DISPATCHES FROM FR. CHARITAS
Thursday, April 19, 2018
When both sides of an issue disagree with me, I sense I may be on to something true. Not always, not every time, but more times than not.
We live in a prejudiced world, and I suspect we all are prejudice in certain ways. Even those of us who desperately want to be without prejudice, we still have prejudice we fail to see in ourselves. The quest to be objective, impartial and fair is a daunting quest indeed. Our political perspective, our religious experience, our familiar subculture, our personal history and our social context, all can distort the truth of the matter unless we seriously and continually tend to the glasses through we look at the world.
I came from a working-class family, and for years we lived as domestic servants in Palm Beach. I recall how the wealthy viewed us as invisible people, workers of a lower caste, a servant caste. That experience prejudiced me against people of wealth … when in all fairness, the wealthy are individuals themselves. All my life I have asked the Lord to cleanse me of this bitterness that prejudices me.
As a teenager my closest friends happened to be Cuban immigrants and their families were so open and welcoming to me. My experience of these Cuban families was of warm-hearted embraces and celebratory joy … even with the reasons why they had to flee Cuba. I know, as is among all people no matter their ancestry, that individuals can saints and sinners, individuals that commit crimes and individuals that are law-abiding … still when I am around Cuban-Americans … I presume the best of them for that is how my personal experience prejudiced me.
Political conservatives can be prejudiced to anything that seems liberal. And political liberals can be prejudiced to anything that seems conservative. Republicans have their prejudice; Democrats have their own. Evangelical Christians see the Progressive Christians as “being that way” and Progressive Christians see the Evangelical Christians as “being that way”. Chances are everyone is wrong in certain ways and everyone is right in certain ways. The only hope is to humble oneself and examine thoroughly one’s inner thoughts and feelings … and pray for an objective discernment.
Too many warriors whose crusades have clouded their vision; too many warriors blind to what is true in the eyes of another.
I am a peacemaker, but not one who surrenders to either side. I am peacemaker whose vow is to set aside the prejudice, the delusions, and the hasty conclusions so that I might have a closer look and a clearer view that eludes most mortal souls.
In His Service always,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz