“Ask a Priest: Isn’t Moral Ignorance Blissful?”

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Q: Why does God hold those with more grace or the Catholic faith to a higher standard? How can a person not envy the ignorance of unbelievers? -I.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: In some way it is understandable if we are a bit jealous of the ignorance of others. We can feel that way when we look at children and see how simple they are. Their ignorance of the big, bad world can make us nostalgic for childhood.

But the better way to think about your question is this: We need to appreciate the gift of faith that God gives us. If he gives us a lot, in terms of grace and our Catholic faith, it is a sign of his love. It is not a burden.

The problem might be that you see these gifts in your own life and realize that you aren’t living up to them. Here you need to be more humble, to rely more on God, to not be afraid to use your gifts for his glory and the benefit of souls.

It might be good to meditate on Matthew 25:14-30. If God has given you five or ten talents, there is no changing that. You need to make the decision to use those talents. How you use them will help define the woman you become. None of us can simply hide our talents as if they didn’t exist. Jesus makes that very clear in the parable.

You might not want to cast too covetous an eye on the state of non-believers. Yes, there are many who lead upright lives. But there are also many who struggle with a sense of meaninglessness and despair. They are honest enough to see that, if there is no God, then life is ultimately absurd and pointless. Not a cheery conclusion.

On a positive note, you might want to cultivate your devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. At the Annunciation she said yes to God’s special favor, and her yes changed the course of history.

(To go deeper into the Annunciation you might consider taking our online retreat, “Welcoming the Word: A Retreat Guide on the Annunciation”).

Your yes can change the course of history … for at least a few souls.

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