The “I’m Going In” Challenge! #imgoingin

The “I’m Going In” Challenge! #imgoingin

Nerves are frayed, and cabin fever is taking it’s toll. Reports are coming in of domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse, and even suicide. For those on social media, many are witnessing a growing number of  “tirade posts,” nasty comments, and even infighting between friends. I fear if I say, “The sky is blue,” somebody may take issue with that. 😉

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he writes about the two “free will” choices we all have:

  1. Works of the flesh
  2. Fruit of the Spirit
  3. I add this 3rd choice: Recoil in self-preservation

“For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another.

 

I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ [Jesus] have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious of one another.” – Galatians 5:13-26

Metaphorically speaking, the works of the flesh are like a deadly virus or poison that kills off the Divine Life in hearts throughout the world. Conversely, the Fruit of the Spirit is the antidote that cures the sickness of sin, and brings back to life what was once thought as dead or dying.

We are all called to “bring” this antidote (fruit of the Spirit) to a spiritually dying world. These are the choices (free will) we have at our disposal. Are we injecting poison or the antidote?

I added a third choice. We can also recoil in self-preservation, while souls are dying all around us.

One of the most stark depictions of a kind of “recoil in self-preservation” came on Ash Wednesday (February 14), 2018. As news was breaking we read, to our horror, that, not only were many young, innocent lives lost, but many could have been saved:

When Coral Springs police officers arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14 in the midst of the school shooting crisis, many officers were surprised to find not only that Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, the armed school resource officer, had not entered the building, but that three other Broward County Sheriff’s deputies were also outside the school and had not entered, Coral Springs sources tell CNN. The deputies had their pistols drawn and were behind their vehicles, the sources said, and not one of them had gone into the school.

You read that right … there were four armed officers outside the school. And none of them did anything, as they knew each shot fired by the gunman likely meant another life lost.

I was scheduled to give a talk at a men’s conference, just days after this horrific event. I told the men, “You see? … those four officers, cowering behind their cars in the school parking lot, as they listened to the gunman kill one student after another, could not encapsulate more effectively what has gone on in our culture, especially in the past half century.”

A few years ago, Jeffrey Kuhner of the Washington Times wrote this …

“For the past 50 years, every major institution has been captured by the radical secular left. The media, Hollywood, TV, universities, public schools, theater, the arts, literature — they relentlessly promote the false gods of sexual hedonism and radical individualism. Conservatives have ceded the culture to the enemy. 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.”

“My brothers,” I said to those men, “this was under our watch. Why did this happen? Because we allowed it. We crouched behind our proverbial cars in our proverbial school parking lots, while we allowed lives to be lost.”

At the very beginning of our great nation, Sir Edmund Burke said,

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Venerable Fulton Sheen put it this way …

“The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil. The tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.”

In our Church …

… we’ve cowered behind our proverbial cars while “passionate modernist Deists” gutted out anything that pointed to the supernatural power of God. A woman was the only one who seemed to stand against these destroyers. One, Mother Angelica. While we cowered behind our cars, Mother Angelica was about the only one who stood and, in essence, said, “I’M GOING IN!”

Yes, there were times when Mother Angelica passionately cried out to the spiritual leaders of her day, but nobody could accuse her allowing the “works of the flesh” to control her actions. No, much like a mother scolding her children “out of love,” in order to help them understand the seriousness of their bad behavior, Mother Angelica was able, under the power (and fruit) of the Holy Spirit, to do all she could to inject the antidote of “truth with love” to dying souls.

As we watch souls dying all around us (recall, 70% no longer believe in the Real Presence), let’s get out from behind our proverbial cars in our proverbial school parking lots, bringing the much needed antidote of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, as we cry out from our hearts …

“I’M GOING IN!”

#IMGOINGIN