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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Light of the World

Today in class one of our professors spoke of Pope Paul VI; did you know that Humanae Vitae was the LAST Encyclical he ever wrote? He had ten more years in his papacy, and in all that time, although he wrote other things, none was to the same authority. Evangelii Nuntiandi was an Apostolic Exhortation, not an Encyclical. Our professor pointed out that, in photos, that dear Pope was never smiling.

Humane Vitae cost him dearly; he suffered much as a result for speaking out for life so prophetically. Here we are, 40 years later, having seen and still living (the lucky ones) the fulfillment of his prophecy; ever word he wrote was true. Every word.

Yet when it was published, American theologians got together and dissented. Canadian Bishops issued the Winnipeg Statement. And in Europe, they called councils to rebel as a group against the Truth issued by the Vicar of Christ.

Our professor believed that it cost him so much that "the ink of his pen just dried up."

I can believe it. And history bears it out.

Tonight as I write, the movie "Armageddon" is playing out behind me on the TV. The world is headed for destruction, but those about to die are busy with technology, because, as one character said, in tears, "I have nowhere else to go."

I was suddenly struck with a very deep sadness; she just spoke on behalf of so much of the world, even professed Catholics.

Here we live in a world that denies the value of life, defines freedom by whatever is convenient to "me" and flees the idea of sacrifice. The vast majority of Catholics who claim to be "practicing" have never been taught the most basic tenants of their faith, have never read Humanae Vitae, and don't even know that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a document that coherently answers the questions they haven't bothered to ask.

We live in a world filled with people who are SUPPOSED to know Christ...but don't.

We live in a world that we have allowed to become so secularized that the moral fibre that used to make up the family has been rendered unrecognizable but for torn remnants here and there. We live in a world where those who should know where to go for hope don't have the foggiest idea that "hope" is a theological virtue, one that opens the door to salvation no matter what one's circumstances or choices.

We live in a world without mercy, for it refuses to acknowledge the only one who can provide them the absolution they seek.

We live in a world that is getting darker by the day, especially here in America, the world's last refuge.

Today, sitting in class, I wondered at what I was doing. I know that all that is necessary is time with Christ. I know that if I had nothing else, I would have Our Lord even for a few moments in an adoration chapel, or in the church, before Him hidden in the tabernacle. So why go to class?

The question was quickly answered; because there aren't very many being educated in the faith. Those of us who are there; we have not just a privilege and a gift, but a responsiblity. Maybe we are supposed to preach formally or form organizations. Maybe we are to become more holy to live an a example for others. Or maybe we are being prepared so as to answer the questions of those who will flee to any corner when the axe finally falls.

I don't know what my call happens to be, but I do know that for some reason, I and my classmates are in the minority. Every parish sees that same minority; of thousands of registered members, only a few hundred are active, and even fewer live a life of true devotion.

We are ALL called to Sainthood. Every. Single. One. of. Us.

We are ALL called to share the Gospel. We are ALL called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, following in the footsteps of Jesus, whom we proclaim to follow.

And yet...things are getting worse.

We aren't doing our job. And, if we are...souls aren't responding.

I think that the prayer of Isaiah is being answered...hearts are being hardened, eyes refuse to see, ears refuse to hear.

We are a country, and a world, that has rejected God. He has pulled His blessing from us, and we deserve it. Even we the "faithful" have fallen short and will come under the same judgment.

We shouldn't be surprised. But we should light our candles and carry them out into the world. Yes, people hate us. Get over it. That's nothing new. Get a spine, live a holy life, speak only of Christ, and avoid sin. Remain close to the Sacraments, spend time in Adoration, and prepare for what's coming.

Be lights to the world. Share your faith, even in simple ways. Maybe we live in dark times, but I, for one, have hope. Not hope in this world; the reason for the hope of a Christian has nothing to do with this world, but in Christ who died for many.

If you claim to follow Christ...FOLLOW HIM! If you profess His Name...CONFORM YOURSELF TO HIM, and help others do the same.

It might be hard to be holy and work to become a Saint; but it'll be a darn sight easier than eternity in Hell.

We are responsible not for just what we know...but for whom we lose.

And right now....we're ignoring a lot of lost souls that are too ignorant to cry out.

And it's our own fault.
*

11 comments:

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

I'll take the blame...back to the confessional again :)

The Zapman said...

Amen.

zetor said...

Maybe making Advent a spiritual time and not just a materialistic period, to pray more for the church and this world we live in. This lost world, where anything goes!All this will help.

Melody K said...

I have thought, many times, of how much it cost Pope Paul VI to take the position which he did. As you point out, one doesn't see him smiling much in pictures. At the time I was very disappointed that he didn't say birth control was okay. But when we got married, I couldn't quite bring myself to go against the Church's teaching; I figured maybe the pope knew something I didn't. Fortunately my husband was willing to try NFP even though he wasn't Catholic at the time. I'm not going to relate warm and fuzzy NFP stories. At times it was a royal pain in the patoot, just one more thing to worry about. But we still think it was the right thing to do. I still find the intellectual arguments against contraception somewhat muddy. Ironically, the thing which convinces me the most, is the suffering Pope Paul endured because of his teaching. It would have been so much easier to take the line of least resistance.

Anonymous said...

I’m such a cynic, but I can’t help but feel hopeful. I see the seeds of the “springtime” JPII spoke of and the ground seems so ready to grow it. People are miserable. I was watching clips from Soylent Green on YouTube and there’s that one scene where a bulldozer goes through New York scooping people up. It seems like people are just begging to get scooped up, we just have a bulldozer shortage. I can’t help but get excited about the US Bishops starting to speak boldly about abortion. Sometimes things have to get bad (even hellishly bad) before people get a gut check and engage in the battle. I do believe in fairies..er, I mean, I do believe even one person can set the world on fire. :-)

CK

Nancy said...

Just a small correction, Adoro, do you mean the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi of Paul VI? Evangelium Vitae was of course an encyclical of JPII (although there's speculation that the then Cardinal Wojtyla had a big influence on the former as well).

Incidentally, to mark the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae our Canadian bishops released a message encouraging the faithful to rediscover the teachings of Humanae Vitae and JPII's Theology of the Body. Although it's not actually a direct repudiation of the Winnipeg Statement as some would like, by praising the encyclical it's effectively doing just that.

http://www.cccb.ca/site/content/view/2636/1214/lang,eng/

Adoro te Devote said...

Nancy ~ oops! Thanks for the catch...that was the one I was referring to. Will make the correction!

Hidden One said...

Our Canuck bishops -repudiated- the Winnipeg statement? SWEET!

Oh, sorry, Adoro. I was going to comment that this was another post well worth reading in a nice long line of them... oh, wait, I guess I just did. :-)

Potaniaena said...

Awesome post. I completely agree.

I have been watching some tv lately. . . Saturday Night Live, Mad TV, etc. It is so depressing. OUr children are watching this cesspool of supposed comedy. The topics they laugh about should not be on TV. Our innocent teens are seeing this filth!

I feel like I'm the only one objecting, I am the only one disgusted.

Great post. I'm saving it.

Mike T said...

Marialis Cultus, written in 1974, was another apostolic exhortation. (Some internet sites wrongly call it an encyclical.)

Corrie said...

Thank you for this post. I found it very inspiring and relevant to my life. I write a blog too, and for the first time, I have started to get comments- and they are pretty nasty. It's hard to be hated, even by people you do not know. But you are right, we ARE going to be hated and we just need to "get a spine." Given the times we live in, there is a good chance that if we are not experiencing some kind of verbal persecution (at the very least), we are probably not living the life we are called to live.

Thanks for giving me the kick in the you-know-what that I needed!