Communicating the Truth
So, we’ve now arrived at the First Sunday of Lent. Forty-one more preparatory days remain until the joy-filled celebration of the Resurrection of our Savior. Our Lenten preparations…repenting, praying, fasting and almsgiving (RPFA)… while intended for our special focus and embrace during these liturgical days of Lent are really meant as a conditioning or re-hab program to incorporate and commit to for the entirety of our lives. “How is that?” you might ask. Because our Lord said, in John 6:38: “And this is the will of the One who sent Me, that I should not lose any of what He (the Father) gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day.” He provided us with a combination of life, intellect, moral teachings, and a free will, that unfortunately allows us to thwart His resolve “to not lose a one of us.” So, rather than wrestle with “What array of deprivations we can commit to during Lent?” why not begin, now, during this Lent to build into our daily lives positive and virtuous habits that include RPFA and a meritorious degree of sacrifice. Our ultimate goal? To be among the winners when it comes to the separation of the sheep and the goats when our time on earth concludes, and we are called home to reach that for which we were created—eternal life lovingly embraced by our Creator.
Let’s face it, the place to start, would be at the feet of the Master. And just where is that? Kneeling before His Real Presence in the Tabernacle ideally for an hour during our parish’s three monthly 24-hour Exposition and Adoration periods (beginning at 9 a.m. on the 1st, 3rd and 4th Fridays of the month). Your spiritual growth is inevitable during this sacrificial time with Our Lord. Ask Him for the guidance, grace and strength to attain a consistent growth in holiness. Ask for resilience and strength to ward off the wickedness and snares of Satan, as you begin tailoring your “suit of spiritual armor” with actual and sanctifying grace. The meritorious choices are many, but allow me to provide some close-to-home objectives that you might consider.
First of all we are fully aware that God loves a cheerful giver and almsgiving (the “A” of RPFA), which includes a degree of sacrifice is a great place to start. You, personally, may already be that grace-filled giver, however a sizable majority of our parishioners are still wrestling with this decision to become one, by making a supportive commitment (no matter how small) to our recently launched 2018 Parish Stewardship of Treasure renewal. Remember that it is not the amount that is meritorious, but the sacrifice involved.
Second, let us look up and open our eyes wider, and wherever possible, find a way to learn about, to educate ourselves about, the multiple moral issues (I should say immoral issues) and the media mis-information and lies about them. Gain confidence by learning the truth on-line at genuine Catholic websites, like the National Catholic Register, Life Site News, The Catholic Herald, The Catholic World Report and The Crux. It is the silence of even those who are appalled by the rampant immorality that has allowed the lies to be swallowed hook, line and sinker, by the majority of the American public! Immorality, including sodomy and abortion, is being touted as good. And worst of all, it is bought into by our American youth, Catholic youth included. This Lent, commit to become informed and involved, take action, speak out against and educate others regarding these evil social issues that have now been satanically redefined as “good.”
Thirdly, focus on those closest to you, particularly your own children and family members, who have been deceived into accepting the media bias that to oppose these sinful lifestyles and viewpoints is to be a hater and unloving. Children are coming home from grade school, high school and college, with the mind-set that to oppose and caution against the sinful lifestyle choice being proliferated, is to be uncharitable and sinful. We must all keep top of mind that we are called by Christ himself to love and care for the sinner, no matter how repugnant the sin, but to not forget that He (and you and I by extension) has condemned all lust-filled sins with clear Biblical reference to the abominable sin of sodomy . The inclination to sin affects all of us, and some are impacted more than others. Christ taught us that He dearly desires to forgive all sins (big and small, mortal and venial) and that He has instituted a Sacrament (Confession) to enable exactly that.
However, it is totally uncharitable for us to convey acceptance, as being good and normal, any sinful behavior, just because more and more people are choosing it. If we, or even any priest does that, we become complicit in their sin. It may take a while to have the knowledge and the courage to convey the truth, but in the interim, do not fall prey to the prevailing media deception that acting out homosexual and lesbian proclivities is not gravely sinful. It is not a spiritually viable choice. If you are a parent of a child who now identifies as same-sex attracted—mercy, compassion and love should be your primary response. I was taught as a youth to reflect: “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
We need to remember to treat all people with the respect and pastoral concern they deserve as children of God with inherent dignity. This emphatically includes persons with same-sex attraction. All of us as human beings, whatever our strengths or weaknesses, have a right to be treated with the respect that our God-given dignity demands. We also have a right to hear the truth, whether it pleases us or not. Jesus said the truth will make us free. Nowhere did he suggest it will make us comfortable. We still need to hear the truth clearly—and share it, clearly, always with love.
Let us all make a Lenten commitment to improve our ability to communicate the truth regarding the erroneous call to embrace sinful behavior as being the proper compassionate response.
Yours in the Mercy of God,