Catholic Karma

There is big karma and little karma.  Big karma is a genuine belief, really it is just Karma with a capital K.  Little karma is a sense, one best summarized as “what goes around comes around.”

I do not believe in Karma, a central tenet of Buddhism.  As I understand it, Buddhists believe that corporeal inequality is not a matter of chance.  Part of the Buddhist faith in reincarnation is the karmic concept of moral causation.  It is a beautiful and compelling thought, but I accept the Catholic view of the soul and its relationship to the Almighty.

Karma, with the big K, is not part of Catholicism.  It is not a part of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

In the Gospel of John (9:2) the disciples asked Jesus if a man was blind because of his sins, or because of the sins of his parents.  Jesus told them that the man and his family were not at fault.  The friends of Job assumed that he was suffering because of something he did, but again, that was not the case.

While Karma is not present in Catholicism, little karma is a notion that entrances.  Little karma is the heart of the golden rule.  It is in Galatians (6:7) that informs us a “man reaps what he sows.”  It is in the Gospel of Matthew as Jesus proclaims that “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

For any Christian, little karma entices, and is seemingly inescapable.  Despite the temptation of this belief, a Catholic must reject this theory of moral cause and effect.   We will be judged for our actions but it will not be here on Earth.

Any sense that good things happen to good people is better understand as an exercise in psychology, not theology.  The cheerful and kind person seems to enjoy more good fortune than the misanthrope, but that is because the community prefers the former to the latter.  Others exercise the judgment.

The faith wants adherents to treat everyone the same, and treat everyone well.  We may try but our nature makes this difficult if not impossible.  The faithful understand that there is justice, but it will occur in the afterlife.   In the meantime, enjoy your episodes of “My Name is Earl,” but do not build a personal philosophy from a television show – even a good one.

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