by Fr Richard Heilman | October 3, 2017 2:21 PM
Think about it. There was a time, only 50 years ago, when we saw …
*Monasteries sprinkled across the country
*Brimming Catholic Schools everywhere
*Homes filled with prayer and devotions
*Churches open all day as many made “chapel visits”
*Parish devotions, such as Holy Hours
*Inspiring holy and reverent Masses everyday
The image used in this article (above) is one that shows the many cell towers throughout the United States. It’s not hard to imagine that, at one time, a similar map to this would indicate all of those powerhouses of grace mentioned above … a kind of ‘Power Grid of Grace.’
Friends … We’ve let our guard down; the ‘Grid of Grace’ is down – a kind of supernatural force field – and the darkness of evil is penetrating our land at an alarming rate.
Realize that, in Pope Leo XIII’s October 13, 1884 vision of Satan and Jesus conversing, Satan wanted a “greater power.” This does not necessarily mean his power increased, but that our’s decreased.
The major strategy from the father of lies is actually as old as the Garden of Eden itself. It is simply to convince us we do not need God (Gen. 3:5-6), nor do we need His strength and His power (Eph. 6:10).
In modern times, beginning with the Communist Revolution in 1917, we have witnessed an incredibly effective campaign of militant secularists who have sought to de-mythologize our faith, a flat out rejection of the supernatural power of God. Once the devil has us convinced that we can challenge him under our own natural power, or simply deny that he even exists, he’s cut us off from the only real power capable of defeating him: God’s supernatural grace.
In his letter to Timothy, St. Paul warns of these times:
But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power. Reject them” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
More and more common is the modern “secularized” version of religion that sees it reduced to a kind of psychotherapy for self-actualization. Some seminaries seem to focus on training therapeutic practitioners rather than theologians. In other words, instead of seeing Jesus as God with us — a real and ever-present source of supernatural love and grace — He is reduced to a historic figure we simply emulate as a model in our efforts at self-actualization.
Our ancestors and all of the saints knew all about this supernatural power and strength and that being in a state of grace was the armor of God that was to be treasured and protected at all cost. Sacred scripture sees this Divine Life in God (state of grace) as the “hidden treasure” and the “pearl of great price” (Mt 13:44-46).
Any talk of a “new evangelization” or “new springtime” is utterly null and void unless it means a recovery of our belief in God’s supernatural power. We simply MUST believe, once again, in the “Power of Prayer” and the reality of “Supernatural Miracles.” Without this, we are just making a “Pretense of Religion” and “Denying its Power” … and the devil continues to have the upper hand.
You MUST …
Go to church
No matter how uninformed anyone is, there is simply *no excuse available* for not knowing that God justly deserves our weekly community worship and thanksgiving. God will lead you, then, into the following category.
You MUST show you *actually* CARE:
Love, Extravagantly … Extravagant Obedience = Extravagant Blessing
The Precepts of the Catholic Church are a description of the absolute minimum actions required of Catholics regarding the Church. The Church uses these precepts to remind us that Christian life requires a commitment to prayer and active participation in the liturgy and sacraments. If we fall below this bare-minimum level, then, practically speaking, we can hardly consider ourselves to be in full communion with the Catholic Church. Out of love for Christ and a desire to advance in the spiritual life, you will normally “strive” to do far more than they require.
First Precept: “You shall attend Mass on Sunday and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.”
Extravagant Obedience: Attend Mass at least one more time a week. (Most Church parishes celebrate Mass every day of the year!)
Second Precept: “You shall confess your sins at least once a year.”
Extravagant Obedience: Go to confession at least once a month, and immediately after falling to mortal sin.
Third Precept: “You shall humbly receive your Creator in Holy Communion at least during the Easter season.”
Extravagant Obedience: Receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist at every Mass if you meet the guidelines for reception (are free from mortal sin, etc.).
Fourth Precept: “You shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence.”
Extravagant Obedience: Make a habit of practicing penitential and charitable acts beyond those required by the precepts of the Catholic Church. Try to abstain from meat on Fridays throughout the year, for example.
Fifth Precept: “You shall provide for the material needs of the Church.”
Extravagant Obedience: Contribute as much as possible to the material needs of the Church. Consider working toward biblical tithing: 10% of your gross income. Know that your time and talents are a precious commodity for your parish family. Teach your children, by your family’s dedication to your parish family, that the parish has the highest priority, greater than soccer, musicals, etc.
Do you want God’s protection? Do you want God’s blessing? Do you want your prayers answered? Do you want to see supernatural miracles? Then, you simply must avoid any “pretense” in your faith. We should know better. If we allow our faith to slip into something “for show” … something that gains “street cred” as others see us going to church, we can bet that God sees the pretense that others may not see, and God will wait until we take Him seriously.
We’ve let our guard down; the grid of grace is down and Satan is moving unabated under his “greater power” than our puny natural power. Many no longer worship God. Many of those who come to worship are making a pretense of religion and denying its power.
The grid of grace will return to our families and our nation once we decide to “get real” about our faith.
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