Watching the protests of those participating in “Occupy Wall Street,” if we divest all the various causes and “isms” that are at conflict within these groups and boil their major beefs down to their essence, we are left with “Forgiveness of debt.” How free would we all feel if only we didn’t have to pay the mortgage and the car and the credit card and the countless other bills that come every month? What would we do if we were forgiven for all our past indulgences of our lesser selves, our appetites that outspent our income, our impulses to make life easier for now by kicking the can down the road in our economic transactions?
Chances are, even if we were to win the lotto tomorrow and be able to finance all our existing bills, we would not consider whether we ought to reconsider our budgets and appetites. Chances are, if someone came and wrote a blank check for us, we’d still continue to fumble and spend and fret and forget ourselves in the moment. Chances are, as grateful as we’d be for a write off of all we’d done to dig ourselves into a hole, we wouldn’t necessarily love the sources of that forgiveness that lodge in the banks and corporations and government offices if they acquiesced to the demands such as they are, of those who currently protest in various cities across this country and abroad.
We’d more likely congratulate ourselves on escaping and being able to start over and then promptly carry on as we had before. It is hard to change one’s habits and become more disciplined when it is not required. It is hard for us to sacrifice in our own lives when temptation to buy, to spend, to borrow is everywhere and nearly effortless. Businesses and governments exist and demand their full measure for services rendered and penalties for tardiness, for failure to pay and for failing to live up to one’s obligations. The world as manifested by businesses and Caesar, does not yield easily to the cries of the poor or necessarily the rich, the sick or the well, only the expedient, powerful and financially supportive that are at the moment present and writing the checks. The non gods of Wall Street and Government, do not love any of us, they only have use of us or not. The only entities that willingly forgive us our debt, are those that give freely, that come from family, from friends, from relationships born out of love. Their love and generosity and forgiveness of debt is reflective of the one who is love.
Consider now, in the context of our nation, of our world, that God forgives us the whole of our debt which is even greater than all we as nations and individuals and a world have amassed. He has already paid our bill in full, allowing us to perhaps consider freely loving Him. This second chance at life and communion with Christ requires we learn how to discipline our appetites and impulses so that we only love and love in generous measure during times of both feast and famine, in suffering and success, in times of joy and sorrow. This imperfect fallen world and its imperfect fallen systems of economic growth and governance, perhaps helps us recognize what an outrageous debt Christ willingly paid and how profound that gift is. If we want to experience the fullness of that forgiveness of our debt, we don’t need to occupy Wall Street or picket the government; we need only let Christ occupy our hearts.
Copyright 2011 Sherry Antonetti
About the Author
Sherry Antonetti is a Catholic published author, freelance writer and part-time teacher. She lives with her husband and 10 children just outside of Washington, DC, where she's busy editing her upcoming book, A Doctor a Day, to be published by Sophia Institute Press. You can find her other writings linked up at her blog, Chocolate For Your Brain! or on Amazon.