Hope you are doing well. With the solemn feast of the Baptism of the Lord Jesus, we conclude the Christmastide and we start the ordinary time of the Liturgical year. This time of the year is not a time for being lax about our spiritual life, because we have had a rigorous time of spiritual celebration with confession and Eucharistic celebration at the Christmas. During the ordinary time also, we need to take care of our spiritual needs more importantly.
When I was in the school in my lower grades (can’t remember which grade), once I had engaged into a fight with one of my classmates who stole the only pencil I had to write with. The fight got so bad that we both rolled over the floor holding each other. We had bruises all over our body too. But before the teacher came to the class the fight was over and we pretended as if nothing happened. But one student in the class reported to the teacher about what had happened to both of us.
The teacher called both of us and reprimanded us. She told me, “How could you fight like this? You are coming to church regularly and you are doing such a thing now! Are you not ashamed of what you did? Is this what you learned from coming to church so often?”. I felt a little ashamed of what I did and I really reconciled with my opponent when the teacher told us to shake hands as a sign of reconciliation.
In the Bible, after Adam and Eve committed the sin, God asked Adam where he was and Adam said that he was in hiding because he was naked. This hiding took place because of the shamefulness of Adam and Eve. That shamefulness occurred because they betrayed God and were disloyal to Him and His love. We all need that sense of shame.
When I say sense of shame, it is a feeling that keeps us from doing something wrong or something not right or necessary. It is that feeling of shame that keeps us from doing what is wrong, bad, or degrading in any way. It is that sense of shame that makes us realize that we have done something we ourselves can not accept as good or upright. It is that sense of shame that would keep us from going astray the righteous path. Lack of this sense of shame would lead us astray and make us do all sorts of unrighteous things.
What we see in our present-day society is the lack of this sense of shame. People are not ashamed of doing anything. Because they do everything in the name of modernism or individual freedom or any other thing like this. This may be due to many reasons. The consumeristic culture of the society is so compelling that one can do anything to get something. Or, the formation of the conscience has become so irrelevant or the conscience is wrongly formed. Or, the understanding of some vital concepts like freedom is utterly mistaken or misunderstood. What ever might be the reason, we have no reason to blame others and keep our eyes closed. We should inculcate the sense of shame in us and in our children so as to make them feel bad about any wrong thing that we or they may do. For that we need deeper and righteous formation of the conscience of us and others too.
Yours sincerely in Christ Jesus,
Fr. A. Antony