The Sense of Shame and the Driven Nature of Mankind in Christ
The psychology of the feeling of shame leading to Christ and the definition of the Christian’s call to arms.
We all know the meaning of shame in our lives i.e. the shameful episode leading us to regret our past actions and bearing. Without that sense of shame we would not be truly human. (See my Creation essay of 29th December 2014.) This feeling of shame arises with the age of reason at seven years of age as Roman Catholicism teaches in its Catechism of old.
2. The Age of Reason in a Child
This is the age when the boy knows right from wrong, and his nascent sense of sorrow drives his parents to put him under the catechist to seek consolation and instruction for their son. His parents support him in this endeavour and likewise his sisters and brothers, uncles and aunts. Let no one dare to hold that boy or girl back from their priest. Only the priest can provide release from shame to these children of seven or above, in the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion in the Roman Catholic Church; whatever the other theistic religions may teach. There is no doubt Judaism and Islam are penitential and thus deeply prayerful religions. There can be no greater gifts in our world than these two Roman Catholic Sacraments with Baptism: infant or adult.Yes the seven year old boy is innocent in many respects, but he still knows his simple prayer book prayers and petitions, and the desire to turn to Christ. Thus he may honestly be guided into confessing the usual sins of letting Christ down even at seven years as outline in this prayer book, read or simply learned.
The priest will judge the sincerity of this boy’s confession as he will in this boy’s mature years. The practice of Confession and receiving Holy Communion will be stamped on that boy throughout his life by his Confirmation Sacrament (now this seal affixed at 15 years – in my day 11-12 years). It was Saint Pius X who instigated confession and communion at seven years in our Edwardian period. What a great act of the papacy by this pastor Italian Pope (Giuseppe Sarto). He has now been canonised by Holy Mother Church for this grace of salvation to our world of children which he authorised.
4. Shame and Implacability
I argue we are driven back to Christ in our lives by these episodes of shame however they may appear. What if we feel no shame and we are unable to express sorrow even to God Himself? This implacable refusal to acknowledge our sins is a course of conduct bearing on the reckless. We are judged by our actions – do we honour our parents and our superiors? If we do, we are halfway there I would submit. If we do not give true allegiance to those who matter in our lives, we are upon the sandbank, washed up, stranded and incapable of sailing onwards.
5. What is the Driven Man?
A man driven by shame is not going to be good news. It is goodness not shame that counts most in our lives. Goodness is born of Communion with Christ. In our hearts, not necessarily at the Priest’s hand. Yes we do need to acknowledge our sin before approaching Christ and shame turns us back to Christ without doubt. A religion of pure shamefulness is no Christian religion. I desire Christianity powered in to overdrive by our overwhelming belief in Jesus Christ. He knows us better than we do, and each one of us must concede he does not know his brother and sister as our Holy Redeemer does. That is the great unknown in modern life like darkest Africa was in the 19th Century and discovery of the New World in the days of Christopher Colombus. We all wish to scale these heights, but humility and charity teach us caution in human relations in the 21st Century.
6. Holy Communion – The Sacrament
I have written a little on this subject in my first essay writing phase (2013-14). This sacrament is the ultimate gift of Christ and his Church to mankind. I would argue acknowledged shame is a pre-requisite to meaningful Holy Communion which sanctifies the sorrowful believer. In the modern epoch many do not attend Mass nor do they receive Communion or go to Confession for various reasons. As I have written the modern pastor Popes: Pius XII and Blessed Paul VI believed rightly the Mass was celebrated for worldwide humanity, regardless of whether those persons be signed up Catholics or not. Pius XII in WWII, unable to leave the Vatican, knew the peoples on Earth, belligerent or non-belligerent, would benefit from his Masses offered in St Peter’s Basilica whether those persons believed in God or not. I believe the same can be said of Blessed Paul VI with his great encyclical Humanae Vitae aimed at every adult alive who could hear his words or read them. This was the extreme extent of his unfailing Charity as Our Holy Father in the 1960’s. Blessed Paul VI like Pius XII would have celebrated Holy Mass in St Peter’s, Rome during his long reign for the benefit of all mankind, regardless of their belief or non-belief.
7. The Ultimate Purpose of the Roman Catholic Church
This must be, as has been said by Blessed Cardinal Newman and others, to save every soul in our world or the Church Catholic has not done her duty. Every soul is not only precious but irreplaceable: whether fighter or peaceable, whether under detention or free, whether sick or well, whether rich or poor, whether senior or lowly. Only our Church may deliver these souls: Catholics or non-Catholics to Christ and the Trinity for the Father’s Judgement: merciful by the work of all mankind and these souls themselves. God the Father judges us not we his servants on Earth and dwellers in Heaven.
I have articulated my policy to reverse the moral decline of our world into mediocrity and inhumanity. I also urge you to always remember the Man of Sorrows who raised the Standard of His Cross on Calvary, and won the battle against sin. This Cross is no less real today. We should raise our Standard in spirit like Christ and His emblem will be on it. As Blessed John H. Card. Newman wrote in his poem:
“Aye must he lift his witness when a sin is spake in Heaven’s dread face and none at hand of higher grace the Cross to carry in his place.”
I have heard it said by a senior Roman Catholic priest in Mass there will be an “almighty battle”. If he is right, and I believe he is, we will need that Standard Bearer more than ever on Earth and in Heaven to win the day. I for one will carry the Cross Newman writes of in his poem. We fight for Christ Jesus to whom we all belong. It will be no ordinary bataille, mais nous gagnerons – Bien Sur! Vive Notre Seigneur!