Life in a small town

Are You Saved?

Desolation Row”, Bob Dylan, from the album “MTV Unplugged”, 2013

Just The Facts, Ma’am

Are you saved? Ha, if only!  Excellent article here on the Catholic position and answer to this super-critical question concerning all eternity. Cherry picking one line or fact out of context has always been a favorite tactic of the enemy, knowing as he does humanity’s propensity for wanting simple answers that make them feel good about themselves and thus being able to preach superiority over those who do not share their particular point of view … otherwise known as PRIDE.

We see an awful lot of that these days on social media, don’t we? The howler jungle of Facebook is full of screaming and poop slinging between all the little monkey tribes. The world and the things of the world are going to hell in a hay-basket and the whole damned thing is going faster and faster. Does anyone not see this?  Seriously???

Just cast your eyes at the latest manifestation here. Some are claiming a conspiracy to establish martial law and confine us to our homes under a state imposed curfew … I see their point but I don’t think there is any widespread conspiracy … this is all just normal human fear, aided and abetted by the demons of fear that are never very far away these days.

Fear uncertainty and doubt, FUD, and the biggest fear among the governments everywhere, the legions of faceless bureaucratic corner office vampires and their worshipful drones is the ultimate fear … the FEAR OF BEING BLAMED!!!!! Of course Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) is perfectly augmented by Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).

Now, I have it on good authority that here in Canada all senior bureaucrats are being instructed to “Work from home”. The implied assumption being that what they do is actually “work”. If we get lucky they will all spend their time writing press releases about what they are all doing to save us from ourselves and they won’t do anything real for the duration of this crisis. This is the “best case” that will save us all.

I have been in the position described at the beginning of the linked article “Are you saved?” and my answer has always been “Absolutely! And I continue to work hard on it every day in order not to lose my salvation through sin and to fall again into condemnation“. Our Lord Himself has said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone … ” and we all know how that turned out.

And I fail in my mission every day in one way or another and then have recourse through sincere contrition and the sacrament of confession to the good God’s forgiveness in absolution and penance administered through the priest “In Persona Christi Capitis“. The facts are that there is no one without sin and every man (and woman) needs to work hard every day to cling to their salvation, by Faith in our Lord and by all the Corporal Works prescribed by scripture and the magisterial tradition, aided by the sacraments as administered by the Church.

Drawing from the linked article above we read the Truth that there is no salvation outside Christ’s Church as handed down through the Apostles after Pentecost.  As I quoted a couple of days ago, Outside the Church, there is no salvation … The first part of the teaching of the Catholic Church —”all salvation comes from Christ the Head”—is quite easy for all Christians, even non-Catholics, to understand and embrace. It echoes Jesus own words recorded by John: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” (Jn 14:6).

So, Christians unanimously agree on this first part. But is this all that needs to be said about how one may be saved? The Catholic Church has historically recognized the importance of explaining further the means through which salvation is offered through Christ.

When speaking of salvation, Jesus offered more details than just his words quoted above. Skip past the cherry picking and the efforts to weasel out of the meaning of Truth for just a moment … for example, consider these three verses:

  • He who believes and is baptized will be saved. (Mk 16:16)
  • Unless you repent you will all likewise perish. (Lk 13:3)
  • He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (Jn 6:54)

The Tribute Money is a 1612-1614 painting by Peter Paul Rubens,

Notice that in these three verses Jesus associated salvation with baptism, confession, and the Eucharist, respectively. Catholics recognize that these sacraments are administered through the Church.

In fact, in the case of the latter two, a validly ordained priest is necessary for their administration, so the sacrament of ordination must also be associated with salvation. A primary role of the Catholic Church in conjunction with salvation is becoming quite clear.

This brings us to the second part of the Catechism’s formulation of the doctrine being considered: “. . . through the Church which is his Body.” what we know as “The Mystical Body of Christ”. For over two thousand years now folks have been trying to trap Christ and twist His teachings to suite their own worldly agenda.

*****

As scripture relates:

1 At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who, thinkest thou, is the greater in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus, calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them. 3 And said: amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me. 

6 But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea(Mat 18:1-6)”

*****

Look people!!!  We are the little ones to whom Christ refers … this bit of scripture isn’t about child molesters!  It’s about people who know better misleading we little ones into heresy and damnation. Since Jesus established the Catholic Church as necessary for salvation, those who knowingly and willingly reject him or his Church cannot be saved. We see this in Jesus’ teaching: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Mt 12:30).

Also: “If he [a sinning brother] refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Mt 18:17). Paul warned similarly: “As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned” (Ti 3:10-11).

So, my disquiet with the current situation in our church, and my equally strong misgivings with the state of society and our culture of death, dismemberment and disregard for responsibilities both personal and national (witness Boy Justin’s NATO Summit efforts last term) here in the frozen north, that is Canada and the direction Canada seems to be heading. What is one to do? Aided by my reading of many other’s comments in various blogs and so on, my thoughts are moving in a definite direction.

The Angelus, JEAN FRANÇOIS MILLET (Museo_de_Orsay, 1857-1859)

Rhetorically speaking, is it OK to make like a medieval peasant, to choose the “Benedict Option” as some have advocated, and either not know or not care who is the current National Leader, and who is Pope, to not worry about the directions of church and state, but to remain faithfully and cheerfully ignorant of the day-to-day pronouncements that come  down from our betters in Ottawa, and Edmonton, and from the Vatican?

Must a Catholic read and understand all the latest encyclicals and exhortations and synodal papers and all the latest progressive malice and pronouncements vomiting forth from the mealy mouths of our political and bureaucratic masters in their tower of power somewhere isolated from the realities of day to day citizens, one of whom recently committed suicide on the steps of the legislature?

Or can we just keep re-reading the Scriptures and the Catechism and the Fathers and the Doctors (and maybe the occasional private revelation) until such time as God sorts this all out? I don’t think that average Catholic lay people are obliged to follow any of this stuff. Priests do this, and then they teach appropriately, or at least are supposed to.

But lay people are not obliged unless, of course, they are teachers, and so on. Catholic lay people have vocations to live in the world. Their obligations are few: obey the 10 Commandments, follow the commandments of the Church, obey the laws that they are taught pertain to them, stick to the demands of their state in life, perform works of mercy, etc.

This is really not that difficult. People are not obliged to go chasing after the latest news in prurient curiosity. As a matter of fact, that might wind up being a sin called curiositas, especially if it endangers one’s faith and distracts from one’s state in life through which the will of God is made manifest in our lives.

It is just because our Church is Christ’s church that I disagree with any “serious considerations” of heading away from our One Holy Catholic and Apostolic church towards one of the  Orthodox confessions or some conservative Evangelical congregation, or even some new age Pentecostal “feelings over objective Truth emotional consolation” because all those options also clearly lack the indefectability promised by Christ as in : “and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”.

Domine, quo vadis?

This specious tack, of abandoning the church in her hour of crisis, smacks of “taking my toys and going home” when the going gets tough and real sacrifice and pain and love is required to hold to the Truth in the storm.

Christ’s message is tough, “Take up your cross and follow me”, and folks shrink back from that, embrace the consolations of the world, have been abandoning the Church for all the specious reasons relating to self love and putting our own agenda above that of GOD for more than 2000 years now.

But this has been especially true for the last five hundred years in the West, and see how they are scattered … “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Mt 12:30). God introduced salvation to the world through his chosen people, the Jews. God’s revelation to the Jews found its fulfillment in Christ, the Messiah, who established the Catholic Church.

The grace necessary for salvation continues to come from Christ, through his Church. Those who innocently do not know and embrace this might still attain salvation but those who knowingly and willingly choose to reject it, reject salvation on God’s terms.

From scripture, carved on a slab of wood hanging on my kitchen wall: “But if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, you have your choice: choose this day that which pleaseth you, whom you would rather serve, whether the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”
-Joshua 24:15 (Douay-Rheims)

And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
-John 6:69 (DR)

’nuff said.

Cheers

Joe

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