Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"The Most Sublime Charity"

Speaking of charity...

From my post below, a reader might assume that I don't believe in practicing the corporal works of mercy. This isn't true. I understand and embrace what Jesus told us about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned.

(Although this is not always easy, given the fact that I'm a cheapskate.)

My objection to Boston's "Catholic" Charities is rooted in my -- and I believe your -- passionate desire for salvation for everybody. The last time I looked, salvation isn't easily obtained by adopting out children to same-sex couples, or by publicly honoring people who -- whether they know it or not -- sin.

In today's Gospel (Matthew 18:23-14) Jesus speaks about "the lost sheep."

"What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them
has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go
in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly,
I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that
never went astray. So it is not the will of My Father who is in
Heaven that one of these little ones should perish."

Back in 1979, Pope John Paul commented on this passage:

"Unfortunately we witness the moral pollution which is devastating
humanity, disregarding especially those very little ones about whom
Jesus speaks."

"What must we do? We must imitate the Good Shepherd and give ourselves
without rest for the salvation of souls. Without forgetting material
charity and social justice, we must be convinced that the most sublime
charity is spiritual charity, that is, the commitment for the salvation
of souls. And souls are saved with prayer and sacrifice. This is the
mission of the Church!" ("Homily to the Poor Clares of Albano," 14
August 1979).

Too often we hear that the "mission of the Church" is limited to feeding the hungry, and tending to the earthly needs of our brothers and sisters. Certainly this is a major part of our vocations, but it's not the be-all and end-all of our lives here on earth.

We need to be as committed -- even more so -- to saving souls.

Pray for me. I pray for you all the time.