I discovered a new artist, Quint Buchholz.
I'm almost finished with the icon and then I need to apply a first coat of varnish before gilding. I normally gild before painting, but this time I'm doing it last. Then I will do the calligraphy and final varnish, mount it in the tabernacle frame, and it will be ready for presentation, I hope. I've never prayed so much over an icon, never labored so long, and yet it doesn't 'show'. I think I'm so slow with it because I don't want to let it go, I don't want to not paint and pray with it. I'm also wondering if it will be my last real icon.
Then, today, a friend sent me a card with a Quint Buchholz painting, and I thought, 'bears need to keep working, no matter what'.
I decided people take things too seriously... myself included.
No one cares what we think, although every time we post something it registers somehow in the consciousness of those who read it. So if you're always posting negative opinions and reports, and worse, engaging in detraction or calumny, at the very least, you stain the conscience of your readers.
No one cares.
I think that is something to keep in mind. Especially when it comes to blog posts. On Facebook a guy announced today that he's sorry but he's changed his mind about Pope Francis. In other words he now has doubts about him because the Pope hasn't answered the dubia. That's fine. I hope he works that out. We all have doubts about a number of things from time to time. I don't know this man personally, but just because he has doubts doesn't make him a bad man. I just don't care, and I wonder why it's important for him to post about that - because many people don't care.
Now if your doubts cause you to question the faith, that can be a problem - but that too can be worked out. If your doubts cause your readers to doubt, that's not good. The best thing to do when you come upon posts like that is just to move along. Maybe it's just me that doesn't care - so ignore my advice - like you just don't care.
Why do we bother one another with this stuff? Posts like that remind me of what Isaiah said to Ahaz: "Is it not enough for you to weary people, must you also weary God?"
Are things not confusing enough? Do we not complain enough as it is?
I do not need to defend the Pope or the Cardinals or the encyclical or the dubia. It's not necessary for my salvation. Critics claim many souls are at stake ... that's commendable to be concerned for the salvation of souls. So how much penance and prayer are you doing. Because that is what Heaven asks for. Penance, penance, penance. Judging the Pope and the Magisterium and fellow Christians is not our call.
Who cares what I think?
No one. But you lose me when you start on the Pope. We'll know when we know - until then, trust God. People accuse people like me of ultramontanism, but I'm pretty sure they are the ultramontanists, because they desire a Pope who fits their conception of what a Pope should be. If they had the Pope they want, they would be lapping at his feet, in the same way Trump supporters defend everything he does.
So anyway. No one cares, but here is what I think. I wrote it in an email response to a friend:
I think the Pope allows many controversial issues to be discussed and debated openly in order for the truth to shine forth. Catholic teaching cannot change, despite the fact dialogue with non-Christians and unbelievers may add to the confusion surrounding contemporary moral issues. Yet that is where Cardinals and Bishops enter in - it is their shared responsibility with the Pope to clarify and correct misunderstandings. The way they've gone about that lately seems more divisive than clarifying however. If it was really any of my business, or if I were Burke and his buddies, I would simply develop a solid catechesis around Amoris and present it, with all due respect for the Holy Father, and not as a correction or contradiction to the Pope, but more at the clarification they want to see. In my opinion the Holy Father's lack of response testifies to the fact he has no intention of changing doctrine but rather desires a more pastoral approach to those who have fallen away who feel they can't be part of the Church because of their irregular state in life.
It's all over my head though, and as I told my friend, I can't defend my theory, more importantly, I don't need to be right. I can be wrong - I'm happy to be wrong. I don't need to be right.
I'm more concerned about salvation, and the obstacles to that. Some day, before I die I would like to arrive at a place of genuine detachment from the world, along the lines of what St. Teresa of Avila wrote:
"Now that I am out of the world, with companions holy and few in number, I look down on the world as from a great height, and care very little what people say or know about me."