26 October 2016

The Common Goals of Mankind - Seeking Peace in a Polarized World

Sub Tuum.

Once again it is worth reminding that I believe that most people in the world ultimately want the same basic things. They may differ in how to get there. Yet, as we compete for scarce resources, mindful that there are many of low morals and high greed that will try to take more and more at the expense of others, it is all too easy to view those that disagree as the enemy and become more and more polarized. And, there are those who profit off of disharmony, conflict, and polarization. The people of the world are being split apart by a few who do so for their own selfish ends. When people sit down and discuss issues in a framework of respect, openness, and reconciliation, however, many things are possible.

12 June 2016

Love & Judgment

Sub Tuum.

These days we hear "Judge not" as the end-all unifying and supreme verse of Bible. Relativism has been promoted as the correct Catholic belief, not to mention the philosophy underlying the modern way of things in society at large. The problem is, like anything relativistic and anything that takes only one slice of the Christian faith as the totality, it leads to contradictions that weaken our individual faith and spirituality. We should love our neighbor with all their imperfections just as Christ loved the world that nailed Him to the Cross. Yet Christ did not hesitate to proclaim the faith and point out the difference between right and wrong. We love the sinner even while hating the sin. The makes sense, for how can we help the sinner if we drive the sinner away through arrogant judgmental action? Still, Scripture tells us that we should fight evil. 
 
So, there is a proper framework in which we must be. First, we must accept and acknowledge taht we are all sinners. When we observe the sin in others, we must consciously recognize the sin that is in us as well. We cannot judge in a way that puts us in a superior positions to those who sin, for that is ignoring our own shortcomings. It is finding fault in others in order to make ourselves feel better. If we condemn others for sin, we condemn ourselves in the process. However, if instead we notice sin in others and also in ourselves at the same time, if we turn the microscope on ourselves, we realize that the other person not only needs help, but needs help in the same way that we do. They not only have issues with which they are straggling, but are straggling with those issues in ways similar to us. In that way we see ourselves in other people. We see our own faults in the faults of others, even if those faults are not the same. It becomes a framework of brother helping brother rather than some sort of Puritanical condemnation of those who fail to keep the standards. We as humans all fail. Puritans tolerate no failure. To be Catholic, though, is to realize that we all fail and that failure is part of our journey.
 
We can only solve our problems through the grace of Jesus Christ and through the efforts in us inspired by faith in Him. Christ hung on the Cross for us all, but remember that we are to take up our own crosses. Doing that unifies us with the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, the only way in which we can obtain forgiveness of our sins and seek true amendment of life. This is the frame of mind in which we must always be if we are to observe the errors of others. When we judge others, if we are to be Christian, we must judge ourselves at the same time and, realizing we are all sinners, join ourselves to our brethren who are in sin and strive through the power of the Cross to bring them up.

28 February 2016

Thine Altars, O Lord of Hosts

Sub Tuum.

The Communion Verse for today's mass, the Third Sunday in Lent, says, "Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God." How true this is, that the Most Holy Sacrifice that takes place upon the altar of God is the source of the eternal offspring of God. It is by uniting ourselves to the Sacrifice that takes place on the altar, the one Sacrifice for all time, which we both remember and experience as a true and living Sacrifice, that we become children of God. It is through the saving grace of the Sacrament that we have hope of eternal life, that we may dwell in the house of the Lord and praise Him for ever and ever. We are truly blessed indeed to be made sharers in this great and marvelous Mystery, for there is not even one thing on earth that has as much power as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

Those of us who have been made sharers in the Light of Christ must, therefore, within the ever-present bounds of human weakness, seek to live as children of the Light. In the Epistle for today's mass, Saint Paul writes of just that very thing. Yet, today we see ever-increasing secularism, as people turn from God and turn towards alternative idols. 

We, the Christian faithful, would be much stronger and would be much better able as a group to walk as children of the Light of Christ if we were not so fractured. Many so-called "calls for unity" are nothing more than arrogant attempts by one organization to absorb another for often less than pious reasons. We see in Scripture that there are many peoples, yet it is through Christ and through Christ alone that all become one. We in the Apostolic ministry continue the authority given by Christ Himself, first to Blessed Peter as first among the Apostles, and then to all the Apostles. 

As our Lord says in today's Gospel, a house divided against itself cannot stand. Why, then, do we allow vanity and arrogance to separate the Christian brethren? Why do we permit disputes to break up the family of Christ? Would we not be better off finding what common ground we may find and working to cooperate, while not compromising our principles? The building of artificial walls between us is as ridiculous as one of the twelve Apostles refusing to work with another. What foolish pride that would be! If we Christians are fractured, it is the work of the antichrist, but we Christians have only ourselves for allowing it to perpetuate.