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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Little Reminder

Some sins actually are worse than others. If someone tells you otherwise, they are wrong. Can it be covered by the blood of Christ, no matter how serious? Of course it can. Let me say that again. Yes. There is nothing you can do to put yourself beyond the reach of His love.

Can you choose not to be friends with God? Can you put yourself in danger of being excluded from God forever in Hell? Also yes. Most avowed Christians I know and talk to worry too much about the second, and meditate too little on the first.

Before you stone me for that, I also recognize that many baptized and confirmed Catholics have never undergone initial conversions! They've never met Jesus personally! No wonder the American church is terrible! If you're not living a spiritual life, you're not going to understand spiritual things. You might be able to go through the motions; you might even understand that if you receive these sacraments, you can be rescued from damnation, at least for a time. You might even look down on those evangelicals, who do go on about their "personal relationship with Jesus."

Here's the bad news and the good news at the same time: We're supposed to have a personal relationship with Jesus. There is no reason to go anywhere and do anything churchy without it. Holy mother Church will be fine; you're not cutting her off at the knees by saying it. It's just true. Did Jesus not say, "I have come so that may have life, and have it abundantly"? John 10:10. That's still in there, right?

At the risk of boasting, it makes me sad that people can walk into a Catholic Church, look around, and not understand what they see. Not just intellectually, but with the eyes of faith. He loves us.

Why do I go to Confession? Because Jesus loves me. Why do I receive the Eucharist? Because he loves me. Why do I say the Rosary? Because he loves me. (As do Mary and all the saints.)

The first step in conversion is probably to desire to love God back, insufficient as it may be. "Blessed are those who hunger and for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Look at that! Matthew 5:6. It's right in the middle of the Beatitudes! I probably don't need a doctorate in sacred theology to figure that one out: it's the heart of the whole thing.

And I read a thing the other day, and it referred to this. Some people think if we talk about God's love and mercy all the time, people will not repent. That's just silly; you don't experience mercy as mercy unless you have something to leave behind, and in fact, you dare to leave that sin behind.

If I may, the problem as I see it is that priests in America waste their 15 minutes pleasing people, instead of helping them. Others who endeavor to be orthodox seem to enjoy telling people they are sinners; down deep, even the hardened ones know that. Don't sugar-coat it, but there is no point in dwelling on that, with no mention of the remedy! And I'll tell you what: If the people don't believe that Father is excited about the love of Christ for sinners, he can say it until he turns blue; it won't do much. Even the passionate ones can sound like hectoring Pelagians, without real good news. This is not a rule-following religion; this is a mutual love religion.

1 comment:

Truman Long said...

Jason,
How very true that many American Catholics seem not to understand the idea of a person relationship with God. Though I know that this is not true for all, it is for many. I am reminded by my college instructor during my Masters Degree courses telling me that when working with client and things seem to stall, work on relationship. This is also good advice when it seems we are stuck and life has stalled on us. Work on that relationship with Christ. We will feel better and life becomes more meaningful and robust.

Truman