In the face of yet further multiple instances of mass killings, as well as the current situation of many brothers and sisters in detention facilities, I believe it is not enough for Catholic disciples to address violence as it manifests in overtly criminal action against human life (from which most of us could exempt ourselves). I believe we must actively and charitably confront hateful attitudes that lurk within many hearts and minds. Case in point: social media.
Spoiler alert: I am negatively biased! I believe that social media can be applied for good (in fact, as a parish, we are trying to use it more expansively to disseminate the beauty of our Catholic Faith). However—and I own this as my personal bias-- all too often, social media is largely a swamp. Using an analogy, can one go fishing in a polluted swamp and find edible fish? Sure. However, if I have the option of fishing in healthier waters, why wouldn’t I? While dining in a restaurant in Belgium recently, I read a wonderful sign: We don’t have internet. Talk to each other! To me, in many cases we ought to refer to anti-social media!
Enough of my pontificating. Let us turn to Saint Theresa of Calcutta. The following is excerpted from her address at the 1994 National Prayer Breakfast.
…it is very important for us to realize that love, to be true, has to hurt. I must be willing to give whatever it takes not to harm other people and, in fact, to do good to them. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is not true love in me and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.
It hurt Jesus to love us. We have been created in His image for greater things, to love and to be loved. We must "put on Christ" as Scripture tells us. And so, we have been created to love as He loves us. Jesus makes Himself the hungry one, the naked one, the homeless one, the unwanted one, and He says, "You did it to Me."
When He was dying on the Cross, Jesus said, "I thirst." Jesus is thirsting for our love, and this is the thirst of everyone, poor and rich alike. We all thirst for the love of others, that they go out of their way to avoid harming us and to do good to us. This is the meaning of true love, to give until it hurts.
… if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?... Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.