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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Different Types of Gates

Matthew 7:13-14 Douay-Rheims 

13 Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat.
14 How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!

On the net recently on more than one site, the discussion of holiness has led to people expressing some less than Catholic ideas of saintliness. One of the tragedies of the post-Vatican II Church, which has nothing to do with the Council and everything to do with poor formation of priests, has been the dumbing down of the concept of holiness.

I have addressed this both on the occasion of All Saints' Day and in the long, several perfection series. But, what is new in internet circles is the vehemence connected to those who do not want to believe that we are all called to high levels of perfection while still on earth.

Now, if one has been following three years of blogs here, one will see the great insights regarding perfection from the Doctors of the Church, (all of them), the great saints and mystics, (such as Teresa and Therese among many others), and the writings of theologians on levels of prayers and holiness, (Lehodey, Garrigou-Lagrange, Aumann and many others).

What is blocking understanding of the universal call to holiness seems to be something connected to ideas that we cannot achieve union with God while on earth, or, worse, that we cannot become free of sin and the tendencies to sin.

God does not call us to do or be anything impossible. Therefore, the universal call to holiness must be attainable. as we have seen in the lives of canonized saints, whose biographies bear witness to great levels of union with God.

But, what is new in this discussion is the outward animosity of those who do not want to accept this universal call as either possible or probable. The center and key call to perfection comes from God Himself, as I have noted many times in the perfection series.

Matthew 5:48 Douay-Rheims  Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.

The concordances tell us that this ideal of perfection, in the use of the word tamin, means the following and is implemented the number of times in the Bible as indicated. :blameless (22), blamelessly (1), complete (1), entire (1), full (1), intact (1), integrity (4), perfect (5), sincerity (1), unblemished (2), uprightly (1), who is perfect (1), whole (2), without blemish (12), without defect (36).

God spoke to Abraham and asked him to be perfect, with this call being repeated again and again in the Old Testament.

Genesis 17:1 Douay-Rheims And after he began to be ninety and nine years old, the Lord appeared to him: and said unto him: I am the Almighty God: walk before me, and be perfect.

When Christ used the term, His listeners had 2,000 years of revelation by which to judge the word perfect. It is used 91 times in the Old Testament.The psalmists employ the word and concept of perfection more times than I have the ability to trace at this time. One may look here for more on this subject.

In the New Testament, the word used is teleios, with these definitons(a) complete in all its parts, (b) full grown, of full age, (c) specially of the completeness of Christian character.In the New Testament, teleios is used 19 times. One can see this on this page. SS. Paul and James write particularly clearly on this subject of attaining perfection.

So, why is there so much animosity to the idea that we are called to be without faults, without sin?
I have come to the conclusion that it is merely the hatred of the Good, the hatred of God in this world which desires to undermine God's Presence in each person who chooses to love Him fully.
Those who do not want to enter by the narrow gate take sledge hammers and attempt to make the gate larger or even destroy it.

These people want a larger gate, a huge one in which to live and to pass into the next world. They want a gate, perhaps, of their own making, not a Godly gate.

The Protestant Revolt involved millions of people who no longer wanted to be perfect, but who wanted an easier Church, watered down teachings, false ideals and worldly gain.

One, perhaps, can see more easily the compromising attitudes of those who gained wealth off the backs of the abbots, priests, monks and nuns turned out on the roads in England, for example. These ruffians hatred goodness and the pursuit of goodness in their midst, eschewing righteousness for their own doctrines and even for gain. To be once saved and never needing absolution from a priest became the hallmark of Protestantism. The road to perfection was destroyed with the chalices, chasubles and choirs of the abbeys and cathedrals.

But, now, we are facing new enemies of perfection, those who want to water down the call and undermine those who follow that call. These people lack the stamina and courage of the Church Militant. They do not want to be in the remnant. They do not want to be with the few.

So, what happened to the Catholics of the 21st Century, to have lost this concept of holiness and to now accept much less than perfection from the saints and from themselves?

One may point to the Enlightenment philosophies or to modernist heresies.

But, to me it is the enshrining of democracy and the lie that all people are the same, ideas denying excellence, which are to blame. No one is allowed to be better than anyone else. No one is allowed to be holier than anyone else. No one is allowed to think holier thoughts, state the thought police.

To dumb down sanctity is to deny the entire role of the Catholic Church on earth, the institution which exists to enable us to become saints. The narrow gate is being demolished by those who want saints just to be like everyone else without grace or effort. The universal call to holiness means that some say only a few become saints, while the denial of perfection indicates that no one can obtain this state. These Catholics want no gates at all, no challenges, no measurement of holiness. Perhaps, they cannot make that individual, personal decision to fight evil in themselves.

Then, there is a weird idea that one is perfected without purgation, which is the modern hatred of suffering. Either we go through purgatory now on earth, and therefore enter heaven at death, which is the lot of the saint, who has become perfect, or we go to purgatory.

There is no imperfection in heaven. And the resting in the Beatific Vision is the completion of perfection. Those who deny holiness on earth do not have zeal for the Kingdom of God. Why should they? Mediocrity has become the rule of most Catholics-just to get by, just to make it to purgatory.  
Death is the end of purification or the beginning. There is no purification in heaven. I did not realize how many people thought they were perfected in their particular judgment until last week in discussions.

No, the time of judgment is just that. Judgment.

So, some must pound at the narrow gate with hammers in order to justify their own sloth. One reason why martyrs were killed was out of hatred for the good, for the perfect, for God.

We shall and are hated for following Christ, Who Is All Goodness. We have been warned. And, those who want to avoid pain and persecution, deny the way to holiness and perfection.

2 Timothy 3:12 Douay-Rheims  And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.

Only the perfect see God. And we have hundreds of guides to follow in order to learn how to be perfect.

(spacing gremlin in the works today-apologies; cannot correct-we are having a storm, so it may be that)