The Catholic Faith is one of mystery. There is so much we find difficult to explain or understand, at least we lay people. How often have you heard homilies struggling to explain the Trinity or the Eucharist? Yet there is still a greater mystery, the greatest in all of Christianity in my opinion; how could Jesus love us.
How could He love me so much that He was willing to die for me, the screw-up with all my sins? How could He know all the sins I would commit, all the times I would reject Him or put things before Him yet love me enough to go to Cavalry? It is believed in the Garden He saw all the sins ever committed including yours and mine yet He willingly laid down His life so that we may have eternal life.
Yet even that was not enough for Him. He loved us so much at the Last Supper He created the Eucharist so that we could receive Him and draw close to Him. He sits now in our Tabernacles waiting for us to come visit Him. He passionately yearns for a relationship with us.
What is also amazing is that His love for us is not just limited to our salvation but all- encompassing. He cares deeply about every aspect of our lives and ardently yearns to pour His love upon us. “By His stripes we are healed”. He cares about our health, careers, relationships, our hopes and dreams, our passions and fears; every aspect of our lives, everything we can think of. Nothing is too big or too small for Him to care about. If it is important to us it is important to Him. Our job is to open ourselves to His awesome love.
Why He loves us so is the mystery we have difficulty wrapping our brains around. We are so unlovable so selfish it is difficult to comprehend such a selfless love. Yet that is the nature of Jesus, of God. He is Love Incarnate. It is impossible for Him to go against His nature and not love us even with all our faults. Who can understand all this?
I wonder if American Catholics realize how privileged this generation of American Catholics are. We alone of all the Catholics in the history of this country have the opportunity to stand with the heroes of our faith, people like St. Thomas More, St Thomas Becket and St Margaret Clitherow, all Englishmen who stood up for their faith against the persecution of tyrants. We can stand with the Apostles and early martyrs. We can stand with those in Spain who were persecuted by the Moors and later the Socialist government of the 1930’s. We can join with the Catholic heroes of Japan who kept the Church alive underground through 2 centuries of persecution. We can stand with those in Vietnam and Korea oppressed by first their emperors and later the Communists. We can join the priests in Revolutionary France who refused to renounce the papacy and the Mexican priests executed during the 20’s.We have the opportunity to join with the members of the Underground Church in China today who stand for the true faith.
We are challenged today to decide who we really are. Are we Catholics in name only, Catholic because our parents had us baptized or are we Catholic because we really believe in the mystery and power of our faith? Do we understand the gift our parents gave us especially the power and privilege of receiving the Eucharist? Do we understand we can’t make it in today’s world without receiving Jesus in Communion? Do we know what a treasure we have?
Do we know how awesome our faith is? For two thousand years we have stayed true to the faith despite persecution and political pressure. Individuals have broken but the Church has stayed true to the mission given her by Jesus Christ, to preach the gospel and lead people to heaven. Always, always despite persecution, political correctness and pressure by politicians there have been Catholics willing to say no, to lay down their lives rather than compromise their faith. Unlike other religions which seem to change with the times we’ve stayed true to the teachings of Christ. Our liturgy may have evolved, fasts may have changed but the core of our faith, our understanding of the Commandments and Christ’s teachings have remained true. We should be proud of our faith and angry over our government’s attempt to change it, to force Catholics to go against it.
As we say in the Creed, we “believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic church”. We are called to be a holy people, set apart, living by God’s standards and not the World’s or the president’s. We are a people called to sacrifice, to follow the “narrow road”. Too many people have forgotten that and fallen for Satan’s lies. No issue has been more divisive in the Church than the issue of artificial birth control. Too often our viewpoint has been shaped by those with something to gain, who distort the truth for profit or political gain.
What would we see if we looked at the issue from God’s perspective? Would we see the 600 percent increase in breast cancer since the Pill became popular? Would we see the danger of thrombosis, blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, strokes and deaths attributed to the Pill? Would we see the millions of girls hurt and abandoned because they were conned into having sex before they were mature enough to make the right decision? Would we see the emotional damage caused by an anything goes lifestyle? Would we see the millions of marriages destroyed because one partner was too emotionally damaged to fulfill a permanent commitment to their partner? Would we see the extent of adultery made possible by the Pill? Would we see the decline in morals destroying our society? Would we see all the pain caused by the promotion of an immoral lifestyle? Would we not want to protect people from the pain?
Would we see the benefits of natural family planning where couples work together and practice discipline? Would we see marriages strengthened rather than weakened by the need to work together? Would we see families growing in their commitment to their faith and to each other? Would we see people growing in holiness?
We should be grateful to belong to a Church that believes us capable of greatness with God’s help, that sees our potential for true love rather than lust that believes us to be capable of controlling ourselves, that recognizes the strength of our character and calls us to follow Christ through the “narrow gate”. We should be proud to belong to a Church that has the courage to stand up for truth, no matter how unpopular it may be to do so.
We have the opportunity to share in a small way with the sufferings of millions of Catholics who gave their lives for the faith, who found our faith worth dying for. We have the chance to stand with them with St. Thomas More, Thomas Hemerford, Robert Ludlam, Edward Waterford, Margaret Clitherow and the other Englishmen who died for their faith. Or you can stand with the President, Henry VIII and Cardinal Woolsey who betrayed the Church. What do you choose?
I know many people upset with the election results and all the radical changes taking place in America. There is a sense of powerlessness. We desperately need to do something to save America but what? What does God say?
Two verses from the book of Revelation seem to be speaking to the American Church
Revelation 2: 4 really challenges us. “Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first”. Even more thought provoking was Revelation 3:16; “So, then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of My mouth.”
Haven’t we lost the love of Jesus that we should have? Isn’t the problem the fact that we have been lukewarm? We are supposed to be on fire for the Lord. He is supposed to be the center of our lives. We are supposed to point to the Lord at every opportunity. Have we?
Today our Church is challenged. Society and the government want us to be a people, who go through the motions, go to mass on Sunday if we want but keep our mouths shut about the sinfulness in this society. We are expected to go along with laws that contradict our faith. As far as the world is concerned our faith should be restricted to an hour on Sundays.
Yet the Bible reveals that our faith and love for Christ must be the driving force of our lives. Everything we do should be rooted in our love for God. We are called to be a light in the darkness, an agent of love and change in society, changing or at least challenging society to be better rather than surrendering to society.
The book of Revelation tells us that we are involved in a spiritual battle, not a political battle. Our enemy is more than the politicians and activists. We are challenged to stand up and fight. We are fighting for the souls of those around us and the soul of America. Prayer and the Sacraments must be our weapons. We need to pray as we have never prayed before, for our family, friends, our country and our Church.
Is not our country in such a sorry state because we have been lukewarm? We have failed to bring Christ’s love to the rest of society. We have not been on fire. We’ve been more concerned with winning votes than souls. We have not been praying like never before.
Yet the only thing that can save America is prayer and Adoration. We possess such powerful weapons in The Eucharist and Rosary yet we use them so rarely.
We desperately need to pray for the conversion of our nation especially the lukewarm and fallen away Catholics. We need to pray seriously, passionately every day for the salvation of souls. Every day more and more lost souls are dying. How can we do nothing?
Don’t wait. Start now! Say the rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, whatever prayers you choose for the conversion of those you know and our country. This is what we are called to do.
It can’t wait! People are dying today. Our society is spinning out of control morally. Politics isn’t the answer. God and prayer are.