In endeavoring to conform my opinions and behavior with the authoritative teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, I have, from time to time, received some slight or insult from less-than-genuine opponents. These insults have ranged from the generic (“pre-Vatican II”) to the truly hostile (“fascist”, “pervert”, “evil”, “uncatholic”.) I have tried to let these go, but I am not a saint. I have stewed in my anger, sometimes for days, sometimes for years. But, in time, I realize that each insult is not the worst thing a person could say about me. Normally, I realize this when the next insult comes along.

Recently, though, I was insulted in a completely novel and perfectly dehumanizing manner, to the point now that I wonder if I can ever be really insulted ever again. My existence has been called into being.

This is how it happened. A certain reader of The Cafeteria is Closed (who is completely without fault in this matter) found my RCIA story and, thinking it worthy of retelling, posted it to a liturgy bulletin board. Two women responded, one saying that the story “was a Church urban legend, had been around for years, and was total crap!” The second saying that I was not “me” but some other anti-liberal agitator who liked to lie.

Said certain reader posted a message on this blog apologizing for opening me up to derision. I went over to this bulletin board and read the comments. I was upset, but not tremendously. However, I consider this the greatest insult I have ever received. My experience, which brought me so close to my suffering Jesus that I became a member of his True Body, which has to be one of the hardest things I had to do as a kid, has been reduced to an “urban legend” and my own self to a state of non-existence by a couple of old lady windbags who dismiss the things they don’t like (perhaps feel some guilt for, or embarrassment over?).

So, a great insult but not a lot of anger. Why? I think it may be that insults that recognize the person insulted attack the ego. But if the insult denies the existence of the insulted, it cannot approach the ego. Therefore, it is not so much “I” being insulted, but “not-I” being insulted, and thus, my ego remaining undamaged, I feel almost no anger. How can a being show anger for being accused of not being?