Judge Not – by A.J. Avila
We all have a tendency to jump to conclusions.
That was certainly the case for me one time after a visit to my local library. Back then I was still single, and so I had gone there alone. On the way out, my arms laden with books, a rather seedy-looking man—who obviously hadn’t bathed for quite some time—held the door open for me. I thanked him as any lady should do when extended this courtesy.
But when we got outside in the parking lot, it was a different story. It was night, and except for the two of us, the lot was empty. I could hear this guy’s footsteps right behind me. And he was whistling the way a man whistles at a woman he thinks is attractive.
I began to panic. If he grabbed me, I had no defense. Fortunately, the police station shared the same parking lot. It occurred to me I should turn around, hurl my books at him, and run for the police station as fast as I could.
As I approached my car, I readied myself. To my distress, the footsteps were getting closer, and he was still whistling. I whipped around, about to pelt him with my books—
—and fortunately discovered what was really happening.
He wasn’t whistling at me.
He was calling his dog.
I have to admit the greater part of the reason I thought he was going to attack me was because of his appearance. Yes, I had judged him based upon that.
In Matthew 7:1, Christ admonishes us to “Judge not, that you may not be judged.”
So . . . what does that mean, exactly? Some folk seem to think anyone who judges another is guilty of breaking this prohibition. But then, ironically, those who think that way have already set themselves up as judges.
Does it mean I can’t judge someone without the proper placard or license plate parking in a handicapped space? Well, no—but also yes.
I can judge that it is breaking the law to park in such a space without the proper authorization. However, I can’t judge what is inside the heart of the person doing so.
For all I know, he missed the sign saying it’s a handicapped space. For all I know, he forgot his placard at home. (Not, I believe, that those would make any difference to a police officer who merely sees the car parked there.)
I can, in other words, judge an action, but I can’t judge a motive. We can’t judge even someone like Hitler that way. We can judge Hitler’s actions as wrong. But for all we know, Hitler was insane and therefore not responsible for them. Only God can infallibly determine that.
I’m sure that man in the library parking lot had no idea he was scaring me. I’m certain he wasn’t thinking about me at all.
I was right to be cautious about his actions.
But I was totally wrong about the motive for his behavior.
Posted on November 21, 2017 by ajavilanovels. Visit A.J. Avila at Avila web page
REFORM YOURSELF! How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter-Reformation: written by Shaun McAfee – review by Deacon Marty McIndoe
If the main title, REFORM YOURSELF! doesn’t catch you; take a good look at the subtitle: How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter-Reformation. The subtitle is exactly what this book is all about. For me, it lived up to what it promises. I love to read and some books are really great…..this is one of them. It is easy to read, informative, interesting and causes a change to the very Spirit within us.
I have read two other books by Shaun McAfee; Filling our Fathers House (2015) and St. Robert Bellarmine (2016). I enjoyed both of those and in reading them, saw Shaun as an upcoming author. This last book proved me correct. His writing style has grown to the point that I would say that he definitely is a great author. I am anxious to see what he comes up with next.
Shaun belongs to the same “club” as Brandon Vogt, Jennifer Fulwiler, Peter Kreeft, Scott Hahn, and so many more people do that I don’t have room to mention including myself. That “club” is that we are all converts to the Catholic faith and live much of our life trying to spread the good news of new life in Jesus, especially through Catholic spirituality. It makes me proud, as a convert, to see Shaun do such a great job of this. Shaun is a lay Dominican (Order of Preachers) and this book shows that he continues the Dominican tradition of preaching and teaching.
The book is timely as we recognize the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017; it looks at the Catholic response to the Reformation by choosing ten Saints who ministered during the Catholic Counter-reformation. The importance of this book is that it not just a historical book, but rather a book where we can look at these Saints and bring about REFORM within us. The ten Saints that Shaun chose are all great examples of what we need to do to walk with Jesus and respond to His call to share the Good News. They are all powerhouses of faith. Shaun also shows their true humanity which helps us see that we too can strive to achieve what they did.
There are ten chapters, one for each Saint. The ten Saints are; Francis de Sales, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Robert Bellarmine, Aloysius Gonzaga, Pope Pius V, Philip Neri, John of the Cross, Frances de Chantal, and Charles Borromeo. In each chapter Shaun tells us about the Saint and shares some stories from their lives. He includes some of their quotes and makes suggestions on how we can be more like them. He includes a number of scripture passages to augment his suggestions. When reading many of Shaun’s suggestions I felt like I was listening to a Spiritual Director. Shaun ends each chapter with a conclusion, information for further study and a prayer to the Saint. I definitely grew spiritually through the experience of reading, and praying, this book. I believe that you will too. I highly recommend this book. It is available from its publisher, Catholic Answers (www.catholic.com), Amazon (www.amazon.com) and other bookstores.