Recently a friend on FB posted that Napoleon hired Michelangelo to paint over all the art that depicted Jesus as an African or a Black man. When I pointed out to him that Napoleon lived almost 300 years after Michelangelo he dismissed me with a 'thanks for your two cents".
This got me thinking about all the claims being made regarding 'fake news' and 'alternative facts'. It seems to me, and I may be wrong, that despite our being able to access more information than ever before in human history we still are having a difficult time figuring out truth from lies.
Read anything on FB today and you are obligated to do so through the lenses of your own particular prejudice. People of intelligence who are well educated can hear the same Senate testimony and come to wildly divergent conclusions as to what was said. An intelligent African American man can be given proof that Napoleon and Michelangelo never met and, because it is a white woman giving him that information, dismiss it because it does not fit his own particular narrative. Even worse, people read these posts and because they trust the people posting think they have been given new, secret information previously withheld from them by some sort of international cartel of horrid truth killers.
Things were not quite so polarized 25 years ago when I was making my way home to the Catholic Church. By the time I was ready to test all that stuff the nuns had taught me at Christ the King and Carondelet I could go http://newadvent.org/ and start reading. The internet offered me the chance to learn from a reliable source about the Early Church Fathers and Mothers. I found myself becoming more and more mesmerized by Early Church History. What I did not know was that the fires of my Baptism and Confirmation were being fanned alive by the Holy Spirit. What had begun as a challenge to find out if those nuns had lied to me so I could worship Jesus just like those FIRST Christians did became a journey into a spirituality that is deeper and wider and more mystical than any I had ever known - and I went to Berkeley in the 1970's!
Coming alive as a Catholic happened as a result of my reading and listening to radio shows like Catholic Answers. In particular, I was lulled back into The Church by people like Jerry Usher, Tim Staples and Jimmy Akin. There was no slightly snarky behavior, no attempts at humor that was hurtful but could later be excused because the person who heard the remark is somehow at fault because "they didn't hear it right". I remember one time being incredibly impressed because someone called in and chastised the host at the time for their tone of voice, saying to him that he sounded so smug and self-righteous. The host did not try to justify anything. The host simply said, "I am so sorry if I sounded that way. It was not my intention. I hope you can overlook my sinfulness and not let my bad behavior steer you away from The Church". I almost stopped my car on the freeway. I was in awe. Such humility. Such love. No "but" to that apology.
I have not always been the best at evangelizing - in fact, I am pretty sure I am the reason some people will never be Catholic - but I know that my bumbling attempts at sharing the Truth have improved. I am a better Catechist today. I am a better Catholic today. I even apologize better today.
What I fight today is my need to be liked and loved. That need is diminishing; however, it rears its ugly head once in awhile especially when someone shoots a verbal dart my way. Hurts, it does. Why? Simple - they don't think I am wonderful. ACK...how dare they?
Seems to me that the striving for humility must be a never ending mission for anyone trying to walk the path of Truth. Without humility, one can start to believe their own BS...they can fall prey to the sin of pride and start to want to be like God.
You know...that whole Original Sin deal.
Keep me in prayer everyone...and let's send up a prayer for The Warriors tonight. It would be nice to sweep, but let's remember that pride goeth before a fall....even in basketball.