Be Fair!

            Mama said . . . Mama said!  “Be fair to your brother, sister, cousin, friend (you fill in one one that Mama most often referred to).”  Be fair.  It’s probably the very first social law that any of us ever struggled with – starting at three and ending with a sharp realization around ten (give or take) when we notice with great indignation that Mama is not fair with us.  It evidentially has something to do with, “I’m the adult, you’re the child.  Do what I say!”  And that’s not fair.  Then Mama tells you something she kind of left out when you were three:  “Life is not fair.  Deal with it!”

            Deal with it?  Deal with it?  How do you deal with the end of an Era?  …with the death of all you thought was true?  But we do deal with it, don’t we? 

            So – an eon later, we’re bored and fidgeting at Mass.  “Sit still.  You only get from Mass what you’re willing to put into Mass!” says your brother, sister, cousin, friend, mama . . . spouse.  And that kinda makes sense, you think.  It clicks right into place with something you learned long ago.  Yeh.  It does make sense.  You only get back from Mass what you’re willing to put into it.  You like the sound of that – it seems fair. 

            So you join a prayer group.  Man!  That feels great!  Let’s do some more . . . You join a service group that collects gently used baby and kid clothes for single parents.  Wow.  That feels even better.  You commit to the midnight-to-one, first Friday Adoration slot.  Yep . . .  Well, truthfully – Nope.  Not feelin’ the love on this one.  Hey.  I’m puttin’ in, but I’m not gettin’ back.  That’s not fair.  I’ll quit.  I mean, it’s only ‘fair’, right?  But that thought doesn’t feel . . . ‘right’.  Well, who cares?  There are other people in that particular Adoration slot . . .  Hey!  Joe and Sally don’t show up every first Friday.  How would me not showing up any first Friday be so different?  It would be okay.  It would be better than okay – it would be fair.

            But here’s the thing.  If Life isn’t fair.  Maybe spiritual life isn’t fair either.  Now wait a minute.  Hold on.  It wasn’t fair that Jesus – the sinless one – died a horrific death to give us the chance to get to heaven.  No, not fair at all.  But he did it.  Why do you suppose that was?  Uhh, hello!  He loved us.  Could it be that Love trumps Fair?  Could it be that when Mama told me Life wasn’t Fair – she was speaking quite loudly at the time because her head and arm were in the washer trying to reach that laaast sock – could it be that she also meant Love trumps Fair . . . ?

Ms. Catherine Lambert, O.P.

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