Recently, several situations which I have witnessed revealed to me what happens when lay people refuse a call to sacrifice, a call to grace.
The first is a young couple I knew in a large double city in the upper Midwest, a couple which had horrible marriage problems. The woman wanted to control the husband. Friends encouraged them to get marriage counseling, but they lost many things in the process, as the lifestyle had to change.
The man had to learn to be less passive and stronger, a real leader in the family, (they had one child), and the woman had to learn to stop being angry, aggressive and controlling. The trouble was that for a long time, both were refusing grace, running around in circles, attempting to "fix" the marriage on their own.
The problems were much deeper than going out to dinner together or going to Mass on Sunday, or even praying daily together. They needed someone else on the outside to help them. Pride kept them isolation until separation and divorce loomed. They both had to repent of habits of sin-for the man, wanting a quiet life and not wanting to confront real problems, for the woman, wanting "to wear the pants in the family".
They got Catholic counseling, which helped. But, there were years of unhappiness, even hatred, because the couple refused grace.
The second concerns the house I had asked readers to help me obtain for 24/7 adoration in a place where Our Lady has a shrine. There is no adoration there and no center for those who want to have a Latin Mass. I felt called to do both, but could not find a benefactor.
Now, the house, which was tailor-made for a community, has been bought and lived in by a "ss" couple.
I knew that would happen if those who could did not respond to grace. I even wrote on this blog that God showed me the possibility of a take-over in this town of ss couples and businesses. Not only is an opportunity for grace in generosity lost. but the damage done by not responding is the proliferation of a great evil. Constant adoration would change the place, as Christ's Church Militant would be given a foothold.
The third situation has to do with someone who is living a lie in his life. Those around them do not want to face this huge lie, as they are too afraid to confront the really deep sin of this person. They are afraid of anger, hatred, loss of friendship. They are putting friendship before grace. If this person continues, his soul is in danger of being lost forever. How will God judge his friends for not speaking up?
The turning of one's back on grace is the sin of denying that God can help in a situation. God may be asking YOU to be the instrument of grace. The Gospel does not say "Love your neighbor as yourself, but let someone else do the hard bit."
Are we all not our brother's keepers?
Yes, love means moving out of one's comfort zone, praying for discernment, and acting.
Years ago, another Catholic woman said to me, after we prayed for a person's conversion, and after she talked with this woman, that perhaps it was not the right time for conversion. My answer was this: We do not know the day or the hour.....all times are right for conversion. We must speak, even if we plant seeds and not reap the harvest.
But, act we must. These are not times of passivity, but times of action. Daily, I see that many, many people will go to hell because the laity are afraid, miserly, or lazy.
Conversion, building the Kingdom of God, is our business. And it hurts.
If you are not suffering for someone else, you are not working for God.
I grieve for the lost opportunity of adoration. Much evil will now come from that lost opportunity.
I grieve for the man whose friends are not willing to speak with him about deep sin. He may go to hell when he dies.
I grieve for the couple's wasted years, for the pain in their marriage, and damage done to their child.
If we refuse grace, we are culpable for the loss of souls. This is one reason I write-to build the Kingdom of God.
But, please, do not refuse grace. Remember, there is no neutral territory.