The triune God makes us His people by Holy Baptism. He pours the Spirit into our hearts. We cry out, ‘Abba, Father,’ because He has made us His children. And we seek His kingdom, striving to build it every day, by exercising virtue and kindness, denying ourselves and living for the good of others.
The fact is that Jesus Christ has opened up a door for us, us human beings. A door we didn’t even know was there, until He opened it—the door to true life. The door to a life united with the immortal love of God.
God Himself abandons Himself to the other Person. By that Gift of Himself, He attains His fullness. God is self-giving love. Christ has revealed that fact. Christ’s grace draws us into the adventure of loving as God loves.
If we are left to ourselves, the door to true life remains shut–because we inevitably succumb to the inertia of our selfishness.
But this is the Good News, which we should always have on the tips of our tongues: Christ has liberated us from the prison of our self-centeredness. He has given us the true way of life, the way of divine love.
A couple weeks ago, a lot of good Christians wrung their hands about the rising number of people who do not call themselves Church people. The “Nones.” As in ‘Religion: None,’ as opposed to consecrated nun.
I refuse to wring my hands, for three reasons:
1. When it comes to going to church or not going to church, the soul I have to worry about is my own. If I, hopefully a mature individual, honestly try to assess reality, I conclude immediately: I owe the Lord weekly worship at His altar, according to the ceremonies that He has established. Nothing could be more obvious.
So let me dutifully apply that conclusion to myself, since I am the one over whom I exercise sovereign control. Wringing my hands about any other full-grown adult, and their appearance or non-appearance at Mass, is a pretty big waste of time.
2. In the end, death will find us either in a state of grace or not. The two ways to get into a state of grace, if I am not in one right now, are: Baptism, Confession. How we responded to survey questions, put to us by well-meaning sociologists, won’t matter all that much on the Day of the Lord.
3. If the highways and byways of our land course with “Nones,” then God has a plan for every last one of them to be Catholic. Our job involves facilitating that process as best we can. And the best way for us to facilitate is: to walk always towards the door that opens to true life, that door being Jesus Christ Himself.
Yes, the primary avenue of Christian evangelization is churched parents churching their children. But we don’t need a survey to tell us that America finds herself largely un-churched in 2015. And it’s not the first time. America wasn’t heavily churched in 1815, either. Or: one week after the first Pentecost, back in AD 33–how churched was the Roman Empire then?
That brings me to the other thing that people wrung their hands about a couple weeks ago. The President of the United States decided to give the churches of America a little lecture about how our worrying over the rights of innocent and defenseless unborn children has gotten in the way of our worrying about the poor.
Now, let’s be the first to acknowledge that we do not worry about the poor anywhere near as much as we should. The Lord asks us to make ourselves poor by giving to the poor. When we ourselves become poor, then we will have half a chance of actually being happy.
But we also have to acknowledge that we haven’t worried anywhere near enough about the innocent and defenseless unborn children, who are, of course, more poor than anybody. Which makes them richer than anybody in the deep wisdom of utter, total dependence.
Utterly and totally dependent–like embryos, like fetuses, drawing life from mommy through the downy uterine tissue and the umbilical cord: that is who we are. We are helpless nothings in the uterine wall of God–Who makes the sun rise, and fills our lungs with oxygen, and turns us into something beautiful.
Anyway, I have a question and a statement. Question: What kind of mental world do you have to live in, to set the interests of the poor against the interests of innocent, defenseless unborn children?
Lord, save me from ever entering such a mental world! What a strange place! Reality makes so much more sense–the real world where every human being has rights endowed by the Creator. Rights which I, at least, have to respect with untiring zeal, even if other people don’t respect them.
Statement: We will lead souls to Christ by selflessly loving the poor, starting with the innocent and defenseless children in the womb, and working our way up through all the age brackets from there.
How could we claim to belong to the love of Christ if we don’t love the people who need love the most?
If we, each of us, love the people who need love the most–the people of whom the world does not even think—if we love them, and think of their welfare before our own, we will gradually conquer every soul in this country. We will have a million priests and a gazillion Catholics.