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Every generation turns its back on God in its own way August 10, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Ecumenism, Eucharist, General Catholic, Interior Life, North Deanery, religious, Saints.

From the intriguing, but also at times maddening, book Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly, some excerpts on living an authentic Catholic life (segments from Chapter 6, “What is the authentic life?”.  I think these excerpts are especially apropos given the discussion that has gone on in the combox regarding my post on the Catholic girl fasting for ramadan:

Every generation turns its back on God in its own way. Our modern era has revolted violently against the idea of “God’s Will.” Desperate to maintain the illusion of being in control of their lives, many modern Christians hvae either turned their backs on God or created a new spiritual rhetoric that allows them to determine selectively God’s ‘will’ for their lives. And yet, it is the very surrendering of our own will to God’s designs that characterizes the whole Christian struggle. The spiritual life is primarily concerned with this single dynamic struggle of turning our individual will over to God. [Boy, that just about nails it.  That’s a pretty succinct summary of the Catholic view of the interior life, the dying to self, ridding ourselves of our sins and imperfections, and doing God’s Will, even as that involves taking up the Cross and following that Will in places we would often prefer, on some level, not to go]

…….external activity is less important than the internal transformation any activity is designed to achieve in our lives. Who we become is infinitely more important than what we do, and what we do only has value inasmuch  as it helps us to become [fully actuated in God’s plan of salvation for us]….

….Holiness is the goal of Christian life.

Although I am too y0ung to know anything from first hand experience, it seems to me [you’re hardly alone, Mr. Kelly] that after the Second Vatican Council, and perhaps before, a great many educators and priests stopped teaching, preaching, and speaking about this goal [of holiness]. It seems they felt it was an unattainable ideal or simply unrealistic in the changing context of the modern world.  They thought it made people feel guilty [a little guilt is not a bad thing!]. They apparently wanted to make it ieasier for people. So they threw away or watered down the great goal of Christian life [holiness].

…..if you take away the goal of Christian life, you don’t make it easier for people – you make it harder. You don’t bring them happiness; you start them along the road toward hopelessness and misery. People excel, thrive, and are ultimately happier when they hvae a higher standard to look to and strive for. I hvae never encountered a situation in which having a goal didn’t flood my spirit with hope, fill my mind with determination, and generally bring out the best in me. I t is true that our goals need to be achievable. But we make the great goals of our lives achievable by breaking them down into mangeable protions, while at the same time keeping the ultimate end in mind.

Our times are plagued by a great deal of confusion regarding religious thought. This confusion exists both inside and outside the Church.  The prophet Amos spoke of a famine of Truth. (Am 8:11)  I believe this prophecy has  its time in our own day and age……….[End quote]

The above encapsulates much thinking from many great Saints.  The reason I have posted this is because I have recently had a number of commenters come by stating that embracing other religions and their practices is a good and noble thing, and that being a Christian means “loving Jesus and loving others.”  The former practice is dangerous, especially given the indifferentism (all religions are basically the same, or share the same truths) that seems to be part and parcel of those calling for this embrace of other religions – it fails to recognize the inconceivable gem we have in this Holy Catholic Faith.  The latter is true, but also sophomoric.  It misses the point that claiming to love Jesus and others is easy – actually doing so is profoundly difficult, and requires much self-examination and much pruning away of sins, bad habits, personality defects, etc, AND also embracing charity in all we do, especially with regard to God.

But obedience is the essence of religion (Pope Benedict XVI).  We must first obey the Truth Christ has revealed through His Church, and then, once purified through a profound interior life, seek to serve God through serving others.  For our exterior acts must be powered by the interior life.  Otherwise, we run the risk of acting on our own motives and desires (and almost invariably will do so), rather than doing God’s Will.  That is the wisdom of the Saints – prayer, fasting, leaving behind sin, contemplation, self-examination, receipt of the Sacraments (esp. Confession) – all this is necessary as a precursor, as the foundational basis, of our exterior apostolates.  If you read many of the Saints, you will find that most if not all of them went through periods of deep prayer and reflection before embarking on their major exterior apostolates.  This gave them the grounding they needed for their great works.

But many of us desire not to wait.



1. Cori Hyland - August 15, 2011

“Dying to self…” I remember in early sobriety, my “sponsor” had me turn down the music in my car and suggested I only listen to “easy listening music.”

I thought I was going to die. Had no idea what an attachment I had to “tuning out” my thoughts while driving. I can’t figure out how she knew that I was afraid to be alone with my own thoughts, but she apparently nailed it.

Every period of life seems to have particular challenges of faith associated with it. These days, it’s sloth (because I’m fat and pregnant), but other times it’s the opposite. Why do we always think we need to be in control? God really has such better plans.

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