Recently I was a little taken aback to be told that I know nothing about Benedictine monasticism. It wasn’t put quite like that, of course, it never is; but I was left in no doubt that my interlocutor (not himself a monk) thought he knew better than I. He may be right; indeed, deep down, I think he is right, for I feel know less and less the longer I try to live this kind of life; but neither of us can claim absolute certainty. Yet isn’t that precisely what we all do much of the time? We haven’t time for qualifications and nuance so we make assumptions instead, even though it means we make assumptions that can be cruelly wrong at times. (Just think of all those people who dress differently from us and whom we avoid on the grounds that they ‘may’ be dangerous . . .)

I was thinking about this in connection with the Jesus portrayed in the gospels. The number of times someone gets him ‘wrong’, assumes that this inspiring teacher is a mere rabble-rouser, intent on destroying everything that first century Judaism held precious! We still get him ‘wrong’ today, wanting him to be the Jesus we would like him to be rather than the person he is. That is one reason prayer is so essential. Without that regular laying aside of our own ideas and opening ourselves up to the reality of God, we can become too complacent that we have got him ‘sorted’, confined his immensity in our own littleness.

Our assumptions about others, their motives especially, can be just as wide of the mark, as I indicated earlier. Perhaps a useful Lenten exercise would be to examine some of our assumptions about the people closest to us and the way in which those assumptions work for their good — or not.


5 thoughts on “Assumptions”

  1. “The number of times someone gets him ‘wrong’, assumes that this inspiring teacher is a mere rabble-rouser, intent on destroying everything that first century Judaism held precious,”

    This is very insightful. He was a totally Torah observant Jew named Ribi Yehoshua. His bones were likely found in Talpiot, Jerusalem.

    These are indisputable facts which is why you are questioning. Find the answer at

    • Thank you sister for a lovely, though-provoking post. I need to question my own assumptions more and not be afraid to find they are erroneous.

      re: “These are indisputable facts which is why you are questioning.” I can’t be the only one who caught the irony of the juxtaposition of this comment with your blog post. It is so perfect it could only have been unplanned.

  2. No, the bones of Jesus have never been found, but even if they were, it would not disprove the Resurrection nor invalidate the truth of the Catholic Church’s teaching. I’ll let people follow your link if they want to, but I do not endorse it in any way, as I’m sure you understand. I am not questioning what the Church teaches. If you think I am, you have misunderstood my point. Peace!

  3. Mr. Konn does not appear to understand Christianity which his group attempts to rebrand and reconfigure to fit their own version of Jewish orthodoxy. We as Christians are confidant in the New Covenant which Jesus Christ established. He died and rose physically, handed on the authority of His teachings to His Apostles. He comes to us at every Mass in His Body and Blood. This is the faith of the Catholic Church, the faith we are proud to profess, the faith our many martyrs died for. There is no question in my mind that Digatalnun was referring to how we view our relationship with Jesus, how we must not rebrand Him or attempt to reconfigure His teachings to fit our own agendas. We need to return to prayer and listen for that still small voice which keeps us on the right path.

  4. I would also like to mention that today is the feast day (moved due to the Feast of the Annunciation) of St. Margaret Clitherow, a martyr of York, relative of my husband’s family. She, along with many others, were put to death during the reformation because her witness to the truth did not suit the political agendas of others. She is a saint because she was an ordinary person who tried harder, who kept the faith despite other people’s assumptions and assertions. Maybe whether or not we always “get it right”, whether or not we know “enough” isn’t the goal, maybe it is that we all keep trying.

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