A Look (in GIFs) at What Jesus Experienced in His Human Nature

Jesus is one Person who bears two natures — human and divine. What that means is that Jesus, while still fully God, was also fully human in his earthly life, through his bodily ascension into heaven, and even now still (He’s God, he can totally do that).

Although a personal encounter with Jesus is something every Christian strives for (or ought to be striving for), I would bet that few of us fully comprehend or have ever pondered just what that human nature of Christ entailed.

Sure, Jesus never sinned, but he was tempted, and he did have to grow from infancy, through the teenage years, into adulthood before assuming His place at the right hand of the Father. So, here’s a little look into some things Jesus probably did and exhibited during his earthly life (in GIFs):

1. Jesus was an adorable little baby.

Source: Tumblr
Source: Tumblr

“Amen, Amen I say to you, googoo gaga.”

2. Jesus “fall down go boom”  cute-adorable-toddler-falls-on-ice-walking

He probably didn’t have that sweet snowsuit, though.

3. Jesus smiled at Mary with food on His face. baby smile

Was it a seamless bib? We’ll never know…

4. Jesus had to learn how to walk. baby learn walk

And THEN he had to learn to walk on water.

5. Jesus giggled at silly things. laughing

Jury’s still out on which of His friends had a lightning scar on their forehead.

6. Child Jesus needed saving from harm, and St. Joseph saved the day. 1369070969_dad_catches_kid_flying_off_swing

No wonder God put him in charge.

7. Jesus played in the yard with his family. funniest-kid-gifs-dizzy-soccer-kick

St. Joseph: Terror of Demons and Spinner of Children

8. Jesus enjoyed the company of animals. Like chickens… Kid-Hugs-Chicken And puppies… Puppy-Licking-Michael-Scotts-Nose 9. Jesus loved the beauty of nature. ron

I mean, He did create it after all…

10. Jesus loved spending time with His friends.

Cory_and_Shawn

11. Jesus laughed.

laugh michael scottjohn candy laugh

12. Jesus cried.

crying leocrying pippin

13. Jesus got angry (righteously).

knope angry

the face…

flipping-table-gif

…and the flip.

Jesus probably did it way better than Thor, though

14. Jesus got annoyed by things.

agnes-annoying-sound-o

Does this count as annoying?

15. Jesus had to deal with the deaths of people He loved.

forrest

Food for Thought: Mary & Joseph had to teach Jesus about death.

16. But in the midst of hardship, Jesus didn’t despair.

aragorn

Basically, the things we experience, as humans, on a daily basis — Jesus literally knows what that’s like. That was the whole point in His coming to earth by taking on a fully human nature — so that He could walk with us, live with us, and (eventually) redeem our fallen nature through his suffering, death, and Resurrection.

It’s likely more difficult now than it ever has been to fathom how God could possibly know what we’re going through. What’s more, we’re often driven to believe that God can’t care about us or can’t be all-loving when He seems to put us or others through bouts of incredible suffering, loss, and difficulty.

However, we can (and should) find solace and great comfort in knowing that any hardship we’re asked to weather in our lives, God has experienced Himself. Through scourging, beatings, carrying the cross, and crucifixion — the greatest of all suffering — Jesus took our suffering onto Himself and gave it redemptive power.

He tells us not to be afraid, and, as the John Michael Talbot song goes, “I go before you always. Come, follow me, and I will give you rest.” We can trust Jesus, because, in His humanity, He suffered first, going before us in the way of the Cross to show us that suffering can be redeemed.

This Holy Week, we ought to contemplate the profoundly human qualities of Our Lord, and through them strive to become more like Jesus in every part of our lives.

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Understanding Pope Francis Requires More Than Shallow Thinking

Pope Francis just started Year Three of his papacy, and commentary has been rife with predictions and analysis of what’s still to come, the meaning of his first two years, whether he’s been good or bad, and on down the line. The quality of any article on this particular pope, given his personality and wide-ranging appeal, typically runs the gamut between “Spot on” and “Dude, seriously?” but one in particular may have set a new boundary past the latter.

The article, written by Nicholas Frankovich of the usually-spectacular National Review, bears the title “Pope Francis Enters His Third Year of Scolding Introverts,” so right from the get-go one could guess that the article likely won’t have a positive tone, and perhaps might just amount to a superficial smearfest, as is all-too-common lately in analysis of the Vicar of Christ.

The reality is just that — the article, while of excellent writing quality, is built on a foundation of sand, pointing lots of fingers without any attribution and extrapolating on a false dichotomy in the Church and elsewhere of introversion (which Pope Francis apparently hates) and extroversion (of which Pope Francis is apparently World Champion).

While I think the author’s intentions were good in pursuing this topic, the end result shows instead that personal bias, not critical thinking, came through the loudest.

Again, the basic premise of the article was pitting introversion vs. extroversion, with the author claiming that Pope Francis consistently hates on introverts and encourages everyone to instead become extroverted. This, of course, would be absurd and cause for uproar if it were true. 

j0ye8

An army of straw men seem to have found themselves at the mercy of Mr. Frankovich, so here are four keys to understanding Pope Francis correctly:

1. Selfishness is not a synonym for introversion

One of Frankovich’s biggest sticking points comes not from a direct quote by Francis, but instead by another writer opining on the following quote by Francis:

If you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.

To me, this quote spoke of self-absorption and the selfish tendencies we have as humans in a fallen state — which is far from legitimately supporting a disdain for introverts. Indeed, put in the proper context (which wasn’t included in the opinion piece or Frankovich’s article) we see this is the case, since Pope Francis prefaced the line with, “Be giving of yourself to others.”

If we turn to Philippians, we can plainly see that St. Paul taught something similar:

Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but for those of others. (2:3-4)

The REAL issue (as it has been throughout all of human history) is not about introversion and extroversion, but about two other, completely unrelated things, which brings me to my next point …

2. This is more about “selfishness vs. humility” than it is about “extroversion vs. introversion”

The false dichotomy of introversion vs. extroversion manifested itself in a rather interesting way once Frankovich allowed it to play out. In pegging Pope Francis and Co. as extroverts, he necessarily had to plop all of the Church’s contemplatives — those monks and nuns, past and present, who gave their life in prayer and service to Christ. This poses a bit of a problem.

Lillian Vogl, a reader who posted a rather appropriate comment on the article, wrote:

The difference between extroverts and introverts is not how much they talk or like to interact with others, but how they “recharge their mental batteries.” Pope Francis isn’t criticizing those who prefer to recharge in private contemplation, he’s asking them to not forget what they are recharging their batteries to do. Which is to LOVE, which requires self-giving to others, not to admire oneself in self-satisfaction at one’s intellectual depth and orthodoxy. The Pope is criticizing those who do the latter, not those who find strength through frequent introspection to love their neighbors in any number of ways, whether quiet or bold.

She went on:

Healthy spirituality balances both the horizontal and vertical, and does not get offended about being urged to exercise those muscles which are not as naturally strong. [Speaking to Frankovich] You did not cite a single thing that Pope Francis has actually said to “scold” introverts. He has only scolded the “self-absorbed.” If you hear that and think he is talking about you, then that is a matter for you to work out in your introspective conscience, not to react by spreading the calumny that he is disrespecting introverts.

I don’t think I’ll add anything else … Lillian seems to have it covered.

3. “Being in the world” and “Worldliness” are vastly different things

At the 2013 World Youth Day celebration in Brazil, Pope Francis delivered a brilliant speech to young Catholics gathered there to “make a mess” and to “go out” and evangelize the world. In saying this, the pope was making the same missionary call to Christians that Jesus gave to his disciples 2000 years ago, to “Go!” and “make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19).

Francis went on:

I want a mess in the dioceses! I want people to go out! I want the Church to go out to the street! I want us to defend ourselves against everything that is worldliness, that is installation, that is comfortableness, that is clericalism, that is being shut-in in ourselves. The parishes, the schools, the institutions, exist to go out! If they don’t go out, they become NGOs, and the Church can’t be an NGO.

Dubbed as a “brain-bruising knot of contradictions” by Frankovich, actually understanding the context in which the Holy Father spoke would tell a great deal about the true purpose of these words. Francis is spurring young people to action (which is a great thing), he’s directing them to become more authentic Catholics Christians (which is a great thing), and he’s reminding the universal Church’s youth what the point of the Catholic Church is — to bring souls to Christ and to help people get to heaven through Him (which is the greatest thing of all).

By saying essentially, “go out into the world in order to fight worldliness,” Pope Francis is acknowledging that, though we are born in the world, we must rise above the temptations of the world. Once upon a time, there was a man named Jesus who was also born into the world, and who also rose above the temptations of the world — even with the Devil himself standing next to Him. That’s a valuable distinction that Frankovich missed.

It’s almost as if Pope Francis was alluding to the words of St. Paul yet again:

Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)

4. Pope Francis DOES have a robust prayer life.

Throughout the entire article, Frankovich implicitly assumes that Pope Francis is somehow opposed to people whose vocation called them to give their lives in prayer and service to the Church, and in so doing implies that extroverts (the pope included) just don’t have time for prayer. Really?

On his two-year anniversary, Pope Francis related his interior experience on the night he was elected:

During the vote I was praying the rosary, I usually pray three rosaries daily, and I felt great peace, almost to the point of insentience. The very same when everything was resolved, and for me this was a sign that God wanted it, great peace. From that day to this I have not lost it. It is ‘something inside’ it is like a gift. I do not know what happened next. They made [me] stand up. They asked me if I agreed. I said yes. I do not know if they made me swear on something, I forget. I was at peace.

It hardly sounds like a man who doesn’t have a robust interior prayer life and relationship with the Lord. Know what it does sound like, though? From Frankovich’s own hit piece:

From the gospels, we know that Jesus in his own life integrated solitary prayer with the busyness of his public ministry. The pattern was for the former to precede the latter.

Darn, it seems like the pope thwarted that shot too. In fact, Pope Francis is nearly as big a fan of the Blessed Mother as St. John Paul II was, having not only entrusted his pontificate to Mary, but also having said (among many other quotes) about the rosary:

Mary is the mother, and a mother’s main concern is the health of her children … Our Lady guards our health … helps us grow, face life and be free.

A prayer-less extrovert isn’t likely going to receive an interior peace from the Lord out of the blue, much less get elected pope of the universal Church. Good thing our pope is the furthest thing from prayer-less.

Vatican Pope

Looks like prayer to me…

You wouldn’t know that from Frankovich’s article, and that’s a very sad thing indeed. Our pope may not make everyone feel warm and fuzzy, but neither did Jesus. Our faith is not one of comfort. Our faith is equally difficult for extroverts and introverts, and sufficiently so for each — God guarantees us of that.

Saying Pope Francis is “shallow” or “at least presents himself as such”, that he “preaches mercy for everyone except [introverts]” or “leans left in his politics and theology” (which has been proven wrong time after time), and that he “has little apparent interest in the life of the mind” or “lacks the patience to think slowly” is simply uncharitable and profoundly disrespectful. Especially so when it comes without any attribution to Francis whatsoever, save for second-hand opinions of him.

On top of that, Frankovich puts the icing on the cake with three short sentences in stomping on the New Evangelization: “Drop that sourpuss, Counter-Reformation stance contra mundum. Engage the world with a smile. Let’s dialogue.”

Ultimately, Frankovich makes himself look silly in writing, as a friend of mine put it when bringing the article to my attention, an “article of shallow hating.”

The Catholic Church isn’t an island. We exist in the world with many other faiths, as well as hundreds of thousands of people who currently don’t ascribe to a single one. If we want to grow the Church, we won’t get the job done acting like it sucks to be a Catholic, and we won’t get it done if we don’t engage with others unlike ourselves. We especially won’t get the job done putting people in boxes labeled “Extrovert” or “Introvert” in place of pursuing true Christian virtue regardless of temperament.

We have to go out. We have to set the world ablaze. Whether we’re introverted or extroverted, we must do it authentically, because that’s the witness Christ asked of us.

But maybe most of all, at least for the immediate future, we have to stop bashing our leader, who’s doing a pretty darn good job, whether we think so or not.

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Compassion Always, Compromise Never: Why Spokane’s New Bishop Will Be Great

The Diocese of Spokane received its new shepherd, Bishop Thomas Anthony Daly of San José, California, a couple months ago, and honestly it was like an early Christmas present. Not having a bishop for all of Lent and the better part of 4 months was a bit of a bummer, so the long-awaited news was like music to my ears for more than just that reason.

In reading all the news coverage on the day of the announcement, all the while wondering how this new leader would do in Spokane and eastern Washington, I ran across a short quote Bishop Daly uttered at his introductory press conference that he said was his guiding principle:

Compassion always, compromise never.

Bishop Daly was speaking about his past role as a board member of Catholic Charities in San Francisco, but more specifically about how being a Catholic institution in such a “progressive” city caused them to face some tough questions in terms of what the Church believes and teaches. He clarified that by “compromise never” he meant never compromising the teachings of Christ, which are the fullness of the truth.

The words are profound enough in themselves, but they hold immensely more weight in considering who is speaking them. They show, at the same time, a softness of heart and a rich and abiding integrity of mission that’s both all too uncommon and desperately needed in our world today.

That, more than anything, is what a bishop ought to be.

BishopDaly-StainedGlass

Many might take the word “compassion” to mean something along the lines of mere empathy, or perhaps an understanding and acceptance of people where they’re at, without an intent to push the person outside of a comfort zone for any reason. In reality, though, compassion literally means “to suffer with”.

In light of this, Bishop Daly’s words have such a large impact because it indicates not only his understanding that we experience suffering in our lives as Catholics wrestling with tough teaching and as humans wrestling with temptation and sin, but more so that he desires to share in our suffering with us.

Suffering, by its very definition, implies that there is something uncomfortable, perhaps even painful, going on. Suffering never comes about on its own; it’s always triggered by a prior occurrence, whether intentional or unintentional. Maybe the most vital aspect of understanding suffering is that we only experience suffering when that undesirable situation is also unchangeable.

When considered in the light of the radical requests of the Christian life, suffering carries even more meaning. In signing up for the Christian life, we choose to live a life not on our terms and choose to join an institution where the rules aren’t changeable, no matter how we feel. Compromise just isn’t an option, at least not if we want to live authentically as Christ asks us to live. The reason we still do it, though, is because the suffering that results will be redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

The fact that Jesus was fully human — that He experienced literally the same temptations and hardships that we do during his earthly life — seems to get overlooked all too often, but it’s the key to understanding compassion in the Christian sense. Jesus came to earth for precisely that reason: to show us that suffering in the life and circumstances God gives us can be redemptive; that it matters, despite its difficulty. More to it, St. Padre Pio once said:

“The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self; there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain”

This is precisely the abiding principle it sounds like Bishop Daly will bring to Spokane, and it comes at a great time. In a part of the country that was (and still in some part remains) particularly affected by the experimental kookiness of the post-Vatican II Catholic Church, and in a place that, similar to many other parts of the country, is home to generations of un-evangelized Catholics and even more who have stopped attending Mass altogether, the assignment of Bishop Daly is just what the doctor ordered.

Bishop Daly has previously written that the Christian ideal is best exemplified by personal example above all else. In a letter written to men studying to be priests less than a year ago entitled Evangelization by Example, the bishop cited the importance of living an authentic witness with “generous, holy hearts.”

From the sound of it, what we’re getting is a shepherd who not only “smells like his sheep”, as our beloved Pope Francis called for his priests and bishops to be, but a bishop who seeks to uphold rather than overhaul the duty and doctrine he’s been entrusted with. He’ll be the general that leads from the front lines instead of the back, showing us the path to holiness by glorifying the Lord with his life first.

May God bless Bishop Daly in his new home in the Northwest.

Watch his installation at KHQ.com

UPDATED 5/18/15, 16:20

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5 Ways to See God in Ordinary Household Tasks

UPDATE: To hear an interview on this post with the author on Relevant Radio’s Morning Air Show, click here (fast forward to the 28:45 mark)

To say the least, God is easily misunderstood. Many take God to be a grandiose, out-of-reach source of guilt and outdated morals, and, in any case, seem to assume that God and everyday life simply aren’t compatible. That assessment couldn’t be further from the truth (though the “grandiose” bit is pretty spot-on), and yet even lots of people who are firm, faithful believers in God — myself included on many occasions — tend to feel that God is still somehow far away. We know He loves us and never leaves us, but man, can’t we just get a little affirmative nod from Above every once in a while?

Well, it turns out those little signs may be right under our noses, but we either are attentive to other things or simply don’t have an adequate understanding of the nature of God to understand that our day-to-day life is chock full of opportunities to witness the Divine. So much is made of lives being “exciting enough” anymore, that we all have a tendency to believe that somehow our lives in the day-to-day aren’t good enough.

I’ve previously used a quote by Fr. Robert Barron about the goodness of simple, seemingly insignificant daily occurrences. It also applies well here:

God is the unconditioned source of goodness, truth, and beauty. Therefore whatever is good, whatever is true, whatever is beautiful participates in God and reflects God. And so…the frescoes on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, a beautifully-proportioned building, a handsome face smiling in friendliness, an innocent child at play, a crisply executed fast break, a well-written television program, all these things in their truth, goodness, and beauty speak of God.

We’re driven by our culture to believe that something far beyond simple, daily tasks are needed to find fulfillment or worth in life. However, if we look in the right places and do those tasks with the right mindset, our lives will become infinitely more valuable than we ever though possible, especially in the eyes of the One who created us and our day-to-day life.

Here’s five great places to start:

1. Opening the blinds.

blindssuck

There’s something that speaks to the soul in opening the shades on a warm, sunny morning (or even a chilly, winter one) and letting the light of the new day into a cozy home. Light has long been an identifying characteristic of God — “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3), the Transfiguration of Jesus, beautiful multi-colored cathedral stained glass windows — and It’s no different in this case.

Light is one of the most basic goods of our lives. Without it, we could do almost nothing, but light has value far beyond its mere use to us. As Fr. Barron went on to say, “Light is that by which we see, that which illumines and clarifies. But at bottom … light is beautiful.” There’s a spiritual aspect of ourselves being fed in the simple act of opening the windows and letting light into our lives. What’s more, doing so physically is bound to help us do so metaphorically in our spiritual lives as well.

2. Making food.

food

Whether we’re cooking for ourselves or for others, the act of preparing food to nourish our bodies is one of the simplest “goods” we can experience or accomplish in life. We were given by God a body which needs nourishment in order to live, so by the very act of nourishing ourselves and those around us, we actively participate in the will of God for us on the most basic of levels. Health and well-being are intrinsically good things, therefore acts that bring those two things about profoundly “speak of God,” especially when they’re done for others.

The next time we make a meal for someone, or even for ourselves, simply thinking to ourselves, “my hands are being used to prepare nourishment for someone who was created and is loved by God,” helps us to be better aware of both the Father’s immense love for us and for the dignity of ourselves and those around us.

3. Using a towel.

Drying dishes. Drying hands. Drying feet. Wiping your child’s face. Cleaning up messes. The night before He died Jesus used an ordinary towel to wash the feet of his disciples. What might be an odd or insignificant practice otherwise was made profound in the person of Jesus.

Source: Reuters/Enrique Garcia Medina
Source: Reuters/Enrique Garcia Medina

Feet, in the First Century, would get incredibly filthy from walking dusty roads, so it was customary for a host to provide not only water for foot washing, but also a servant who would wash them. It’s a great service when anybody does it, but considering that the Son of God/Second Person of the Trinity/Creator of the Flippin’ Universe knelt down and did a servant’s job in washing the feet of his friends makes the act all the more remarkable. Each time we use a towel, especially using it in service to another person, allows us to remember that humble act of Jesus and make our act all the more meaningful.

4. Dusting & Vacuuming.

vacuuming

Dance Moves: optional.

What on earth can dusting and vacuuming have to do with the spiritual life? One of the easiest traps in life to fall into is a sense of complacency, of allowing struggles in our lives we’ve successfully worked against to find a hold once again in our lives. Another all-too-common occurrence in our lives, if we’re not careful, is to let decisions “make” themselves instead of exercising our will and making a definitive choice according to the fruit of prayer and the whisperings of our conscience. In essence, it’s easy to let the dust build up on our souls just as it is on the coffee table.

Dusting and vacuuming, the routine sprucing up of the places in which we spend the most time, are good things on their own simply because taking care of our possessions is an intrinsic good. However, they can also serve a great symbolic purpose if, while doing them, we consider areas in our lives that have perhaps grown a bit dusty. Thinking through our day or our week while moving and shaking behind the vacuum won’t just result in a benefit within ourselves; the people we love most will also enjoy those fruits.

5. Cleaning the windows.

window

The dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding uttered perhaps one of the more classic lines in modern film when he said (repeatedly): “Just put some Windex on it!”  After all, what’s better: a smudgy window, or a sparklingly clear window?

Just like the cleanliness of a window is directly related to the ability to see clearly what lies on the other side, so too does the state of our lives directly relate to our ability to see clearly through that “window” into the spiritual life. If our lives become smudged, mud-splattered, or covered with bird feathers from those dang robins that keep flying into it, chances are good we’ll see a lot less clearly what the best direction for our lives are. Next time you bust out the Windex, we ought to consider the parts of our lives that could use a little of the blue stuff themselves.

St. Therese of Lisieux, the physically-small-but-spiritually-large saint best known for her “Little Way” of holiness, once said:

“Little things done out of love are those that charm the Heart of Christ… On the contrary, the most brilliant deeds, when done without love, are but nothingness.”

We can be partakers of this “Little Way” too. We just have to know where to look.

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Archbishop Cordileone, Willy Wonka, and the Hullabaloo in San Fran

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, bishop of San Francisco and all around stand-up guy, has a target on his back thanks to a dispute over revisions to the faculty and staff handbooks at the archdiocese’s four Catholic high schools.

The revisions mainly include morals clauses clarifying the asking of teachers and staff to uphold Catholic teaching in their public –not necessarily private– lives, as well as classifying teachers in a “ministerial” role when it comes to that very subject.

First of all, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that: a) an authentically Catholic archbishop is asking Catholic schools to be more authentically Catholic, and b) that protesters at those schools are (more or less) saying “I don’t wanna!” a la Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

hellogiggles.com
hellogiggles.com

In fact, the scene in the original Willy Wonka film bears a striking resemblance to these “me-right-Church-wrong” situations, right down to a barely-audible, hilariously coincidental quote by Veruca’s father, the spineless ninny who only lives to please. Here’s how the scene plays out:

VERUCA: “Daddy, I want a golden goose!”
CHARLIE BUCKET: “Here we go again…”
MR. SALT: “Wonka, how much d’you want for the golden goose?”
WONKA: “They’re not for sale.”
MR. SALT: “Name your price!”
WONKA: “She can’t have one.”
VERUCA: “Who says I can’t?!?!”
MR. SALT: “The man with the funny hat…”

Veruca proceeds to sing about all her deepest (albeit selfish) desires — the world, roomfuls of laughter, ice cream, bars of chocolate — all of which are good things in themselves, but more importantly all which that can be imprudently used to very bad ends.

To close the scene, right before her trip down the garbage chute, Veruca sings, “If I don’t get the things I am after, I’m going to scream,” then tears up the room. Perhaps the even stranger thing is that Wonka calmly lets her do it.

We know how the rest goes: They leave the golden goose room, each remaining kid removes his or herself from the tour by getting too taken by a particular room in the factory (Charlie included), Charlie apologizes to Wonka, Wonka rejoices and takes Charlie and Grandpa Joe flying in the glass elevator, then Charlie becomes the heir to the chocolate factory, and they live happily ever after.

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Through this current murky situation, Archbishop Cordileone, in the same way as Willy Wonka, will say what he can to clarify the Church’s position to the world, calmly witnessing to the fullness of the truth, and courageously standing firm in his role as shepherd of San Francisco. At the same time, however, he’ll also let people keep their free will to protest, whatever that ultimately entails. You can lead people to the Church, but you can’t make them believe it.

Sure, parts of the “chocolate factory” may get destroyed by the brokenness of its occupants, but I’m sure that’s happened lots since the factory was built.

Just as the Chocolate Factory was around long before Veruca got there and would be standing and operating long after she left, so too has the Church been standing “reeling but erect” (to quote Chesterton) long before this dispute in California arose, and so too will She stand long after the dust has settled.

It’s no fluke that the Catholic Church has been around for 2000 years without changing Her teachings to fit the culture. In fact, not changing teaching to fit the culture is precisely why the Church is still here today, and it’s naive of Her detractors to think that changing now will prove beneficial for the future.

In the end, the only person who ends up getting burned is Veruca herself. Her selfishness, after all is said and done, leaves a stain only on herself and leads her down an ugly (and broad; Mt. 7:13-14) road. Likewise, her father’s unwillingness to do anything other than please those around him will only hurt him in the long run (Gal. 1:10). Wonka, on the other hand, continues as he was, welcoming anyone who, like Charlie, marvelously wonders in thanks at the gift they’ve been given instead of trying to take and change what’s not theirs to take and change.

Archbishop Cordileone, along with any faithful Catholic, is merely obeying the God for whom he gave his life in service. In the thick of the vitriol from his oppressors and those who disagree with him, the good archbishop may at times not be able to make sense of it, but, as Fr. Robert Barron so aptly put it:

We cannot, even in principle, fully understand what God is up to, what his purposes are. His commands – which will always be for our good – are nevertheless often opaque to us. And this is precisely why we have to obey, listen, and abide – even when that obedience seems the height of folly.

The wildcard in this whole situation is how this sort of blowback and protest will increase in our country in the months and years to come. There may come a time where, despite our best efforts as Catholics and as Christians, good sound reason and charity will stop having an effect on people of the world who want what they want no matter the cost. I hope that we’re a long, LONG time from having to live through such a period in this country, but I believe it’s naive to think it unlikely that someday, even in America, Catholics and Christians will be physically cut down for what they believe in.

However, it’s possible for us, as a nation and a culture, to ensure that never happens, and the way to it is to respect that in some things there are boundaries, limits to what can and cannot be done.

When a person works for the Church, in particular for Catholic schools–places “that exist to affirm and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ as held and taught by his Catholic Church” as Abp. Cordileone’s revisions state–there are rules that ought to be followed, and it is safe to trust that they exist to bring us to our fullest possible happiness, even if we’re unable to see it at present.

Pray for Archbishop Cordileone. He needs them. But also pray for those who denounce him, and pray that we all can be humbled before God’s call for our lives and for the Church.

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