Draw close to Christ

So much upheaval, and the acceleration is alarming! – Planned Parenthood, gay marriage, Islamic terrorism on the rise, public school crises, personal violence  . . .  crises in the Church . . .

It’s easy to take our eyes off God, but now, more than ever, we must draw close to Him.  All the indignation in the world, all the activism, means nothing if we aren’t close to the Source of our passion.  There must be time each day, out of the craziness, which we devote to being still and quiet with the Holy Trinity. Time for prayer, time for Lectio, time for entering a personal sanctuary where nothing matters at all but His sweet Presence.

 

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There is nothing that can happen to us –

I would not, for all the world, want to seem to trivialize the tragedy of Newtown, CT, but I think I would be mistaken if I did not post this. I have learned its truth over the years, and after my ranting and raging, earlier today, it slips into my conscious thought with soft but victory-promising murmurs:

There is nothing – nothing! – that can happen to us that God will not redeem, that He will not use for our greater good and for His own greater glory.

Human Life – Disposable

I’m still reeling from the news about the school shooting in Connecticut, which I’ve been following all afternoon. One of my piano students is kindergarten-age, for goodness’ sake! And I remember so vividly how sweet and small and precious my own daughters were at that age.

So many people on Facebook are screaming for more gun restriction laws – but just who’s going to have guns, then? I mean, for crying out loud, people, the school was a NO GUN ZONE… and who had the guns there? The criminal. The off-hinged young man who came in and shot up the school and killed at least 26 people, 20 little kids.

No. The problem is not “gun control.” It’s a rotten, selfish attitude that people are here for someone’s personal convenience, are disposable. It begins with the 1960s and the idea of contraception on demand, the idea that we can have our pleasure without consequences, without lifechanging commitment. It grew in the 1970s with the legalization of abortion-on-demand, and the idea that if the contraception fails (or if one is too lazy or selfish to use it) then a little surgical procedure will take care of the problem – the baby can’t even be called a baby any more; it has to be a “clump of cells” or a “fetus”; God forbid we should acknowledge the humanity of the unborn.

It grows with a sense that children can’t be spanked, no matter what they do, because that would hurt their precious feelings. Most of the parents I’ve known who refused to spank their children have tried to present themselves as morally superior to the rest of us, but in reality they’ve just been too damned lazy to deal with their kids. Working in a lawyer’s office, several years ago, I saw the names of some of those unspanked kids of my acquaintance listed on a series of police arrest reports for drug, larceny, and property damage charges. Mom and Dad wouldn’t deal with them as toddlers and preschoolers, so now the court system has to deal with them.

What happened in CT this morning is an extreme consequence of the disregard of personal responsibility. It’s really not so ironic that on the same day, in another abortion capitol, China, a man went through a crowd of school kids with a knife, hurting more than 20 of them.

We must renew our fight against the attitude of children – of people – as accessory objects that can be casually gotten rid of if they get in the way of our personal satisfaction.

Pre-Lent reflection on living in the Last Days

Dear friends, as I post on news comment boards and read the comments left by other participants, I am astonished by the willful ignorance, compounded by the unveiled hostility, of other posters toward Christianity and Christian moral values. We do indeed live in the age foretold by Isaiah, when people would call black, white, and white, black. The Enemy has so deluded men and women that they have become his willing servants, hating what is true, hating what is holy.

Rather than posting the list here (I am thinking of compiling a list of examples to post as a note here, or on my Facebook Notes), I simply ask you to commit yourself to renewing your part, as Church Militant, in the Great Battle during this season of Lent which begins tomorrow.

Let your Lenten sacrifice not be merely the continuing of an old tradition, but a genuine offering of self to God through some form of denial that brings you closer to Christ’s gift of self in His Passion, and on the Cross.

And I ask you to pray daily – throughout the day – for the salvation of souls, for the conversion of sinners, for the forces of this present darkness to be pushed back… for our beloved Nation to be once more spared from the Judgment we increasingly seem to be begging for.

We have come full circle. Christianity began as a small, persecuted minority in the midst of a great pagan Empire – rose in influence and political power through the centuries until the entire West was shaped by the Church’s teachings and values… only to have declined, so very rapidly, into, once again, this persecuted and despised minority.

It is because of this cyclical reality I am seeing that I feel that this present crisis differs from the crises of prior generations. Our modern technologies take the evils once confined to major metropolitan areas and push them into our own living rooms – when once upon a time outlying and rural areas were largely spared from the wickedness marking various rulers and Courts, preserving enclaves of quiet, peace, and safety.

I believe we will soon – perhaps in my lifetime – see the culmination of human history as we have known it, when Christ will “Come Again in Glory to Judge the Living and the Dead, and His Kingdom will have no end.”

So – “let us not weary in doing good” as we enter into this Lent, but let our love for Christ be flamed, and our desire for sanctity burn brighter than ever before.

Political Post #1

I used to have an aversion to politics. Oh, I enjoyed watching the election returns coming in, especially when my Daddy was home (he was a long-distance trucker). He’d let me go with him to the local newspaper office, where the returns would be written in wax pencil or soap on the plate glass windows – local returns on one side of the center door, national returns on the other.

But I didn’t like the debates, the negative tactics, and so on. I couldn’t keep up with issues; I was more inclined to parrot what I heard other people saying.

In the past four years, however, I have begun to be very interested in politics. Having some idea what is happening in our dear Nation, knowing how my elected representatives are representing ME, and having an idea of their intentions while they’re campaigning – it’s all part of good citizenship.

It’s also part of being a good Christian. In the Second Vatican Council, the role of the Christian laity was laid out:

First, to carry the Gospel into the world, into the marketplace, into the highways and byways of society where priests and religious do not frequent, or may not have access at all.

Second, to infuse this world with Gospel values.

Taking a basic interest in politics is very much a part of the latter.

But what are Gospel values? – (to be continued)

In the cultural crisis

Had a good chat with my friend Linda H. this morning. Linda’s active in politics in one of the states south of me, here, and we talked about the corruption and exclusivity that has come to mark the political parties controlling county and state process.

She made what I think was an astute observation, which is the point of this post. We both agree that we MUST have a solid and assertive set of candidates to choose from in the primary, next year. President Obama has already begun campaigning for his second term – and God knows, we cannot survive another four years of this incompetence.

She said, and I agree, that the nation could be heading toward another civil war if things aren’t turned around. BUT – she stressed the spiritual nature of the combat at hand.

And she’s right. The coming battles are those of character and principle and not of personality cults or even agendas. The current political arena is an exclusive old-boys’ club where too often the people with the concerns and the intelligence to DO something about them are locked out. Nepotism abounds – and that’s bad for the nation and for our communities.

We must prepare. We must begin with prayer, with regular, disciplined prayer that transforms us and leads us where we need to go – not the sort of prayer that attempts to dictate to God what we will and won’t have from Him, thank you very much.

And we must understand. Our public schools have been depriving us of understanding for more than forty years, now; we must educate OURSELVES to understand what the principles are, what they mean, how they affect us.

We have a tremendous responsibility. Privileges carry with them responsibility; I believe our rights carry even greater responsibilities. We are, we will be accountable for how we have lived as citizens and sojourners in this world.

After all – it is our mandate as Christians to bring true Gospel values into the world. True ones, not the politically correct ones that ignorant people have been persuaded they have to embrace – ones that even a rudimentary understanding of the Scriptures would show are soul-damaging. To take the Gospel into the world, to infuse the world with gospel values…

We have to begin with prayer.

(to be continued)