The Legion and its supporters are fond of telling us that “God draws straight with crooked lines.” Nat has a pithy retort here. Still, the root of the problem is the Legion’s tendency to twist words and give them new meanings.
Twisting aphorisms isn’t as serious as twisting words like “Vocation” and “Charity.” They’re not messing with the deposit of Faith in this case, just folk wisdom. But they’re using this ‘wisdom’ to encourage people in folly, so we need to cut through the tangles.
In Legion-speak, “God draws straight with crooked lines” is used to explain how God can make a great “good” ( LC/RC) come from Maciel’s sins.
But “God draws straight with crooked lines” doesn’t mean that God turns sin into blessings.
It refers to those detours in our lives—the times we’re trying to do God’s will, but get sidetracked by events beyond our control. For example, last week I wanted to go to the Women’s Evening of Recollection at our parish. I needed some adoration time, I couldn’t wait to hear Father’s talk and hit the confessional. I looked forward to it all day. Then my husband came home with a sinus headache, the big kids were hungry and the little kids were screaming. I couldn’t go to church and be holy – I had to take care of my family instead.
This was one of those crooked lines. From a human perspective, it was a detour. Life had shoved me off the straight path (evening at church) onto this crooked line—I mean, the kids are always going to be hungry and cranky, but the evening of recollection only comes once a month! How am I supposed to grow in holiness while cooking a meal and washing dishes and burping a baby and holding a toddler? That evening, it seemed like God himself was working against my desire to deepen my faith. Definitely a crooked line.
But, from God’s perspective, things are different. He doesn’t see these things as detours. He sees the whole pattern – how our children will grow up remembering our loving care, how there will be other nights of recollection, how learning to cheerfully submit to our station in life will help us submit to His will in bigger things later one. My crooked lines are God’s straight ones.
Sin is not a crooked line. It can’t be made straight. It’s not a detour, it’s a roadblock. The only way to get a ‘straight line’ after sin is to repent and start over. God could not bring good out of Maciel’s evil, because Maciel did not repent. He started sinning at the founding, and he kept piling sacrilege upon sacrilege up until the moment of his death. We can only pray that he was given the mercy of a deathbed conversion. But his congregation? His rules? His writings? His inspiring talks? They’re a rock slide blocking the road to holiness.
An evil man cannot create a good spirituality. A man seeking only his own will cannot teach others to seek God.
There is no crooked line here, unless, somehow, your own suffering as you leave this tainted soil helps to purify you for what lies ahead.