The other day a woman came to see me with a problem. During her prayer time she saw an angel. It was a beautiful angel who smiled at her. She told me all about her vision in great detail and waited for my reply.
I said, “Wonderful. What are you going to do about that?”
She shot me a quizzical look and said, “What do you mean Father?”
I said, “What are you going to do about that?”
She remained puzzled. “Well, I don’t know. I hadn’t thought about that.”
“OK. I see.”
So she started in again to tell me the background of her vision and what it meant to her and how it fit with the Scriptures of the day–all good stuff and very interesting, and when she was done I smiled and said, “Now what are you going to do about that?”
She stopped for a moment and looked at me, then continued to tell me the details of how her mother used to see angels, and she once had a message from an angel and had lots of books about angels. So I listened and we had a nice chat about angels and then she told me again about the angel she had seen.
And I said “What are you going to do about that?”
The fact of the matter is, there really wasn’t anything she could do about that. What was she going to do, publish a book? Tell all her friends? Get the bishop to investigate? Get me to publish her story?
It was a nice story and she is a sweet and very prayerful and good woman. Finally she said, “Well I guess I should thank the Lord that I have seen an angel and then just be about my business trying to serve him the best I can!”
We laughed together and I said, “And that’s the right answer!”
It’s the same answer for lots of things. If you have a problem or somebody else has a problem the first thing to say once the problem is discussed is, “What are you going to do about that?”
Since the Pope’s exhortation came out last week there has been a good bit of online worry, concern, confusion and even a bit of fear, rage and anger. People have been going through the pope’s words with a fine toothed comb–reading their own negativities into the text, pulling it apart for every possible subtext and implication. Accusations of heresy and betrayal have been flying around. Some extremists have resorted to vile, ugly words about the pope and the bishops and other Catholics.
My question in the midst of all the fuss is, “What are you going to do about that?”
Let’s imagine that Pope Francis really is a heretic, an anti pope and a complete scoundrel. “What are you going to do about that?”
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the Pope’s exhortation contains heresy and betrayal of the Catholic faith. “What are you going to do about that?”
Let’s imagine for a moment that some priest somewhere gives communion to people who are divorced and remarried. “What are you going to do about that?”
Let’s suggest that some priests somewhere resolve other people’s marriage problems (not yours) with the “internal forum” and you don’t agree with that. “What are you going to do about that?”
Let’s imagine that some divorced and remarried people come and receive communion even though they were instructed not to. “What are you going to do about that?”
If there is something positive you can do about it, then stop all the fuss and get on and do it. If there isn’t anything you can do about it, then stop wasting your time worrying about something you can’t do anything about anyway.
My angel visionary lady had the cheerful and humble right answer: “Well, I guess I should thank the Lord, and then just be about my business trying to serve him the best I can.”
Not a bad idea.