In reading the story of the Last Judgement in Matthew Chapter 25, it is significant that all of the sins mentioned are sins of omission; not feeding the hungry, not caring for the ill, not welcoming the stranger, not visiting the incarcerated. Those condemned might well have answered: “But God, I was so busy!”
I am convinced that spiritual indifference is as great an enemy of Christian life as evil. Indifference occurs when we become so responsive to our daily duties and responsibilities that they, not God, become the driving force in our lives. What we lose is perspective. The things that become the center of our lives may be, in themselves, good things. They lead to spiritual indifference when they become ends in themselves instead of steps on our journey to God.
Pope Francis’ fraternal corrections to the members of the Curia before Christmas were a reminder to all who minister in the Church, that we must constantly guard against “spiritual Alzheimer’s,” forgetting the call of the Holy Spirit that drew us into ministry.
For that matter, the litany of temptations outlined by the Holy Father provides good material for an examination of conscience for all Christians. I was edified that in reading responses to stories on the Pope’s talk, most did not applaud the chiding of the Curia, but saw the same failings in themselves.
What Pope Francis did was to remind us that even religious duties can lead to spiritual Alzheimer’s and cause us to forget that what we are doing is God’s work. The same is true whether we are a bishop, a banker, a mother or a farm laborer.
Image Credit: CNS/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World