Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fear and Trembling

"The difference between Christians and the rest of mankind is not a matter of nationality, or language, or customs. Christians do not live apart in separate cities of their own, the do not speak any special dialect, or practice any separate way of life. To put it briefly, the relationship of Christians is to the world as that of soul to body. As the soul is diffused through every part of the body, so are Christians through all the world (Letter to Diognetus)"

I came across this quote while reading the other night and it came back to me tonight as I prayed evening prayer. The reading for evening prayer was from Phillipians 2: 12-12

"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, but to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world."

Human Dignity
As devout Christians, we must refuse to give our worship first to a political party. We are neither Democrats or Republicans, rather, we are in Christ. Through the gift of sanctifying grace God's very life becomes one substance with ours. We literally participate in the divine life. There is no politician capable of giving such a gift to me. I cannot literally share in Obama's life. He does not become one substance with me (Thank you Jesus.) Our dignity is a result of being created in the image and likeness of God, made ready to become the dwelling place of His divine life. When the Christian truly understands that. He is free to disagree with every immoral doctrine which is an affront to human dignity, abortion, contraception, same sex unions, and unjust war. What he should not do is condemn the person with whom he disagrees. That person, is whether we like it or not, a son or daughter of God the Father. We can disagree with their choice or their moral life, we should never reject them as a person.

Eternal End
Why? Our eternal end that end for which we deeply long, is to be drawn into the fullness of God's perfect and eternal love. To be drawn into the perfect self giving love of the Holy Trinity. In a word heaven. Heaven isn't a trendy vacation getaway, it is a person. It is the one who has being, in Himself, it is God. Most modern men have no supernatural vision. They spend their time trying to create heaven here on earth. Trying to eliminate, hunger, or suffering, or disease. Noble causes and worth fighting for. But, if Cancer is eliminated through the use of some drug, it is likely that some other life threatening illness will manifest itself. The world is temporal, it is passing away, there is nothing any human being can do to stop it. We are a small part of the universe for crying out loud. We no more created it than, than we can re-create it. Your going to die. The way things are going it could be sooner than later. Nevertheless, the Christian lives in this world as a pilgrim on a journey. Truth Catholic spirituality has as it's fruit joy and peace. Because the Catholic rooted in daily prayer and divine faith in the sacraments, has eternal vision. He isn't looking at the world through worldly eyes. Behind his eyes our the Holy Spirit.

Free Will
You aren't saved yet. Your not in heaven and I promise no one is holding a free ticket. That is why we need a supernatural worldview. That view guides and governs our free will. Which St. Paul recognizes can frustrate the grace of God given us for our salvation. A Christian choosing to root his life in prayer and the sacraments, is someone who has chosen to remain close to the outpouring of the divine love. But, make no mistake he has chosen it. We make choices everyday, will I pray the rosary or won't I? Will I attend mass or won't I? Will I stop moving and pray or won't I? But, make no mistake these choices have an effect on our eternal salvation. The Christian who chooses these things is set apart from the evil going on around him in the world. He looks different, he speaks different and he is often condemned  for it.

Soul Animation
It is your soul that animates or gives life to your material being or body. But a soul apart from sanctifying grace can be darkened. It can be ignorant of the Christ's salvific truth. Our witness in the world depends entirely on how we understand ourselves as human beings. Do I count myself a son or daughter of the Father? Am I worthy of God's love and mercy (Yes)? Do I believe and nourish my soul with prayer and the sacraments?  If I do, what or who is my hope in? Supernatural hope is a gift of supernatural faith. That means when you believe in the divine things, the Eucharist for example, you tend to run to it often, not out of obligation, rather, out of love for the consubstantial union of Christ to your soul. Your hope is in your eternal end, for Jesus is God, and God, is whom you hope to rest in. Do you recognize that the Holy Spirit is in accord with the Father and Jesus. In other words, He moving you toward the Church, the Catholic Church, and the Eucharist. He wants your soul to know the power of His grace conveyed through the power of Christ's flesh incarnate.

Nothing has changed. Evil still exists and it hates the Eucharist. Evil doesn't want anyone to devoutly receive the Eucharist or live a life marked by holiness. Our light cannot shine brightly in this culture if it isn't tethered to Christ. Without Jesus, we begin to look and speak and live like the pagans. There is no noticeable difference. We are no longer compelling, we simply blend into the darkness around us. Today we are experiencing a new time of darkness, which may be followed by persecution and purification of the Church. Are you ready for that action? The only way to get ready is to pray unceasingly and to tether yourself to the Sacraments. Now is not the time to be frightened because someone calls you a bigot or an extremist. Now is the time to kneel in prayer and ask God for His grace and power, so that you may become a mighty warrior for good in our overwhelming hour of darkness. God is calling everyone to that holiness which will be a light that draws others to the truth, Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church. Don't let this crooked and perverse generation cause you to give in. Persevere in holiness and be a light that shines in spite of it. 

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