Sunday, December 16, 2012

Year of Faith – Reflection II

Year of Faith – Reflection II

Since the Bears are losing and I lost interest in the game, and since I have a new PC after all the aggravations of a vicious virus in both my PC and laptop, since it has been a while, I thought I would take some time to write another reflection based on some current events.

Perhaps you are not aware–and I wonder why you would be with the Catholic news blackout by the mainstream media–there was a Synod of Bishops in October to discuss the many current issues facing the Church. There were 49 Cardinals, 71 Archbishops, 127 Bishops, and 14 Priests. There were also 72 collaborators, included among them many non-Catholics. So if you had not heard of this it shows we need to support the Catholic media and I will add I think our parishes can do a better job keeping us informed.

The theme of this synod was “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian faith.”  The New Evangelization is not a focus of bringing non-Christians to the faith, as much as it is an outreach to bring back those who have left the church. Especially in this Year of Faith, it also means re-evangelizing ourselves; to read Scripture more, to become familiar with the Vatican II documents and the Catechism. You may say, “Hey, I’m a Catholic. I go to Mass;” or something like it. Well, we are all in need of ongoing formation. Not just as Franciscans, but as Catholics too. “Why” you might ask? Very simply, we are living in a very secular society with a government doing its best to get rid of God in the public forum. Here is a test: Do you feel uncomfortable talking about your faith in public, to family and friends? Aware of it or not, we are affected by the secular society, in the news, in movies, in our acceptance of political correctness.  For many Catholics things that were abhorrent to them 30 years ago, became less so 20 years ago, 10 years ago it was “well if they don’t bother me,” or “keep it in private.” And now, it is acceptance. There is also a lot of indoctrination especially in schools.

I would say this rejection of Catholic faith, morals, and teachings began with the rejection of Humane Vitae and the Church’s teachings on the Pill. If we can reject that, we have already opened the door; it is easy to reject other teachings. Just like sin. Commit a sin once and it is easier to commit that sin again. I've recently said in a discussion group at my parish that it is not for the Church to conform to our wishes/demands, but for us to accept and conform to the Magisterium’s teachings. This is our Rule, this is our life, and this is our duty.

Is the problem serious? You bet it is. Pew Research learned that 62% of Catholics who attend Mass weekly believe abortion should be illegal. What, only 62%? My God, it should be 100%. Of those who attend Mass less frequently the number drops to only 27% who believe it should be illegal. The same holds true for same-sex “marriage.”

Many Catholics leave the church, I believe, for entertainment and go to mega-churches or just stay at home and watch TV. Sports seems more important to many than Church.

Our house is divided. There are the pro-life Catholics, mostly conservative, believe abortion is the greatest evil of our time; and there are the social-justice Catholics, mostly liberal, who want to help the poor and the marginalized (and from what I’ve seen are mostly pro-abortion). The truth of the matter is that there is no social justice without the right to life. How any Catholic/Christian/humanist/moral person can say it is O.K. to kill babies in the womb is beyond my comprehension? If you reject life you reject the Church, as the Church is nothing if it is not about the dignity of life. I would say a lot of this is ignorance of what the Church teaches. Many form their opinion from the media, from friends and co-workers. They are not hearing it from the pulpit. As Catholics and Franciscans we must embrace both sides of the coin. We must be pro-life and we must be concerned for the poor.

How very blessed we are that we live in a country based on Christian values although we are losing that foundation. Think of being born in a communist country like Russia or other Eastern countries that suppressed the church and taught and indoctrinated there is no god. Now that they have their freedom it is difficult for them as they have lost their faith roots.

I think an answer to this, in part, is the restoration of some of our beautiful traditions; Adoration and the Rosary. How very blessed I am sitting/kneeling face to face with God. How very disheartening it is to attend a Holy Hour and see only a dozen people in church, if that church has a Holy Hour or Adoration at all. Bring on J.M.J., St. Joseph, litanies, novenas, Adoration, Holy Hours, and First Fridays; let’s learn from the saints. Let’s bring back the beauty and awe of the sacred arts. Let’s bring back the Sacred. As we are sent at the end of every Mass, let’s bring the Gospel to others, let’s evangelize and let’s evangelize ourselves. How every blessed we are to have the True Presence, the Eucharist.

Have a happy Advent and Christmas. Let’s Rejoice!

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