Monday, November 7, 2016

It's a Wonderful Time

What a wonderful time this is in the history of the world. I made my formal confession into the Catholic Church a little over four years ago, and in that time I have not had to struggle to deal with a single doctrinal question. In the previous 23 years, I was struggling with a different doctrinal question at a rate of about 1 per year (not counting the 17 doctrinal questions I had to struggle with in the last year before my reception into the Catholic Church). This was due to the fact that I was a protestant; not just an average protestant, mind you, but one who really, really, really wanted to know what the Bible meant and what the Church Fathers said about it (which is a hopeless state for someone who does not want to be Catholic!).

During those long and challenging years, I was regularly "readjusting" my protestant perspective to fit with the historic Church; all along not realizing that I was thinking like a Catholic. Now that I am Catholic, I do not have to "readjust" anything ever again. I have, for the last four years, merely settled into deepening my understanding of God's truth. At the same time, I have watched the world become more and more hateful of the Catholic Church. I have seen many non-Catholics persecuting the Church (both inside and outside of the US borders). These attacks are not something we would ever seek, but at the same time, they are something that will lead to our good.

Persecution is always for the good of Church, because it always leads to a strengthening of the faithful, and a "weeding out" of those who persist in their rejection of God. No, I do not want anyone to have to leave the Church; I would much rather have them repent and be able to remain. Yet, as Bishop Robert C. Morlino once said:
"If one is called to be Catholic, one follows what the Church teaches; that is the correct understanding of conscience (as upheld also by Vatican II). And if one really cannot follow what the Church teaches, then one's conscience requires that one leave the Church. That is the adult decision. One's conscience does not require that one makes up one's own personal religion and then pretend that it is Catholic."
In other words, since it is proper for those who persistently reject the Catholic faith to leave the Church, it will be all the more likely that this will happen if they are going to be persecuted and tortured for believing something that they actually do not believe.

While the world changes constantly ("the more things change, the more they stay the same"), the Church stands firm. She has withstood 2000 years of dictators and tyrants, and has outlived every one of them. That is the great security of being Catholic. While America may not survive its next president, the Church will remain firm and faithful. Whether we flounder for a few more years, or descend into general chaos, Christ never gave a promise of endurance to any nation; He gave that promise to the Roman Catholic Church, and to her alone. As St. Augustine said, "the city of man may fall, but the city of God will remain forever".

So here we are, in a time when the Catholic Church is once again going to be able to prove her divine foundations. She is going to show herself to be faithful to Christ her Lord, and though it may mean that she will be much smaller because of it, it will also mean that she will be much stronger. The Church will remain to the end of the world, because Christ remains on His throne until the end of the world. The two go hand in hand (cf. Matt 16:18 and 1 Cor 15:24-25). The Church has spoken clearly and warned all of society about what is righteous and what is sinful; she has not changed truth, and she will never do so. This is why we can take confidence and stand firmly within the safety of her courts.

Finally, remember this: if you happen to find yourself on the way to the voting booth, remember to take with you one crucial object: the eternal and uncompromised teachings of the Catholic Church. If you forget them when you go there, you will likely forget them in other places as well. Casting a vote for the future leader of the United States is no small issue, and you should trust Christ's voice in the Church to guide you on how to do that (especially in the problematic situation we find ourselves in today). Therefore, make a godly choice; stand for life and for truth, and be confident--Christ and His Church will stand firm.