Saturday, June 21, 2014

Souls Who Have Strayed Away

A number of years ago, my husband I taught RCIA. I was a pretty new Catholic myself then. If I knew then what I know now, RCIA would have been a whole lot different, and I probably would have been “fired” pretty quickly.

One young woman who came into the Church under our watch has been in my line of vision ever since then. She didn’t make it to every RCIA class, and she missed the important stuff about chastity and artificial contraception. Shortly after being received into the Church she informed me quite happily that she was living with her (also Catholic) boyfriend and was pregnant.

Well, eventually they did get married in the Church, and now she has two children, both of whom have been baptized. I brought up the contraception with her at one point (privately, of course) because of a public statement she made on Face Book, and she told me then that she wasn’t going to Mass because she didn’t agree with Church teaching in several areas.

Recently, this young woman’s father died, and she is devastated. I feel sad for her, not only because she has lost her father, but because she lacks the “tools” to deal with her grief – the faith that the Church teaches.  She thinks her non-Catholic father went straight to Heaven, so will she pray for the repose of his soul?! I doubt it. Her FB status today said, “When just a month has seemed like a lifetime, what is the rest of my life going to feel like??”

I want so badly to talk to her about eternity. She seems so completely tethered to the temporal sphere! Nothing she has said about her father’s death indicates any kind of Catholic understanding of death, judgment, Heaven, or Hell, let alone purgatory. There seems to be little or no comprehension about what “eternity” means, no comprehension of what it means to fight the good fight here on earth so that we can get to Heaven, no awareness of the salvific value of suffering.

Alas, she is unlikely to want to discuss these issues with me!

And, another alas – she is not the only one of our “converts” to stray from the fold.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Spokes on a Wheel

I was driving along the highway, and started to think about the sorrow in the world. Mostly I was thinking of all the "little" sorrows in people's lives, not the huge tragedies and travesties that also abound. Everyone's life is full of sorrow...because this isn’t Heaven, after all!

But it made me sad anyway.

It seemed like I was seeing individual people, all of them isolated in their own little lives, thinking they know what others think of them (who loves them, who doesn't, etc.), but really not knowing – and not able to know, for the most part – the inner workings of even those they think they know best. And every now and then, they find out that these significant others don’t see them quite the way they think they do, and they are shocked and hurt. But then other people, looking at the shocked and hurt people, don't know the hurt that is there, don't see their inner workings.
What I’m trying to say, I think, is that even though we are the Body of Christ, we are not fully united here on earth because of our fallen human nature and our separation from God and from His will. It's a lonely place, and people are always looking for someone to be their companion, one way or another, aren't they? But Christ is the only perfect companion, and the perfection of that relationship will only be realized for us in Heaven... 

At least, that's how it seems to me. So when I see people “looking for love”, but failing to realize that their first love needs to be the Lord, I am saddened. I just see all those people...full of sorrow...but in some ways not even aware of the sadness of their lives. They don’t know how far they are from Christ, and they don’t know that the path to holiness – and therefore true happiness – lies with Him.

My spiritual director noted that the masters of the spiritual life all agree that, apart from Christ, we grow increasingly apart from one another, isolated in our own little worlds. Conversely, the more closely each of us conforms himself to Christ, the closer we come to one another; it’s like spokes on a wheel: are we approaching the rim, or the Hub?

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Evil Among Us

The other day there was a news story about two 12-year-old girls who tried to stab their 12-year-old friend to death (I can hear my mother saying, “With friends like that, you don’t need enemies.”). They were doing it to please the “Slender Man” – a fictional figure who is depicted in drawings as having no face, and who apparently preys on children and adolescents. The girls believed he was real and that they would be able to go and live in his mansion in the woods.

Maybe it’s just me, but that has Satan’s name written all over it. Satan will kill our children one way or another; if not by abortion, then by other types of murder. Satan’s got mothers killing their unborn babies, mothers dumping their just-born babies into toilets and dumpsters, and now children attempting to kill children. Is the “Slender Man” real? Well, I would say probably not in the sense of a physical being we would call a man. But in the demonic realm…

Fr. Chad Ripperger has suggested that we are entering a time when our younger generations are seeing an increase in graces given to them by God. The flip side of that is that there is an increase of evil that those graces are meant to combat.  I think we will see (and are seeing) more and more of the weird evil things that used to remain hidden; they are slinking out of the darkness ever more boldly. For instance, yesterday, I saw a news story about a healthy cow that was apparently killed for no reason other than for the perpetrator to cut out the cow’s tongue and leave it. That may seem like it has no relation to a story about 12-year-old girls trying to murder their companion, but to my mind it does. People under satanic influence do a lot of weird things, especially to animals. No, I’ve never heard of a satanic practice of cutting a cow’s tongue out, but it’s just weird. And gruesome.

The sad thing is that so many people seem to fail to notice what is happening. My husband and I were talking about the steep decline of our society over the last few years. Of course, the decline has been in the making for some time, but in the last several years, it seems we are just about jumping off a cliff rather than sliding down a slippery slope. The slippery slope is behind us. We’re holding onto the edge of the cliff by a fragile root stuck in the ground.

The US bishops have put out a little 1-1/2 minute video encouraging everyone to pray and fast for “life, marriage, and religious liberty”.  Well, those are all good things to pray for, of course. But the bishops are forgetting that they have not properly trained the people as to what exactly those principles mean, and why they are important. Just as many Catholics are currently praying for gay “marriage” as are praying against it; many Catholics think social justice causes are more important than the abortion issue; and the vast majority of Catholics use artificial contraception. A friend described the bishops’ well-intended video exhortation as “the functional equivalent of using a Hostess Twinkie to combat a raging bull elephant”. It's almost as if they are just going through the motions, with no real conviction behind their words. I am starting to think that most people don't really know what it means to pray any's all about good wishes and happy thoughts. (Of course, the bishops’ little ad does mention fasting and abstinence - credit where credit is due, I guess.)


Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.