But first - another friend sent me this:
“before you can be your brother’s keeper,
you have to be your brother’s brother.”
And then, I came across something written by another very kind priest - something terribly important to remember for those of us who comment publicly on the lives, actions and statements of others.
It is about grace ... amazing grace ...
In much of the thorny discussion surrounding doctrine and sacramental discipline surprisingly little is said about grace. It is this want of reference to and of confidence in grace that causes the discourse of some to sound akin to that of those who “bind heavy and insupportable burdens, and lay them on men’ s shoulders” (Matthew 23:4). What needs to be proclaimed from the rooftops and in every corner of the ecclesiastical blogosphere is the message of the Apostle:
There was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan, to buffet me for which thing thrice I besought the Lord, that it might depart from me. And he said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. For which cause I please myself in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ. For when I am weak, then am I powerful. (2 Corinthians 12: 7–10)
According to St. Augustine: “God does not command you to do impossible things, rather, in commanding he invites you to do what you can, and to ask for what you cannot.” The Council of Trent adds, glossing St. Paul, “and God helps you and makes you able” (Dz 1536)
This is a message of mercy and hope, entirely consonant with the universal call to holiness and with the costly practice of virtue in every state of life. This is a message that needs to be repeated by priests in the confessional and in the pulpit until it reaches the hearts of those who, weary of the struggle, are tempted to despair. “Do what you can and ask God for what you cannot. God will help you and make you capable of those things that, of your self and by yourself, you cannot do”. - Source
The same priest once told me 'there is no accounting for grace'. It took me all of this time to figure that out.