by Howard Hain
Other people. That’s when things get complicated.
Being patient, forgiving, meek, honest, prudent, wise…when it comes to our own wellbeing is hard enough…but when it comes to dealing with the world’s offenses against those we love—especially those put into our care—things can really get out of hand.
For living a life of integrity and peace, of “turning the other cheek”, seems somewhat possible when it’s my cheek, but to ask me to act the same when it comes to witnessing an injustice against my mother, my wife, or my daughter, then it’s a whole other ballgame.
The lamb becomes a lion. I want justice. Now. A roaring lion. Game on. And it is no longer about defense. No, a full-frontal offensive attack is launched. Crush the opponent. Leave no opportunity for the “hyena” to not fully understand: “Not on my watch, you vile creature—you don’t stand a chance—and now you’ll pay tenfold.”
This is all figure of speech, of course. But internally, this hypothetical dialogue is somewhat close.
But then there comes the question of action itself.
What do we actually do?
What should we actually do?
Each situation of course has its own set of circumstances.
But Truth and Wisdom apply to every situation and circumstance.
And that hits upon what is perhaps the biggest affront the world inflicts upon those placed in our care: The lie that Truth, Morality, Virtue, Justice, and Goodness are relevant to time and place, to culture and historical period.
Truth is Truth. Moral Virtue is Moral Virtue. Justice is Justice. And offenses against Eternal Truths are offenses against Eternal Truths, whether you live in Poland, the United States, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, or Zimbabwe.
And yes, I am fully aware that the above statement makes the assumption that there are Eternal Truths. There are. Period. God’s Love and His demand for Human Dignity are real. God’s reality insists upon it.
Perhaps then this is the best first step in truly defending our families: To know the Truth. To stand in the Truth. To anchor ourselves in and to the Truth.
Day by day. Hour by hour. One Eucharistic encounter at a time.
Here then is such a nugget* that might help us navigate the turbulent waters of this new day:
“The rash man has no integrity; but the just man, because of his faith, shall live.”
a small lump of gold or other precious metal found ready-formed in the earth.