Are you narrow-minded?

Narrow-minded people are by definition ‘not willing to accept ideas or ways of behaving that are different from their own.’ Well, in that case, I declare I am narrow-minded and every Christian ought to be. After all, why should I accept ideas and ways of behaving that go against the very commandments of God even if the whole world chooses to follow them?

Those who choose to love the Lord and are intolerant of sin (not the sinner) are often labelled, boxed and relegated to the back rooms of public debate as being narrow-minded; while sin is sanctioned as open-minded and desirable.

Quite recently I reached out to two friends, one married and one a happy bachelor. Both have been very actively working out to what can only be described as perfectly chiseled bodies. I presume that the goal of working out is to stay in shape, remain healthy and inspire others to stay healthy too. Up to this point in my life I thought of myself as ‘open-minded’ but of late I have been meditating on the path to holiness. Images such as this would have been for me something that should be perfectly acceptable and ‘open-minded’. Yet when you begin to meditate on God’s words and his will, you begin to see things differently.

I wrote to both my friends and I must say right away that they were kind and even respectful of my ‘narrow-mindedness.’ I made a case that a married man’s body belongs to him and his wife. While it has become an acceptable way of life to dandy one’s body half naked (even in Church) the scriptures tell us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19) Even more, such images could and may be the cause of leading others to lust and sin. What if the body of this married man now became the envy of another woman or man?

Simply accepting what society has been dumping on us in the guise of open-mindedness has led to a downfall of the way we present ourselves even in the Church. The prophets never tired of condemning sin. Christ did not come to make us a happy-clappy society but to save us from sin. If that be so, then why is the condemnation of sin (again not the sinner) in any and every form been met with silence from the pulpit? Why do our Bishops and priests not feel the need to reiterate, even a thousand times the need for an appropriate dress code in Church? If the Vatican won’t let an inappropriately dressed person into St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, then why do we at a local level allow such behaviour as acceptable?

Jesus made a case for that road less taken; the road that has been called narrow-minded by the world. He spoke of the narrow gate in Matthew 7:13-14. He said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Today, I want to pay tribute to the many clergy and especially the religious nuns who in our institutions enforced a strict moral life even though they were and are still flippantly dismissed as ‘narrow-minded’. I thank them for fighting a battle for heaven and encourage you to petition your Bishops, priests and religious to stop the desecration of Churches by the disrespect that such ‘broad-mindedness’ has led us to.

Fr Warner D’souza

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