Thursday, June 23, 2011

Until It Is Over and Beyond

Ever since Fr. John Corapi's announcement on Saturday, that he is now the Black Sheep Dog, I have watched as fellow members of the Church have churned over it like spicy chile being stirred in a pot on a hot stove.. I have heard and read people on both sides of the spectrum. Some would write him off as damaged goods or even talk like he's returned to a life of addiction to cocaine. (The latter accuser later posted an apology for that statement. Thanks be to God!) Others who have a deep love for Fr. Corapi - dare I say an attachment to him rather than his message - are fully behind him in what he is doing. But it is not the messenger we are called to follow. It is the message. The message is Truth and those of us who know Fr. Corapi can clearly hear his resounding voice in our heads saying, "The Truth is not a something. It is a Somebody. And that Somebody is Jesus Christ."

I have debated over the last several days as to whether or not to get into the fray beyond offering my prayers for this wonderful priest whose ministry has brought so many lost souls to the Lord and into the Body of Christ. My statements on Facebook asking others to pray for him seemed to get lost among all the others. 

Fr. Corapi is undergoing his greatest trial as a priest. Maybe this is the greatest trial of his entire life - and as we know those have been many. But this fray is, in some ways separating the sheep from the goats. Oh! How easy is is to judge someone when you haven't walked in their shoes, especially when you assume you have all the facts - which we do not. None of us has walked in Fr. Corapi's shoes. We can only walk in our own shoes! But I also know that we are not to judge. One of the readings this week, from Matthew's Sermon on the Mount, was about this very thing. 

Matthew 7:1-5"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at th especk of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocurte, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

We don't really know what Fr. Corapi is going through, do we?

When we have a  friend who is going through a difficult time, we don't beat them when they are down - if we are a REAL friend. We are simply called to be there to encourage, not judge. Like the Good Samaritan, we are called to stop and render aid when a friend is down. 

Luke 10:25-34, 36-37

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered right, do this, and you will live." But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. so likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. but a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn and took care of him. . . . Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him. "Go and do likewise."
Walking past like the Levite and the priest who doesn't want to make himself unclean doesn't prove us as his neighbor, does it? In fact, we prove ourselves to be like the one we consider reprehensible. Instead, let us by like the neighbor of which Jesus speaks. Let us show mercy.

At this point, we can only speculate and conjecture about the entire chain of events. Neither does us any good. As Fr. Corapi would say, "It isn't over until it's over." If we do not judge and we pray for Fr. Corapi while hanging onto the Truth he passed on to us for 20 years, then we are truly free - until it is over and beyond. Perhaps, a fellow member of my parish said it best in her blog, Conversion Diary. Fr. Corapi guided her 
"toward the only thing that matters — the truth of Jesus Christ. . . . No matter what happens, I will always respect his talent for capturing the truth, and will eternally owe him a debt of gratitude for highlighting its beauty so well. . . . My love of the doctrines of the Faith will remain unscathed, . . . I pray that Fr. Corapi feels similarly liberated to take whatever time he needs to pray, pause, and seek the still, small voice of God, knowing that it is not his burden alone to pass on the Faith. God has given us the truth through a system that is outside of and above any one man. And because of that, we are all free."

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