Just possibly this is a topic not discussed enough, or written about enough, but yet happens nonetheless. I mean, not discussing it doesn’t make the reality of being hurt by the Church go away or simply not happen. If anything, it makes the hurt worse because ignoring it does not allow for the hurt to heal.
It is tough to deal with hurt directly, to be the first to open the discussion. This is probably true in any relationship. It is even tougher to admit that one is wrong, and thereupon to apologize. Who knows? Maybe the renewed discussion will go south and get worse? Certainly nobody wants that!
Despite these concerns, Jesus calls us to heal and to be open to healing. It was what He witnessed by His own life. And despite His own obstacles and setbacks, He still lived out this message. He witnessed by His own life that nothing in life is worth causing one to stop trying. In the end, the Lord states, all things will work out well for him who believes and trusts in the Lord. A spiritual teacher named R. Warren states it best when he says: “The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, trusting Him during a trial, surrendering while suffering and loving Him even when it seems He is distant.”
What does the Bible say? Let’s look at Timothy 3:2-5. “For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving: they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.”
This is how Timothy looked upon the world of his time, and we might as well say that this is how he views the world today. This must not be our description! If we accept Christ, and I know that all of us want to, then the description given by R. Warren above must be what we embrace; and in living it, proclaim to the world that this is who we are, and what we live by. And even add to it! The deepest level of worship is speaking to the Church minister who has offended me, or the fellow teacher, or the fellow parishioner! The deepest level of worship is found by hearing each other out, saying what hurts us, being open to apologizing: saying either please forgive me, or I forgive you. Ironically, by holding a grudge, I am not “Church” regardless of where I go to worship at Mass. It is when I can forgive or offer forgiveness that I can awaken to find that I have become “Church,” regardless of where I go to worship at Mass. This is called choosing the higher road. Let’s all walk on it! God bless you!
Peace, Fr. Walter