Perhaps it would have been better if God had created us, and then just left us alone to figure things out for ourselves, no interference, no hints of the direction he wanted us to take, and no commands that would make us feel guilty if we just ignored them. But God didn’t do that. He gave us ever so subtle signs in nature, the 10 commandments, and above all his Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who came not to condemn but to grant us eternal life, and who commanded us to love as he loved us. Such blatant interference! Was it necessary?
Perhaps God wanted us to know that there are some things we should do, and some we should avoid. Thus he gave us an “owner’s manual” of sorts by these gentle interventions. However, because of this, we will always be torn between doing what we want (with no one to tell us otherwise) and making an attempt to see things God’s way; and since we were created free, his commands will thus engender different responses from different people. Some may welcome and embrace, others reject and rebel, and sometimes we will do a combination of both! One person may thus decide, for example, that Church teaching on sex and marriage is “200 years behind,” and another person may discern that on these matters the Church is prophetic, “200 years ahead.”
Whether the Church is “behind,” or “ahead,” in warning us of trouble on the horizon for the sanctity of human life, of marriage and of family, the very way Jesus himself entered into our world, humble and kind, is the way his Church should also “interfere” in the lives of God’s people! That is the approach of Pope Francis, who never denies Church teaching, but rather affirms it, and proposes it anew with much mercy and love!
The Church learns a valuable lesson from God’s humble and loving “interference” in our world: we too must be loving and humble when we advocate unwelcomed truths of the Gospel, especially such difficult truths as life is sacred from the moment of conception to natural death; that marriage is sacred, “what God has joined let no man put asunder”; that artificial contraception is not worthy of the beauty and spiritual meaning of the marital embrace; and that sex belongs to the sacred bond between a husband and a wife.
These truths, written in our very nature are often rejected in our modern day, but are nonetheless, signs of God’s gentle “interference” among us. His “owner’s manual” can be for us, even if not popular or welcomed by all, life-giving and helpful.
+ Bishop Gregory J. Mansour
(Reprinted with permission.)