Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute, and when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed. Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” …Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them… “If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? …But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”
When I was a child, I had the great opportunity to visit the famous Musee du Louvre. It is there that I saw the famous Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. I am proud to say that not even at that time, as a child, was I foolish enough to give credit just to Mr. Da Vinci’s hand. I gave credit to Mr. Da Vinci himself.
To explain the Mona Lisa as being accomplished by a human hand is, at best, slightly scientific; at worst, nearly atheistic. But to say it is the work of Mr. Leonardo Da Vinci is in the least, somewhat philosophical; at best, almost mystical.
Mr. Da Vinci’s hand could be considered the “material cause” of his great masterpiece; his brush, the “efficient cause.” But to say this alone would be like saying love is only due to chemical reactions: nothing more and nothing less. Most of us know there is more to art as there is to love: the inspiration (the “formal cause”) and the quest for perfection (the “final cause”).
I know, from personal experience, that a hand raised in anger is not as explanatory as a soul stricken by pride. We should all know this, and we should address it in the Confessional, which is one of the last places in the world where a person can actually be human! No masks required. No illusion to perfection demanded.
What caused the Lord to be judged and condemned by men was not the fact that He didn’t make himself clear, but that He made himself all too clear. Christ’s transparency was unacceptable, his humility, unbearable. Jesus only kept adding fuel to His enemy’s fire! But what really caused others to hate the Lord was their pride, their vanity and their sensuality. Christ’s honesty does not drench the fires of hatred, it ignites them! Instead, it is the Lord’s love for us that ultimately drenches the fires that consume us and consume Him.
Pride, vanity and sensuality are at the root of all of our sins. That’s why we say the stupid things that we say and do the stupid things that we do. That’s why some in the crowd said the ridiculous things that they said and did the most scandalous things possible. For example, accusing the Lord of healing by the power of Beelzebul!
God’s love ultimately overpowers us. I do not love God because He is perfect. I love Him because of His ability to be patient and forgiving towards me, His distracter, and that’s what makes Him so perfect.
It’s for this same reason that I love Confession. Today, I heard hours and hours of confessions! I loved every moment of it because I love my brothers and sisters. And what I love most about them is their ability to acknowledge their sins which help me acknowledge my very own.
Again, no masks required, no illusion to perfection demanded. Instead, what is required and demanded is an honest and humble soul: the more honest the soul, the more beautiful the soul.
Like art, that’s what makes humans so perfect: their formal and final causality! That’s what makes the “hand of God” so mighty and personal.
Resolution: I will call my mistakes, failings and weaknesses what they truly are: sins. I will not only confess the material act, but also the formal cause.