One World, Two Views
I remember watching an elementary-school principal deal with a child who was sent to the office for bad behavior. She asked the youngster, “Do you know what you did?” Tearfully, without hesitation, the child answered, “Yes, I’m bad.” The principal countered saying, “No, you’re not bad. You just did a bad thing.”
For centuries, the world has been labeled by Catholics as depraved, horrible, and bad. Men and women in religious life struggled to understand how to view, interact with, and engage the world around them. Why is it that saintly founders such as Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, Vincent de Paul, Alphonsus Liguori, Teresa of Ávila, Catherine McAuley, Frances Cabrini and so many others were attracted to the monastery, the convent, and ministry among the economically poor, sick, uneducated, and marginalized? Certainly it was because Jesus called them by his word and example. But wasn’t it also because of their worldview? Their vocations grew from their understanding of good and evil, that people needed to be saved from the world and that good people were needed to do the saving. Those who saw the world as God-forsaken ran to religious life, fleeing from the world, in the hope of finding salvation for themselves and others.