Friday, March 16, 2007

Striving for Charity

I apologize for the slow rate of posting in recent days; I've been rather caught up in a gay marriage debate on another blog, and have spent a couple of days defending traditional marriage, using some of the points from the posts I wrote on the subject in February.

One of the hazards of entering into a debate like this on the Internet is that interested parties--in this case, people who identify themselves as gay--have a tendency to plunge into argument based more on their personal feelings and the sense that only bigots could deny them something many of them have come to see as a fundamental right of which they are being unjustly deprived. There emotions are, quite naturally, strong on the subject, but unfortunately their ability to be rational suffers as a result.

I'm aware that for people like me, clearly on the other side of the issue, it can be difficult to act with charity toward people in that state. Objectively speaking, they are not living in accordance with God's will, but then, neither am I, a lot of the time. It helps to remember to love the sinner and hate the sin; it helps to remember that the Church itself doesn't want us to act in hostility or anger, even as gay activists try to dismantle marriage and wreak further havoc on the traditional family.

Christ died for all of us. If the least rational of the gay posters on that blog today were the only person ever born, Christ would have died for him alone. Defending the Church's teachings on traditional marriage, and especially doing so using secular reasoning so one's arguments can't be dismissed as religious bigotry, may be challenging. But doing so with charity in mind and the hope that at least some who read the various exchanges may come, if not to an absolute change in their own positions, at least an understanding that our position is not motivated by hate or by religious bigotry, is worthwhile.

As I've participated in these discussions, I keep coming back to a beautiful quote from St. Therese of Lisieux which appeared on my daily planner a few days ago:

"True charity consists in putting up with all one's neighbor's faults, never being surprised by his weakness, and being inspired by the least of his virtues."

That quote reminds me that no human being, however far he has fallen short of the Kingdom, is ever worthy of being despised. Insisting that marriage should remain between one man and one woman is not an act of hatred; treating those who disagree with scorn or contempt always is, and must be avoided, no matter how difficult it may get.

1 comment:

Portia said...

" human being, however far he has fallen short of the Kingdom, is ever worthy of being despised."

How true, and how important for us all to remember, no matter what side of any issue one comes down on.

You put it very eloquently.