Some time ago I had volunteered for a helping hotline. It was a good use of my time and skills. Well one night, I had spent time with a gentleman on the phone who was filled with shame of his sins. So much so that he no longer seen the reason for living. I did my best to accept and try not to exasperate his pain. That is what I did. How I felt was I didn’t support the guy’s behavior at all. Yet, here I was trying to save his life. It made me feel incredibly ill. Here I was fully knowing I had marched 4 life, I had prayed rosaries for the unborn, and I signed petitions against the death penalty. It is not ok to kill. Yet, I did not want the person on the other end of the phone to thrive because I believed that meant he would thrive in his sin. He had done something that I know I would give my very life to protect.
He had gotten the help needed immediately that night. Afterwards, I could do nothing else but pray. So I prayed. I committed this issue to prayer. I prayed for his conversion. I prayed for others safety. I prayed that he may be shown another way. I prayed for his eternal soul. I prayed for souls that he may have hurt. I whole heartedly prayed for him to stop his sin. I prayed never knowing for certain if it would be answered. Although God answers all prayers that are within his will.
Fast forward around 10 years and it was a day like any other. I was at Mass and this one person offered their hand in peace. I thought little of it and offered my hand back in peace. We shook hands. Only to discover with clarity, I actually didn’t like something about the man. Sickness filled my throat and stomach.
He had said something to me at peace besides “peace be with you.” Fine. Whatever. Didn’t he know we were to recognize each other as disciples of Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, on mission? It is not just a pleasant or unpleasant greeting. Who cares, what he said, I told myself. I am just going to concentrate on purifying my heart and center myself on being a part of the body of Christ. Soon I went up to communion, and said AMEN. (Funny side story that is not a commercial; The other day I went up for communion and my initial response was “Thank You” followed by realizing my mistake than an “Amen”. That is because on my way up to receive, I was contemplating how grateful I am for communion and the Priest that provides it, So yeah, we get a pass for saying the wrong thing and it doesn’t always mean what we first think)
Anyway, back to all of us being connected in the Holy Eucharist, no matter if we feel a positive connection to them or not. Was my interpretation of what he said actually true? Maybe he was just trying to be nice and it was misguided. What if that man was my father, how would I want him to be treated? What if there was Jesus in him too? Cause that is true, he is. Even if that is hard for me accept.
Now, I know I am very unlikely to be the right person that can directly care for the man I shook hands with. That likely is someone else’s calling with their spiritual gifts. Yet, I can at least try to not make his life worse. Oh how just giving that seems impossible and in need of God’s strength to do so. God loves everyone. There is someone who ministers to him. Who has ministered to him. Someone called to do noble work well done. How about work that very few people could actually do. Or want to do. Oh my, how difficult it all must be to do work others do not want to do and yet so rewarding.
There is value in teaching, I am just not sure I agree with most teaching and following methods. It is hard to tell what comes from a pure heart. I understand we are not all the same, so what works for guidance of one person’s journey just may not work for another. Not everyone is a hands on learner. I for instance learn verbally. I recognize it is hard to figure out each person that is being lead. So take what I think with a grain of salt. Know that I am trying to speak truth. Truth is incredibly important to me.
Anyhow, love something more than your own life and let that be in line with God’s will for it, every step of the way.