GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

One Soul is a Treasure to God

In recent weeks I have heard several times the expression of an attitude that I am certain offends God very much. I had the same attitude myself once... for years actually, without really realizing how much I must have hurt God who values every soul with infinite value.

This is what I mean. We are living in very difficult times. The rebelliousness within the Church is very evident. Groups such as Call to Action, Masons, Planned Parenthood, etc., openly criticize and express their disagreement with the teachings and position of the Catholic Church in various areas. We call those non- conforming, weak-in-faith, haters of the Church, disbelievers... LIBERALS or something that means they reject the authentic position of the Church.

The attitude that exists (I've even heard it from a well-known Religious) regarding such persons is: "I wish they would just get out! If they don't love the Church, why don't they just leave it and leave the rest of us in peace to uphold and practice our Faith in union with the leadership of our present Holy Father, etc?"

The attitude: "I wish they would just get out!" is very Italian... not, of course, exclusively, but very Italian anyhow. I know... I grew up with it. It's like the bumper sticker on cars which reads: "America, love it or leave it!" The question really is...regarding the liberals: IS THAT GOD'S ATTITUDE or IS THAT HOW HE WANTS US TO LIVE?"

The answer to that question, is firmly "NO!" The reason why it is "NO!" is revealed in the example of Jesus Himself and even in the example of our present Holy Father. Let's look to Scripture. In the example of the Good Shepherd, we see a God, whose love for each individual is so great and intense that He would leave the 99 sheep in search of the ONE that was lost. In the father of the Prodigal Son we see analogously a God who hopes and waits and longs for the "return" of His wayward son... ready to forgive and take back with celebration.

Again in Scripture God tells us: "I desire not the death of a sinner, but rather that he be converted and live." And in the crucifixion we see Jesus, who endured the ultimate, who paid the price of our sins, our stupidities, so that we (each one) would be saved.

To say: "Those liberals, I wish they would just get out!" is to say in effect: "The value of the soul of that person is no account to me, because that person is a mess, is confused, gives me problems for the position they hold,... therefore, my life would be easier if they would get out of my life."

That attitude wants the easy way out and does not reflect God's attitude and the mind of Christ. Therefore it cannot justifiably be our attitude, if we presume to call ourselves CHRISTIAN.

The example of the Holy Father is also not one of quick getting-rid-of, but one of patient pursuance of the wayward, repeatedly seeking after as reflected in the case of Bishop Levebrve. The Church is in the business of saving souls and of working for the conversion of sinners, not cutting them off and getting rid of them. I know... I have heard the argument: "Well, they are taking themselves out. They are doing it to themselves." Again, I repeat... the Church is in the business of saving souls, not getting rid of them. We pray for Church unity... Every year during Holy Week especially, we pray for UNITY. The attitude of getting rid of souls belies that... reflects a lack of understanding of the value of each soul to God... reflects a lack of desire for real Christian unity.

Please DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND ME! In no way do I condone, approve or sanction the wrong that the "liberals" are doing. But a true distinction must be made between the "sin" and the "sinner." Our Lord did say: "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone!" I wonder if those who call out for getting rid of the liberals have forgotten that they too have sinned, which is a rebellion against God. God is not quick to cut any of us off who deserve such when we sin.

Our Lord said: "The weeds must grow with the wheat!" We must leave to God the judgment of the weeds. Our role is not to desire their being rid of, but of working, praying, and sacrificing for their conversions. That is the way of Christ... that is the Christian Way. If Our Lord would go through His Passion and Death all over again to save even one soul, who is any of us to desire that anyone be cut off from the Vine? To God, each soul is a treasure He does not want to lose.

Our Lady of La Salette sat on a rock and wept over the loss of her children. "Getting rid of the liberals" will not dry her tears! Our working for their conversion will. Happy Easter!