Blessed are you who believed that the promises of the Lord would be fulfilled. (Luke 1:45)
The faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary offers us the antidote to the prevalent myth of the 21st century.
Because the myth contains an element of truth. Anybody remember? “Religion cannot have anything to do with knowledge, because God, if He exists, is too mysterious to be known. Religion is about your deepest personal feelings.”
Now, the true part: Religion does indeed offend God if we offer it with anything other than absolute personal sincerity.
There’s only one way to address God honestly, and that is from the center of my heart and mind. No one else can have a relationship with God for me. I have to do it myself.
But here’s the thing; here’s what the Blessed Mother teaches us by her own absolutely intimate personal relationship with God:
When we stand in truth before our Maker, we see that we ourselves do not have what it takes to live, to thrive—even to exist. We are not sufficient unto ourselves. We depend on God for every moment’s breath.
And we need salvation. Death comes for everyone. No amount of personal feelings about God can keep me from dying. Death constitutes the ultimate objective, impartial, non-emotional fact. The only really honest feeling I can have about this fact is: “God, help me! Lord, save us!”
So, if we accept the true part of our century’s myth about God, then we see clearly how false the other part of the myth is. We need objective knowledge about God’s plan. Without it, we can have no real hope and no real joy. We need to hear His promises, believe in them, and believe in His power to fulfill them.
What did the Blessed Mother know about herself, above all? That she could not save herself. She was conceived without sin, by a special dispensation of the grace of the Cross. But her immaculate conception only made her more aware that she needed God. And more aware that God Who says, “I will save you,” will do it.
What’s the difference between a Catholic and an Evangelical?
A Catholic believes everything an Evangelical believes about Jesus and the Bible. But you can sit and drink a beer with the Catholic; you can talk about the Mets sweeping the Yankees, and the Catholic will not feel obliged to bring up religion.
Now, in truth: This is the more genuinely evangelical approach. Catholicism survives and thrives precisely because it is perfectly compatible with living the life of a normal baseball fan.
But: we cannot accept; we must dispute; we have the duty to object to the idea that one religion is just as good as another, because it really has to do with your personal feelings. It doesn’t. Maybe some religions have to do with feelings. But ours has to do with what God Himself has said to the human race, the commandments He has given and the promises He has made.
So if my buddy says, in between reflections on Stephen Strasburg’s prospects, that his brother left the Church to marry a Mormon, but that’s okay because he’s happy! I have to reply, “Can’t agree with you there, pal. I would sooner die than miss Mass, even if I got to marry Marie Osmond. Cheers!”