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Jesus-Loyal Person

If we did not feel indebted to the Church for our faith before our Cursillo Weekend, we certainly experienced a strong sense of loyalty by the end. Further, as Cursillo was the medium of our deeper relationship with Christ and our new appreciation for the Church, we extended our loyalty to Cursillo.

Likewise, Jesus was a very loyal person. Loyal to God, to the Jewish people, to Jewish law and scriptures. Jesus discerned God’s plan for Him through the study of the scriptures and he accepted all the demands made on Him. Mk 10:45.  Although the           Jewish leaders rejected Jesus as the Messiah, He remained faithful to being God’s gift toIsraeland loyal to Jewish law. Jesus asked His accusers: “Which of you can truthfully accuse me of one single sin?” Jn:8:46. We need Jesus as our model of a person who is loyal to institutions, because the human tendency is to take such a virtue and push it to an extreme, preventing our growth as persons and in the spiritual life.

Human Way. In our great loyalty to the Church, Cursillo and other institutions, we may make observance of their laws and regulations an end in itself rather than a means to an end. We may even judge our relationship with God based on our outward observance of their laws and regulations. This is the trap of legalism. We may not be aware of it but what we are seeking is the security that outward observance of laws and rules give us Should it be difficult in a given instance to decide what to do, we may even prefer to get our answer from some authority figure. Again, looking for security. Unfortunately, legalism leads to the self-righteousness of the Pharisees.

Jesus’ Way. Jesus avoided the trap of seeking security from external observance of law, as we see demonstrated countless times in the Gospels. It was the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law that mattered to Jesus.St. Paul makes this distinction eminently clear: “Christ has made us free and don’t get all tied up again in the chains of slavery to Jewish laws and ceremonies.” Gal. 5:1ff. Jesus’ loyalty to the Jewish people and to Jewish law was always governed by His loyalty to God. Jesus came to reveal that God was not a lawgiver, but truly a loving parent.

Remedies. First, we must realize that if we take our loyalty to institutions to an extreme, we are creating a monumental barrier between Jesus’ Spirit and ourselves in our spiritual life. The Spirit of God dwells within us, reveals us to ourselves, calls us to growth and gives of Himself in relationship. The Spirit operates within each situation and experience of our daily life. We must believe that we are in the process of becoming, and we must be open to this interior process of discerning where the Spirit is leading us. It is the Spirit who will guide us in living the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law.

There is no greater security available to us than to have the Spirit as our inner guide and mentor. But it takes dependency on the Spirit and deep personal courage and faith to live according to the Spirit.

Second, we readily admit that every individual is driven by pathologies and compulsions. But are we aware that every institution, the best of them, is affected by pathological trends? Writes theologian Gregory Baum in Man Becoming: “The presence of the demonic in institutional life casts a shadow of injustice on all human activities, even the best….The Christian is summoned to remain critical in regard to institutions, to wrestle with the powers of darkness present in them, and to involve him- or her self politically in the various societies to which he or she belongs.” Loyalty is not blind. We demonstrate true loyalty to the Church or Cursillo or other institutions when we act like Jesus: Jesus loved the institutions of His day but he challenged them.