Posted by: Thomas Richard | November 28, 2009

Holidays and Holydays

We have officially entered the Buying Season. The pillars of our economic system, retail businesses, hold their breath and hope that once more, Americans will buy-buy-buy as if there is no tomorrow. There is of course a tomorrow, some tomorrow that will not come. There is a day that will be the last day, a day that should illuminate our days between now and then, a day that ought to put things here and now into perspective. There is an end to this frantic busyness and buyingness, a day when our values and our valuables will be put on the scales of Truth, and evaluated in the light that never ends.

Our economy is based on over-consumption. The more we over-consume, the fatter and the more self-indulgent we are, the better for this dysfunctional economy. There is something very wrong with this picture! There is something very wrong with an economy built upon a foundation that is itself inherently unstable and transient. Self-indulgence is not a “rock” we can rely upon! Over-consumption is not a firm foundation!

Capitalism is not bad, if capital is invested for returns of real value. Regulation is not bad, if the regulation and the regulators are themselves ordered toward living true justice. Neither individual rights nor big government control are intrinsically bad, when the rights affirmed or the controls enforced are directed to true and righteous good. It is when light is darkness to us, and when darkness is light to us, that both freedom and control are destined to failure.

I do not blame our culture, or our government, or television or anything else in the secular world. I blame us in the Church who have failed to be Church. The Church is not a business! The Church is not a social club! The Church is not a weekend wish-time in a long week of hard and dirty reality. The Church is reality, the life of Christ set in this dark and confused world.

Christ sent the Church to be light in this dark and darkening world, until He comes again. But so many in the Church in our time have failed, and continue to fail in being light and in bringing light in the growing darkness. Instead, the witness of the Church grows fainter as we blend more and more into our surroundings. Catholics grow less sensitive to the presence of the Holy, less reverent before the Tabernacle, less full participants in Holy Mass, less educated and formed in the Faith, less able to evangelize, and indeed seeing less of a reason to do so. The secular and godless culture is evangelizing the Church! The Church is seduced, and grows impotent and lazy, as self-indulgent as the rest of the country. Catholics finally “fit right in.” Happy day.

This is a time for Catholics who have not yet fallen completely asleep to rouse themselves and begin to arouse others. The darkness has not yet overtaken us, but it is coming. Like the three whom Jesus made sit and watch as He prayed in His agony in the Garden, we fall off again and again to sleep, but it need not be this way. When the Son of Man comes, He can indeed find faith upon the earth, if the Church will awaken and become Church, her vocation.

What can we do? What must we do? We must rouse ourselves and look for Jesus who is very near. We must look to Him, we must find Him and see Him and see Him seeing us. We must meet Jesus, and listen so as to hear His words of life. And we must live in Him, without compromise. We must become converted, “sold out” to Jesus, finding God who is all in all, in Him. We must live as though we believe Him, and we must believe Him. No more mere reciting prayers – we must pray. No mere attending Mass – we must participate wholeheartedly, offering ourselves a living sacrifice which is our acceptable service of worship, receiving the living Christ and taking Him with us when we leave the assembly. We must live as though we are accountable, for we are accountable. We must live as though God has entrusted this world to us, for He has. We must live as though our days are numbered, for they are, and He is very near, at the door.


Responses

  1. Dear Thomas,

    How appropriate your message is for the Season of Advent! I am grateful for your words as this New Church Year begins tomorrow:

    “What can we do? What must we do? We must rouse ourselves and look for Jesus who is very near. We must look to Him, we must find Him and see Him and see Him seeing us. We must meet Jesus, and listen so as to hear His words of life. And we must live in Him, without compromise. We must become converted, “sold out” to Jesus, finding God who is all in all, in Him. We must live as though we believe Him, and we must believe Him. No more mere reciting prayers – we must pray. No mere attending Mass – we must participate wholeheartedly, offering ourselves a living sacrifice which is our acceptable service of worship, receiving the living Christ and taking Him with us when we leave the assembly. We must live as though we are accountable, for we are accountable. We must live as though God has entrusted this world to us, for He has. We must live as though our days are numbered, for they are, and He is very near, at the door.”

    Thomas, and all who read this blog, I firmly believe that if we ask, as Jesus promised, we will receive, if we seek, we shall find; and if we knock, the door will be opened for us. Let us ask for His Grace, and seek His Face, and knock on the door of His Heart that He may open to us. (cf Mt 7: 7-11). Let us pray without ceasing!

    Learning from Mary, the first human person to know the Word Made Flesh, let us all begin, at last, to love as God loves.

  2. What a beautiful reflection with which to start Advent. The Church has wisely chosen readings about the end times and persecution to prepare us for Advent; if we listen, we should be changed. Last week we read of Mattathais, who was asked to obey the king’s evil commands so to be numbered among the “king’s friends.” Do we have the courage not to be the king’s friend, not to be the world’s friend? How grateful I am to all the bishops and clergy who have signed the Manhattan Declaration, a call to Christian conscience.
    Let us all pray for one another, that we may be salt and light. “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.”

  3. Thanks for your inspiring words. It makes me miss you and Deborah even more at the loss of your presence here in Tampa. But I know God is blessing you both and your work.
    Thank you for the words that are so important to start the advent season. Know that both of you are in my prayers,


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