Monday, May 4, 2015

Keeping our Eyes on the Road to Virtue

A Salesian priest in the Catholic Times' View from the Ark mentions the experience he had  recently attending a general meeting of the members at their Roman headquarters. What he knew from the news he heard directly from those who were involved. One superior from France  mentioned the closing of monasteries because of old age, and the lack of vocations. One superior of a community was in his 90s.

France called the eldest daughter of the Church is in a feeble state. France is not alone, we have Spain, a country once in the vanguard for mission, and Italy the headquarters of Catholicism are all in the same state of lethargy.

The columnist mentioned that all the superiors of communities of the different countries were     grabbing him by the arm, asking for missioners to come to their country. Europe is in serious trouble. Overcome with secularism, materialism and a small birth rate has changed the environment, and the Korean Church is following them. The future of Korean Catholicism and religious life is not bright.

We need to have a check up on the health of  Catholicism. We are suffering from the hardening of the arteries. We need a lively conversation between the  pastoral worker and the laity, a bonding  between the rich and poor, communication between the young and old, the connection  between the city and country, they are far from healthy.  We do not see the problems in society, and are in search of only the sweet and a religion which is cheap, which darkens the future. We want to cut out the part of the Gospel with the passion; only interested in earthly blessings and what is good for the family. A very immature spirituality.

In the history of the Church we had many false prophets. They pretty much concentrated on some  common elements: reasonableness of absolute moderation, examination of oneself according to religious teachings, and not seeing the absurdities and cruelty in the world. With flowery words they  have confused many people. Today we have those who sing out the 'no disease and long life' mantra. Everything will turn out as we want, we are guaranteed heaven.

Who is the true shepherd and who is the hireling,  requires discernment on our part. The real prophet is only interested in transmitting God's message to the people. The true prophet was not afraid to use the rod,and warned against sin and debauchery.

What is the traditional teaching of the Church? A good pastor will tell us we are full of faults. In our lives we will be met with pain, failure, wanderings, twists and turns, but all the crosses have meaning.  We are invited to move with the cross one step at a time on the road to virtue. Even if we are sinners, he concludes, we trust in God's mercy and take courage, and keep on moving forward.

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