful under socialism! No more war, no more poverty, or oppression, or national barriers. . .nothing! How human beings have sullied, have poisoned the world! How much human misery has been poured out. . .Tell me, wouldn’t it be sweet to die for that? Tell me! Yes? What is there to believe in, if not in that? What is one to live for?
She presses his hand to her heart so that he can feel its beating. I am not making this up. Thus she concludes: And if death is not instantaneous, then the last thing I shall feel will be that triumphant, disturbingly beautiful music of the future.
When Sholokhov wrote those words, Stalin was already a mass murderer, though he could not quite come up to America’s yearly slaughter of innocents, a slaughter championed by Ocasio-Cortez and excused by the National Catholic Reporter. Well, at least the Soviet Union has ceased to be – the fate of everything radically unreal.
2000 – The wreckage of the Hunley, a Confederatesubmarine that was lost during the American Civil War, was raised from the ocean floor near Sullivans Island, South Carolina; it was the first submarine to sink (1864) an enemy ship (the Union sloop Housatonic).
Catholicism teaches that the doctrines contained in Sacred Scripture (the Bible) and Sacred Tradition (the Church) are authoritative because God’s revelation is the source of both. The Catechism puts it this way: “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the word of God” (97).
This means that “both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence” (82).
To some Protestants, this might sound blasphemous. The idea that anything the Church says could be on the same level as Scripture just doesn’t make sense. After all, only the Bible was inspired by God, right? How, then, can Catholics say that both must be reverenced equally?
More importantly, what happens if they come into conflict? The Protestant, in principle, does not face these difficulties because the Bible is said to hold the supreme place. As the ultimate and final level of religious authority, according to sola scriptura, when the Bible comes into conflict with any other authority it must be declared the winner.
“Where Is That in the Bible?”
Protestants hold to subtly different forms of sola scriptura. At one end of the spectrum, it is thought to mean that only the Bible may be trusted as a source for faith and practice—and so everything the Christian believes must be explicitly found in it. On the other end, it means that the Bible is simply the most trustworthy source, and so no teachings can explicitly contradict it.
Protestants’ objections to Catholic claims about Sacred Tradition will vary depending on which version of sola scriptura they hold. Some will argue that any addition of Tradition to the Bible is illicit, others will only see a problem if a particular tradition goes against Scripture. Either way, though Protestants are generally uncomfortable with an authoritative, big-T Church Tradition because they think it threatens the authority of Scripture. Some Catholic assume that by sola scriptura Protestants mean anything not found in the Bible is off-limits for Christian faith and practice. This is not what it originally meant, but it is the way the principle is often understood by those on the more Fundamentalist end of the spectrum.
Most Protestants, though, realize that to hold such a position would be self-defeating. This is because if one believes that everything a Christian is to believe or practice must be taught in the Bible, then the teaching that everything a Christian is to believe or practice must be taught in the Bible must be taught in the Bible—but it isn’t.
Although some apologists for this more extreme version of sola scriptura may point to verses such as 2 Timothy 2:16-17—which says that all Scripture is inspired and useful—for support, such appeals to prooftexts are unconvincing. Nowhere in the Bible does it say clearly that Scripture alone is the source for all Christian faith and practice. Thus, Protestants who hold to any form of sola scriptura thereby show that at least one Christian belief (or two, if you include the canon) can be derived from something besides the Bible itself.
In Principle, Protestants Agree: Not everything that Christians are to believe must be taught explicitly in Scripture.
In Particular, Catholicism Affirms: Some things that Christians are to believe have been taught outside of Scripture
Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you ever imagined.
Tell Me Everything Except Truth Tell Me To Live Honestly But Don’t Tell Me That I Have To Die Because Of It . Tell Me To Speak Truth But Don’t Tell Me That I Have No One To Talk after That. Tell Me That Smoking Kills and Don’t Tell Me That You’re Making Money By […]