I’m going through some of the pictures I took while on my recent Missionary of Mercy trip to Rome. This picture was taken along the Tiber river near the Vatican outside of a hospital in which I was a patient back in the 1990s, in which, for a moment, Pope John Paul II was a patient after the assassination attempt.
The back of this bus depicts adults stuck in adolescent rebellion, making sin sexy power:
- “Break the rules.”
- “Run your world.”
Cute. And that’s the way it is. Zero thought. So egotistic. So dark. So crunched down in on just oneself. “I will not serve!” Non serviam! That’s the proclamation of the demonic.
The commandments are summarized as love of God and love of neighbor. Those are the good “rules” that the fallen world, the fallen flesh, the fallen angel – the devil – would have us break. But are those so bad that we should be entitled brats to shake our fist at God and disrespect our neighbor? Is that the way it should all work?
For instance, is beating down a girl friend and literally dragging her to an abortuary and then pushing her after murdering her child so that she then commits suicide really an effervescent niceness that’s attractive? That’s how “breaking the rules” works out. That’s what “running your world” looks like.
Satan makes sin look attractive to those who do not know God. But what’s on the back of that bus – to those with the love of God – is so very incredibly dark and ugly. The response, with all love of God and love of neighbor, is to share the greatest love of our life, Christ Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. The response to that, depending on the self-congratulations of the society of the time and place where one is, can be as bad as making their worship into putting you to death (the Gospel the other day).
The more sex is cut off from marriage and the family and therefore from life, the more it tends to push for death on every level.
Porn is super prevalent. It is everywhere. It is rationalized. “We’re mature!” “We’re adults!” But it goes from one stage to the next to the next. Those in the industry are treated nicely, until they’re not, until they are wasted in snuff films. If sex isn’t for life it’s for death.
But the thing is, it’s already a grave sin to do what David did when he so peacefully, wistfully, looked lustfully at his neighbor Bathsheba. But hiding behind this is violence of epic proportions, right from the beginning. It will come out. David would murder Bathsheba’s husband, betraying the entire armed forces, the entire nation.
Breaking the rules of love of God and love of neighbor is always about self-power, which is always about smashing down all others with violence. Yep.
But then, all is not hopeless. There is Confession. That’s not pious piffle. Look at the violence wrecked upon Jesus, tortured to death, taking our place, the Innocent for the guilty, now having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. “Father, forgive them.”
And then, with agility of soul and purity of heart, we love to keep the rules and let the fiery Holy Spirit run our lives. The love of God in all truth is infinitely more love and more truth than anything we could ever have with our own dark selves. God’s love and God’s truth is infinitely more attractive.
Thank you Jesus, for coming into this world to grab us and bring us to heaven.