Satan: “Cursillo, foiled again!”

I’ve been away for awhile.  I actually have a job now, which believe it or not has dramatically changed some of the dynamics of my life.  It can be tough to come home and plop in front of a computer, after having been in front of one all day.  I have to admit though, there is  something to be said for biweekly direct deposit, and the monthly Cupcake Day.  But enough of my petty issues…

I went on a Cursillo last weekend – and some of you know that because you were there too, or have heard me talk about it.  An amazing experience, and the afterglow hasn’t completely worn off.  I’m very excited about Ultreya, which is the monthly gathering of “cursillistas”, the term for those who have gone through the weekend.  These “small Christian communities” meet all over the Archdiocese.  I have had the good fortune to be doing a small group reunion for about year, even though I was not yet a cursillista.  This is where a group of 4-6 men (or women) meet weekly and share prayer and testimony regarding their Christian walk.  To their great relief I’m now bona fide, and they won’t be called in by the Cursillo Inquisition to explain why they let an infidel into their group.  (I tease, I joke guys)

Those who heard my testimony at the end of the weekend, and saw me struggle with my inner John Boehner (tears, not the need for nicotine or the urge to find the nearest tanning booth), heard me touch on the foreshadowing of Heaven I felt during the weekend, i.e. the echo of the gathering of the great multitude in Revelation at the heavenly court, everyone united and happy in the presence of God. Despite our fallen nature, I never felt a sense of personal agenda at our table or with anyone those three days.  We brought agendas of course, but they were put aside by men longing for a deeper friendship with Christ.  And it was over the course of this weekend of prayer, fellowship and reflection that an answer to one of the “big questions” suddenly became clear to me.

We’ve all struggled with this one: “Why would a loving God send people to Hell?”  I think we don’t see the problem inherent with God consigning a Hitler, a Judas, or a Paulie Shore to it (St. Peter shaking his head “’Son-in-Law’?  I’m sorry Paulie, we just can’t overlook that.”), but what about all those “nice” people who haven’t killed anybody?  We’ve heard from the pulpit or from Christian commentators that God doesn’t send people to Hell, that it is a choice, but we have a hard time with that, because why would anyone choose to go there?

I’m about to wade out into the theological Sea of Galilee, where there could be a sudden drop-off.  I’m hoping that I don’t hear a knock at the front door in the near future, and it’s those three Cardinals proclaiming as I open it “NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!”  But I see some people preferring Hell because they will be happy there.  Right now you’re going “Tom, you just crazy!” but bear with me.

We all have people in our lives (sometimes we call them “relatives”) who have issues.  These issues takes many forms, but self-centeredness is inevitably the foundation these folks build their house on.  I know a person whose basic world view is “life is not fair”.  Everything that touches on this person’s life is not fair.  For example someone got special privileges at work, and that was a slap against her personally in her view, although to a disinterested third-party…

Digression  Alert  Something that bugs me in our current use of the English language is how often “disinterested” is used instead of “uninterested”.  A jury that is “disinterested” will yield an impartial verdict; a jury that is “uninterested” is bored out of their skulls and yearn for lunch. 

…it was perfectly fair, because the offending individual actually earned those special privileges, while she did nothing in that regard.  If you’ve ever watched Dr. Phil deal with colorful human wreckage, you’ve seen him dispense sage advice that is the epitome of common sense to some poor noob, and the response is an unfocusing of the eyes and a defensive outburst akin to Kirk ordering Sulu to fire the port phasers, full power.  Granted, it wouldn’t take much work to make Dr. Phil look like a Klingon, but I think you get my point.  Such a person would be unhappy to be part of the great multitude, wondering why Beneficent from the 3rd century gets to be in the front, or that their white garment wasn’t slimming, or wishing the 24 elders would get on with it so everyone could be dismissed and they could picnic by the Great River and toss their empty beer cans into it.  The old saying “Misery loves company” would get fully sway in Hell, where everyone would be supremely happy in their unhappiness.  There a lot of diatribes would begin “You think you got problems!”  A great read on this subject is “The Great Divorce” by C. S. Lewis.  Don’t approach it as doctrine, but as a stimulus for reflection, and hopefully greater empathy on this side of the grave for all of us dealing with our post-Fall baggage.

God bless us all!

Explore posts in the same categories: Catholicism, Faith, Humor

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