Friday, February 20, 2009
Enemies of the World
We have to make a choice...all of us.
As Catholics, the world hates us with a passion of hatred we cannot fathom. It's everywhere. We see it in popular media in the ongoing and obviously biased articles about the Church in which they can't write about something positive without focusing on whatever is wrong. We see it in movies and television programs that paint all of the priesthood with a brush that labels ALL of them as drunk, unhappy pedophiles. Religious sisters or nuns are shown as either complete idiots or women bearing scowls and rulers used to beat children into submission.
In general, as the Catholic laity, we are called upon to defend our Faith, but where to begin? The hatred attacks us from all sides. And people we think are our friends buy into the hype of mainstream media (MSM), and assume the worst of us, and assume our positions on any given thing.
We are rendered voiceless because of their inability to listen.
We find this even WITHIN the Church, from people who are otherwise good Catholics, but cannot intellectually separate themselves from their own personal pain, and instead choose to hold on to the bonds of emotion without understanding what it is they are really grasping.
We see this in those "Catholics" that argue for the "right to abortion" and "right to use contraception"; those who argue for such "rights" outright refuse to see the harm done to the woman who kills her child, refuse to see the physical effects of contraception on the woman who takes those poisonous chemicals into her body and the subsequent damage to her and her entire family.
We also see a problem in our society of pluralism; many Catholics don't understand that the fullness of Truth resides in the Catholic Church, period. This is not triumphalism. There are those I know who grew up hearing that those "outside the Catholic Church can't be saved."
The fact is this: those baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and the Holy Spirit are inducted into the Catholic family, even if they don't attain the fullness of the Faith by virtue of the other Sacraments and full Communion with the Church. Thus...they are coming to God through Christ, and thus, they CAN be saved.
The ONLY way to get to Heaven is through Christ. If we are baptized Catholics, we are OBLIGATED to believe this.
No, we don't know what happens to people who aren't baptized, or were never given that option. We can't speak for centuries of pagans who were perhaps better people than we are. We entrust them to the Mercy of Our Lord. Can they be saved? We can't say...God can, and He alone has the authority to judge the salvation of souls. We certainly can't claim our own salvation, no matter how holy we think we are, for we are all sinners.
At work, I've had to fight this battle...the claim of some that can't understand that to claim to be a member of the one True Church isn't triumphalism..it's Truth. Period.
Often simple definitions are needed, so here they are:
Catholic: Those who profess the Catholic Faith (to include many Rites...Byzantine, Maronite, Ukranian...etc.) and believe and follow all that the Church teaches with regard to faith and morals. (In other words...Pelosi is a declared Catholic, but not in full communion because she dissents...thus she is not really Catholic. All who follow her typology...likewise)
Non-Catholic: Anyone who does not profess the Catholic Faith: to include other Christian religions, all pagan religions, secularism, atheism, etc
Christian: Catholic and Christian religions who recognize the Trinity, recognize that Christ died for our sins. This is a very broad category.
Time and time again, I run into people at work (in a Catholic Church), and in my real life who profess Catholicism but embrace pluralism; they have tight bonds to their non-Catholic friends and family, and so fear offending them that they nearly canonize them even as they live. Teens and adults alike have a hard time articulating it's OK to profess the Faith of Christ and understanding true ecumenism involves bring OTHERS into our Faith...whether they be Baptist, Wiccan, Muslim, Amish, Mennonite (my cousin * ahem *), Lutheran, Bah'ai, etc.
Ecumenism isn't triumphalism and it isn't pluralism...it is entirely geared towards conversion of ourselves and others into what is the TRUTH, and that ENTIRE Truth is found in the Catholic Church.
I'm not going to apologize for that fact. If you're looking for one, go elsewhere.
As a Catholic, I am an enemy of the world. Not because I choose to be, but because the WORLD chooses me as it's enemy, just as it chose Our Lord whom I follow. They killed Christ, and He was under threat from the beginning of His life...but did not compromise. There are many ways to follow Him, many manifestations, and I've met people of many different Christian religions who love Him and follow accordingly. We are ALL enemies of the world, because we refuse to engage the world on its terms; on that of the Church.
We of many religions stand together in love of Christ, enemies of the world that rages around us, at us, condemning us, vilifying us.
And I, for one, wouldn't have it any other way.
Hollywood can do what it wants; it doesn't affect my faith, but makes it stronger. The culture of atheism can sue us all they want...we won't acquiesce to their doctrine. Planned Parenthood can shout us down all they want; we'll continue to have children even if we have to do so illegally. Our Bishops will continue to ordain new Priests, ESPECIALLY under persecution, for that very persecution is what most inspires Vocations...for we all desire a love for which we are willing to die.
Christianity sprouted from the side of Christ, from His Sacrifice on the Cross...why should we, as His Mystical Body expect to do any different? Just as He set the example in life, He set it in his Death, and invites us to the Resurrection.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm Catholic before anything else. I'm Catholic even before I'm woman. Everything else comes second. And I don't care who is offended by that fact. Our forebears died for the Truth...we can withstand a little light persecution, can't we?
That's not to say we should not defend our Faith...indeed we should, and without compromise! But we should not be so surprised that we are reviled. We should not be surprised when our friends leave us, we should not be surprised when trolls spam our blogs with profanity.
I've lost friends in the embrace of the Truth, and I'll no doubt lose more or put off more in the years to come. So be it. I belong to Christ first...everyone else in my life, in comparison, is incidental.
Don't take that personally.
I am NOT willing to compromise my Faith in order to keep a friendship. I will discuss, I will explain, I will listen, I will enjoin...but I will not compromise. Period.
Our Faith does not come from us, it comes from God; those who have a problem with our Faith have a problem with God and they take it out on us. That's a fact.
So when we become Christian, we are, in a sense, agreeing that this is going to happen and we're willing to suffer it.
We must also be willing to fight it, in charity, in Truth, and always in seeking a deeper understanding.
I am an enemy of the world. I'd be a friend if I could, but the world won't have me, just as it wouldn't have Christ.
What do YOU choose?