June 13, 2020

Fr. Boniface’s Message

A local church, St. Patrick’s, printed in their bulletin a homily by an “alumni” priest, Fr. Boniface Endorf, who is now serving as pastor of a church in Manhattan.  Excerpts are good reminders:
Human dignity must be respected always. Its recognition is the only antidote to racism, and we must respect everyone’s human dignity even when fighting racism. Otherwise, we undermine the very reason why racism itself is evil.Human dignity must form the foundation of our life together, in the field of law enforcement and politics and everywhere else.

At this moment two great dangers threaten our hearts: anger and despair. Anger in itself is good – anger is a natural human passion whose purpose is to provide us the strength to overcome injustice. Anger can be the spur pushing us to work for justice. However, when anger works against justice it becomes corrupted and a vice. Anger that leads one to act unjustly has contradicted its very purpose. In our fallen state anger easily exceeds its warrant to seek what is just and we must be careful not to use anger to justify injustice.

Anger that leaves us trapped within ourselves, narrowly focused on an event, becomes a form of inner slavery. We become bound to the injustice that caused our anger. We do not act for justice but become obsessed with anger itself. Our minds become consumed with what happened, and our passions lead us to act in ways we otherwise would find unacceptable. Anger then becomes toxic and controls our minds and hearts. The only antidote is forgiveness. To forgive is to regain our own inner freedom and to heal. When we forgive, we step out of a cycle of injustice and regain our freedom to love. In our thirst for justice we should never forget love and mercy.

The other threat to our hearts is despair. What can we do when faced with centuries of injustice – indeed, injustice stretching all the way back to Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel? First, do not look too long into the Palantir. The Palantir is an object from the Lord of the Rings used to see what is happening far away. One of the characters in that story, a leader of a nation, looks into it and sees the evil surrounding and besieging his nation. He sees only the evil, not the good, and amidst that darkness, he falls into despair. His despair cripples him spiritually and prevents him from fighting for the good. The same can happen to us. Through the Internet, we can see what’s happening all over the world at any moment, and the sheer volume of evil and darkness can spiritually cripple us too. Despair is stalking us and we must make sure that we grasp for hope instead. Do not focus solely on the darkness! Do not let it fill your mind and sow despair within you. Stay focused on Christ and His victory over sin and death. He is our hope.

We must be a people conformed to Jesus – people who seek love through truth rather than power through hate. To change a culture of hate, a culture that fetishizes power and death, we must change our hearts to love in truth. There is no short cut or simple political solution. Sin and death were not overcome through raw power and violence, nor through political skill, but through Jesus Christ giving His life for us out of love. We are called to follow in Christ’s footsteps – giving ourselves in love as He did. That is how evil is defeated.

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