Monday, July 25, 2016
OUR RENEWAL: RESCUING HUMILITY FROM SHAME (PART 1)
(Posted by Glaucon Jr)
If we want to aid in the renewal of the Church on Guam, we have to deal with Kiko’s misuse of shame.
With two decades of NCW influence on Guam, his teachings have soaked in on levels most haven’t even noticed yet. Sure, the heresies themselves are in-your-face and must be combatted, but there’s the stuff that’s unsaid that Kiko and his catechists teach that prepares the ground for the seeds of such evil. To my mind, there is one core Luther-an belief that is particularly destructive: that man is evil in everything he is and does, and Kiko himself is the way out of that evil.
We are created in the image of God, and made for life and happiness. Aquinas himself says that of all creatures, only Man was created by God simply for happiness (and real happiness is God Himself). It was only by our sinning in the Garden that our nature became corrupted. But that corruption isn't complete.
So how corrupted are we? After the Fall, we know the original Man (Adam and Eve), and therefore we, lost our “original holiness,” as the Catechism calls it. By succumbing to sin, we “become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image - that of a God jealous of his prerogatives” (CCC 399). Spiritually, we hide in the Garden when the Lord comes to walk with us in the cool of the evening (Gen 3:8-10). That is shame for what it really is.
But that's not the same as saying, "Adam, Eve: you are no better than the serpent. You are the scum of the earth for not having obeyed me. I never should have created you!"
So there are two very crazy images of God. One is that He doesn’t exist (which isn’t an issue if you’re reading this). Two is that He is some Lord of Power who demands complete submission from His slaves—or else.
This submission is the devotion found in Islam. And it’s the submission found in the NCW. The pious (no pun intended) of both groups find joy is absolute submission. All things are evil, or at least corrupt; by destroying the goodness of relationships and creaturely things in this life, they find an escape from the responsibilities that come with being a Christian who lives in the world, but not of it.
THAT is why Kiko, Pius, and the others go on and on about how your family is your idol, your job is your idol, your hobby is your idol. All of these are, for them, just evils, having no intrinsic goodness on their own. It's taking the 1st Commandment and seeing it through this lens of "man is evil in all things." Sure, these things need to be understood in light of God, just as all creatures are loved for the sake of the Creator, but that doesn’t mean throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Family and work and even recreation and play are gifts from God for our happiness in this life and preparation for the next; they aren't evils.
This is a submission born of a misplaced shame, and this kind of shame flows from self-loathing. For so many of us, hating ourselves—not the sin in us, but ourselves because of some inner belief that we are evil—is what passes for humility. The intellect is so darkened that everything feels like an accuser pointing a finger at us.
We see this time and time again. Teenage girls who become “sluts” and are profoundly promiscuous tend to do so not from lust but from a need to feel loved, which is why it's so hard to bring them back from self-destruction. And because of the grave sin they commit to fill that hole in their heart, the need for love or acceptance is never satisfied. It just goes on and on, and it’s because they hate themselves, and not just because of their sin. They hated themselves first, and that started off a whole new sinful cycle.
Or take a young woman who works for me. She barely survived a car wreck, was clinically dead for a few minutes, and then hospitalized for months. Her fiance was killed instantly. Even after two years, she wishes she had died. She hates herself because she survived. She's lives in a self-imposed shame. And that kind of pain cries out for healing, and if it doesn't get healing, it will take whatever it can get--including approval of self-loathing--to dumb it. In her case, it was meth, and that's a whole new world of pain and self-loathing.
So when the NCW comes into people’s lives, it promises freedom from this sin: freedom from depression, bad marriage, alcoholism, you name it (and I know you’ve seen the signs). Invitation to Joy. And once they begin with the NCW, the catechists feed into that self-loathing by saying, “Yes, you are worthy of self-loathing. You are evil. Jesus loves you, but you're still worthless.” Then they offer the NCW as their get-out-of-jail free card. They offer themselves as the way to Heaven because there is no other way for such evil.
Just ask them: what saved your marriage? “The Neocatechumenal Way.” What helped you stop drinking? “The Neocatechumenal Way.” And so on.
They rejoice because now everything is confirmed, all is justified. I am worthy of hatred. I should hate myself. Everything I touch turns to s*@t. But the NCW accepts me as evil because all of us are bad right through.
But that isn’t humility; that’s indulgence in self-loathing and (in some cases) morbid self-pity. Of course God loves us no matter what, but we aren't called to hating ourselves. We weren’t created evil, and we aren’t evil, no matter what Kiko says. We do evil things, but it doesn’t have to be that way. That's the meaning of Christ saying to the woman caught in adultery: "Go, and sin no more." We are not helpless; we have His grace.We have the Church. If He loves us, then we are lovable, and to be lovable, there must be something about us worth loving.
We are called to be like Him, to be conformed to Him. And He doesn’t loathe himself.
Once we recapture what humility is, then we can earnestly strive for it, pray for it, practice it. Without REAL humility, we are incapable of truly adoring God for Who He Is: the God who is Love. We must be transformed in that Love to gain Heaven. Hatred of oneself is the exact opposite.
Anything short of that makes contempt for our very being a virtue. And that’s a notion that Satan has down cold.
And once Pius and the rest of these merchants of self-loathing are removed from Guam (Lord, deliver us!) this is one of many heavy burdens these poor, well-meaning Neos on Guam will need to have to finally let go of. And it's for us to be there to help them.
To be continued…