I wanted to take a moment to sort of EXPLAIN my viewpoint …to give you a sense of what, for lack of a better word, REVELATIONS I have had as a cleric.
I have been remanded and reprimanded by SCORES of other clerics who say that what I do is “an abomination”…that it is somehow “vile” and “a corruption of God’s word”…oh sure, they use WORSE words, but I have a theory…wanna hear it?
See, when I first started this calling I was under the impression of spreading The Word… performing Marriages, Funerals, Baptisms, giving a Sermon, etc, were the core of what a cleric is supposed to do. And yet after the first couple of months I found that what I REALLY do is so much more than simple “Rites” or “Ceremonies”…see, I have found that as a cleric it is not simply my job to look after the SPIRITUAL comforts that people need…but also their EMOTIONAL ones as well.
Case and point: ANY cleric can perform a funeral…but it takes one who truly wants the family to heal, one who TRULY understands their pain, to want them to begin a long road to health and recovery from a loss.
I turn to God’s word and I see time and again His Words of helping others, providing not only for the physical but the spiritual, and I think to myself “Is that ALL??” ..and the answer surprised even me…NO.
Does anyone remember the movie “The Martian Chronicles”..? Remember the small segment about the two Clerics who came to Mars to look after the spiritual well being of those who had settled there…only Fr Peregrine came to actually try and “preach” to Martians (even though they were supposedly no more)? He made a statement that struck me as SO PROFOUND…so MOVING..that I cannot help but wonder if THIS statement is partially responsible for me doing what I do.
Here, let me quote this part of the movie and you will see what I mean…
“Upon introduction to Col. Wilder, Fr. Peregrine explains his mission, but he also harbors a personal curiosity about the Martians.
He enquires concerning a rumor about blue spheres, but no substantiation is forthcoming. Peregrine wants to exchange ideas with Martians if any can be found.
He wants to see the old Martian cities. Wilder compares Mars to the Wild West: colonization is proceeding too abruptly, there is too much corruption, and spiritual guidance is needed.
Wilder confides in the priests: he wonders if the Spender who attacked his fellow members of the third expedition was the real Spender. Perhaps there are still Martians afoot.
Wilder shows them the ruins of a Martian city. Pieces of it are being dismantled to be sent back to Earth. While others drive back to the Earth settlement, the priests stay behind, choosing to walk back on their own. Fr. Peregrine is actually the one who takes charge.
The two priests debate theological issues as they hike back to home base. By dusk they are lost. Three blue spheres appear.
Stone is afraid, convinced it’s the devil’s work. Peregrine is unafraid; he tries to communicate, showing his cross. The spheres depart.
But Peregrine’s shouting appears to provoke an avalanche.
As rocks rain down from the mountainside, the priests prostrate themselves on the ground, fearing the worst.
But a blue sphere descends from the sky, picks them up, and moves them to a safe spot. Peregrine is elated: this proves that the spheres have souls and free will.
Stone as usual wants to limit his attention to Earth souls that need saving; he is averse to non-human creatures. Peregrine asks: “Can’t you recognize the human in the inhuman?”
THERE…the humanity in the inhuman…the soul in those (as others would have it) as soulless…
See, I read in God’s Word about how we are supposed to help each other…to look after each other..TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER… and to ME that INCLUDED those souls without a voice…yes, ANIMALS…
Is this not also the job of a cleric? To help those OUTSIDE of what the acceptable rules of “the job” entail ENTIRELY..?
Was it not my Master who, when confronted by the church leaders of His day as to why He associated with sinners and tax collectors..those who were “outside of God’s Grace” in THEIR eyes..?
“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.
When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’
For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” -Matthew 9:9-13
We were told to LOVE one another… “For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”” -Galatians 5:14
And yet, it was rather “non specific” about WHO, or WHAT, constituted “your neighbor”… did He mean only those who go to YOUR Church? Or MAN deemed worthy to save or help?
I believe my Master meant EVERYONE…yes, those in human form, AS WELL AS those with NON HUMAN form….
“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?
Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?
Do not even pagans do that?” -Matthew 5:46-47
I believe He meant love EVERYONE…not just the straight…the Christian…those who attend church…EVERYONE.
I have noticed that there are those who make a big deal about a certain Saint (Francis by name) and on his feast day they make a big show about blessing animals, and companions, and many people bring their pets to this blessing…but that is only ONE DAY A YEAR. HARDLY what we, as clerics, are SUPPOSED to be doing! We are supposed to be LIVING His Word..OBEYING His laws and edicts…
They tout how special these companions are in God’s eyes…how He gave them to us for companionship and how we should all be grateful yadda-yadda-yadda…and yet when that particular day passes, and perhaps one of those companions departs (dies) they do NOTHING to aid the person who has lost their beloved companion.
They spout “they have no soul” or “we cannot do that because our laws do not allow it”…HOW VERY DARE THEY!
Was it not the SAME DIVINE ACTION through which God created MAN that He ALSO created animals?
How then can they say “Animals have no soul”..? Is it because they cannot speak? Or is it because they do not put money in a plate, or further a set of ideals CREATED BY MAN that they are cast aside?
No, I feel that (as a cleric) it IS my duty and obligation to minister NOT ONLY to those who can speak and say “hallelujah” but ALSO to those who CANNOT speak, who have no voice..those who carry out the actions of HIS COMMANDMENT to the LETTER. They give us unconditional love, and do only as God has made them to do..and yet we segregate…we EXCLUDE them from our faith so many times.
Does not The Scriptures TELL us we are supposed to be helping those same creations HE MADE?
“I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.
Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other.
All have the same breath ; humans have no advantage over animals.
Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.
Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”” -Ecclesiastes 3:18-21
This is why I have walked this path for the last 8 years…to help those GOD SENT rather than those man would call to me…
This is why it is named a “CALLING”…for God calls those HE NEEDS to do HIS work HE sets them to…not what MAN thinks a cleric should be doing…
This is why I PERSIST in still praying for, ministering to, and aiding those same creations HE MADE and blessed…
Think about it…carefully…would God send someone to do His bidding if HE HIMSELF had not already sanctioned it?
“Consider what God has done:Who can straighten what he has made crooked?
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.” -Ecclesiastes 3:13-14
I know in my heart of hearts, and the deepest recesses of my soul, that my Master CALLED me to do this work…not because of some social “I was an activist”…because I wasn’t…yes..I too once saw them as “just animals” and “not human”…until I looked at them through HIS eyes..through HIS WORD…and saw the SOUL inside.
“I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.
That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.
I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.” -Ecclesiastes 3:10-14
Think about it…to see the humanity in the inhuman…is this not the CORE of what FAITH IN CHRIST is?
Is this not fulfilling His law regarding loving one another?
Perhaps they are angry because I am somehow (in their eyes) taking away something from them? That somehow I am “luring” others away from their church? I do not think so…for I gather NO MONEY from ANYONE…for I took a vow of poverty to prevent that same evil from infecting my soul…
“They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, they seek their own gain.” -Isaiah 56:11
Perhaps they pursue something OTHER than God’s will…yes? Like in the days of old when it was written: “Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, Her priests instruct for a price And her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD saying, “Is not the LORD in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us.” -Micah 3:11
PERHAPS they hide behind THEIR laws because they realize that they have not been following HIS laws…
“If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?” -Proverbs 24:12
God is NOT deceived…He watches those who will do as HE commanded, and not as MAN has commanded…
This is why I care not ONE JOT who rails at me, calls me names, or threatens me…for I look to a higher judge than they in the end.
If I am wrong it will not be for MAN to judge my actions…for I do not serve MAN’S law…until then, I DO BUT SERVE MY MASTER…THE LORD ON HIGH…
“But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.
When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the LORD your God and listen to His voice.…” -Deuteronomy 4:29-30
So do not be afraid to speak to those without a voice…do not be afraid to find the humanity in the inhuman…for He Who Watches All will see your HEART…