I recently received this email called “Holy responsibility” that quoted Saint Catherine of Sienna: “Be who God meant you to be and you’ll set the world on fire.”
Oh, please !! How in God’s name do we come to know what God wants us to be?
As a child I believed the Catholic comic books that promised that if I prayed hard God would make me a saint (like Rose of Lima, Therese of Lisieux, Bernadette, Joan of Arc) and do good things through me. For half a century I tried to do that and found out I was only trying to find the mother who died when I was four. Everything I tried (religious life, PhD, bookstore, relationships) failed. I used to walk, trying to understand why God was laughing at me! why God seemed to want me to fall off the Earth!
I am a good writer; out of my failed PhD I’ve become an editor of hundreds of theses and dissertations — even though I was not allowed to write my own. Still, had I succeeded I might have done some terrible harm; so I’ve tried to thank God for sparing me (and the world) that horrific possibility. And, yes, editing …finally… has given me a limited purpose in life. But set the world on fire? Hardly. I don’t think anyone reads my blog; it’s just a vent for my failed desire to make the world a better place.
In one blog entry I stated (and addressed it to Pope Francis) that the Catholic Church’s position that forbids birth control is a crime against humanity. The Church should PREACH birth control, DEMAND birth control, make it free.
Perhaps I’m finally maturing; I’m getting old, and still in the process of becoming whole. And I see all around me adults who have spent their lives half-whole, trying to undo the harm done TO them, trying to undo the harm THEY’VE done while they tried to fill the holes in their psyches.
As a species, we have GOT to do better. We have GOT to focus on our children.
Until two people are mature enough, wise enough, knowledgeable enough to understand what goes on inside an infant’s mind, body, spirit, they have NO RIGHT to bring a child into the world. (Yes, I know, that would quickly eradicate the human population!!!) Children do not BELONG to two parents; they belong to a community and EVERY child should have the community standing around it 24/7 to love, guide, counsel, nurture, protect it. Our focus must turn from inventing “things” to creating communities that ensure that every child is loved, fed, housed, fulfilled spiritually, emotionally, intellectually.
Children should NOT have children; ignorance should not result in children; alcohol should not produce children, loneliness should not beget children, manipulation/rape/profitability should not result in children.
We humans brag endlessly about our accomplishments, while in every neighborhood we have abused children, hungry children, uneducated children, deprived children. Tell THEM to be who God meant them to be. They won’t know what you’re talking about, any more than I did as a child, any more than children in my childhood neighborhood would have understood.
Think of the unanswered pain in children’s eyes, in their lives; think of the undeveloped potential for good that cries to heaven for justice…. and mercy.
Holy responsibility indeed!!