Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Meaning of True Mercy

There are certain things that seem to attract Pope Francis to them.

To take three of his areas of interest, we can see a strange pattern. One being St. Therese of Liseux, two being the Jesuit order to which he was attracted as a young man, three being the writings of the postmodernist author Jorge Louis Borges.

The connecting appeal that the Pope believes that he sees in such a disparate group of three? Ambiguity.

In St. Therese, Jorge Bergoglio was attracted to 'The Little Flower' because he saw her less as the model of rigid obedience (as he might have called her if she were one of his contemporary subordinates) but instead as someone who gave themselves up to the abandonment of the divine will. Someone who cared not for extravagant or self-indulgent outpourings of piety or devotion. This interpretation ignores that St. Therese of course offered the most selfless and charitable of reparations and her many charitable deeds for others. Francis has held her up in his mind as an angel of ambivalence, with a false humility of fretting hubris. In Francis's world, those who are scrupulous are to be called names and bullied, mocked for not being blessed with the possession of the humility of those who humbly boast of their deficiencies in the realm of acknowledging, let alone keeping, our Lord's commandments. This is despite the fact that Therese endured this from her fellow nuns in the Carmelite convent. But, St. Therese makes no demands as far as Francis can interpret, therefore he respects her.

The Jesuit order of course, in their Modernist freefall, have the same appeal. Not the order itself, but more in Francis's liberation theology inspired interpretation of Ignatian spirituality. When Francis stated that Ignatius asks us to open our spiritual sensitivity to encounter God beyond a purely empirical approach, he was talking less about the need to experience the awe of God in His magnificence, but more to interpret God in His mysteriousness. The relativism of the modern Jesuits, which has caused membership in that order to fall sharply across the world in the past twenty years, is something to which the erstwhile 'Who am I to Judge?' Pope is able to cling to.

As for Jorge Louis Borges. The postmodernist writer does not regard the infinite through the lens of Aquinas or Aristotle, but through the brute materialism and speculation of Nietzsche and Vico. Francis does not see the infinite as something that we can understand through this life, but through guesses, half measures and agnostic suppositions.

These are not intended as insults towards the Holy Father. Nor slander. But they do seem a familiar pattern, one that shows us some of the thinking behind his proposals for the 'Year of Mercy' rather than let's say the 'Year of The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass' or the 'Year of the Rosary'. Francis has defined mercy along the same lines of thought that have led him to hang out with Patti Smith and ask who he is to judge.

Such contradictions must make us question what exactly mercy means to him. He wants people to go to confession of course, but less to make recompense to God and more to make peace with themselves. He prays to Therese to ask for her watchful prayers, yet he mocks those who pray fervently for the same. He made solemn vows in the tradition of a firebrand like St. Ignatius and his followers, yet he mocks those who are 'rigid' and prone to 'self-absorbed promethean neo-pelagianism'. He reads Jorge Louis Borges but then turns around and distances himself from relativists and those afraid to profess their faith in God.

God's mercy is mysterious, but it is not incomprehensible.
His judgement is final, but it is not unjust.
Our Lord's mercy is generous, but not obtained by cheap showings of feigned remorse.

If we ever wonder about God's love, about what true mercy is, we think of those words 'Forgive them Father, they know not what they do'.

We do not say, 'Forgive me God, I did not know what I was doing' in situations where we knew we had committed the offence.

There is no mercy without justice. No justice without recognition of our faults. No recognition of our faults without an inner offering of our total selves to the divine will.

The Modernist tendency is to love St. Therese, the Society of Jesus and a writer like Jorges Louis Borges, not because of their admirable qualities in relation to their furthering of humanity's affinity to Our Lord, but there are some perceived chinks in their mystical approaches to life. They are seen by Modernists as being compelling thinkers because they believe in a God and in a life that is incomprehensible beyond mere guesses at what encompasses truth. In other words, they are excuses to get away with misbehaviour, not reasons to repent.

Genuine truth is Our Lord on a Cross. Rising from the dead. For our sins. To redeem us. This is the mercy He offered us. That we know how to live a good life within His commandments and repent through the sacraments of confession. Let us not look for ambiguity in a world where Our Lord lives amongst us, in the Holy Eucharist and in His Church.

True Mercy is to stay faithful to the reality of the Bride of Christ, the One Holy Catholic Church.

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth me. And he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father: and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

                                              Fulton Sheen talks about 'False Compassion'

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