|H/T to American Catholic|
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Do We Really Believe?
I saw this “status” on Face Book, from a family member who is not Catholic but professes to be a Christian:
Wow, it's hard teaching kids about religion in the world! They were discussing friends at school who "celebrate Hanukkah". How do ya squelch a 5-year-old's excitement to play with her Jewish friend tomorrow and "tell her that Jesus is God's son!" WOW.
Maybe I should tell her it's best not to talk about religion or politics! LOL!!!
My thought – and comment – was: “If you don't talk religion, how will people discover the way to salvation?”
That went largely ignored. Okay, it went totally ignored!
Someone else commented:
Most of our really good friends are Jewish. We talk about beliefs and what we believe to be the truth, but to also always be respectful of others beliefs.
The original poster replied:
We did discuss that with her. But her ideas and innocent enthusiasm was pretty funny! I think we got through to her though. I'm sure the other little girl's parents would be just THRILLED with us if our daughter comes bounding in with a lesson on Christ! :) Not our intention!!
I had much I wanted to add at that point, but I was leaving town and internet access for my retreat and knew I wouldn’t be able to participate in what would have probably been an ongoing conversation.
But here’s what struck me: Why would these parents want to squelch their daughter’s enthusiasm for evangelizing? Is Jesus just “something we believe in”, or is He real? He claims to be “the way, the truth, and the life”! If a person believes that, and raises one’s children with that faith, it makes no sense at all to discourage them from sharing the Truth. Sure, we can treat others with respect and civility – certainly! But what did the little girl learn in the above example? To only share the Truth with those who already believe it?!
Michael Voris hit the nail on the head in a recent Vortex episode (December 10; full script here) where he said (my emphases):
What is beyond question in the Church today is that there is a decided lack of Faith in God: in understanding Him; acknowledging Him; meditating on Him. So many Catholics – including clergy – do not believe, or certainly not enough.
They don’t believe in or accept the fullness of exactly what we are dealing with here. We are talking about Eternity – forever in rapture with the Divine Essence, being drawn up into the life of the Holy Trinity, where we are called to live in light that for us now is unapproachable.
Our very beings will become radiant with truth and goodness; all semblance or spot of any taint will not even be able to be conceived. We are drawn into and called to be deeply and manifestly IN LOVE with God: to possess Him as He possess Himself.
Yet this is not believed. Even in wide circles in the Church today, this is not believed. It is not believed because it is not spoken of and when you are touched by love, you cannot keep quiet. When you are transformed by the finger of God, you become a new man and silence is not an option.
No lover refuses to reveal his beloved. He shows to the whole world the cause of his joy. He lavishes her with attention and anything he heart desires that he can provide. Such is the action of love.
Another commenter on the Face Book entry said (my emphasis):
I tell my kids that if you believe in Jesus, God, Santa, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, etc. then he believes in you. Not everyone has the same beliefs in this world and I encourage them to respect other's opinions and not just one as the only truth. They need to make up their own minds after they learn all the facts…
I don’t know whether that commenter is a self-described Christian or not, but either way, there’s a problem. “If you believe in Jesus, then he believes in you”? And the audacity of placing Jesus on a par with the Easter Bunny! Secular relativism rears its ugly head once again.
As for respecting others’ opinions…again, yes, certainly we respectfully present the truth – though no matter how respectfully you speak the truth, there will be some who are offended by it. And being respectful doesn’t mean we agree that there is more than one truth, either. That’s been the problem with Catholics for decades: we have become afraid to say that there is one true Church. In addition, those of other faiths seem to believe they have the right to tell Catholics what they can believe! I’m thinking here about those prayers during Holy Week for the conversion of Jews.
Yet another Face Book commenter said:
I respect and enjoy all religions, indeed. However these human creations have brought more cons than pros for more than 2,000 years.
“Human creations”? The Catholic Church, as we Catholics (should) know, was instituted by Christ Himself. The Church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. And of course, Jesus promised that His followers would experience trial and tribulation, because “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34).
The apostles went out and preached the Good News; most of them were martyred. Apparently they had not heard that they should not be discussing religion or politics! They thought saving souls was too important not to share the Truth. How selfish it would be not to share the Good News!
The people in the Face Book conversation above seem not to realize that Heaven is the ultimate goal of their beliefs. It’s all about how to avoid even speaking about religion to those non-Christians. It’s all about being “nice” and “respectful” and not offending anyone. So…if they do think about Heaven, do they think everyone who has some nice thoughts automatically goes there?
This also meshes nicely, I think, with yesterday’s (December 12) Vortex (embedded below; full script here), in which Michael Voris examines whether non-Catholics go to Heaven. He notes that there has been a bit of a debate in the blogosphere lately concerning
…how many will be saved… how many damned…if any will be damned. Will everyone go to Heaven? Which by the way, Scripture and Tradition seem to indicate the answers are: few, many, yes and no.
Voris goes on to take the discussion on a slightly different tack. He asks:
…[A]mong the saved, will there be any non-Catholics? In other words, can Protestants, for example, go to Heaven?
We do know THIS much in answer to that question: if a particular Protestant goes to Heaven, it won’t be BECAUSE he was a Protestant, but DESPITE it. And the same holds for Buddhists and Muslims and all the rest.
If there is a mechanism for them beholding the Blessed Trinity face to face, it most certainly is not their non-Catholicism.
This only flows logically when one understands the nature of the Catholic Church – Her charter and mission. She is to preach Jesus Christ to the nations. Jesus Christ is God. He is not a great philosopher. He is Divine, not a really cool smart man.
And the Church preaches Him as the only way to the Father because that is what He said.
So much is wrong with the idea that all religions are essentially the same that one hardly knows where to begin.
That’s what I would like my non-Catholic and fallen-away Catholic family members to realize: Jesus is God – that’s a reality! The Catholic Church was instituted by Jesus, and there is no salvation outside the Church.
Michael Voris continues:
Only the Catholic Church preaches the absolute fullness of Christ as He desires that it be preached. That is the charge He gave to his apostles and, by extension, to all Catholics. He established but one Church. He calls it “My Church”.
How can anyone in the right mind possibly consider that all these other “churches” are equally or nearly equally valid routes to Heaven? They are not.
Heaven isn’t so much a place as it is a condition in which we behold and love and possess God, and he loves and possesses Himself. The surest and most available and only guaranteed means to that in this life is the Catholic Church, no matter how upsetting that truth may be to some people.
When people pose the question, “Does anyone really go to Hell”, or “Do you have to be Catholic to go to Heaven?”, what sort of forces are at play that give birth to that question? Among theologians, that’s one thing. Among men on the street, it betrays a minimalist approach to salvation: what is the LEAST and simplest I have to do to get to Heaven?
Falling in Love with God is not a question of the least or the minimal. It is a question of the most and the fullest. If someone who is not Catholic gets to Heaven, it isn’t BECAUSE he tried to find the easiest way in.
Being a faithful Catholic is hard work. And to those faithful Our Blessed Lord said, “Pick up your cross and follow Me, for he who loses his life for my sake, will find it.”
I am happy that my little granddaughter mentioned at the beginning of this post has such enthusiasm about the fact that Jesus is God’s son that she wants to share it with her Jewish friend. I hope she won’t be squelched.
And even more, I hope and pray that all my non-Catholic and fallen-away-Catholic family members come to (or return to) the one true faith, and become as enthusiastic as that little 5-year-old about sharing the Truth!