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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Sometimes There is No Happy Ending

Years ago I knew a young man who battled drugs and alcohol. After getting into some trouble and a car accident, he entered a treatment program. He met a nice girl and he seemed to vastly improve. However, he had merely transferred his dependency from dangerous substances to her. An immature personality, he was unable to postpone the objects of his desires and pleasures. He could not save money and moved too quickly with the romantic relationship. Within short order they were having sexual intimacy and he was urging her to cohabitate with him. The girl became increasingly resentful of his dependence upon her and lack of self- control. While she was fond of him, it was questionable what he brought to the table of their relationship. Everything revolved around what he wanted and his needs. He isolated her from family and friends, being intensely jealous. His possessiveness was threatening to suffocate her. They became engaged and she was at odds as to what to do. She felt responsible for him. His relationship with her had become his chief source of security and what gave his life meaning. His sense of being grounded was attached to her and he acted as if he owned her, sometimes speaking and acting violently when he did not get his way. She tried to bear the situation but matters grew worse. Every time things seemed to get better there would be a relapse. His immediate family and friends would take his side and became enablers for his irresponsibility and problems. They regarded his girlfriend as a means to keep him in check, regardless of what it might personally cost the young woman. When she tried to exert herself, he would become moody and depressed. Eventually matters reached a breaking point and she terminated the engagement. It was probably the most loving thing she could do. He was not ready for what they might have together. He had to face his issues instead of using their relationship to compensate for them.

I wish I could say that things turned out well for the young man I talked about. But he resisted God’s grace in his life. He had a hard time believing that he was lovable, no matter how many times we told him. I moved on to another parish. One day I received a phone call that he had committed suicide. I came back to bury him. The church was filled with his family and friends. The crowd demonstrated the love many had for him but which he refused to see.