The wish to look good on the outside

Fr. Savatie Bastovoi 

The emphasis on looking good outside has elevated the significance of the Church on the internet, TV, and radio, surpassing the importance of the physical and authentic Church. Substantial investments, reaching hundreds of millions of euros, have been made in news, photography, festivals, and establishments that should have garnered praise for the Church.

The endeavor to persuade the world that we are neither intellectually impaired, nor thieves or parasites, has resulted in the proliferation of pictures showcasing priests donating blood or distributing bags filled with rice, sugar, and toilet paper to the poor. The images also feature the presence of the impoverished.

The abundance of these efforts has left little room for the much-needed spiritual guidance that those who faithfully attend church every Sunday. On the contrary, the emphasis on charitable acts, the promotion of personal virtues as exemplary, reminiscent of a Protestant approach, has become the prevailing “spiritual” model.

In this context, there is a decreasing affinity for the reprimands of the Saints, the calls for tears and repentance, and the depiction of the consequences of sin in hell. Instead, the focus has shifted towards a constant pursuit of reform and adaptation of this perceived “new reality”.

However, our purpose in being called to the Church is not to mold it according to our own desires, but rather to transform ourselves in alignment with the Church’s image.

To achieve this, we have the Saints as our role models, who are revealed to us through prayer and their holy writings.

The Holy Spirit, who inspired the Saints, remains unchanging and alive. He teaches us that only what we cultivate within the depths of our hearts holds true value, not what we display outwardly. As Christ has said, those who seek recognition for their outward actions have already received their reward, while only those who practice charity in secret will be rewarded by our Heavenly Father, who sees what is hidden.

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