Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"Where do those fights and quarrels among you come from?"

Self opinion and pride and vain rejoicing in spiritual and intellectual gifts.

The blogosphere and any online publication with comments has been a nasty place from the beginning.  Go back 8 years and move forward through the archives and all the best voices have had their share of spittle flecked nutties.  Some blogs specialized in the practice - even though the Cafeteria reopened and closed.  Report them to the bishop?  Go ahead.  I think bishops have bigger problems to deal with these days.  Pious - but bickering, meddlesome church ladies have always been a thorn in the side of parish and diocesan life - this is nothing new.

So.  What is the source of all the conflict?

I'll share some ideas from a Russian saint...

Worldly people and many living the religious life, through ignorance and inexperience, often praise as spiritual zeal something that stems from conceit and pride.  They extol this zeal as zeal for the faith, for piety, for the Church, for God.  It consists in a more or less harsh criticism and condemnation of one's neighbors in their moral faults, and in faults against decorum in church and the liturgical rites.  Deceived by a wrong conception of zeal, the imprudent think that by yielding themselves to it they are imitating the holy fathers and martyrs, forgetting that they, the zealots, are not saints but sinners themselves.

Whoever decides of his own self-will to convict his brother or make some reprimand, clearly reveals and proves that he considers himself more prudent and virtuous than the person he blames, and that he is acting at the instigation of passion and deception and diabolic thoughts.

Saint Poemen the Great relates that a certain monk, carried away by zeal, was subjected to the following temptation.  He saw another monk lying on a woman.  For a long time he wrestled with the thought that urged him to stop them from sinning.  At last he gave into the temptation and he gave them a kick with his foot.  Suddenly he realized that it was two sheaves of wheat lying one upon the other. - Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov


Where does this wicked zeal come from?  Self opinion, pride, presumption, vain-glory which is the same as conceit.  But how to discern it?

Bad zeal is always accompanied by anger - 'heating of the passions' and 'by the invasion of swarms of thoughts and fancies' - a rush to judgment.  Imaginings of all sorts of evil done or consequences to follow - of things that haven't even happened yet.  If our neighbor criticizes or is displeased with our zeal in correcting the errant, we harbor resentment or exert some sort of vengeful defense of ourselves in retribution to those who disagree or oppose us.  (Yes poodle - I've done it too.)  On the other hand, if our 'victim' accepts our rebuke, "if he submits, our heart is puffed up with vainglorious satisfaction, excitement, and an increase of pride and presumption."  We even can believe we have a mission from God - as a sort of gatekeeper, watchman, even a holy crusader in the spiritual combat.

We're all crackpots, Hon!


  1. Great commentary as always, Terry and so true. I am praying for you and for all who visit here and elsewhere online too. ^^

  2. I just read Deacon Greg's post about "The myth of Catholic decline." It lifted me up and has given me much hope for our beloved Church. He is always so positive as are you, Terry.

    Thanks, Terry, for your continued efforts. I sent Deacon Greg an atta boy as well. ^^

    1. Thanks Yaya - but I'm as bad if not worse than anyone else. I can't accept any praise or thanks. I know you mean well - pray for me instead.

    2. Terry,
      All of us together are in the same boat. We must continue to live as St. Paul says, " Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, and preservere in prayer."

      The body of Christ is battered from all sides and from within (the worst, in my opinion) and outside. I can accept the outside critics but the inside critics on both sides of whatever fence they choose to sit on...those cut the deepest.

      You are always assured of my prayers as I hope I am of yours.

      Let us then continue to lift the banner of Christ high and press on especially for our brothers and sisters who are already suffering the great persecution that we will soon have to suffer.

      As you are well aware, they have no time to squabble about who does what, who is in/out, who attends what Mass...they are the courageous ones!

      Come Lord Jesus! Come quickly and redeem your people. May their example be an example to all.

  3. Inside the heart of every blogger resides the Church Lady, to some degree.

    I never recommend Catholic blogs to people. Stick with the gospels, and read the saints. More than enough to chew on and digest. Blogs are more or less a diversion, and can be too much of a distraction.

    I keep trying to make my blog worse than yours, Terry. Posts like this one make it easy on me.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.