Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Reverence, virtues and judgmentalism

I've been thinking and reading about reverence since posting this morning. There is a danger when we human beings resolve to be more reverent. There is a danger of falling into judgmentalism. It is so easy to judge another for talking in church, for being late to Mass, for dressing casually.

I think the approach that follows the way we are called to by Christ, is one of complete non-judgmentalism of others, while striving for perfection in ourselves. After all, we cannot control the behavior or practices of others; we can only control
our own.

There is so much in Catholic tradition that is no longer practiced, or no longer required, that we as individuals can choose to do for our own growth in holiness. But we must be careful not to judge where others are in their journey to holiness. Not judging, thinking the best of others, and praying for others is yet another way
that each of us has to come closer to God.

When we find ourselves mourning the loss of reverence, or of charity, or of any virtue, we can take that as a sign to focus on that virtue in ourselves with increased effort and to pray with greater fervor for others.

Why are we so ready to judge our neighbor? Why are we so concerned about the burden of others? We have plenty to be concerned about, each one has his own debt, and his own sins. It is for God alone to judge, to justify or to condemn.

~Saint Dorothea of Gaza (5th Century


Unknown said...

that is so true, we should spend more time focusing on our own spiritual growth and pray for others to do the same.

Staying in Balance said...


Charley said...

Hiya, Dymphna! It's been a while, but I like the new look. What strikes me about my post is that we can be more reverent, IF we couple that with true humility.

Staying in Balance said...

Very true, Charlie.

Anonymous said...

Certainly we should leave the ultimate judgment of one's soul to God, there I very much agree with you. Further, it would be wrong to place much gravity upon matters of accidental taste in piety or practice. However, we must be careful in not buying the argument of relativism that contends we can make no judgment whatsoever, particularly regarding significant matters. A person might get angry at our practical judgment, but if it reflects eternal truths, then it might bring others to repentance and conversion. St. John the Baptist was beheaded, precisely because as a prophet, he would not be quiet about the sin of Herod and Herodias. Herod had taken the wife of his brother and had made her his own.

We must also witness in a way that, either directly or through inference, casts a judgment over others. Such judgment is not to lord our righteousness over others but is an acknowledgment that we are all sinners needing repentance and conversion to faith. We include ourselves in this profound appreciation that we all need a Savior and that his name is Jesus.

Do we participate at Mass on Sunday?

Is our marriage recognized by God and the Church.

Have we participated or passively permitted the violation of the unborn child in the womb?

Are we keeping the commandments?

Any good examination of conscience implies a judgment. In light of the Gospel, we stand convicted by our sins and weaknesses. As long as we have eyes to see and ears to hear, we know that those around us are also under the shadow of such a verdict. Christian judgment, as a matter of profession from priests, and as an element of our baptismal role as prophets, is always a matter of INVITATION to others...

Are you sure your relationship with God is everything it should be?

If you really love the person with whom you have had such a serious relationship, should you not marry and consecrate this bond before God and men?

Can you appreciate that every child is a reflection of the Christ-child?

I am glad if you have a personal relationship with Jesus, but what about your corporate relationship with him in his family the Church?

Sorry if I seem to be nagging, but we love you and have been worrying about you...you have disregarded so many commandments...and what has it gotten you?...is it not time to come home?

These are the kinds of things that we should have the courage to voice.

Take care,
Father Joe

Staying in Balance said...

Thanks, Father Joe! I was actually thinking more along the lines of the "accidental taste in piety or practice" that you spoke of. It is so easy, I think, to fall into the sin of judging others' externals and behavior when one is trying to be conscious of one's own pious practices. There is so much division in the Church right now between so-called "traditionalists" and those who are less traditional.

I liked your point that just by our lives, our own witness casts a judgment of sorts on others. Very true. That is part of the reason it can be challenging to live the teachings of the Church.

And, definitely, we should judge ourselves with regard to sin.

Dymphna's favorite quotes

"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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