Sunday, October 16, 2011
An orthodox Jewish woman I know has two children. "Hannah" as I will call her for the benefit of this post, wears a head-covering in public at all times, strictly observes the Sabbath and identifies from her appearance alone as a devout Orthodox Jew. Hannah has had difficulty conceiving and would like nothing more than to fill her home with as many children as God sees fit to give her. Yet there are busy-bodies who do not know the trials she has suffered who assume she must be using contraception because she only has two kids.
Diane arrives late and leaves early to Mass every single Sunday. This causes some whispers about how she must only show up for Holy Communion so she doesn't have to sit through the entire Mass. What people don't know is that she is caring for a demented relative who cannot be left alone for very long. An elderly neighbor relieves her for a short time on Sundays so she can steal away for a few minutes. She would not feel it was safe leaving for more than this.
Jack doesn't leave the pew to go to Holy Communion . He's a daily communicant but one Monday, he remains kneeling while the rest of us approach the altar. Well, there could only be one reason for this - Jack must be in a state of mortal sin. Otherwise, he'd come forward like the rest of us. One problem with jumping to that assumption - Jack is scheduled for a medical procedure and he's forbidden to take anything by mouth, including the Eucharist.
You get the point.
We are not privy to the personal lives of others, nor should we be if their behavior does not directly affect us in some way. Yet I will be the first to admit I have jumped to conclusions when I have seen any of the scenarios I described above.
My second prayer for myself, after asking the Lord to help me get over myself, is to beg to be freed from the beam in my eye. However, I admit I often don't know what that beam is. I look around feeling inferior many times to others who appear more devout and pious than I do and then somewhere along the course of time, I discover an imperfection on their part, like the friend who never realizes the hurt her curt words cause others or the man who has been living out of wedlock for years with a woman yet still presents himself for Holy Communion.
The bottom line is that nobody's perfect and each of us have our special projects to work on that we don't need to reach across the aisle to try to correct someone else. I wonder how much holier I'd be if I strictly minded my own affairs.
Horses wear blinders because they're supposedly dumb animals who need to have distractions blotted out.
What's my excuse?