The False Dichotomy

Satan has been the great divider from the beginning, when he sought to divide Man from God. That’s the only real division that there is. Choosing the illusion of a “self” that has separate interests or desires from God is the original sin and is really what makes any sin a sin.

But, being made in God’s own image and naturally longing for union with God, we wouldn’t make that choice without the devil contriving clever disguises. So he dresses selfish desire up as virtue and sets us against each other as we cling to the righteousness of our “group” against the “others”. If you take a certain position, even if it is in itself virtuous, it is attacked as being in line with the vices of the “other” group.

Often, in the Church,”liberals” will point out how out of line with the Gospel are “conservatives” for paying so much attention to liturgical rules and regulations and ignoring the plight of the poor. While “Conservatives” look down on “liberals” for liturgical abuses and watering down Church teaching on sin in the name of mercy.

At our baptism, each of us was anointed “priest, prophet, and king’. Which gave us a special mission to honor and participate in the sacramental life of the Church and to be agents of sanctity in our world while speaking out prophetically (sometimes using words!) against the injustices of our world, and, reigning as “kings” with Christ, to follow His example of suffering servant leader.

In the lives of the saints, one finds no dichotomy between the lovers of the Church and the lovers of neighbor. Saints who approached liturgy and the sacraments with tremendous reverence, also devoted their lives to serving the poor and needy.

Moses, a fugitive from Egypt who was called by God to lead the people of Israel out of bondage, also transmitted God’s plan for the religious rituals to be performed in His honor.

St. Francis, the lover of poverty, considered it sinful to celebrate mass with cheap vessels or shabby vestments. He didn’t see any dichotomy in rebuilding the physical church and rebuilding the spiritual values of the people of God.

Mother Theresa devoted her life to the service of the poorest of the poor. Yet she spent hours in prayer each day.

And Jesus, our Lord and King, who warned of the dire consequences to those who showed no compassion for their suffering brothers and sisters, also commended the woman who spared no expense in honoring Him by anointing Him with costly perfume, and instituted the Holy Eucharist through which we share in His eternal life.

Let us not be caught up in the spirit of division, but in the Holy Spirit of unity in Jesus: Honoring and adoring Him with with painstaking devotion in prayer and worship, and living His life in our world, encouraging each other to live holy lives of charity, justice and mercy.

 

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