Saint, I aint.

I think one of the great downfalls of Christianity has nothing to do with Christianity in fact.

Christianity should never be righteous, arrogant or boastful, for none of those things are what Jesus Christ was about and there is nobody on this earth who is deserving of that praise. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

During Lent, Christians prepare themselves for the Resurection of Jesus from the dead, which is something beyond all comprehension.

Lent, for many Catholics, myself not included, is a time of fasting, penance, privations even.

I respect that type of admiration and enthusiasm for Christ because it is far from what I have been able to achieve in my life.

Since “becoming a Christian” in 2001 and being Confirmed in 2002, I have made just as many mistakes, committed just as many sins and done more lousy things than I did before. Nothing has changed in that regard.

I don’t disclose this to be exculpatory towards myself. In the end, there is but one divine judge He will have his way with my soul.

At times I’m not sure why I call myself a Christian.As a Catholic, we’re supposed to love and love until it hurts. And when the hurting is too much to bear we should call on God to help us love more.

It seems at times that I’m incapable of that type of selfless love that binds all men to God.

In the fall I had a spiritual experience that I can’t describe other than peace. It went away, but I’m glad I have it and welcome for it to come again into my life. Until then, it appears that I’m like everyone else, just a person, a man, confused, tired, wanting.

This is a life worth living and one that I love, despite it’s frustrations. I only wish I could do better though. How is it? It’s no one’s fault either.

We prepare for ourselves a condominium on earth when there is a Kingdom beyond us. The grass is greener on this side of God, I suppose. It looks that way.

The best Christians, in my view, aren’t the righteous, but those who recognize their weakness, their tendency towards evil and their shortcomings (I won’t include myself in that group, despite my predeliction to do wrong!).

Instead, I’m speaking of the models of Christian life: St. Augustine comes to mind as does my hero, St. Francis of Assisi, the reveler and prodigal son who before founding one of the greatest spiritual movements known to man, was a carouser and womanizer and a drunk.

The best Christians aren’t always the ones wearing robes or certainly not pin striped suits, dancing and screaming Hallelujah.

The crem-de-la crem of Jesus’ flock are the prisoners who turn the other way, the murderers who recognize their evil, the corrupt leader who asks forgiveness.

Karla Faye Tucker, who the state of Texas put to death in 1998 for murder did in my opinion more for the message of peace and love by asking for her forgiveness than a million holy men looking for praise, attention or worse, money.

Then Governor George W. Bush, the compassionate Christian leader that he is, ignored Tucker’s plea to be spared execution, turned his back on her tears and signed away her life.

In writing this, I don’t imply that a murderer, a molestor, adulterer, rapist, drug dealer, thief or any other miscrient is doing good work for God’s Kingdom simply by doing what they do. No. Not at all. But doesn’t God rejoice over one sinner turning his way more so than a multitude of holy men?

“I came not for the righteous, but for the sinners.”

I suppose it’s a cycle, all of it. The most vile of the bunch can be offered peace and love if only they ask for it with a true and sincere heart. No one is really good in a sense. No one is perfect, quite simply.

Yet even the self-righteous, who commit a crime by thumping their chests are deserving of love too. I think we all are. If God’s boat is open for all people, then we must ride with not only our own imperfections and failings but with rampant sinners, vile sinners. That’s how it is. That’s how it has to be.

I hope there is a boat out there to take us to the other side, a better place because as beautiful as life is, there is a lot of imperfection and that is one thing we will never escape as long as we are not on that boat.

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