Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sexual Revolution Part 2

Have you noticed that in any major newspaper or news outlet there is at least one story about homosexuals? And it has been this way for years. Is there really nothing else of interest to talk about? Or is this editorial policy driven by the agenda to normalize the gay lifestyle? It really doesn't take a genius to figure it out.

Today there are two big stories. The first is that New Jersey has become the third state in the country to legalize gay unions. The second is the continual division in the Anglican communion over gay bishops and civil union ceremonies.

Earlier I had posted a simple question: who actually won the sexual revolution? The answer is- nobody! Everyone who fought to overthrow the moral norms and establish immoral ones are paying the price. We now have STD's punctuated by rampant AIDS epidemics. We have "hookups" and "dumpings". We have divorce and remarriage. Then to avoid that whole scenario we have live-ins and break-ups. I really don't see any winners here.

Then there are the children who are the products of all these contorted "relationships". They grow up thinking the perverse is normal and continue the practice themselves. We have warped an entire generation, and there appears to be no real relief in sight.

I propose a new revolution. This time we will reserve sex for one man and one woman who will commit themselves to each other for a lifetime with marital vows. Revolutionary? Not really. It's the way it was for centuries. It's the way God created it to be from the beginning. Yet, it appears revolutionary because it would run completely counter to the moral norms of current society.

The sexual revolution was a complete and utter failure. The sooner we wake up to that, the more there can be hope for us as a nation and as a generation. I wonder, is there anyone out there who can honestly say that they have not suffered in the least from the sexual revolution. I truly doubt it- not if they're honest; honest with themselves and with God. No I think they were truly the losers. But then so are we all. For we all have to live with the consequences whether we like it or not.

God have mercy on us all!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Asleep On The Watch

"When He returned to His disciples He found them asleep. He said to Peter, 'So you could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,'" Mt. 26:40,41

I think the disciples, if they had not fallen asleep, but prayed as they were told to do, would have fared better when the following events leading to the cross took place. I think this is the key for us as well.

Every Christian is continually exhorted to pray more. For a lot of us this is very frustrating. For we pray and we pray, but it seems to no avail. We still fall to the same temptations. We struggle with the same sins. Yet, I would propose that it is in the times when we feel the least is happening that there is actually very much that is taking place.

Like it or not, prayer is indeed the life breath of every Christian. We pray to live, and we live to pray. When we pray, we grow. We may not feel like we're growing, but we are. As we continue to pray, God draws us deeper. Pretty soon we realize that we have not fallen for the same temptation, and we have been struggling less with the same besetting sins. We have indeed grown, and conquered. It is only when we forsake prayer that we find ourselves in the same place once again.

As Lent approaches, it is the perfect time to renew our efforts at prayer. It will come in steps, but if we are faithful, we will find ourselves becoming strong in the power of the Lord. May He not find us asleep on the watch, but persevering in prayer, that His glory may be seen in each one of us!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

True Charity

"Charity is a right attitude of mind which prefers nothing to the knowledge of God. If a man possesses any strong attachment to the things of this earth, he cannot possess true charity. For anyone who really loves God prefers to know and experience God rather than his creatures. The whole set and longing of his mind is ever directed toward him."
St. Maximus the Confessor

Lent begins this Wednesday, Ash Wednesday. This has always been a joyful time for me, but admittedly it also comes with its own struggles. I don't enjoy fasting, or abstinence, or self-denial, or dealing with hidden sin. But I do enjoy what happens when I am faithful to do that. I enjoy drawing nearer to my God.

St. Maximus the Confessor really gets at the heart of the first great commandment as enumerated by our Lord: "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, and strength. Really, at the heart of all this religion is love. Love motivated God first to create, and then to redeem. Love compelled Christ to endure the cross for our salvation. Love leads us to respond to His love in faith. Love keeps us drawing nearer to God, increasing in holiness.

But how many of us experience a single-minded love? If you're like me, you love God, but you also have other loves. I am not now trying to dissect the love for spouse, parents, children, or our fellow man. I am simply saying that we have other loves. We have pet activities and hobbies. In themselves they are not evil. But where they have the effect of turning our gaze from our Lord, they are. It is like a man who is married, but still turns to look at other women. Obviously there is something lacking in his love for his wife. To acknowedge that another woman is attractive is no sin, but to gaze at her is.

So it is with us. We are to have a single-minded, and a single-hearted (if that's a word) devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ. As Lent draws near I am asking God to give me this single-minded devotion. I want to be complete in charity as St. Maximus points out. I am asking for an increase of His Grace and Love that I might love Him and serve Him more.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Richer Or Poorer

This weekend I went to two different churches.

The first was a local Catholic parish. We have worshiped there before. It is always very enjoyable. There we heard a wonderfully encouraging word about our mission in this world and being people, not of this world, but of the kingdom. The second was the church I grew up in- a Pentecostal church. There was excellent singing and such vibrancy among the people.

As I sat in the Pentecostal church I thought, "They don't have the Eucharist, the liturgy, the prayers, and they are the poorer for it." But I also thought, "Most Catholic churches do not have the same vibrancy of life, wonderful worship in song, or the passion for reaching the lost of our world. And we are the poorer for it."

The result of the Protestant Reformation is that it leaves Christians separated and estranged from each other. The Church, and by that I mean the Catholic Church, is the poorer because so many Christians with wonderful giftings worship and work outside of her. However, these same Christians struggle along without the Grace found in the sacraments or the richness and wisdom that can only be found in the Catholic Church.

What would happen if we could put it all together? How wonderful that would be! I know there are some who are trying to do exactly that. They have formed new fellowships or denominations trying to fuse together the best of all. But that's not what I am proposing. Rather I am aching that the various Protestant sects will end their separation and come home to the Church. With them inside, rather than outside, the Church would be blessed and uplifted through their gifts. They in turn would be able to add to the vibrancy of their faith the riches and Grace that they have been without for so long.

This is what the Church was called to be. And by God's Grace this is what she will be again soon. May we all take our places there to labor together for the kingdom of heaven!