When I was young, I was a good little Catholic boy, never missed a mass, knew my Rosary Beads by heart, and could say an Act of Contrition in no time flat!
I owed my Catholic knowledge to the Little Sisters of Pain at Our Lady of Perpetual Guilt in South Philadelphia. These nuns beat the love of Christ into us at every turn…I can still recall Sister Crusher, ruler raised above my knuckles, as she taught a young Pax the Stations of the Cross…ah yes, it was a wonderful time.
One thing that HAS stayed with me through all those years of Catholic School was The Eight Beatitudes (culled from the Sermon on the Mount), these were supposed to be the very tenants, the foundation of all good followers of the teachings of Christ. They went something likes this:
• Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 3)
• Blessed are the meek: for they shall posses the land. (Verse 4)
Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Verse 5)
are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.
• Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (Verse 7)
• Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. (Verse 8)
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
• Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for
theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 10)
There is no doubt, these solemn blessings are beautiful and, one would think, that the modern bible thumping Christian would hold these words of Jesus high above everything else in their belief system. Yet I wonder how the guy who shoots the abortion doctor or the President who spreads war (yet claims his personal relationship with Christ), or the Television Preacher that advocates the killing of gays can justify their views with these blessing, these words of wisdom supposedly uttered by the Son of God?
I wish Sister Crusher were still around, I’d love to introduce her to someone like Jimmy Swaggart; I could see her now, slamming him with a yard stick while braying, “Matthew 6:5 ... when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, [so] that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.”