And on the side of the angels at the same time
Come on, we know better than the Church, don’t we? After all, this is the 21st Century and times have changed. Modern man is fully capable of deciding what is moral on his own, right? All the really smart people in the media, government and academia who encourage us to embrace abortion, contraception, euthanasia and gay marriage can’t be wrong, can they? After all, everyone knows that new and fresh ideas must clearly trump over two millennia of Church teaching. Right?
Unfortunately, my facetious opening paragraph represents how many Catholics view the Church’s teaching these days. Many have bought into the lies the world is feeding us that we should rebel against the authority of the Church and the Pope while instead deciding on our own which teachings we will and will not follow. Our increasing apathy and moral relativism, heavily influenced by a culture drunk on materialism with no moral compass, is putting the Church and the world in grave danger. The Catholic Church is one of the last lines of defense against evil and we must not allow a misguided rebellion to destroy it from the inside. The Church must never conform to or be assimilated into the world. We are in the world, but not of the world and we must keep our eyes firmly on our heavenly home.
True Catholic Rebels
If we feel the need to be rebellious, why not send this energy in a more positive direction, a direction that leads to Heaven? It is easy to criticize the Church and conform to the world’s various influences, but perhaps today’s true Catholic rebel can stand out by embracing Church teaching, not rejecting it and following the Pope’s leadership, not undermining it. If we want to truly follow Christ’s teachings, shouldn’t we do so through the very Church He founded? If we are going to be rebels, let’s rebel against the world and embrace the path to Heaven that leads through the Catholic Church.
Five Positive Ways for Catholics to Rebel against the World
1. Avoid Cafeteria Catholicism: We can’t pick and choose what we believe and still be authentically Catholic. Follow the Magisterium and authentically practice our faith, trusting that two millennia of Church history and teaching are far superior to what we may come up with on our own. ”Be Catholic, really, faithfully, unapologetically Catholic, and the future will have the kind of articulate and morally mature leaders it needs.” (Archbishop Charles Chaput)
2. Put our Pride Aside and Surrender: Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.” (St. Ignatius of Loyola) It must take a pretty big ego to say no to Christ and His Church! What we need is more humility, total surrender and a sincere commitment to put Christ’s will before our own. I know from personal experience that doing it my way has never really worked out well.
3.Practice Personal Holiness: The call to holiness is rooted in Baptism and proposed anew in the other Sacraments, principally in the Eucharist. Since Christians are reclothed in Christ Jesus and refreshed by his Spirit, they are ‘holy’. They therefore have the ability to manifest this holiness and the responsibility to bear witness to it in all that they do. The apostle Paul never tires of admonishing all Christians to live ‘as is fitting among saints’ (Eph 5:3). (Blessed John Paul II, Christifideles Laici 16)
4.Be Joyful!: It is so easy to get lost in our problems and forget to be joyful-it happens to me and just about everyone else I know. But, remember that we are surrounded by people who are watching us. They may be seeking Him and looking for someone, anyone, to show them the way to Christ. They could learn from our good example, be inspired by our joy and be encouraged by our faith journey if we will only remember that we are called to share the Good News. If we are gloomy, frustrated, inward-focused and critical of the Church we will never be able to help anyone and may put our own salvation at risk.