During this past year of COVID pandemic, we experienced the interconnectedness of the human community. Our safety was influenced by others and we in turn can either protect or endanger others with our behaviors. In the spiritual sphere, we are also influenced by others and they in turn affected by us.
Rev. Patrick Gearon said, “We are ever influencing, for good or for evil, the souls of those around us, and this, too, whether we are reflecting upon actions or are totally oblivious of what is going on.”
Pope Pius XII wrote beautifully about members of the Church contributing to the salvation of souls: “Dying on the Cross He (that is, Christ) left to His Church the immense treasury of the Redemption; towards this she contributed nothing. But when these graces come to be distributed, not only does He share this task of sanctification with His Church, but He wants it in a way to be due to her action. Deep mystery this, subject of inexhaustible meditation; that the salvation of many depends on the prayers and voluntary penances which the members of the Mystical Body of Christ offer for this intention and on the assistance of pastors of souls and of the faithful, especially of fathers and mothers and families, which they must offer to our Divine Savior as though they were His associates”.
Father Patrick wrote, “Our Divine Lord is the Saviour of mankind. he is what we shall call Saviour with a capital “S”. But each and every one of us can become a saviour with what I shall call small “s”. Whether we realize it or not, we cannot be good or bad without affecting others for better or for worse.”
St. Paul wrote, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Col. 1:24) The value Christ’s sufferings is infinite. There is nothing lacking in term of meriting graces for mankind. The only thing wanting is the application of graces. It is of their application that St. Paul was speaking. He was thus becoming a saviour with a small ‘s’.
We are capable of becoming either instrument of grace or instrument of sin. The “communion of saints” builds up the Church, whereas the “communion of sin” drags down the Church.
St. John Paul II explained: “One can speak of ‘a communion of sin’, whereby a soul that debases itself through sin drags down with itself the Church and, in some way, the whole world. In other words, there is not a single sin, not even the most intimate and secret one, the most strictly personal and individual one, that exclusively concerns the person committing it. With greater or lesser violence, with consequences of greater or lesser harm, every sin has repercussions on the entire ecclesial body and the whole human family.”
Father Patrick said, “It said, “It would be an eye-opener if were to find out the number of sins which were committed by people just because they had seen another doing that very same thing.” He lamented: “People who otherwise are very mortified, seem to seek compensation in talking about others.” Father Patrick listed three reasons of the abuse of the tongue: 1. the anxiety to be a source of interest, 2. secret envy, and 3. outbursts of anger.
St. Josemaria Escriva wrote, “Gossip is trash that soils and hinders the apostolate. It goes against charity, takes away strength, takes away peace, and makes one lose his union with God.” The saint gave us this simple rule in speech: “Don’t make negative criticism. If you can’t praise, say nothing.”