What labels have you heard Catholics use to describe other Catholics? How many have you used to describe others? With which of those labels do you associate yourself?
I know that this post is going to be a little preachy, so be prepared. I am a lot touchy about being labeled, and I am fully aware of this. You, surfers, may also be touchy about being labeled. Labels can be intimidating and even keep people from participating in Church. Take for example the label “lapsed Catholic.” You have heard it and perhaps used it in your life so you know those folks who have taken a Mass hiatus in their 20’s have heard it. It is difficult enough for people to reintroduce themselves into the Church after a long period of time, but when others look down their noses by labeling folks it is even tougher to break the stigma of the label. (oh, please insert the Prodigal Son story here)
For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.
Ah, but humans do show partiality. “…and as the Jews were the chosen people the more learned, as the Scribes were, and the separated or set apart, as the Pharisees were, presumably thought they were more chosen than the rest. Comments Frank Sheed: In too many Pharisees a misunderstanding of the nature of Israel’s uniqueness led to a contempt of the Gentile. Similarly, we find appalling things said about the great number of their fellow Jews, lumped together as; 1) the people of the land; 2) the accursed multitude which knows not the law, a Scribe could write ‘the garments of the people of the land are a source of uncleanness to the Pharisee.'”
In these days we humans are no different than in times past. As a human race one would have thought that we might have grown out of our penchant for partiality. As Catholics, following the example of Jesus, one would have thought we would not desire to divide ourselves into camps, each judging the other.
In these days what we Catholics fail to accept is “… Jesus did not divide people into good and bad, into the perfect and irredeemable, the elect and the rejects of society. He ate with sinners and tax collectors, yes, but he also ate with the Pharisees. He was no respecter of persons.” If we want to follow His example we need to acknowledge that there is but one label – one body in Christ.
Q: …I can’t imagine God loving some people more than others. At the same time, I can’t help but have a twinge of jealousy when I hear how close other people are to Him. I wish my relationship with Him was just as close. What does it mean for God to have favorites?
A: To say that “God has favorites” involves applying a very human expression and a very human reality (we all have favorites) to God, who “transcends” our human limitations. God certainly doesn’t have favorites the way we have favorites.
(CCC #42) God transcends all creatures. We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, image-bound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God–”the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable”–with our human representations. Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God.
– FR. JOHN BARTUNEK, LC
Dear surfers, I borrowed the title of my blog from another blog that I regularly read: Rorate Caeli. The title drew me in and I ended up reading the whole blog post. I hope the same happened to you when you read the title of this blog.
Please remember that regardless if you are labeled a “small c Catholic” or a “triumpalist” in God’s eyes you are the same. These labels are just human representations that confuse our image of God and put limits Him.
I am human and I will use labels when I shouldn’t. I pray that God will give me strength to ask forgiveness for those times of label indiscretion. I also pray that God will give me the grace to forgive others who use labels on me.
Dominus benedicat te,