It is often said nowadays that the present century thirsts for authenticity.
Especially in regard to young people, it is said that
they have a horror of the artificial or false
and that they are searching above all for truth and honesty.
These “signs of the times” should find us vigilant.
Either tacitly or aloud — but always forcefully — we are being asked:
Do you really believe what you are proclaiming?
Do you live what you believe?
Do you really preach what you live?
The witness of life has become more than ever an essential condition
for real effectiveness in preaching.
Precisely because of this we are, to a certain extent,
responsible for the progress of the Gospel that we proclaim.
—POPE ST. PAUL VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 76
TODAY, there is so much mud-slinging toward the hierarchy regarding the state of the Church. To be certain, they bear a great responsibility and accountability for their flocks, and many of us are frustrated with their overwhelming silence, if not cooperation, in the face of this godless global revolution under the banner of the “Great Reset”. But this is not the first time in salvation history that the flock has been all but abandoned — this time, to the wolves of “progressiveness” and “political correctness”. It’s precisely in such times, however, that God looks to the laity, to raise up within them saints who become like shining stars in the darkest nights. When people want to flog the clergy these days, I reply, “Well, God is looking to you and me. So let’s get with it!”
Get With It!
Yes, we need to get with it, and by this I mean be authentic. Today, there is so much confusion over what this looks like. On the one hand, progressives believe that Christians today must be “tolerant” and “inclusive”, and hence, they go along with any and every thing that is proposed to them, whether or not it defies logic, good science, or even Catholic teaching. As long as the world applauds and the mainstream media approves, then all is well. But virtue and virtue-signalling are two very different things.
On the other hand, there are those who believe that what is really needed to fix the state of things is a return to the traditional (ie. Latin) Mass, Communion rails, and the like. But listen, it was precisely when we had these very beautiful rites and practices that St. Piux X declared:
Who can fail to see that society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deep-rooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction? You understand, Venerable Brethren, what this disease is—apostasy from God… —POPE ST. PIUS X, E Supremi, Encyclical On the Restoration of All Things in Christ, n. 3, October 4th, 1903
The crisis at its heart, I believe, comes down to individual witness and authenticity. The witness to the world that is most powerful, most effective, most transformative is neither virtue-signalling nor external piety. Rather, it is a true interior conversion that is expressed in a life conformed to the Gospel. Let me repeat that: it is a heart so converted, so abandoned to the Lord, so desirous to be faithful, that they become, as it were, the living Word. Such souls are “living wells” who by their very presence move others to want to drink from their example, draw from their wisdom and knowledge, and satiate their thirst for love by seeking the very Source of these living waters within them.
Your Witness is Key!
Today, the world can smell a hypocrite from a mile away, especially the youth.“It is often said nowadays that the present century thirsts for authenticity. Especially in regard to young people it is said that they have a horror of the artificial or false and that they are searching above all for truth and honesty.” [Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 76] And hence, St. Paul VI says:
The world expects from us simplicity of life, the spirit of prayer, obedience, humility, detachment and self-sacrifice. —POPE PAUL VI, Evangelization in the Modern World, 22, 76
In other words, just as a well has an encasement to contain the water, so too, the Christian has to bear a visible witness from which the living waters of the Holy Spirit can flow.
Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your heavenly Father… Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. (Matt 5:16; James 2:18)
The issue here is one of credibility. I may lead my children to Mass and pray the Rosary with them… but am I authentic with how I live my life, what I say, how I behave, how I work, how I enjoy entertainment, leisure, etc.? I may go to the local prayer meeting, donate to ministries, and join the CWL or Knights of Columbus… but what am I like when I’m with other women or men, friends or family?
But all this is really Christianity 101! Is St. Paul standing over us today, in 2022, and repeating his admonition to the Corinthians?
I fed you milk, not solid food, because you were unable to take it. Indeed, you are still not able, even now, for you are still of the flesh. (1 Cor 3:2-3)
We are in an even more urgent situation. For the plan of God nearing fulfillment at the end of this era is this: to prepare for himself a spotless and unblemished Bride, a People who are “all in”, that is, living in the Divine Will. That is the programme — whether you and I are going to be a part of it or not.
Jesus is demanding, because He wishes our genuine happiness. The Church needs saints. All are called to holiness, and holy people alone can renew humanity. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, World Youth Day Message for 2005, Vatican City, Aug. 27th, 2004, Zenit
I have to laugh in a certain way when I see some of the German bishops weaving sophistries in order to accommodate sodomy and gay marriage. For the entire momentum of Jesus right now is for His people to enter into His Divine Will in an all-new manner. This means excelling in fidelity — not rewriting the Word of God! Ah, let us pray for these poor, poor shepherds.
The Cross, the Cross!
The enduring trait of our generation is to find any and every way possible to escape suffering. Whether it’s through technology, medication, or outright killing our unborn babies or ourselves, this is the perennial lie that Satan has masterfully crafted in our times. We must be comfortable. We must be entertained. We must medicate. We must distract. But this is the antithesis of what Jesus teaches:
Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. (John 12:24)
The irony is that, the more we deny our inordinate desires and attachments, the more joyful we become (because we were made for God, not them). But more than that: the more we deny ourselves, the more we are transformed into Jesus, the more Living Water flows unobstructed, the more we stand in spiritual authority, the more we grow in Wisdom, the more we become authentic. But if we are spending our days without sobriety, we become, as Jesus said in the Gospel today: the blind leading the blind.
How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? (Luke 6:42)
How can we guide others into repentance and truth if we ourselves are worldly and living a lie? How do we offer Living Water to others when they can clearly see that we have polluted them with our sin and indulgence? What is needed today are men and women who have a “sold-out” heart for Christ:
Blessed the men whose strength you are! Their hearts are set upon the pilgrimage. (Today’s Psalm, Ps 84:6)
And set upon saving souls. Says St. Paul in the first reading today:
Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. (1 Cor 9:19)
In other words, St. Paul is careful that he gives scandal to no one. Do we let down our guard around our buddies? Our children? Our spouses? Or are we careful to be all things to all people so that we might save, at least, some of them?
Our Lady has been crying out to us in recent months in her messages that we are not taking her seriously — and we are running out of time, fast. O Mama, I’m as guilty as anyone. But today, I renew my commitment to Jesus, to be His disciple, to be your child, to belong to the holy army of God. But I also come in all my poverty, as though an empty well, that I may be filled again with the Holy Spirit. Fiat! May it be done, Lord, according to your will! Pray, O Holy Mother of God, that a new Pentecost may take place in my heart and that of all these dear readers that we may become true witnesses in these last days.
Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear news of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind struggling together for the faith of the gospel, not intimidated in any way by your opponents. This is proof to them of destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. For to you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him. (Phil 1:27-30)
This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35)
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