Mar. 21, 2017 Divine Mercy Week 5
What does my neighbor have to forgive me for
Have you heard of the wise saying, “Curiosity killed the cat”? It means that being inquisitive about other people's affairs may get you into trouble or can lead one into dangerous situations.
In today’s Gospel passage, Peter asks Jesus, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him?" How often do we find ourselves seeking forgiveness from God and neighbor for a repeat offense? If there is one sin that we commit more than a few times a day for which we need forgiveness from our neighbors, then it is the sin of curiosity. Let me be clear, there is a good side of curiosity, the inquisitiveness that leads us to explore and to discover truth. Yet there is also the dark side of curiosity -- the tendency for us to nose into our neighbor’s affairs to superficially gather information and then vying to be the first to pass on juicy rumors. Curiosity is often associated with other vices -- inordinate attachment to fads and fashions, wasting time. When we spread rumors, we are no better than those bright, colorful tabloid magazines at the grocery checkout counter that belies the pursuit of truth.
For her religious sisters, Mother Teresa often instructed them to keep their nose out of other’s affairs as a way of practicing humility. She said, “Avoid curiosity. Do not interfere in the affairs of others. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.” You’ve heard of the term, “custody of the eyes.” In this sense, avoiding curiosity is to practice “custody of the mind” in which we refrain from asking questions about matters that either we cannot resolve or are within the purview of others to resolve. Especially when our questions are not about our own welfare or the welfare of others whom we can truly help, we should remember that curiosity is sometimes damaging.
St. Paul had great advice for the Philippians. “Brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9)
Our soul will remain in peace and recollected to hear the voice of God when we keep the custody of the eyes and mind. As we continue our journey in the desert with Our Lord, we discern the temptation of the evil one from the true voice of God. Curiosity not only killed the cat but can also kill our soul.