When I first saw her piece, I shared it on Facebook with a one word introduction. Profundity. And I meant it. Still do.
She of course is Elizabeth Scalia and her piece is compelling in its entirety but I was particularly struck by these words:
The weakest person I ever heard of was someone who wouldn’t read a book about Christ because—as she admitted—she knew it would change her, and she didn’t want to have to change. Change takes
courage; repentance takes courage. Before that it takes something else: it takes recognition of one’s own sin, one’s own weakness. Eyes that cannot see clearly are “weak” eyes; souls that are uncomprehending or undaring are “weak” souls.
To not see one’s weakness is perhaps the greatest weakness of all.
Both instances of Jesus asking for comprehension came about over food: the first time over what feeds the soul of humanity, which is the Bread that comes down from heaven; the second over what laws humanity must follow before they may eat.
That’s what all the drama and controversy of the synod is about: who may feed on Jesus, the Living Bread, and who is insufficiently washed.
Do we still not understand?
“The weak,” Pope Francis says, those in need of medicine arethe unrepentant—the people who don’t even realize that repentance is needed because they are sustained by false, puffed-up foundations of modern feel-goodism.
“The weak” are also those whose dependence on the rulebook (and it’s a sound one) leaves them unwilling to trust any word beyond it. A simple willingness to allow discussion is enough to convince them that the Church—which Jesus said would last forever because it was Bride, and that he would be the Bridegroom to the end of the world—is ready to collapse.
“The weak” are those who have commingled their theology with their ideology, as though they were flesh and blood—sustainable only in support of each other.
“The weak” use the words “unrepentant sinners” as though they are not constantly in need of repentance themselves.
“The weak” sneer at others for “not getting it,” because I’m pretty sure that when Jesus asked, “Do you still not understand?,” it was was with pity, not malice.
“The weak” are you, and me, and them. Whoever they are.
“The weak” are also part of “the poor” Francis keeps talking about too. “The poor” who hear the Good News and accept it and then load it into a cannon to shoot at others, because they are weak.
“The poor” are those who hear the words of the Bride of Christ and think she is blowing hot air, because if she is not, they must change, and they fear to because they are weak.
“The poor” may hear the saints and the prophets and the people and the popes but think the only possessor of the whole truth is the weak little voice within them, which goes,but, but, but, me, me, me, I, I, I …
We are all “the weak.” We are all “the poor.” We are all, in some nook or cranny of the soul, “unrepentant sinners.”
And our weakness comes from hunger, whether we know it or not.
In an age where self attention rules, it’s amazing how blind we truly are for Whom we hunger, for What we really need.
Good Lord, open our eyes to see, our hearts to understand.
Crossposted at Brutally Honest.