DAILY CATHOLIC    THURSDAY     April 22, 1999     vol. 10, no. 79


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO
          Pat Ludwa, a committed lay Catholic from Cleveland, has been asked to contribute, on a regular basis, a lay person's point of view on the Church today. We have been impressed with his insight and the clear logic he brings to the table from his "view from the pew." In all humility, by his own admission, he feels he has very little to offer, but we're sure you'll agree with us that his viewpoint is exactly what millions of the silent majority of Catholics believe and have been trying to say as well. Pat puts it in words that help all of us better understand and convey to others what the Church teaches and we must believe.

          Today Pat takes a higher course, looking on the positive side in his column Love and dissent providing a plethora of scriptural passages which proves love conquers all, including dissent which Jesus and His disciples all warned about. Dissent does not foster love but hate and there is no room for that in Our Lord's heart or His mansion as He has said. Pat shows that without that love we cannot truly come to know and appreciate Christ for Who He is: the Son of God.

Love and dissent

          After a few columns about those who would try to destroy the Church by 'loyal dissention', we need to refresh ourselves. The enemy wants us to be discouraged, depressed. He wants us to wonder if it's worthwhile.

          "Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

          Love is what we are all about. Our love of God and His love of us. God's love for us is something we know (or should know). He sent His Son to teach us His way, and to call sinners repentance and conversion, and to die for us so we might live, for and through Him. His love is such that He will not force Himself on us. He extends His hand to us, He follows after us, but He waits for us to clasp His Hand, to walk with Him, to love Him.

          "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; you know Him, for He dwells with you, and will be in you" (John 14:15-17).

          So we show our love for God by keeping His commandments, and we know His commands from His Church. " Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).

          No child loves a parent by continually and purposely rejecting their commands, their wishes. No, love is connected with obedience. Fr. Herbert de Launay points out : "In John 3:36 Jesus links belief and obedience. "Whoever believes (Greek: pisteuon, believing) in the Son has life eternal. Whoever disobeys (Greek: apeithon, disobeying) the Son will not see life, but must endure the wrath of God." We can note here that the opposite of belief is disobedience." (Reflections on the readings for May 12, 1996, the 6th Sunday of Easter, Cycle A)

          St. Ignatius Loyola, in his "Spiritual Excercises" points out that the soul in consolation is "aroused by an interior movement which causes it to be inflamed with love for its Creator and Lord, and consequently can love no created thing on the face of the earth for its own sake, but only in the Creator of all things. It is likewise consolation when one sheds tears inspired by love of the Lord, whether it be sorrow for sins or becaue of the Passion of Christ our Lord, or for any other reason that is directly connected to His service and praise." (Rules for the Discernment of Spirits, Wk 1)

          He goes on to say, "…desolation is all that is contrary (to the above) as darkness of the soul, turmoil of the mind, inclination to low and earthly things, restlessness resulting from many disturbances and temptations which lead to loss of faith, loss of hope, and loss of love. It is also desolation when a soul finds itself completely apathetic, tepid, sad, and separated as it were, from its Creator and Lord." (Ibid)

          Thomas A Kempis writes: "You must forget yourself always and in all things, in small things as well as inthose that are great. I (Christ) make no excpetions, but want you to be divested of your self-will in all things. For how can you be wholly Mine and I totally yours, if you still entertain self-will within and outside yourself." (Imitation of Christ, chap. 37)

          It is when the soul is in desolation, that we retain self will, that the enemy seeks to separate us from our love of God. And one of His tools is to appear as an angel of light. St.Ignatius Loyola likens him to a military commander who camps nearby and, after looking over the enemy camp, attacks at it's weakest point.

          So, it is understandable how, for example, a woman falls into sin and because of that sin finds herself pregnant. Then, adding sin to sin, under the illusion of right, aborts the baby. Hence advancing further into sin. Scripture gives us two examples of a soul in desolation and the affects of faith and love in God.

          "And after a little while again the bystanders said to Peter, 'Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.' But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, 'I do not know this man of whom you speak.' And immediately the cock crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, 'Before the cock crows twice, you will deny Me three times.' And he broke down and wept" (Mark 14:70-72).

          "When Judas, His betrayer, saw that he was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, "I have sinned in betraying innocent blood." They said, "What is that to us? See to it yourself." And throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself" (Matthew 27:3-5).

          Peter's love of God brought sorrow for his sin, and he wept and gained forgiveness and grew in sanctity. He didn't even allow himself self pity. Whereas Judas lost his faith, his love of God. He added sin to sin.

          An even great sign of self denial for the love of God is Mary. "And Mary said to the angel, 'How shall this be, since I have no husband?' And the angel said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God….. For with God nothing will be impossible.' And Mary said, 'Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.' (Luke 1:34-35; 37-38).

          For Mary, nothing could be more inconvenient, more against her interests. An unmarried woman, pregnant, that was a death sentence. But her faith and love of God allowed only one response. "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."

          But the person whose love of God is weak, or lost, begins to speculate. "Well, God wants me to be happy, He love some just as I am." Etc. They come as 'an angel of light' to sow dissention, confusion, etc. "I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded" (Romans 16:17-18).

          "As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to occupy themselves with myths and endless genealogies which promote speculations rather than the divine training * that is in faith; whereas the aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith. Certain persons by swerving from these have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions" (1 Timothy 1:3-7).

          "For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people. For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses, who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith; 9 but they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men" (2 Timothy 3:2-9).

          "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry" (2 Timothy 4:1-5).

          "Show yourself in all respects a model of good deeds, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us" (Titus 2:7-8).

          Remember, we all sin, but sin does not rule us. We are called to a sincere repenting of our sins. To advance in perfection, and to persevere in that struggle to the end. "Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:11-13).

          Out of love, we are never alone in our struggles to come closer to God. "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you" (John 14:18).

          In prayer, in the Eucharist, He will be with us, to strengthen us in our faith and love. So, out of love we follow and obey. And out of love, He strengthens us and is with us. All we need to do is reach out to Him by dying to ourselves. All we need to do is grasp Him as He has grasped us. He is standing at the door waiting patiently to be let into out hearts. He is waiting for us to follow Him. When we do, then we can truly say to Christ, "My Lord and my God."

      Pax Christi, Pat

April 22, 1999       volume 10, no. 79


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