18 March 2012

Rejoice, Jerusalem


A Message for Laetare Sunday 2012

Rejoice, Jerusalem! Be glad and go into the house of the Lord. The light at the end of the tunnel is seen this Sunday as we focus on the coming joy of the Resurrection. This joyous day gives us a reminder of what we may receive. It is a ray of hope. It is a foreshadowing of the Paschal mysteries to come. Yet, before the Resurrection, Christ went up to Jerusalem. He went up to the house of the Lord. He went to suffer, to be reviled, to be tormented, hated by Israel, and to be crucified for us all. Follow his Passion came the Resurrection and the glorious ascension into heaven. Truly, though, there is no Resurrection without the Passion of Christ. There is no salvation without suffering. There is no remission of sin without the Precious Blood of Christ. Yet, we cannot partake of the joys of salvation without taking up our own cross and following Christ in our daily lives. Not only must we offer ourselves with Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but also bear our cross in all that we do. We cannot compartmentalize our lives, relegating spirituality to Sundays or even perhaps a blessing at a meal. If Christ is not at the heart of all that we do, then we are guilty of laying down our crosses. In the final stages of Lent, let us strengthen our spirits in courageously taking up our cross, joining in the sacrifice of Christ, and in so doing, bear witness to the world of the power of our Lord and Savior.

03 March 2012

Health Care, Sanctity of Human Life, and Religious Freedom


The battle for religious freedom rages on in America. The line in the sand has been drawn. Recent conflict has centered on the health care mandates issued by the Department of Health and Human Services. Yet, the issue is much, much larger than that. What is fundamentally at stake here is the right of all people not to be forced by the government to act against their conscience.

What the Obama Administration seems either not to know about or not to care about is that the Church has outlasted every single empire on earth, including the tyrannical ones that sought the destruction of the Church. The Obama Administration presses forward with its attacks against the sovereignty of the Church, imposing its will on the Church and seeking compliance with government policies that are in contradiction to the doctrine of the Faith. When the political system acts in a manner that forces people to choose between the law and following their conscience according to their faith, those actions become an inherently religious question, not a political one. And, we are left wondering where this will end. In our secularized society, it is far easier for them to get away with eroding religious freedom. Just as was done by the Nazis and the communists, the roles of the Holy Church are being taken over through subtle force by the government. It is a slow process and one that many people are not likely to notice. It is done at a level at which many people do not object or even see what the fuss is all about. As society re-normalizes to each new and lower level of freedom, the process is repeated. Soon the Faith is suppressed, and we are left with the State being the supreme entity as was seen in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Indeed, what once was much more subtle action against Christians in this country is now blatantly open. The government is brazen in its attacks, acting in the belief that it can get away with it.

My dear brethren in Christ, we must not and cannot comply. Simply claiming that we believe in Christ is not enough, for if we truly believe, then we will act in accordance with our faith, for the good of the Faith, and for the good of other people. Religion is not a private matter. We are indeed the keeper of our brothers and sisters, whether they are Catholic, Protestant, or non-Christian.

The Catholic Faith is intended to be put into action in charity through self-sacrifice. We cannot sit idly by as one of the most fundamental and sacred freedoms in the United States, that of religious freedom, is eroded by an administration that openly seeks to impose a socialist and secular regime. During this Lenten season, offer your denials to the cause of religious freedom in America and in the world. Consider fasting more and imposing additional denials, that your sacrifice may be for the good of others who are forced to choose between the government mandate and following the Faith. Never consider this to be someone else's problem, for the suffering of others is the problem of all faithful people.

Our nation voted for intrinsic evil in the 2008 election, even if some people did not know it at the time. Now, however, there can be no doubt. We have reaped what we sowed, even if we did not know the nature of the seed at the time. We must oppose evil wherever we find it. The promise of hope and change was a temptation to lead the people astray. The only true hope can be in our Lord. The only good change is that which is done in accordance with the Laws of Christ, especially that which states that we ought to love our neighbor as ourselves.

02 March 2012

It's a Fact of Modern Life for Christians...


It's a fact of modern life that if you openly support conservative Christian values, you run the serious risk of coming under attack in some way. Sometimes this entails problems at work or, in extreme cases, even physical violence. In the internet age, it is all too easy for people to snipe at others from behind the safety of their computer. And, of course, the news media is ever ready to pounce on those more public figures who have the courage to be Christian.

As part of the new evangelism of the modern age, we are truly sent as lambs among wolves. That should never deter us, though. We should always strive to make everything we do directed towards the purpose of the glorification of God, the increase of grace, and the goal of being as Christ-like as possible. The more we do this, though, the more we are likely to be criticized or attacked by those whose focus is in the world, not in heaven, and by those who give in to jealousy. Envy of the spiritual good of another is one of the worst forms of envy. It ultimately stems from the sin of pride.

Being workers in the vineyard of our Lord, it is essential to tune out all the negative influences we encounter in the world. Ignore criticism and instead press forward in our service, ever strong in the Catholic Faith. Sidestep conflict and instead devote your energy to the service of God and his Holy Church. It takes two people to have a fight or an argument, so if you refuse to participate, then there is no fight or argument. Those unhappy souls who expend vast quantities of energy on finding fault with servants of the Church and their work would be well-advised to ponder the words and example of our Lord and instead spend their time and energy on helping other people. The wretched in spirit are truly are to be pitied and are in great need of our prayers, that they may experience a true conversion of heart.

During this Lent season, let us be filled with the spirit of the Lord. Let us indulge in the essence of fasting, and thereby strive to purge ourselves of all that is impure. Keeping our eyes fixed on our Christian duty, and our hearts and minds always oriented towards heaven, may our spirits always find sanctuary with our Lord. By joining ourselves to the Passion and Cross of our Lord, may we come to eternal salvation in the glory of the Resurrection.