- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

March 14, 2020

Fr. Justin Sheehan, OCSO

2nd Saturday of Lent

In the time of St Francis of Assisi, there was a friar named Brother Tancredo, who
had anger issues, and was often bitter about something. He was like the older
brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son. One time when he was having one of
his usual flare-ups, Francis put his hand on Br Tancredo’s shoulder and held him
back. “Wait a minute, Brother,” he said calmly, “hear me out. If the Lord wanted
to drive from his sight everything impure and unworthy, how many of us do you
think would remain? My poor friend, we would all be swept away – we, along
with everyone else. People are not all that different when it comes to that. But
fortunately, God does not go in for making clean sweeps. And that is what saves
us.

“Remember when Jesus drove the buyers and sellers out of the temple? He did it
to make it very clear that he could do it, and he did it only once, almost as if he
were making fun of it. After which, he gave himself over to his persecutors. That
shows us what the patience of God is like: not an inability to act severely, but a
willingness to love no matter what.

“Sure, we have no right to remain indifferent in the face of evil and of error. But
neither should we be annoyed or upset. Our annoyance and distress will only
interfere with charity in ourselves and in others. We should learn to see evil and
error as God sees them. That’s the hard part. Because when we see something to
condemn or to punish, God sees at once a distress that has to be helped.

“He is also the most gentle, the most patient of beings. In God, there is not the
slightest trace of resentment. When his creature rebels against him and offends
him, he is still, in God’s eyes, his creature. Sure, God could destroy him. But what
good would it do him to destroy what he made with so much love? He is the most
defenseless of all beings when it comes to someone he has created.

“God is like that father of a family who said to his grown-up children who were
eager to assume their independence: ‘You want to go away. You are impatient to
make your own way in life, each of you, on your own, and I want to say this to
you before you leave. If one day you are in any trouble, if you are in distress,
remember that I am always there for you. My door is always wide open to you,
day and night. You can always come. You will be at home, and I’ll do everything
to help you. When all doors are closed to you, mine will still be open.’

“God is like that, Br Tancredo. No one loves like he does. But we need to take
after our Father in heaven.”