I am in a strange position and must suspend the blog, hopefully, temporarily. Those readers who already have my email may email me, of course. I must work on my present physical situation full-time.
All I can say is that this suspension has nothing to do with anything connected to the blog and everything to do with my being here. Pray for me.
One of the greatest evils which has crept into middle-class Catholicism is the Calvinist idea that the chosen, saved people of God have physical blessings on earth.
For years I have spoken and written about the "middle-class church" which cannot see the value of suffering and which blames those who suffer loss of material status for crimes or horrible sins.
When one suffers in the States, the typical thought which enters the minds and hearts of many Catholics is that the person must have sinned grievously against God to merit such a life. If one is a financial failure, one is to be blamed entirely for some sort of egregious sin.
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, states St. Paul.
So, there is an idea that those who consistently suffer must be shunned, not allowed into one's sphere, set aside.
Ironically, many of the saints who lived in past centuries would have been shunned by pious middle-class Catholics.
Such attitudes, like, such and such a saint must have done something wrong to be treated by his or her community as a pariah, is an idea more common that not.
SS. Padre Pio and John of the Cross both were punished by their own communities simply because they were graced by God in extraordinary ways. St. Teresa of Avila and St. Therese, the Little Flower experienced criticism within their own order. St. Benedict Labre died as a beggar. Blessed Margaret of Castello was abandoned by her own parents.
The list is long. And yet, the idea which expresses itself like this, "Well, if you had not done something wrong, you would not be in this state" resounds loudly among laity and religious alike.
The days when religious houses accept the poor are long gone. The hospitality of religious houses now has a price tag. The orders, in some cases, have lost their original charism.
We have all sinned. There is no one who can claim that they are blessed physically, materially by God because they have been "good".
Material blessings have nothing to do with merit or holiness, but merely God's goodness and Providence.
In His Wisdom, He plans that some people are poor, even destitute.
When Catholics in America were poor, they were better Catholics, as they did not confuse the American Dream with the life of saintliness.
Socialism has deadened the moral conscience of a large segment of Catholic society. The other evil is gross individualism, which undermines attempts to build community.
To be mistrusted simply because one is poor is a great suffering. But, with it comes joy, as Christ Himself was mistrusted by His own people and He is totally Innocent. One joins in the suffering of Christ in a real and intimate way.
What can a follower expect if one really follows Christ but misunderstanding, marginalization, false judgement? And, if one loves Christ, one desires to be like Him is all things. To those whom He allows to experience His Own Life, spiritual blessings follow in abundance.