One must wonder what’s going on in our world. The tensions among peoples and nations, even among ourselves in our cities and Church rattle our sensibilities. Did we somehow think we were advancing as a people and as humans?
It seems as if a bandage has been pulled off an open wound or the lid lifted from a simmering cauldron. Perhaps the moral proscriptions intended to guide human interactions were only thinly applied to our personal morality. Whatever the issue—turning away immigrants fleeing poverty, clerical sexual abuse and the abuse of authority, racial and economic and educational disparity in our cities, rural communities feeling left out and ignored, rise of authoritarian leaders—it seems all our dirty laundry is out there for all to see.
In his “Rules for the Discernment of Spirits,” St. Ignatius Loyola provides this insight about how the Evil Spirit works: “When the enemy of human nature turns his wiles and persuasions upon an upright person, he intends and desires them to be received and kept in secrecy.” But when that secret is shared and comes to the light of our loving God, the Evil Spirit loses the advantage.
As uncomfortable and disheartening as these times may be, perhaps this is the appointed time to shed light on our human sin. Perhaps we have hidden away in secret places in our hearts the fears, brokenness, hurts, and disappointments of our lives. When these see the light of day, though, when exposed to the mercy and love of Christ, we can begin to be healed. Healing and reconciliation cannot begin as long as we hide our sin or pretend there are no social injustices. Yes, it’s embarrassing and it’s humbling, but it is necessary.
I admit I don’t like a lot of what I am seeing at work in the world or in my own heart at times. But seeing it and naming it for the evil it is takes the advantage away from the Evil Spirit. This time may be God’s invitation to seek forgiveness and reconciliation, to become the human beings and the human community God created us to be and we know we can be.
Robert Hotz is a consultant with American City Bureau, Inc. and was the Director of The Passion of Christ: The Love That Compels Campaign for Holy Cross Province.