Skip to comments.May It Be Evident to Everyone (judging others by their appearance)
Posted on 07/20/2014 2:28:52 PM PDT by NYer
St. Paul reminds us in his Pastoral Epistle to live out our faith so that it “may be evident to everyone.” [1 Timothy 4:14-16]
How is that working for you?
For example, while waiting for Mass to begin, do you analyze the people around you? Critique their choice of clothing? Hairstyle? Makeup? How they worship? Or are you focused on your purpose?
Perhaps when you look at anyone at church, you pause and remember that they always have a more interesting story to tell than the one you conjure in your mind. We all need prayers, not persecution, especially in church, as one family learned.
On the morning of May 11, 2014, two families were traveling in separate vehicles, going southbound on I-24, an hour south of Nashville, TN. It was Mother’s Day. In the first vehicle (a van), a family was traveling on vacation from Chicago to Panama City. The family in the second vehicle (a truck) was traveling to Mass.
Suddenly, the van, traveling about 100-feet in front of the truck, swerved to the right side of the road, hit the guard rail, flipped over and slid down the embankment.
The family in the truck witnessed the accident and quickly pulled over to assist. As a skilled trauma nurse, the mother responded on auto-pilot, telling her children to stay near the truck, and not to approach the accident. In seconds, both the mother and father were over the rail and down the embankment towards the van.
The passengers’ cries for help were clearly audible against the background noise of the interstate. The vehicle was resting on its roof. The driver of the van was the mother of that family. She was hurt, but able to release her seatbelt and crawl out of the van’s window with assistance. All the while, she kept pleading with God. The father, sitting in the passenger seat, was also injured. He required a little more assistance, but he too was more concerned about his children than himself.
The nurse advised the parents of her experience, and asked them to wait until she and her husband could assess the childrens’ condition. As she crawled into the van over broken glass, debris and matter, she saw a horrific scene. There were two boys. Both were severely injured. Their seatbelts disconnected. The younger boy, 13 years old, was conscious with an apparent leg injury and facial lacerations. With assistance from her husband and the boy’s father, she was able to move him to safety on the grass.
The other boy, 16 years old, was on the far side of the van. The nurse crawled quickly toward the boy who was convulsing, leg lacerated to the bone, head trauma with extruding brain matter. As a mother, her heart was breaking. But she couldn’t allow emotion to take control. She had to stay focused on the task. Meanwhile, the boy’s mother, unable to see the severity of the situation kept talking to her son and praying aloud to God.
The boy’s injuries were so severe that he could not be moved without a stretcher or tactical board. The nurse tried to stabilize him as best she could, but the convulsions were too strong. By the grace of God, another traveler along the interstate stopped to offer her help. She was also a mother, and a physical therapist. With her assistance, the two mothers held the boy until paramedics arrived, trying to shield his mother from seeing him in that state.
Now a choir of prayers could be heard as more people gathered on the scene, consoling the parents, and preparing for the landing of the Life Flight helicopter, as the EMS team took over.
The nurse and her husband returned to their truck to find their sons sitting in the backseat with the doors open, waiting to hear what had happened. As the nurse looked at her two sons, ages 16 and 13, she offered her own prayer; a mother’s prayer.
Noticing her clothes, her boys asked if they were still going to Mass. The nurse looked down and realized that she was covered with blood and mud. But, there was no question. They had to continue to church. Besides, her parents had left just moments ahead of them, heard the sirens and texted her while she was attending to the boys. If they didn’t show up to Mass, her parents would be stressed. They both had heart conditions.
Upon arriving at church, she went the restroom and washed her face and hands, and turned her clothing inside out to hide the mud and blood. She proceeded into Mass; her fervent prayer for the family she had left on the interstate.
As Mass began, she couldn’t help but notice the glances and stares of the people around her. At the Sign of Peace, no one would shake her hand. The attitudes were so obvious until it caught her by surprise.
“I’ve never been on the receiving end of such judgment,” she later said, “It was very humbling.”
What a shame that the people at that morning’s Mass didn’t get the opportunity to know what she had done just moments earlier. In fact, her actions are exactly what I would expect from her. I am extremely proud to call her my best friend and “sister”.
She is a pure walking testimony of Christ in action. She works as an oncology nurse, caring for the sick and dying every single day. Then she goes home to care for her family, and her parents. She never complains. Never. She finds joy in everything. It is truly inspiring. There isn’t a day that goes by that she isn’t either praying every breath, attending Mass, Confession, or reading about her faith. And this precious soul attends every funeral of every patient in her care. You can see the Holy Spirit in her smile and feel him in her touch. She just radiates the ministry of being a Christian.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen often told a story about a conversation that he once had with Mother Theresa. Knowing that she had been responsible for converting tens of thousands of men from the gutters of Calcutta, he asked her, “How, after dragging these poor mortals to your hospice, could have ever evangelize them and teach them the gospel?” She responded, “I didn’t. When I took care of them and showed love, I would say to them, ‘Would you like to hear about Christ?’ And they would say, ‘Is Christ like you?’” Mother Theresa would say, “No, but I try to be like him.” And without a word of Gospel spoken the man would respond, “Then I want to be a Christian.”
Also, remember the story of the Shunammite woman in the Book of Kings? The Shuanammite woman never heard Elisha preach, but she told her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God.” It had nothing to do with what Elisha said. It had everything to do with his actions. [2 Kings 4:8 - 37]
How well do we all use our spiritual eyes to see the people around us?
How well do we live out our faith visibly so others will know that we are Christians?
The next time you see someone and feel the need to cast judgment, say this little prayer. I do every time I see someone who just appears to need a spiritual hug.
Dear Lord, I don’t know his (her) story, his needs, or the weight of his cross. But I do know that you are able to provide him with what he requires. Grant him, O’Lord, your healing mercy, your divine grace and your forgiveness in all things. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
My father's advice to me on my first job (at 16 years old): Do your job and keep your mouth shut.
Still works today! Do I EVER miss my daddy!
I have an extra tough time with opinions because my FACE says EVERY THOUGHT in my brain. I always knew I couldn't be a decent poker player. So, if I feel disdain or disapproval, my face shows it. I have tried to learn to hide this but it hasn't worked!!
Thank you for the ping and the post.
MANY people of all ages have a distaste of the disabled. I know that when I see a disabled person, especially a severely disabled person AND/OR a mentally
retarded disabled person I ALWAYS say to myself: There but for the grace of God go I.
We shouldn't judge people by their looks but God seems to have made us to be that way. YOU KNOW that the biggest and strongest cave man ruled...strength was important.
The prettiest cave woman got the man. I THINK that men have always preferred big, um, chests in women. Not sure; just a guess.
Books, poems, odes, stories are told about the strength and valor of men and the beauty of women. Human history doesn't write about the very NICE, talented ugly women nor does it write about the very NICE, talented WEAK men.
Oh well, I was always considered "attractive"--NOT beautiful nor "built" and that was JUST FINE with me. Now I am OLD so looks matter less than weight, fitness levels and money.
GOD, however, is ALWAYS number one in my life! THAT is a given!
Posts like this one are what make FR so special.
There is more to life than the ups and downs of politics and this post reminds us of what is truly and fundamentally important.
Thank you FR for allowing inspirational posts like this one.
Mrs. Musgrove was of a comfortable substantial size, infinitely more fitted by nature to express good cheer and good humor, than tenderness and sentiment; and while the agitations of Annes slender form, and pensive face, may be considered as very completely screened, Captain Wentworth should be allowed some credit for the self-command with which he attended to her large fat sighings over the destiny of a son, whom alive nobody had cared for.- Persuasion (Miss Austen's best book in my opinion, and Rudyard Kipling's (whose opinion is worth more than mine).)
Personal size and mental sorrow have certainly no necessary proportions. A large bulky figure has as good a right to be in deep affliction, as the most graceful set of limbs in the world. But, fair or not fair, there are unbecoming conjunctions, which reason will patronize in vain,which taste cannot tolerate,which ridicule will seize.
In my time of attending a Protestant church,
as a single man earning just enough over the
house, lights, and phone bills (in the days before
any pocket electronics), I showed up in clean
clothes. The other men were always, “ya’s gotta
wear a suit to choich!” I came, to stand among the
assembly, worshipping the most high, and I wasnt
there for the Sunday fashion show, and y’all know
what I mean.
There were the elderly, who would fall asleep
during the service, nod, wink wink chuckle.
There were the infirmed, determined to be among
the assembly, couldnt they just the tape of the
There were special folks, cant they keep them quiet?
There were ... THOSE ... that just have made their
decision, cant we get them nice dresses, suits,
haircuts, something so they dont look so
strange? I mean, all the looks they are getting,
oh, and their uncurbed tongues! Gotta talk to
them about that, right quick.
I would challenge those with this question.
If it is written, that God judges the heart, why are
you so hung up about another person’s flesh?
(By the way, that Matthew Kelly DVD is available for free there -- just pay shipping and handling.)
HOWEVER - there is a difference between dressing humbly and dressing sloppily.
I have noticed that the parishioners who attend our Spanish service are ALWAYS as well dressed as they can afford - the men in collared shirts, perhaps a tie or a sport coat from the Goodwill, the ladies in neat dresses, the children always dressed to the nines (you can get fine kids' dress clothes dirt cheap at GW or SA). You will never see them in cutoff, jeans, T-shirts, flip flops or tank dresses. But the prosperous middle class parishioners often dress like they are going to mow the lawn.
I am merely a bystander, as a choir robe covers a multitude of sins . . . !
Sounds like a wonderful, compassionate lady...It is just so sad that she didn't spend any if much time reading about God in the scriptures...
Archbishop Fulton Sheen often told a story about a conversation that he once had with Mother Theresa. Knowing that she had been responsible for converting tens of thousands of men from the gutters of Calcutta, he asked her, How, after dragging these poor mortals to your hospice, could have ever evangelize them and teach them the gospel? She responded, I didnt.
When I took care of them and showed love, I would say to them, Would you like to hear about Christ? And they would say, Is Christ like you? Mother Theresa would say, No, but I try to be like him. And without a word of Gospel spoken the man would respond, Then I want to be a Christian.
So, so sad...All those thousands of people who could have heard the gospel but it was never given to them...
Mar_16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Rom 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
How can they know of the life giving gospel and be saved if they don't ever hear it???
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
One can not become a Christian by watching another person any more than one can become a doctor by watching a doctor perform surgery...
Mother Theresa WAS preaching the Gospel by taking in those poorest of the poor people and taking care of them. Actions speak louder than words.
I also know dressing up is not necessarily a good thing. Some young ladies have no idea that what they are wearing is on the inappropriate side of things. Cocktail dresses etc. It's what they see on TV, etc. But OMG!
**For example, while waiting for Mass to begin, do you analyze the people around you? Critique their choice of clothing? Hairstyle? Makeup? How they worship? Or are you focused on your purpose?**
A big reason to sit in the first two rows. Someone who is a hairdresser told me she started analyzing everyone’s hairstyle, so she moved to the first row in church.
Great post, thanks.
Mother Theresa WAS preaching the Gospel by taking in those poorest of the poor people and taking care of them. Actions speak louder than words.
That comes from your religion...It certainly does not come from God...
Sure, you may be able to recognize a Christian by watching his works (or not)...Repeating those works will not make any one a Christian...
Those works from Christians come from a changed heart...Repentance...A response to the gospel call...
Man judges the outward appearance, God judges the heart...Just because someone appears to be a Christian doesn't mean he/she really is...
Theresa never talked to any of those thousands of patients...While they knew Theresa, none of them knew Jesus...