Saturday, 29 December 2012
No photos...no soft words
Many apologies for no lovely photos. As some know, I am blogging from my cell, and searching for art is just too tedious today. However, I shall be back to the land of laptops tomorrow. One theme which strikes me more and more from the Scriptures is the phrase "The kingdom of God is at hand and the violent are taking it by storm." Matthew's passage was the subject of a phenomenal sermon I heard years ago in the States by a Jesuit. Most commentators take Christ's words as negative. However, as I wrote here before, I think this zealous priest's interpretation as well as my take on it make it a rallying cry for this generation of seminarians. Not since the times of Recusancy in England and Eire have we had such an oppressive culture regarding religion...the True Religion, which is the Catholic Faith. Young men entering seminaries today know they are of the age of the martyrs. They will not be preaching merely by words but by imprisonment and even death. They and lay folks who know the times are doing violence to themselves, allowing God to purify them and make them perfect...allowing purgation to make them new. This time of hatred for the Church involves almost every country under heaven, as the many enemies both within and without the Church conspire against Truth. As the good Jesuit said so many years ago, fast, pray, accept hardship and suffering joyfully...do not choose the easy way and you will take the Kingdom by storm in this world and in the next.
Those who are stuck...let go
Were people at the time of Christ less or more traumatized by life than so many people are now? Rome was a harsh taskmaster and the Herods so nasty that Caesar stated that it was safer to be a pig in the court rather than a son, as the Jews did not eat pork but Herod had killed seven of his own sons. We must get beyond the language of victimhood and start realizing that our times reflect but one century of violence, wars and domestic displacement. I went to visit a woman I know who had an abusive past life. She did not want to talk to me and has lived in chaos by a sad decision to go over her pain again and again, choosing to live stuck in the far past. Another woman I know talks incessently about her horrible first husband. These Catholics refuse to do one thing...forgive. We are a squeamish three generations. We focus so often on hurts instead of healing. I want to say to three friends of mine "Do you want to be identified by someone else's sin against you?" We are not to be defined by those who do evil. We are defined by Christ Who loved us enough to take our pain onto Himself so that we can be free. We can choose freedom. I want to say to three friends in particular CHOOSE FREEDOM. Choose life. Choose love.
The Holy Spirit and the Narrow Way
I had a fascinating discussion with a young person who wanted to know what to do about getting youth to be open to religion and Christ. This conversation was preceeded in twenty-four hours by another youth wanting to know how to bring Christ and morality into the arts. This discussion was the second in a series, which included a medical student relating the entire lack of religion in her peer group. Another young person wanted to know what to give for reading material for Catholics surrouded by pagans. In all these cases, the young people thought that using the attractive methods of teaching and psychology, and even other religions would be useful. I am convinced that things of the world only help the believer. Compromise confuses most people who cannot sort or sift or string ideas or events into a pattern. Conversion is like the the surgeon's knife, not like an afternoon on at the lake. Christ is the Narrow Way to Truth and salvation. Nothing can steal the basic Gospel message. Compromise confuses people. The way to destroy relativism is not with more but with total conviction of the heart, mind and soul. I do not think we have time to engage the world.
Those who can
Have you ever been in a situation where you had no idea what was going on as your usual modes of prudence and discrimination were simply not meeting the need of the moment? This is my present experience. We are so used to getting expert opinions in areas where we do not have expertise that it is an amazing event when experts are absent....Think about this. What if all the problem solvers in the world, the engineers, car mechanics farmers, computer geeks, technicians, doctors, priests, teachers were gone? It is happening...so many people cannot think.
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