The Faith-Filled Shoe Store … Tuesday, September 17

Roman soldier from a Calvary

Put yourself in his sandals.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion … I’ve often wondered, when it comes to the passerby or the people who just happened to be there, what the personal thoughts and emotions were, what sort of heart and gut reactions they had, when a person was witness to what we call a “Mystery of the Rosary”. Like a nondescript Roman soldier at the Crucifixion. Not one that pushed Him along as He walked to Calvary, not the one with hammer and nails, but the guy in the background. When he saw Mary there at the Cross, when he heard the seven last words of Christ, when he saw the sky darken and felt the earth tremble, how did he feel and what did he think? Was there sympathy? Was he disgusted with the cruelty? Did he take a private joy in seeing a subjected, weaker people get what he thought they deserved? And then there is a “Why?” attached to all these possibilities. Why feel sympathy or disgust or joy or anything else? Because of the way he was raised? Was it something that his mother said to him when he was little? An experience he had latter in life? What? We might like to put ourselves in his place and watch our own reactions. We might like to ask ourselves “Why?” Its a fruitful way to learn about ourselves. In learning about our own heart and mind we can better understand others. In understanding both self and others, by knowing hearts and minds, we can better understand why Jesus went to Calvary and allowed Himself to be crucified. Some of these “revelations” might surprise us.

St. Peter Arbues

Today … St. Peter Arbues was an Augustinian inquisitor. He was born in Aragon, Spain, and became a master of Canon Law at the University of Bologna before becoming an Augustinian canon at Saragossa in 1478. In 1484 he received appointment as Inquisitor of Aragon and soon earned the enmity of the Marranos, Jews who had been forcibly converted to Catholicism. Peter was murdered by a group of Marranos in the cathedral of Saragossa. His name has been associated with acts of wanton cruelty and inhumanity in the fulfillment of his office as Inquisitor, although these have never been substantiated. (I know of one priest who was falsely accused of sexual misconduct. There was no truth in the rumors spread but because of them he is now in a sort of diocesan hiding for his own safety because there a people without discernment who would do him harm. This at a time when there is a shortage of priests.) Now here is a grand opportunity to exercise the concept mentioned above, a sort of “putting yourself in the other person’s shoes”. Is it ever right to force people to convert to anything? Of course not. Did the Church force these Jews to convert? And here is where discernment comes into play. Something the world and the news media often purposely overlook. No, the Church didn’t force these people to convert. Say what?! It wasn’t the Church that did this, it was misguided people within the Church. There is a difference. Do people like that make the whole Church look bad? You know they do. And the news, media along with people of ill will and bad temperament, revel in things like this. Put yourself in the shoes of those forced to convert. If you thought our saint was one of the people responsible how might you have reacted? Without Christ in my life I can honestly say I might well have done exactly what they did. Now put yourself in the Shoes of the Fisherman, guided by God’s Holy Spirit, and blessed with true spiritual discernment. Now you see the truth of the matter. Our saint? Was a saint. One last pair of shoes to try on. St. Peter Arbues. Consider that the feet in those shoes now reside with God in Heaven. How do you feel about it all now?

Shoes … If they pinch our feet maybe we don’t so much need to break them in as we need a new pair. Hearts and minds can be broken in. Or they can be set aside and replaced. As Catholics we have the opportunity to exchange ours for the Mind of Christ.