Lex Orandi. Lex Credendi.

To discuss meditations and insights into our daily, traditional (Tridentine) Roman Catholic readings. Also, this is to discuss the development of the interior life as traditional, Roman Catholics in complete obedience to the Pope, Magesterium and the Apostles of Christ.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Spiritual Sickness

The 4th of July 2006

Today at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, our congregation had a Votive Mass for the Sick. This Mass was for all those who are suffering in sickness of any kind, especially for a newborn baby boy who is suffering right now of complications regarding his heart and leg. He needs our prayers.

Epistle: James, v. 13-16
Gospel: Matthew viii. 5-13

ON THIS FOURTH OF JULY, its hard not think about the spiritual sickness of our nation. We can see evidence of it in the culture’s prevailing materialistic values threatening the culture of life. Little babies, not even yet born to their mothers, are seen as a threat to their own parent’s freedom, and an inconvenience. It’s unbelievable that such atrocities as abortion could be seen as our legal “right” when it certainly, by God’s standards, not a moral right. So, Catholics who are pro-Christ are pro-life because Christ is pro-life. The Triune God, source of all life, both corporal and spiritual, we worship Him, and placing Him first we ascribe to His values. But that makes us Catholics a threat to the modern culture, just like the first Christians were to the paganized cultured of the Romans.

Because of our fallen nature, we’ve inherited a pride that often gets easily wounded and offended when we are told that we are WRONG, especially spiritually (with God). The mentality is go with the flow, the status quo, let’s take a vote on everything, or at least, don’t impede on my freedom to choose by trying to enforce your morality on me, my choice, or material goods and feelings. Who are you to tell me? Well, I'm a Christian and I am morally obliged to correct moral wrongs, when and where applicable, in charity, both "in and out of season", as a spiritual work of mercy.

The irony is if we were physically ill, say for example, with a very bad cold/flu, and someone came up to us and said, “wow, Joe, you look as though you’re coming down with something. Take care of yourself!” we would not normally then say, “What right do YOU have to tell ME that (*cough*) I’m coming down with something (*sneeze*)?”

Chances are that we won’t say that. Why? Because by the time we are visibly ill, we probably feel ill, so we have the physical symptoms, and even the emotional symptoms of not wanting to go out, etc. Physical illness typically carries with it signs that are visible to us through the physical and emotional senses. It's more obvious to us to know when we are physically not well because we may not have developed spiritual 'eyes' to see. Spiritual illness does not necessarily show through physical and emotional senses.

When we say, “Wow, Joe, that wasn’t a good choice to bad mouth your neighbor in front of your peers,” Joe may say to us, “Who are you to judge me?” But this is wrong. We not only have a right to judge, not our neighbor’s interior life, that is, their relationship with God, but we do have a right, even an obligation in charity (and sometimes in justice as well) to care for our neighbor both spiritually and corporally when possible. We have a right even a duty to judge actions, which is completely separate from judging persons.

But why then does it still offend so many people to be corrected for their actions?
I think this is for two reasons primarily:

1.) Because most of us tend to feel offended because we actually want to do good and to be good, and perhaps even be seen as doing and being good. If we did something wrong and are corrected, perhaps we feel offended that we are being judged for all that we do, and who we are as a person. But why don’t we think clearly that this is about what we are doing, not who we are? This is because …

2.) We aren’t all oriented towards God. (Or those of who are, or at least, think we are, aren’t consistent.) We can not do good apart from grace, since God is all good and all good comes from Him. Yet, how often we decide what is right and wrong by our own means, by what feels right. And, it doesn't always "feel right/good" to be admonished. However, the spiritual life is not dependent upon feelings, only the physical and emotional life. So we busy ourselves trying to do things good and possibly even good for God, but never discerning His will. If we are habitually not oriented towards God as our means and end, we are not looking to be fed spiritually and can not grow spiritually, since that requires our own free will to cooperate with the grace of God. We end up worshipping our senses, feelings, vanities and worldly ambitions even in the name of worshipping Jesus, without so much as cultivating the means to discerning his will through constant prayer, and interior reflection that includes examinations of conscience.

But we, as Catholics, know that Jesus teaches us how to BE good, not how to FEEL good. The symbol of our faith, afterall, is the Cross.

Physical and emotional sicknesses are signs pointing to the reality of spiritual sickness. (“And fear not them that kill the body, and cannot kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.”) This is why things like illness and poverty can be seen as a blessing. These are outwards signs pointing towards The Cross. Many (if not most) of the saints sought poverty and had great spiritual insights resulting in greater graces from physical illness. Poverty and bodily illness purifies us, if we let it. Those who have poverty and/or illness thrust upon them are even MORE blessed, unlike other situations or virtues one might try to acquire through their will. Why is that? Because when “it is then despised, rejected, reproached and forsaken then it is real poverty. And such is usually poverty in the world; for men who are poor not voluntarily but of necessity are not thought much of, and for that very reason their poverty is more truly poor than that of professed religious, although the latter poverty ahs a special and great charm by reason of the vow and of the motive.” – St. Francis de Sales, Philothea. Let us choose rather to accept our Cross, the means God chose to purify us and unite us to His only Son.

So, let us all be poor of spirit, humble and subject to correction when it is pointed towards growing in Christ. We are all sick spiritually-speaking, but we all should be developing our interior lives so that we become spiritually well. If you are accused unjustly, then remember that Jesus Christ suffered your injustice. He suffered every injustice you will ever encounter, and every injustice you have procured, even unintentionally.

We Catholics are a burden to the conscience of the spirit of the world, but righteously so. We will be persecuted by our own for that simple fact, and to the degree that we have our being, not simply our intentions, oriented towards Christ. In having our being in Christ, we must accept humiliations, poverty, and injustice as in accepting such crosses as these as Catholics we bear witness to the spiritual poverty of the world, as we live for not this life but the Life that is Eternal. Our nation has a cancer known as the culture of death. Even those who might wish to be in the fold of our own sacred religion suffer from sometimes this same cancer, or yet another cancer: modernism (often cloaked in misguided “ecumenism”). Such symptoms of this cancer come in the common forms of immodesty, in actions and in dress.

The road to salvation begins here, in this life. This is our opportunity today. We who wish to follow Christ do not presume upon his grace by merely acting in his name, but through the means he gives us in prayer, making our lives about always preparing to more worthily receive our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

1 Comments:

Blogger DARCY said...

Hi there

I posted a reply to you at fisheaters this morning but unfortunately you probably did not see it.

I am glad to see your blog and your obvious devotion to Mary Immaculate.

Here in Ireland devotion to Mary was huge up until the early 60's.

Since 04/04/06 I have been discovering the real meaning of Fatima. Even as a Catholic who always had faith and hope in Mary no matter how much I offended Her Divine Son and God knows, I am as much a sinner as the next man, I still knew nothing about the reality of Fatima.

Still, in our milieu we lived and breathed devotion to God through Mary.

I don't want to bore or lecture you and I am sure I have done that already.

Read again De Montfort's prophecies regarding Mary in the run-up to the reign of Antichrist.

Who are the heretics and the schismatics he speaks of?

Why did Mary tell us Her Immaculate heart would be our refuge rather than the church?

Why did so many saints and mystics prophecy regarding the ending of the continual sacrifice?

I have been barred from fisheaters. It is sad to see so many people afraid to discuss the elephant in the room.

They should all ask themselves how they came to regard themselves as traditionalists as opposed to what?

Until the arrival of Freemason Roncalli in 1958 and his like-minded successors up to today, we were all traditionalists.

I have just come back from the local Blessed Sacrament chapel. I go there most nights and have done so for years now.

I do not go down on both knees now as I used to.

I kneel down and say the prayers of the Angel of Fatima with a slight amendment and follow with the rosary.

I still believe in His spiritual presence but not the Real Presence.

This I can assure you is very painful.

By the way, Mad Catholic is not "insane" Catholic but mad in the sense of Francis of Assissi or the Cure` d'Ars.

We had a great summer this year-lots of sunshine. I thank God whatever weather He sends me.

I am delighted to see a young committed Catholic like you in the picture you have posted.

God bless you and keep up the good work. I hope you find the courage to ask the hard questions.

It is hard to make sense of all this when you were not around when the church was One Holy Catholic and Apostolic.

It is a bit like Frank Sinatra sings Metallica or vice versa.

October 10, 2006 5:38 PM  

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