by Deacon Michael Bickerstaff | January 27, 2013 12:01 am
“Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength!”
Many today do not feel much like rejoicing. Maybe you don’t either! But you have to admit that you would really like to feel better, be happier and have confidence. So what’s up with all the disappointment and anxiety around us? And what can we do about it?
In much of the West, the debt crisis has cast uncertainty among the nations. In the United States, millions of homeowners owe more on their home mortgage than the value of their home. This has exacerbated the problem of homeowners whose “operating” budget is underwater – those who spend more money each pay period than they make. These families live month-to-month and are ill-equipped to face a job (income) crisis or an unexpected expense.
The problem extends to local and state governments, and also to the Federal budget where the debt has climbed to more than $16 trillion. It is not unreasonable to anticipate that the Federal debt service (interest paid on Federal borrowing) will soon reach $1.5 trillion per year. Eventually, unless a change of course is taken, the U.S. will not be able to avoid defaulting on its debt, the same as many homeowners already defaulted on their mortgages. Crucial entitlement programs (such as Social Security and Medicare) will collapse as will the economy in general, leaving many more out of work. And with more unemployed, our collective defense will collapse as well, leaving us unprepared to defend ourselves against a hostile world or able to help those at home or abroad in need of financial assistance.
We have lost our way – and not just fiscally. The moral fabric of the Christian West has been torn apart by our embrace of abortion, contraception and other sexual immorality. Many of our churches are empty. Our disregard for the dignity of the human person, the right to life and care for one another has left us a people devoid of honor and charity. Many families are in marital crisis. We are greedy, self-centered and addicted to drugs, sex, money or power. Heck, maybe all four.
Is it any wonder that we face, anew, aggressive and hostile threats to the practice of religion and traditional morality?
This is not as it should be. It is not God’s Will that we should be so unlike who He created us to be. We have lost our way – we are not authentic; we have spent our very essence on the altar of self.
You know this. But it helps, it truly helps, to hear it spelled out. So keep reading to see what can be done.
Today we hear the Lord proclaim in the Gospel that Isaiah’s prophecy of the New Covenant is fulfilled in Him and we who benefit from looking back over the span of history know this to be true. But our behavior suggests that either we do not believe it to be so, that we trust too little in the words of Christ or that we simply do not care.
It is easy to become discouraged. If we are not faithful, we can even fall into despair. If we are enslaved to sin, it is easy to give up. In your heart of hearts you know things are bad and you would truly like things to improve. So what should we do in these times that have been given to us? How can we turn ourselves and the world around and get on the right path?
Into the deep…
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Into the Deep by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is a regular feature of the The Integrated Catholic Life™ and usually appears each Sunday.
Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is the Editor in chief and co-founder of the The Integrated Catholic Life™. A Catholic Deacon of the Roman Rite for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Deacon Bickerstaff is assigned to St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church where he is the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization.
He is a co-founder of the successful annual Atlanta Catholic Business Conference; the Chaplain of the Atlanta Chapter of the Woodstock Theological Center’s Business Conference; and Chaplains to the St. Peter Chanel Business Association and co-founder of the Marriages Are Covenants Ministry, both of which serve as models for similar parish-based ministries.
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