Sunday, November 22, 2020 –
Welcome back, readers! Today and tomorrow we are going to discuss the two Spiritual Works of Mercy that give people the itchies. Why? Because they are the two that call you to the mat and tell you to stop holding grudges, and some of us really, REALLY like to hold grudges and are impatient and…well…human.
Anyhoo, today we will be talking about: to bear wrongs patiently.
Let’s start with our Bishop Morrow:
Which are the chief spiritual works of mercy?—The chief spiritual works of mercy are seven:…
5. To bear wrongs patiently.
By being patient with injustice, we benefit both ourselves and our fellow-man. Our patience helps him realize his wrong-doing. It is, however, wrong to permit others to falsely lay a serious crime to our charge. But let us be patient, for love of God. (Bishop Morrow, My Catholic Faith, p. 181)
I kind of feel like this was a “just do it…because” answer. Maybe that is just my flippant reading and rejection of the work of mercy at hand. In another one of those twofer Q&As, we see what our Baltimore Catechism #3 adds to the mix:
Q. 816. Why are we advised to bear wrong patiently and to forgive all injuries?
A. We are advised to bear wrongs patiently and to forgive all injuries, because, being Christians, we should imitate the example of Our Divine Lord, who endured wrongs patiently and who not only pardoned but prayed for those who injured Him.
Ahh, I see. So, we bear wrongs patiently for love of Christ and to imitate Him. Buuuttt, what about the whole Christ and the bullwhip episode from the Bible? In the Gospel of John, we read about Christ overthrowing the money changing tables:
And the pasch of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And he found in the temple them that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting. And when he had made, as it were, a scourge of little cords, he drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also and the oxen, and the money of the changers he poured out, and the tables he overthrew. And to them that sold doves he said: Take these things hence, and make not the house of my Father a house of traffic. And his disciples remembered, that it was written: The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up. (John 2: 13-17, Douay-Rheims 1899)
I mean, there are a couple of other stories like the one above (I’m looking at you, ‘ya cursed fig tree!!), but aside from those, Christ literally tells us to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5: 38-40). So, what gives?
Well, this is where we can go back up to Bishop Morrow and crack open those deep thoughts. Christ is love and the epitome of patience. He endured ALL things for our salvation, even unto death on the Cross. And, it is in enduring patience that we truly see His endless love for us. Yes, He absolutely calls out the BS of Sadducees and hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Scribes. However, He does it with absolute patience and mercy.
For those times He made whips, drove out money-changers, and cursed fig trees, well, we can see that Bishop Morrow says that there are some injustices that are just too great to ignore. “It is, however, wrong to permit others to falsely lay a serious crime to our charge. But let us be patient, for love of God.”
As an example, let’s say you belong to a Church that has relied on you and your family (volunteer-wise, financial gifts, etc.) for many years. Suddenly, one day you come to do your normal volunteer chores only to be told that you are “no longer welcome” because the staff has a bee in their bonnet about some thing they do not like about you. Is it upsetting? YES! Should you scream and stamp your feet? NO! Truthfully, this is a wrong that deeply hurts, but you can and should “be the bigger person” by patiently bearing the wrong. Hopefully, the staff might someday see what a terrible mistake they made letting you go.
Now, let’s say the Church of Injustice started desecrating the Eucharist by spraying people down with hand sanitizer and accosting people who receive reverently kneeling and on the tongue. THIS would be an example of when you should absolutely say something to them and definitely to their Bishop. Out of utter love for our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, do your best to be as patient and calm as possible, but I am not discounting the use of a bull-whip in this situation.
Sancte Ioannes, ora pro nobis!