Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Scripture, a Priest, and Rush Limbaugh

Something a guest on the Rush Limbaugh program said yesterday resonated with me. To paraphrase, he opined that schools today seem to teach history in an emotional context rather than based on solid facts. Our children are fed the politically correct narrative of the day by appealing to their emotions rather than giving them the basic facts of what really happened. Of course, this is yet another effort at indoctrination and the reason more and more parents are taking the home education route.

I can see a correlation between this exchange and what often happens in our faith life. We, as humans, tend to be emotional creatures. Our feelings rank significantly in our decision making process and resulting actions. A wise priest once told me, ‘love is an act of Will, not a feeling’, and his simple, yet profound wisdom has stuck with me during times of confusion.

When I have trouble relating to the saints or our Blessed Mother, because they are out of sight in their heavenly glory, I remember those words. I turn my thoughts to the tangible example they have given us instead of waiting for an emotional rush of feelings. In my human weakness, it’s sometimes easier to smile at and hug every nun I run across, rather than love those who have gone before us – because in the nun’s appearance (habit) I see visual evidence of her spiritual path, while the saints are physically removed from this world.

If love is an act of Will, then it follows that faith can be as well. Turning to the Gospel of Mark, we see the story of the father of an afflicted son. He addresses, not a lack of faith, but a weakness of faith in his exchange with Jesus.

“And immediately the father of the boy crying out, with tears said: I do believe, Lord: help my unbelief.” Mark 9:24

Again and again we find those following Jesus asking for a tangible increase in faith.

“And the apostles said to the Lord: Increase our faith.” Luke 17:5
We find then, that there are substantial benefits to looking to those who came before us and sacred scripture gives us steadfast guidance as well. If we are to follow the example of the saints and strengthen our faith (and love), we must make an act of Will. Relying on emotion when pursuing our eternal destination would only serve to belittle both the goal and the journey.