A Season of Lent: Responding To Correction With Patience and Love

What we are aiming for is difficult and often untried: to be made new again in the image of God…

“When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer. Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.” (Jeremiah 7:27-28)

“Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Luke 11:19-20)

Lenten Prayer: My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy. Ora Pro Nobis.

As in Jeremiah’s day, our inclination is not always ready to respond to correction.  But that is what makes Christianity stand out: Even when we fight against it, Christianity stands alone and carries on in being willing to rebuke itself for falling short of its own standards and ideals, in the face of temptation, failure and even demons. Indeed, this is the significant difference, Chesterton once observed, between the world and the Church: the world has no standards by which to correct course and return to sanity.  But the Church does.  Looking at the course of what is happening today with “Cancel culture” and “laws” being made for dangerous whims, trends and fads, it is glaringly apparent that without submitting to God’s correction, the moral creature that God designed mankind to be turns to working out his own “morality” in perverse and hideous ways. The result is no return to sanity, but a plunge of society into insanity.

We may resent correction when it is needed and given, but our goal is to see it for what it is: God’s patience and love.  How do we know the difference between someone telling us something they don’t like and a rebuke from God?  There will always be scriptural counsel given in the same way the Apostles and Christ gave it.  And we will know this, if we ourselves have been reading Holy Scripture and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us in the teachings of the Church.

“Now it is very right to rebuke our own race or religion for falling short of our own standards and ideals. But it is absurd to pretend that they fell lower than the other races and religions that professed the very opposite standards and ideals. There is a very real sense in which the Christian is worse than the heathen, the Spaniard worse than the Red Indian, or even the Roman potentially worse than the Carthaginian. But there is only one sense in which he is worse; and that is not in being positively worse. The Christian is only worse because it is his business to be better.

This inverted imagination produces things of which it is better not to speak. Some of them indeed might almost be named without being known; for they are of that extreme evil which seems innocent to the innocent. They are too inhuman even to be indecent. But without dwelling much longer in these dark corners, it may be noted as not irrelevant here that certain anti-human antagonisms seem to recur in this tradition of black magic. There may be suspected as running through it everywhere, for instance, a mystical hatred of the idea of childhood. People would understand better the popular fury against the witches, if they remembered that the malice most commonly attributed to them was preventing the birth of children. The Hebrew prophets were perpetually protesting against the Hebrew race relapsing into an idolatry that involved such a war upon children; and it is probable enough that this abominable apostasy from the God of Israel has occasionally appeared in Israel since, in the form of what is called ritual murder; not of course by any representative of the religion of Judaism, but by individual and irresponsible diabolists who did happen to be Jews. This sense that the forces of evil especially threaten childhood is found again in the enormous popularity of the Child Martyr of the Middle Ages. Chaucer did but give another version of a very national English legend, when he conceived the wickedest of all possible witches as the dark alien woman watching behind her high lattice and heading, like the babble of a brook down the stony street, the singing of little St. Hugh.” – G. K. Chesterton, The Demons and The Philosophers, The Everlasting Man, 1925

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”

– G.K. Chesterton, The Unfinished Temple, What’s Wrong With the World, 1910

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.