Those are the famous words of Oliver Cromwell to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, which was continuing its support for Charles II and preparing to support an invasion of England.
These words are coming to mind a great deal lately. I was going to call this post “As wise as serpents and as innocent as doves” because I was thinking about how Catholics should conduct ourselves on social media. I wrote a large number of words about the virtues of prudence, patience, charity, discernment and self-knowledge, for example. I also wrote about how we need to be canny and clever – for example, not to be drawn into pointless spats and feuds, to understand the tactics and strategies of ‘adversaries’ and to know when to give up.
Then the computer crashed and I lost everything. I took this as a SIGN and gave up. I returned to thinking about this subject today. I notice, for example, that some of us are extremely vulnerable to problems of motes and beams, that we call out others too hastily, that we lash out without thinking things through, and that what we see as the worst of others’ faults is what might be our own greatest weaknesses. So, we might think a bit about Cromwell’s words before acting impulsively, thoughtlessly or selfishly.
When I say ‘we’, by the way, I mean ‘I’ mostly.