Sunday, July 31, 2005


An article that I read this morning sent me into a lather, which I'm reprinting below. I typed it onto a Catholic forum that I belong to where I encounter some of the most lukewarm Catholicism, yet also some of the most poignant. And that's ok. Nothing wrong with that at all. But recently I've hit my limit with the lukewarmfuzziness and relativism, and after spending a morning in prayer and then reading articles like the one I cited, I finally had enough. I'll likely turn someone off big time with this, but perhaps I'll also help "lift up" someone else.


I realize that I don't post jokes, daily scriptures from the Protestant bible, or light-fluffy-tolerant-warm fuzzy type stuff, and I'm not going to today. Articles like this, coming at a time when politicians from both sides of the aisle are playing politics with life and death matters should be more than a wake up call to anyone among us who profess to be Catholics. Sure, it's probably a few nutjobs, but this has been escalating and tolerated more with each passing year. But how long will it be allowed to continue? How long will YOU allow it to continue?

"Don't allow that judge on the court...he's a devout Catholic and may be (horrors!) against abortion." "We don't allow litmus tests...wait...he's Catholic you say? Litmus test on abortion!!!" Frist wants stem cell research, pro-life Dems are meeting with Howard ("I have a scream") Dean to try to be accepted, and the "pro-life" Pubbies have done little but serve lip service and collect donations from pro-lifers aching to do something. Crimes against Muslims? "It's a hate crime!!" Crimes against Catholics? "Eh." (shrug of the shoulders while crickets chirp in the background)

As Philip Jenkins writes in the very first sentence of his book, The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice: Catholics and Catholicism are at the receiving end of a great deal of startling vituperation in contemporary America, although generally, those responsible never think of themselves as bigots.

(Great book by the way. And for the record, the author is an Episcipal, not a Catholic...but even he sees what many of us fail to see.)

Don't tell me it can't happen here; that this is America. It's happening already. The docile frog has been placed in the pan on the stove, and the heat is ever-so-slowly being turned up higher, bringing the water to an ultimate boil. My question to you is this: when are you going to realize this, and hop out of the pan? You'd better do so before it's too late. All of us had better do so.

To those of you who are devout in your prayers, God bless you! The praying that occurs here for individuals and their families and their intentions is impressive and heartwarming. That people come to this forum approaching you for prayer speaks volumes for the reputation you have built by following up in this. Keep it up. However, has anyone ever put in a prayer request for things other than personal? For our country? For the world? For a change in men's hearts? For an end to abortion? The death penalty? For grace? Or are you quietly dissenting and working against the Church, and weakening her by arguing for women's ordination, married priests, and gay marriage?

Did I alarm you by saying this? It's happening all around us. Perhaps we are doing it and not realizing it. Read St. John Vianney's sermon for today on detraction and calumny. Do we defend the teachings of the Church, even the hard ones or ones we may not fully accept? Or do we wink at them, go against them, and thereby demonstrate to our neighbors WHO DO WATCH WHAT WE DO that the Church really doesn't matter to us?

I remember seeing recently a prayer request for Niger. Great! Keep them coming! Pray without ceasing. You are the Church Militant. You are what stands between satan and humanity, and he HATES you for that. He "prowls about like a lion...looking to devour men's souls" if you recall.

The 20th century was the bloodiest in history. It also produced the most martyrs for Christ since the earliest centuries after Calvary. People do not stand up for their beliefs facing hardships or possible death unless their faith is very strong. Evidently the faith is still strong. And it had better be. For as awful as the 20th century was, signs point to even harder times ahead for the Church and its members. But if you're a Catholic who dissents and argues against Her teachings, why on earth would you be willing to face hardship on Her account? You probably wouldn't, and that only serves to embolden those who hate the Church even further. We don't like it when we are slandered. So why do we slander each other? And why do we slander Christ's Church? For slander Her is EXACTLY what we do when we do not defend Her.

So often our best intentions go awry, and before we get very old, the reality of our personal limitations becomes painfully clear. The Apostles in today's gospel knew their limits only too well, especially when they stood next to Jesus. Eventually, we all have to face challenges that seem utterly beyond us: salvaging a dead business, breathing life into a soured marriage, walking with a troubled teen who doesn't want anyone near them, standing helplessly at the side of a dying friend. And we feel like those Apostles, trying to feed thousands with five loaves. "It can't be done!" we say. And we're right, if we're trying to do it on our own. But we don't have to do it alone. That's the whole point of Jesus becoming one of us. He came not just to talk to us, but to walk with us, and to make the impossible possible for us. Remember what St. Paul says about this very thing: "I can do all things in Him who strengthens me."

We can do what's needed, even if the task seems utterly beyond us, if we put ourselves in the Lord's hands, just as the Apostles put that little basket of food in Jesus' hands. Flawed and weak as we are, the Lord can make us enough, just enough, for the work He's asked us to do.

So look hard at the work that God has given you at this time in your life. Don't run away from it. Name it, accept it, and then put your whole self in God's hands. You'll be amazed at what He can do with you, if He has full possession of your heart and your hands. The impossible will become possible!

Ah, well. Forgive me for jolting you out of your tolerant dreamworld this Sunday morning. I'm sure it'll be ignored and the latest comic strip cartoon posted in its place.


At 4:20 PM, Blogger Housewife said...

Hear Hear!

Thanks for lifting me up today. I needed it.

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Roberto Iza Valdes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2:13 AM, Blogger Hoodia said...

Help me Dude, I think I'm lost..... I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw him in a car lot yesterday, which is really strange because the last time I saw him was in the supermarket. No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender". He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a San Diego cosmetic surgery doctor ,to fit into those blue suede shoes of yours. But Elvis said in the Ghetto nobody can afford a San Diego plastic surgery doctor. Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger. Then I'm gonna go round and see Michael Jackson and we're gonna watch a waaaay cool make-over show featuring some Tijuana dentists on the TV in the back of my Hummer. And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . . "You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on " Strange day or what? :-)

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