Sometimes we can find ourselves getting mad with our Bishops and Priests, and often this is over petty things, but also sometimes it is justified because of things like disgraceful criminal behaviour. This anger must be channeled in the correct way however. We must hate the sin not the sinner. Gossiping on the wrong doing of another is never ok, no matter who the person is. We remember what Jesus said “Let he who has not sinned………….” As Christians, we are called to love. Let the Lord do the judging.
We respect our Bishops and Priests not because of who they are, but because of WHO they represent. The men will come and go but the priesthood will live on. No matter what a priest has done he always remains a priest. He is the Lord’s instrument. This may be hard for us to understand at times, but the following story of St Francis however shows us how we must love and pray for them, and not condemn them. God has chosen them for a mission, through no merits of their own, and it’s a tragedy for all of us if it does not come to fruition.
The Story of St Francis
Some time during the last three years of his life, St Francis was told about a priest who was living with a woman. This caused great scandal and a very angry mob of people began to gather outside the priest’s house. They were planning on setting the house on fire.
St Francis asked to be brought to the priest. During these final three years of his life, St Francis had the stigmata. He is the first recorded to have received this grace. He was not able to walk on his stigmatised feet so they lead him to the house on a donkey. It is important to note that St Francis never became a priest, as he did not consider himself worthy enough.
He was carried into the priest, and proceeded in great pain to get down on his knees, as he held the priest’s hands. He said “I know what I know, and I don’t want to know anything more. This man brings me Jesus”. The priest was converted and changed his way of life.
What this priest needed above all was love. He had lost his way but God’s Love and Mercy is greater than any sin. If you have a priest you are concerned about love him. If you have a family member or neighbour you are concerned about love him or her. Love is what will really change the world, not scandal and gossip which has a damaging and destructive effect.
God bless You