I Know How the World Can Be Saved!!
The Gospel this weekend was a continuation of the great “Sermon on the Mount.” Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world.” It’s true, we are called to make the world a better place. But, as St. Paul said in the second reading, it’s not so much by our talents and knowledge, but it is eternally more about “a demonstration of Spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:4-5).
“The power of God.” Fr. John Hardon wrote,
“St. Thomas Aquinas believed that man is more than a composite of body and soul, that his is nothing less than elevated to a supernatural order which participates, as far as a creature can, in the very nature of God. Accordingly a person in the state of grace, or divine friendship, possesses certain enduring powers, the infused virtues and gifts, that raise him to an orbit of existence as far above nature as heaven is above earth, and that give him abilities of thought and operation that are literally born, not of the will of flesh nor of the will of man, but of God”
A person who is in the state of grace is able to perceive the things of God, because he carries with him the Spirit in his soul in grace, and he has Christ’s mind, Christ’s attitude.
Here’s the thing … we don’t believe that anymore. Sure there are “some” who do, but the unfortunate reality is that the modern campaign of militant secular indoctrination (rejecting the supernatural) has been so severe that only a dwindling remnant remains who believes or trusts in God’s supernatural power.
While the past 50 years has been the most aggressive secular campaign, it’s roots are found all the way back to the so-called “Enlightenment Period,” generally known to have occurred from the 1680s to the 1790s. Central to the Enlightenment agenda was the assault on, what they held as, “religious superstition” and its replacement by rational religion, which is most commonly referred to as Deism. Deism is a heresy which holds that God became no more than the supreme intelligence or craftsman who had set the machine that was the world to run according to its own natural and scientifically predictable laws. In other words, God created it and then left it (It is believed that most of our founding fathers were Deists … a heresy which became entrenched around the time of the birth of our nation).
This “shunning the supernatural” left Europe vulnerable to the rise to the atrocious regimes of Communism and Naziism, and tens of millions murdered. Why? Because Christianity became very weak. Once we doubt or remove any belief in the supernatural, we relinquish the only real power capable of rejecting evil and, in the case of Europe, to put down the rise abominable evil regimes.
This radical secularism has only escalated in our times. And now, under our watch …
“Tens of millions of unborn babies have been slaughtered; illegitimacy rates have soared; divorce has skyrocketed; pornography is rampant; drug use has exploded; sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS have killed millions; birth control is a way of life; sex outside of wedlock has become the norm; countless children have been permanently damaged — their innocence lost forever — because of the proliferation of broken homes; and sodomy and homosexuality are celebrated openly. America has become the new Babylon” (Jeffrey T. Kuhner, Washington Times, January 20, 2011).
So, here’s what is really going on …
The “Science of the Body” is Not Unlike the “Science of the Soul”
As the science of the body continues to grow, we have become more attuned to how impurities effect our health, and that the healthy body will crave healthy foods, while an unhealthy body will crave unhealthy things.
In very many ways, the same holds true with not just our body but our soul. The impurities of our sins, which I call “toxSINS” for this article, can cause a lack of spiritual health, which causes us to seek after things contrary to God and His will. We can become spiritually sick and sluggish, so that the things of God are dull and boring or, worse yet, repugnant to us, like a child turning his nose up to broccoli. Instead, we want the cookies and candy of worldliness and, even in church, we seek “cookies and candy liturgies,” while we revolt against any talk of difficult or challenging aspects of our faith.
In the science of the body, we have discovered ways to rid our bodies of these impurities in order to promote physical health. This is called “detoxification.” Cleansing and replenishing allows the internal body to create an environment that craves good, nutritious food.
Spiritually speaking, a detoxification (or purification) of our soul is a necessary process to promote a healthy and fully alive relationship with God. We call this the “prayer of absolution” in the Sacrament of Confession.
Once we are detoxified from all of our sins, we are restored to spiritual health. We become strong in rejecting what is wrong or evil, and we begin to crave the things of God, especially the Holy Eucharist.
An expression being thrown around, lately, is that “the Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect.” Well, of course it isn’t, but the context of the use of this expression is usually to justify receiving Holy Communion while not being in a state of grace.
A better way of stating this would be, “the Eucharist is spiritual nutrition for the pure.” It’s true, nobody will ever be perfect in this lifetime, but once the priest prays the words of absolution over a contrite soul, they become “perfectly pure.” Now that soul yearns for the things of God. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament becomes a time to “marinate in God’s graces” … not a rejection, but a “longing” is set in the soul made pure again.
So, here’s the point … all the problems of the world can be solved if we, once again, become “strong in God’s supernatural grace.” We are called to make the world a better place, but “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
The world is “spiritually sick” right now, filled with impurities which are causing them to reject God and crave the junk food of worldliness. It’s no wonder our churches are emptying out. The Church simply *must* help people to believe in the supernatural power of God again. Stop the secularization of our faith!! Build churches that point to heaven, not the world. Offer Mass as though we actually believe that the Holy Eucharist is God.
One of my laments is the consequences of the modern practice of “Communal Penance Services.” It looks good on paper, but nobody predicted that it would condition Catholics to go to Confession only when these services are offered. We conditioned people to go to Confession “infrequently.”
I recognized this early on in my priesthood so, instead, I offer monthly Holy Hours for men, and another time during the month for women, and once more for families. During these evenings we offer Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Confession, an inspiring talk, and Benediction. In the context of this article, one could say these are evenings of “detoxification and marination.” In essence, this is a type of communal penance, but every month … thus, conditioning people “back into” the good habit of frequent Confession … “spiritual detoxification.”
In his Prayer of Surrender, St. Ignatius of Loyola identifies the only meaningful treasure:
“Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess You have given me: I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will. Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.”
If we ever get to this place; this belief, our world will be saved.