Posted by: Thomas Richard | December 31, 2010

Is your church spreading the Gospel?

The West in general, and the USA in particular, is in grave danger. The weaknesses are screaming in our ears, certainly in the areas of both economics and morality.

The West has been living on borrowed money for years, and creditors won’t wait forever. The street riots in Europe, protesting government attempts to get people to grow up and live within their means, will come to this country. Some politicians are now “getting religion” economically – how sincere and courageous they are remains to be seen.

The West has been walking away from moral truth for years also. The “pill” has made cheap and easy sex the norm, and has helped degrade the meaning and commitment of marriage and family to become a mere arrangement of convenience. Thus, serial marriage-divorce-remarriage has left children bewildered and insecure, left like the rest of us to chase toys and pleasures instead of real meaningful happiness. After all, who believes in real happiness anymore?

The degraded sense of the once-holy sacrament of marriage with its privileged marital act once appropriate only in marriage, has opened the door for open homosexuality. Why not, if sex for pleasure is perfectly acceptable, why not with whomever one pleases, whenever one pleases, for whatever purpose one chooses?

Paul saw it then; we see it now:

Romans 1:21 … for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened.

22 While claiming to be wise, they became fools

23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.

24 Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies.

25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural,

27 and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper.

29 They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite. They are gossips

30 and scandalmongers and they hate God. They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness, and rebellious toward their parents.

31 They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

32 Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

This passage could be in the script for any evening news show on TV, any evening of the week. It could be the foundation for any sermon in any church in the West. And it ought to be!

How bad will it get, before we wake up? And grow up? And fall down on our knees in repentance? Alcoholics Anonymous has a proverb that each one has his own “bottom” that he has to hit before he can admit his addiction. How far down is the “bottom” in this fantasy-land of moral corruption and godlessness? How deep is this addiction to self-pleasure, before we see it is destroying us?

So – my question is, what is your parish doing about the growing crisis all around us? Is it enough? Is it anything at all? Is it making a difference?  What ought we be doing?

  • Are we working to teach and form our own members in the Catholic Faith?
  • Are we growing together in the Truth of God’s Word with Bible Studies?
  • Are we intentionally deepening our personal prayer-life, and intimate relationship with God in Christ?
  • Are we sharing the Faith with friends – strangers – relatives?
  • Are we evangelizing?  Are we knocking on doors to tell people about the more that God has for them, and that Christ died to give them?
  • Are we guarding true moral principles on election day?  Are we refusing to elect any who are part of the degrading of Christian morality in our country?
  • Are we living a simple life, within our own means, treasuring what is truly of value, and not chasing the glass trinkets of a godless world?

Thomas

 


Responses

  1. Dear Thomas,

    Thank you for posting such a sober message on this New Year’s eve. We need to examine our consciences often, but perhaps especially as one year closes and a new one opens before us. God gives us the “gift” of time, and as His children, we need to receive it gratefully and responsibly.

    We need to “grow up” as you have said, in order to overcome evil with good. By His Grace, He intended us to grow from the seed of glory given us in Baptism into the full flowering of holiness in the perfection of charity. He is always working good, but we are not always working with Him.

    May this 2011 be truly “different” for us as unique persons who have been given so much in Christ. As each of us grows, so will the Church grow, and Her Light will shine for all the nations to see. May the Holy Family intercede for us, that we may be as they were in this world — Holy!

  2. What an excellent post as one year ends and we begin a new year- an opportune time to think about what really is important and what we shall do with our lives from this day forward. Thank you for writing this. Have a blessed and holy new year and continue your witness.

  3. For a moment there, while reading the blog, I thought I was reading the post of an recovering addict.

    How far till we hit bottom?

    Knowing addiction, I think it will be very, very, very difficult to reach the bottom when as already indicated there are lots of “toys and pleasures” to chase after especially for the West and those of us influenced by the West. The poor are indeed more blessed than us in this areas since they cannot afford to chase after toys and pleasures. Thus, they tend to hit rock bottom earlier, open their eyes to reality early on before its too late…

    It is far too easy to ignore the consequences of our sins and the pain it brings when there are far too many things out there that can distract us besides the many things within us–like our own imaginations perhaps–to help us escape from our moral dilemmas.

    The part that I quoted especially hit me personally. I know I have to let go of all the “toys” I have accumulated all these years that help me escape His presence. These “toys” are not intrinsically “bad” — but anything that takes the place of God or separates us from Him is worth leaving behind… e.g. watching TV instead of making time for prayer, resorting to reading books or anything that will distract me whenever I do not feel good about the things around me or about myself instead of asking help in prayer. Indeed, the prayer comes as a last resort instead of the FIRST. The first is MY WAY first in resolving things.

    Last night, I read from F. Suarez’ book “Mary of Nazareth” that:

    To be sober, man must first admit as AA first step says, our own helplessness in the face of our day-to-day lives–that our lives had been unmanageable. But since we always try to manage things our own way and make our own escapes/escapades through all things we cannot control, it is hard to bend our knees and fall. As long as we think we are in power–individually or as a nation or as a race/culture–God really has to be very merciful to show that we are NOT, so that we can come to Him at last and find rest.

    How does the church spread the gospel of salvation to a world that thinks it needs no saving and hence, recognizes no Savior? That is the challenge.

    I believe that like John the Baptist, we are called to simply do our best in preparing the way, prepare the hearts of people by living out our faith to shine on others– putting God first (that ALONE is a challenge by itself) and let God take care of His coming to and His saving of individual lives and nations.

    Saint Francis of Assisi once told his followers to preach the gospel at all times, and use words whenever necessary. The church has written a lot already and competes with other information out here in the web or other media. It is high time that the gospel be preached via individual lives saying: This is who I was before, and through God’s saving help, this is how I became now. This is God’s work in my life. I could not have done it myself. Come and see.

  4. Wow! What a sobering message!


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