Monday, November 03, 2008

Admonishment

Before moving out here to Reno/Sparks, I knew nothing about Fr. John Corapi, SOLT (Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity). I'd heard fellow Catholics talking about him, but since Maryland has no real Catholic radio to speak of, I'd never heard Fr. Corapi preach. Now, with Catholic radio on the air here, I can hear him regularly (I generally don't listen to online radio; out of sight, out of mind.)

Wow. Fr. Corapi doesn't mince any words. He has a thundering voice that commands respect, and he's been through a lot, having dealt with addictions before his conversion and ordination.

I've already heard a couple times his talk on admonishing sinners. He cited specifically Ezekiel 33: 7-9:

You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me. If I tell the wicked man that he shall surely die, and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked man from his way, he (the wicked man) shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked man, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.
This, however, has been replaced by the Postmodern Testament, which says in the Letter to the Politically Correct 3:4,
You shall show tolerance for what anyone does, for tolerance is the highest virtue. You don't want to be known as a hypocrite, do you? If you declare anything as wrong or sinful, you are being judgmental and you shall be labeled a bigot, a prig, a homophobe, a Puritannical prude . . .
To which G.K. Chesterton says, "Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions."

Like Ezekiel, Fr. Corapi is charging me with warning the wicked of their sinful ways not in order to show moral superiority, but to keep them from the above-mentioned fate. As Ezekiel continues in verse 11:
As I live, says the Lord GOD, I swear I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but rather in the wicked man's conversion, that he may live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! Why should you die, O house of Israel?
That says to me my own sins and sinfulness are what condemn me, not God Himself.

As an example of this admonition, some time ago I mentioned St. Dominic Savio. In that post I quoted the following, adding emphasis here:
Everyone in the school saw from the way he prayed that this boy was different. He greatly loved all the boys, and even though he was younger, he used to worry about them. He was afraid that they would lose the grace of God by sinning.
I know I don't care that much . . . yet. And my heart has to be in the right place, or I will come off as self-righteous.

God, grant me the grace to admonish the sinner for their -- and Your -- sake, not mine. Amen!

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