Rock crushes scissors, paper covers rock, scissors cuts paper, and vice hates virtue. Such are the rules of the game. And they are not going to change. In the game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors” you simply accept the rules and proceed accordingly. So it should be with vice and virtue.
If we understand these rules, when an explanation for virtue or any Catholic teachings is scoffed at, rather than get angry, we should anticipate it. How many times have we gotten angry or frustrated when people are antagonistic or seemingly dense against our defense of virtue? But really, what did we expect?
On February 3, the Sunday Gospel reading was Luke 4: 21-30. Jesus was speaking in the synagogue. At first, “…all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.” But then, Jesus touched a nerve and the reaction changed. “When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.” Vice hates virtue. It has always been that way and always will be. It’s the rule.
During the following week, I was listening to The Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo on Ave Maria Radio. She was interviewing a guest who was explaining the Catholic teaching regarding God’s gift of sex within marriage between a man and a women. He explained that all urges are not equal; some are disordered. The guest said, however, that the Church does not preach hate but rather love and understanding. It also preaches such virtues as abstinence, repentance, and acceptance of suffering.
But then an email came into the show: “You are never going to be happy until every gay person burns in hell!” Teresa reviewed what had actually been said which was nothing of the sort. The guest commented that such people do not want to call in and have a calm discourse but rather they lash out in anger. Vice hates virtue.
As Catholics who embrace Church teachings, by being aware of the rules of engagement, we can avoid feeling defeated, angry, or frustrated at the inability to get through to some people. Vice is never going to embrace virtue. That is were the Holy Spirit comes in.
We must speak the truth and live by our examples, but it will be through prayers and love that grace will knock at the door of suffering souls grasping to defend vice. Only when they loosen their grip on vice and allow grace to enter, will they be won over. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, vice can be defeated, but it is never going to like virtue.
So, now that the rules are understood, let the game begin. And may the best man win—the one who is both man and God; Jesus Christ.
© Patti Maguire Armstrong. All Rights Reserved.