Beam me down, Scotty

In the old Star Trek series, “Scotty” was the engineer in charge of the ship.  He was the man you went to when you wanted to be zapped down onto the planet where your energy source was hidden (that was usually spewing molten lava or had aliens with bad make-up) or the neighboring ship with all the cute barbie-like population of kitchy up-do girls who capture the hearts of Captain Kirk and Spock (even though he doesn’t really feel those kinds of things supposedly. Or to travel into another time or realm where you can fix the void in space making your ship’s voyage impassable.  “Beam me up, Scotty” is all you had to say for the tube-like column to zap you back to the The Starship Enterprise.

courtesy of flickr

uh-oh Spock

During its years, this show became inspiration for summertime backyard adventures because who wouldn’t want to be zapped in or out of a situation, time, place, etc.? I don’t know about you, but I think this could be tremendously handy.  When it comes to this last Sunday before Lent, I recognize that my desire to be able to be “beamed” in and out of situations may be related to the kind of “beam” this gospel is discussing.  Both come down to pride and ease that are self-serving (ok maybe that’s a stretch, but it’s a fun play on the word.) If I really want to be transported to another realm, all I actually have to do is enter into deep prayer.  When I do that, I can discover all of the things that are blocking me from being transported to the sense of freedom I am yearning for, and that is where Jesus is recommending we remove the “beam” from our eye before looking around at what everyone else is doing.

 

Gospel LK 6:39-45

Jesus told his disciples a parable,
“Can a blind person guide a blind person?
Will not both fall into a pit?
No disciple is superior to the teacher;
but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite!  Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
For people do not pick figs from thornbushes,
nor do they gather grapes from brambles.
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good,
but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil;
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”
My Reflections...
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
To take the wooden beam/splinter idea in another direction, it occurred to me that not only does the enemy beguile us with deception in focusing on others faults to avoid looking at our own, but he likewise can do this with other’s successes.
In researching a few things this morning, I stumbled upon another Catholic blogger/speaker’s website which was charming and appealing; it had all the bells and whistles.   I instantly caught myself turning someone else’s success into my failure, by comparison.  What I have been unable to accomplish is by no means affected by another’s achievements.   Yet somehow, the “wooden beam” can also be a blinding apparatus to my own value anytime I compare myself to others.
Perhaps we as humans are naturally inclined to chase that which eludes us as motivation to work and produce, but how often do I  stop and recognize that God is behind all of my great accomplishments and to give a deep-hearted thanks to Him? I have found time and again when I know that every good thing I do is because of Him, and I consecrate it back to Him, for His glory, He unfolds yet another good thing in my life.  The Parable of the Talents, (Matthew 23:14-30) certainly is confirmation that God gives abundantly when we give it back to Him.  But in the end, if I am looking around at my neighbor, whether to pick at their faults or to measure my own worth by their successes, I am ungrateful in what God is doing with my life. We must pray for protection from this continual time-wasting, self-defeating temptation.
Remove the wooden beam from your eye first…
To me, the wooden beam represents pride.  When we are defensive, hurt, angry, or self-righteous, we are standing behind some kind of lie.  A lie that attempts to bind us to remain a victim. (Everything that “happens to me” or “someone did to me”.) It keeps us from being pro-active toward the battle of good in our own souls.  Yes we may have been wronged but don’t stay there. How can we fight this? The church gives us many weapons for this warfare.
  • Examine your conscience
  • Something we usually hear about doing before we go to confession, an “examen” is something to do at the end of every day. This past week’s summit (to address the abuse crisis in the church) Pope Frances (along with all the other members) were collectively read an examination of conscience as leaders of the church, after which each point of reflection remained time for consideration and repentance. 
  • Reading Psalm 51 before bed and combing through your day in your mind is one way to evaluate areas of progress or regress.  There are many different versions to refer to in particular to your state of life (married, single, youth, adult, etc.)
  • Every evening, make an “examination of conscience”, like a prayer, to determine if it was “the Spirit of God or the spirit of the world” that prompted us throughout the day. This is a decisive action in our “spiritual battle” which leads us to “understand His heart” and the meaning of Christ. This is the suggestion that Pope Francis made during Mass at Santa Marta on Tuesday, 4 September, recalling that a person’s heart is like a “battlefield” where, throughout the day, “the Spirit of God, which leads us to good works, to charity, to fraternity” encounters “the spirit of the world, which leads us to vanity, pride, sufficiency, gossip”. —Pope Francis

    Taking Responsibility 

    At the end of each day (or as soon as we recognize our blunder) we turn to God, own it verbally and lay it before Him, without fear, trusting in His great mercy.  When we can, we go to a priest and receive the sacramental grace of a confession and keep clear the path for grace in our lives.  I have found the graces of a good confession break off so much junk in my own mind (presuppositions, biases, judgement, and lies) and it is truly the greatest freedom that one can feel.

     

    courtesy of yahoo images

    Elizabeth Ann Seton

    Our Lord Himself I saw in this venerable Sacrament  . . . I felt as if my chains fell, as those of St. Peter at the touch of the Divine messenger. My God, what new scenes for my soul!
    –St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

     

    My daughter, just as you prepare in My presence, so also you make your confession before Me. The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyse what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light. (1725)
    –St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul

    An Act Of Contrition

    After focusing on one or two measurable things to work on for the following day as a results of this examination, then recognizing your mistakes, the next step of saying your are sorry is vital. The “Act of Contrition” is one prayer we can use that expresses our repentance, or simply a prayer expressing sorry for the hurt we have left on God, ourselves, and those around us by our mistakes, asking God for help to avoid this again.

    Forgiveness

    Nothing breaks the bonds of sin and pride like forgiveness.  We cannot begin to remove the beam of pride when we are feeling victimized.  As we have heard time and again, forgiveness is a choice.  Sometimes forgiving a particular person takes an act of will, or we can even “fake it till we make it” by speaking it out when we don’t feel it.  Whatever the case, that victimization of holding on to resentments can imprison us.  Even if it means the one to be forgiven, is our own self.

    I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.

    C.S. Lewis

    The forgiveness of God is one thing, but the proof that we want that forgiveness is the energy we expend to make amends for the wrong.

    Archbishop Fulton Sheen

    4 thoughts on “Beam me down, Scotty

    1. This is so good! Yes, I have had to remove a lot of beams and have had my share of dealing with pride. It is so insidious, isn’t it? We just need to be thankful for what we have and not compare ourselves to others. I appreciate this post a lot! P.S. I could build a log cabin with the amount of beams I have had to take out of my eyes!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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