by Randy Hain | June 28, 2012 3:01 pm
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 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.
If we feel the need to be rebellious, why not channel this energy into 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.
There is still another way to be a true Catholic rebel in today’s world that is the thread which runs through all the other acts I mentioned: pray faithfully every day. Start the day with a prayer of thanks to God for the blessings in our lives. Pray for help and courage to face the trials the world throws at us. Make the sign of the cross and pray over every meal, public or private. Pray a daily Rosary and ask for the help and intercession of our Blessed Mother and pray with our families every night. I can’t envision anyone seriously rebelling against the Church if they are faithfully committed to daily prayer.
It would be easy to read this post and decide that it doesn’t apply to you, but I would suggest we are all guilty of some degree of negative rebellion each day. We may take the easy way out in the practice of our faith when a little extra effort is required or we ignore what is required by our God-given vocations. We may push back against doing what we know to be right because we fear the negative opinions of others or lack the courage to confront difficult situations. A relevant example for all Catholics is having the courage to heed our Bishops’ call to join the Fortnight for Freedom and fight the HHS Mandate attack on our religious liberty.
One of the things I found most attractive about the Catholic Church when I converted was that it is not easy to be Catholic. I grew up with “easy faith” in the Baptist church as a young man, left as a teenager and had no faith at all for 23 years until coming home to the Truth of Catholicism in 2005. I am incredibly grateful for my Catholic faith and don’t see why I should waste my time arguing against the teachings of the Church. I already spent over two decades saying “no” to God and my pride-filled rebellion was exhausting. When I surrendered to His will in 2005, I started saying “yes” and that has made all the difference in my life.
Reflect on the picture of St. Michael the Archangel standing over a defeated Lucifer. In Milton’s Paradise Lost, Lucifer declared his rebellion in Heaven against God with the cry, “Non-Serviam!” (Latin, ”I will not serve!”). The Archangel Michael loyally defended God with his cry of “Serviam” and vanquished Lucifer to Hell with all his demons.
So, what will it be for us – Serviam or non-serviam?
Randy Hain, Senior Editor for The Integrated Catholic Life™, is the author of The Catholic Briefcase: Tools for Integrating Faith and Work which was recently released by Liguori Publications. The Catholic Briefcase is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble online and your local Catholic bookstore.
The Catholic Briefcase was recently voted the Best Catholic Book of 2011 in the About.com Catholicism Reader’s Choice Awards.
Randy Hain’s new book, Along the Way: Lessons for an Authentic Journey of Faith will be released by Liguori Publications in November 2012 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.
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