Let not your heart be troubled 

FATHER GEORGE W. RUTLER

King Charles II said that a gentleman is one who puts those around him at ease.

Even on his deathbed he apologized to the courtiers in attendance: "I am sorry, gentlemen, for being such a time a-dying." When William Penn, as a Quaker, would not doff his hat to the King, he asked the monarch, "Friend Charles, why dost thou remove thy hat?" The King answered, "Friend William, in circumstances such as these it is customary for only one man to keep his hat on."

One would risk glibness if not irreverence to say that Christ was a gentleman, but in His human nature He habitually put those around Him at ease. With protocols from the Heavenly Court, He went to lengths in calming people and caring for their comfort. Never did the Lord "lord over" anyone, and if the occasional hypocrite or unjust judge or weak disciple became nervous in His presence, it was the fault of their guilt, for He never deliberately intimidated or shamed anyone.

Once, when a reporter shouted to the 33rd President: "Give 'em Hell, Harry!"  Truman replied, "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell." Our Lord gave people Heaven itself, and if that frightened them it was because their duplicity made Heaven hellish.

In the Resurrection, our Lord kept putting people at ease, saying: "Peace." "Do not be afraid."  "Why are you troubled?"  He went so far as to let the apostles touch His wounds, and He ate a piece of baked fish to domesticate their incredulity. I expect that the only one He did not have to tell to calm down was His mother, who was full of grace.

Jesus had no need to apologize for having taken so long to die, because His very agony was a grace. He did another gracious thing by spending the forty days before His Ascension explaining how all the tangled events of history shaped a picture and how the prophets were prophetic. You can tell how well He taught by the way the apostles later wrote their letters, always with that gentle zeal for souls that makes the term "gentleman" inadequate to describe souls so sympathetic. When He had "opened their minds to understand the scriptures," He told those in the Upper Room to "stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). We know that Peter listened very carefully, for when he was clothed in that elegant spiritual haberdashery which is sanctifying grace, he delicately told the crowd in Jerusalem that they had acted out of ignorance, but if they repented, the Lord would grant them "times of refreshment," for the Lord — unbending to evil and fierce in the face of the Evil One — is also gentle in all His ways.

 

 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Father George William Rutler. "Let not your heart be troubled." From the Pastor (April 29, 2012).

Reprinted with permission of Father George W. Rutler.

THE AUTHOR

Father Rutler received priestly ordination in 1981. Born in 1945 and reared in the Episcopal tradition, Father Rutler was an Episcopal priest for nine years. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1979 and was sent to the North American College in Rome for seminary studies. Father Rutler graduated from Dartmouth, where he was a Rufus Choate Scholar, and took advanced degrees at the Johns Hopkins University and the General Theological Seminary. He holds several degrees from the Gregorian and Angelicum Universities in Rome, including the Pontifical Doctorate in Sacred Theology, and studied at the Institut Catholique in Paris. In England, in 1988, the University of Oxford awarded him the degree Master of Studies. From 1987 to 1989 he was regular preacher to the students, faculty, and townspeople of Oxford. Cardinal Egan appointed him Pastor of the Church of Our Saviour, effective September 17, 2001.

Since 1988 his weekly television program has been broadcast worldwide on EWTN. Father Rutler has published 17 books, including: Cloud of Witnesses - Dead People I Knew When They Were Alive, Coincidentally: Unserious Reflections on Trivial Connections, A Crisis of Saints: Essays on People and Principles, Brightest and Best, Saint John Vianney: The Cure D'Ars Today, Crisis in Culture, and Adam Danced: The Cross and the Seven Deadly Sins.

Copyright © 2012 Father George W. Rutler




Subscribe to CERC's Weekly E-Letter

 

 

Not all articles published on CERC are the objects of official Church teaching, but these are supplied to provide supplementary information.