From A Grateful Convert - Kevin Lowry's Blog
What did I do about it, you might ask? Well, it’s not emotionally satisfying, but not much of anything. Kathi just wanted me to drop it. On the way home, I prayed a rosary for my wife, and even for the scumbag salesman – and resisted all the deep-seated emotions and desires to lash out that I knew weren’t emanating from the Holy Spirit.
I took a picture of the $5 bill for posterity’s sake, but know it needs to die a grisly death. It was a symbol of the cheap attempt to impugn my wife’s extraordinary dignity as my bride of twenty-two years, mother of our eight children, and most importantly, child of God.
There are any number of conclusions that could be drawn from this situation, but for the sake of my five sons who may read this someday, let’s stick with the basics:
Our culture indoctrinates many guys into swinehood – don’t be one of them
Treat all women with respect and the dignity they deserve
Prayer and forgiveness trump anger and violence any day of the week
This situation stretched me to live the beatitudes even though every fiber of my being rebelled. So what would you have done? Or if you’re a woman, how would you want your husband to deal with the situation? Let me know your thoughts.
For now, I’m going to redouble my own efforts to forgive others as I have been forgiven, and even try to be grateful for the spiritual exercise this situation provided. Lord knows I need all the help I can get.You know what I say to all this bullshit? Man up, and deck the guy. Not only for your wife, but for other women who maybe don't have a husband/boyfriend/whatever to deck this guy. Perhaps this is the Bad Catholic in me coming out - but you know what I would have wanted my husband to do (not that I wouldn't have wanted to handle this myself, but you never know how you're gonna feel when that situation happens)? I would have wanted my husband to go back there and shove that sorry $5 bill down this arsehole's throat.
Yes, be holy, pray for the guy's conversion. Pray for yourself. Ask for forgiveness, and forgive others. But for the sake of your sons, who need to see their dad stand up for their mom and their mom's dignity, punch this guy. This namby-pamby attitude that masquerades as holiness is an infection I see in many Catholic men growing up today. No, wrath is sinful. But servility isn't the golden mean either. It's not about the 'emotional satisfying' reaction (which, okay, I might be going overboard on. I told you I have a problem with my temper.) Prayer and forgiveness are great. But anger isn't always sinful. Violence isn't always sinful. (I'm reminded of Puff's blog that says: "When asked what Jesus would do: remember that freaking out, whipping people, and overturning tables is an acceptable answer.")
To quote two parts from The Bad Catholics Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins by John Zmirak (which I think Kevin Lowry needs to read):
St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle, taught that anger at actions can be perfectly justified - depending on the cause - and even virtuous. But rage directed at people is off the menu: hate the sin, love the sinner....[Okay, okay, I hear you now.. "Umm, Ranter, didn't you just call this guy an asshole?" Yes, yes, I did. Got a problem with that?]
The Gospel that day at Mass was one I've always found challenging. Okay, that's not quite candid. I find it appalling: (Luke 6:27-38) [Ranter's note: go ahead, go read it. I'll be here.]
Compared to such injunctions, mysteries like the Incarnation, Christ's warnings of 'the worm that dieth not,' and all the phantasmagoria of St. John's Apocalypse are easy to swallow. Taken literally, and applied universally, such commands would result in a world where
-Christians never called the cops. Thieves could walk right in their homes and take all their stuff - and the Christians would offer their ATM cards and PINs as parting gifts.
-Christian wives of abusive husbands would meekly take their beatings. Too many priests over the centuries have encouraged exactly that, it shames us to admit.
-Christian citizens couldn't resist the acts of tyrannical governments but meekly would have to accept the dictates of 'lawful authority,' as Russian serfs, Irish peasants, and American slaves were often taught by captive clergy. At best, they could resist assaults on the clergy and the Church but not on their own rights or their human dignity. So give Big Brother your guns and act like a good Uncle Tom.
-Christians whose children were abused would never contact the authorities but would meekly ask their bishops to send the poor abuser off to counseling.
See what I mean about the dangers of literal interpretation? This is why we needed a Church in the first place. ...
After Mass, I grabbed our college chaplain by the cassock and asked him to help me make sense out of this. Okay, at first i wanted him just to explain the whole thing away. ...
He calmed the layman down,...and soberly laid out the Gospel's extent and its proper limits. "We are meant to strive heroically not to hate those who wrong us, in fact to forgive them even before they repent," he said. [This is where Kevin gets it right.] "While we can and should strive for justice, we must not dwell on personal slights, such as a slap in the face. We should give voluntarily to the needy and resist the urge to calculate our own best interest at every turn. Leave that to God, who looks after us far better than we ever can."
"The Church teaches that we must show mercy, except when it enables or encourages others to sin. When we do that, we are complicit in their sin. Often, we must insist on strict justice for ourselves or for innocent others. That means we maintain a police force; we engage in just, defensives wars; and we administer the law. We push back against tyrannical acts by the government and stand up for our human dignity - in part because not doing so would tempt evildoers to go right on sinning and lead them to Hell." [Where Kevin gets it wrong.]If you're still here (because I know this is long), I will just add this. I appreciate a guy like Kevin, who is honestly trying to grow in holiness through his vocation as a husband and father. I wish that all Catholic men (those who practice, and those who don't), would do the same. I happen to think he's wrong in this instance.
End of rant. Comments, as always, are appreciated, even if you think I'm a blathering idiot who shills for John Zmirak.