Dear Pope Francis,
Every single day before communion, millions of Christians verbally declare one of the most destructive phrases in human history. On Sunday, it’s tens of millions if not a half billion of the over one billion Catholic Christians worldwide—and not without repercussions.
In the Bible, a Centurion soldier relates, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof…” (Matthew 8:8) before recounting the inner workings of the blindness of patriarchal hierarchies and slavery that exists to this day.
Applying religious context, what’s important for Christians to note is that the soldier uttered the phrase pre-salvation. An unsaved (ignorant) man sharing his feelings and a religion demanding a billion saved Christians repeat the phrase daily post-salvation are entirely two different matters.
Dialogue and constructs that perpetuate “I am not worthy” are the root of all evil behavior. It is divisiveness personified. By believing we are not worthy, we open the door for the mistreatment of ourselves and the mistreatment of others as we seek to assuage the psychological pain the false belief imparts.
The guilt of unworthiness calls for us to judge ourselves and to judge others just as harshly. We cower within power-over structures or worse; we attempt to control others in our imagined superiority. The insanity continues as inferiority complexes pursue power and wealth as outward substitutes for what Jesus, Buddha, and many other saints and sages have said can only come from within.
Tacking on “but only say the word and my soul shall be healed” is not enough. Jesus did say the Word. Yet Christianity, along with many other religions, continues to shove a dagger of inequality into the hearts of those the religious community is supposed to be serving. Where is the healing?
Daily we see the emotional pain of inner self-hatred projected into the world through acts of violence. This behaviour originates from feeling disconnected, powerless, and undervalued. A false belief in unworthiness contributes to drug and alcohol abuse and deviant behavior. Many continue to leave religion as they seek more positive and supportive environments elsewhere.
It’s really a sustainability issue. Negative reinforcement is not the answer to dwindling faith. The renewal of hope and joyful living are found by reconnecting with the goodness within one another, our bountiful Earth and all of Creation, which is God. The sooner we speak of our goodness, the sooner we can truly unify as a people. Then faith isn’t even required—we become the living Word.
It’s time for a mass healing. I implore you to call for an end to the religious ritual of the declaration of unworthiness. As children of God, we are equally worthy—even the “ignorant.” I think deep down in your heart, you know this to be true. Lead the way and others will follow.
Healed, we can finally turn in service to one another instead of exploitation as so many already have. Then maybe, just maybe, we can all work together cooperatively to create a peaceful and harmonious world.
That’s what love would do.
Author Note Do you know what the highest, most loving and kind expression of humility is? Simply, “Thank you.” Self-denigration is not required. Might we instead recite the perfection of Jesus’ words? How about, “I do this in remembrance of you. Thank you that I am also worthy.”
[Also seen in the Huffington Post]
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