by Fr Richard Heilman | June 2, 2016 9:35 PM
I believe Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, instituted the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church to, quite literally, transform the world. Everywhere Christ’s Church flourished and was truly devout, the culture around it was inspired to “raise their game” … to seek a higher way of living … values, morals, principles, character … were lived to the highest degree possible. People would “strive to be better” … to be holy.
This was all fueled by a supernatural power we call “grace.” Catholics knew they were devil fodder if they did not seek this supernatural power. So, they sought it … in contemplative and reverent assistance at Holy Mass; in frequent Confession; in a strong devotional life; and, in a self-denying concern for everyone in which they had contact … mainly, a concern for their salvation. While we were “in the world,” we were not “of the world.” We were a brightness (light) in people’s dark, Godless lives … we were a spice (salt) to season people’s dull and meaningless lives. In short, we inspired (in spirit) people to join ranks with us “holiness seekers.”
We were like this because we became captivated, caught up, enraptured in the Awe and Wonder of God. Whenever that “event” of sweet submission to our amazing God would occur, we no longer lived for ourselves, but “totally” for God. This is the supernatural Gift of Fear of the Lord … fear of ever disappointing the one we love with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength. This supernatural event opened us up to the reality of the supernatural.
Some 40-50 years ago, the Catholic Church traded all that in to be “more like the world.” Some say it was a calculation to draw more people into the Church, but it had the exact opposite effect … there was no longer the rich substance of the supernatural to “inspire” others. We became just one among many “organizations” from which to choose.
We gutted out our churches, made our liturgies profane and about us, and scoffed at the supernatural as the silly nonsense of our ancestors.
The great philosopher, Dr. Alice von Hildebrand put it best …
Now let us abolish the terms “conservative” or “liberal”, the terms “left” and “right” which are secularistic. I suggest that we say from now on “those who have kept the sense of the supernatural and those who have lost it”. That is the great divide, that is the essence.
Do you look at the Church and her teaching, whether dogmatic or moral, with a supernatural eye, or do you look at it with secular lenses? That is the divide. Left and right confuses the issue. Let us re-discover the greatness and the beauty of the supernatural and I claim that it is so difficult in the polluted world in which we live, that if we don’t pray for it every single day, we are going to be infected. It is the air that you breathe, the newspaper that you read, the television show that you see, time and again you will see this is a fight and attack on the supernatural.
Now, without the supernatural and more like the world, we began to agree with the world … and disagree with God. Why not abort babies? Why not contracept? Why not co-habitate outside marriage? Why not redefine marriage? etc., etc.. We no longer set a “high bar” of striving for perfection – the goal of holiness – in which to inspire others to reach. Instead, we tried to assure the world we are not too fanatical … we are “normal” just as they are. We traded in our “God Pleaser” card for a “People Pleaser” card.
No longer is Christ’s Church transforming the world, but allowing the world to transform it. THIS is why the condition of the culture is declining at an alarming rate.
During this Presidential election season, I listen to many people blaming politicians for our condition. No doubt, some are crooked (there has always been those), but many are just trying their best to calculate how to gain majorities. With the condition of the culture, it is impossible to gain majorities without compromising “some things” in order to gain others. People blame the Republican Party for becoming more liberal. Well, if they want to gain majorities, they need votes, and conservative voters seem to be diminishing.
No Political Party caused the culture to be more liberal. The simple fact is that the liberal culture won’t vote for a true Godly conservative candidate. Why? Because we are spiritually sick. If we want that kind of candidate, we shouldn’t look for a political party to change … WE need to change.
Yes, we are spiritually sick right now, and we have a great deal of work to do to restore the supernatural and to, once more, be “lit up” enough (in God’s grace) to transform the world.
In the meantime, we need to do all we can to stop or slow down the advance of evil in our culture. This may mean not allowing the “perfect to be the enemy of the good.” If the “good” is to keep the worst kind of evil out of public office by accepting imperfect candidates, I believe we must. At least as long as we are working to recover the supernatural and become spiritually healthy again.
St. Franci of Assisi put it best, “Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.”
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