On September 26, 2014 the long-awaited 90-minute documentary about our monastry and school will begin to be shwon on PBS stations around the country. You have to check the listings of your own PBS channel and look for broadcasts of "The Rule." I've seen it a few times and in my extremely biased view it is terrific. Please tell all your friends to watch it, too.
ON BEING EDITED
WILL GOD EDIT MY LIFE?
People who know me experience lots of different sides of me, the good and the bad. But now I'm wondering
what God intends to do with the seventy-two years (so far) of material that constitutes my life when I appear before the Judgement Seat. There are varying answers depending on ones perception of what God is like.
|God reviewing my sins on Judgment Day|
Others prefer a God who is like those statutes of Justice wearing a blindfold and holding the scales. It's all very scientific and objective, just like using a balance scale in chem class. If your sins weigh more than your good deeds, well, sorry, it's out of God's hands; mandatory sentencing follows immediately.
Still others find in the Gospels a God who edits your life in your favor the way Jerome did with my interviews in the the documentary. Jesus says to the public sinner who had washed his feet with her tears, "Your sins are forgiven; go and sin no more." He tells of the prodigal son's returing home to his father who is so glad to have him back that he doesn't even want to know about what the son did while he was away -- that part gets edited out. Jesus says to to woman taken in adultery, "Has no one condemned you? Then neither do I." It seems he's edited out all the bad stuff.
This latter kind of God makes a lot of people nervous because it sounds like God is saying "You have my permission to go and do anything you want. I'll forgive you. There will be no consequences." If your idea of God is the vindictive score-keeping One then yes, this is a real danger.
|Detail from Rembrandt's "Return of the Prodigal Son|
I realize that the concepts of sin and morality are also out of fashion, but I believe that in re-evangelizing people (including many Catholics) we need to introduce them not to a God of Fear and Force but a to God who is a Father who loves each of us infinitely as his own dear children exactly as we are. We know that sin offends him, and that it makes him sad to see us sinning. In this case, then, we will want to avoid sin not out of fear but because we know that sin hurts the One who loves us infinitely. If someone has introduced you to this God who loves you so much, then your attitude toward sin is going to be anything but off-handed and lax.
In any case I sure hope that God rereads those New Testament stories about forgiveness before I appear in front of him for judgement, because my life will need some serious editing!
ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY
The documentary film "The Rule" will be shown in the Northern NJ area on NJTV on Sun. 9/28 at 10 PM, and on channel THIRTEEN on Mon. 9/29 at 10 PM. It's due to be shown on most PBS stations in the U.S.
Here are links to just a few of the reviews that have come out so far if you'd like to read some:
The Rule Official website