Do you remember the first time you looked through a magnifying glass? It was an amazement to find out that in the small area covered by the glass things were nothing like you thought they were at first glance! I have a couple of graduate degrees and have spent years reading and studying just to “keep up” with teachings about our Church. In that time I have found that Father Robert Barron,for me, is kind of like that magnifying glass. He has a way of zoning in on the heart of the matter in his teachings, like no one else I have read. That includes the Church Fathers. He shoves aside all the flotsam and jetsam and always gets to the point clearly and succinctly.
I was thinking about the readings for Cycle A and the 23rd week the other day. Week 23 combines Paul’s definition of love and our responsibilities for fraternal correction. Good thinking Church! I was prompted to these readings because of my new responsibilities for the CWG as a custodian of all things Blog. I am very proud of what our writers have done in this forum. It is a constant supply of witness which is so needed in our crazy world. I think that the new order of things with bloggers and editors is a good arrangement for both bloggers and editors. Therein lies the rub.
If you are at all familiar with the publishing biz you know that editing and the position of editor is de rigueur, the way it’s done. In CWG, as persons who are outwardly Catholic and inwardly spiritual there’s more to it than that. No doubt, the invitation to work as an editor is complimentary in more ways than one. It is a recognition of skill and a certain level of accomplishment. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it should come with a caution.
A person who works as a commercial editor is someone who is expected to achieve a level of perfection, a document free of error. It’s no different in production of a high quality blog but there are additional responsibilities here because we are functioning in a different arena. As Catholic bloggers and writers we are overshadowed, in a very strong way, by the teachings of Jesus. A Father Barron commentary strikes directly at the heart of how we are to function when we are given the privilege of correcting others. In his homily on the 23rd Sunday he teaches: “[This work] (Love) is willing the good of the other as the other and then doing something about it.” It’s not about correction, or perfection or making a work better. It’s about using one’s talents to actively will and put into practice the good of another person.
As a matter of summary, Fr. Barron reminds us that our very act of the will is really: “The fulfillment of the law.” As an editor in the Catholic context, it is very much NOT about me and how correct, efficient or skilled I am as an editor. It is about the person being edited and how I can minister to them the one obligation that Jesus holds us all to. The obligation is to love them and nothing else! With this thinking, mighty things can be created and works reflect a standard of perfection that just doesn’t happen in the secular world. Isn’t that where we all want to go? That’s why they call it witness.
Note: The readings referred to in this piece are from The Lectionary, Cycle A, the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary time as seen in the New International Version. They are: Romans 13: 8-10 and Matthew 18: 15-20.