Faith in Christ or the world?

3rd Sunday of Lent
‘Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation, and house shall fall upon house. He that is not with Me, is against Me.’
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Friends in the Lord, It is impossible to follow Jesus with a divided heart. If our house is the Catholic Faith given to us by Christ, then we cannot allow into the house of our heart, ideas or beliefs that contradict the Faith of Christ.
‘Every kingdom divided against itself will be brought to desolation, and house shall fall upon house.’
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We all know people who wish to say they are Catholic, but while they keep one foot in the Church, the other is in the world. Today we speak not of human weakness – sins that occur because of temptation or passion – we speak of temptation against Faith; of knowingly going against Faith.
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A young man recently told me – he didn’t ask – he told me – there is nothing wrong with gay marriage. This is a Catholic. He doesn’t seek truth from his religion, but from elsewhere. So yet again, I went through the explanations of the obvious, trying to appeal to his common sense, if not his religion.
– two boys can’t make a baby, I told him.
A man has half of a reproductive system, a woman has the other half; together, they form one reproductive system. Sexual love is ordered toward new life, it’s the purpose of marriage, family. This is not rocket science. Yes, sometimes the biology doesn’t work right, and a couple can’t have a child; but their gifts of sexuality are ORDERED toward children, this is their purpose. Our sexual faculties are meant for a purpose. If their use is not ordered toward new life, it is perversion. ‘There is no such thing as gay marriage,’ I told him.
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A look of shock swept his face. ‘What about all those people getting married?’ I reiterated: ‘The State can issue its papers, it doesn’t matter; such marriages don’t exist.’
‘You can’t be serious,’ he said, ‘those aren’t marriages?’
‘Those marriages are imaginary, make-believe,’ I said.
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Friends, I always leave such conversations sad; not because the world is crazy with crazy ideas, but because there is no Faith. The Church has always taught that Faith and Reason go together, they always match up. Yet today, the use of reason or logic seems to have no effect. I also read straight from the Holy Scriptures to this young man – no effect.
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I later spoke about this incident with my nephew, who is a very intelligent young man. I said, ‘Peter, I try to explain what seems so obvious to people, but the latest ideas have complete control over them. And they won’t listen to the clear teachings of holy scripture either. Nothing.
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He said to me, ‘Uncle, I’ve found the same thing in speaking with people, and I have concluded that the problem is, they need to decide if they are followers of Jesus Christ; in reality, most are not.
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I’ve thought about what he said, and I think he is correct. Reasoning and explanations, the Scriptures, can help strengthen Faith, but if there is no Faith, all the explanations in the world are meaningless, because their Faith is in something else.
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A strong Catholic for example, can listen to all kinds of explanations against the Faith, but he is completely unmoved by their arguments, why? Because he has Faith. Faith comes first. Faith is the ground for one’s world-view. If a person, deep-down, believes that the spirit of the world has it right, that the world knows the way of happiness – if the person, deep down thinks the Catholic Church needs to make changes to follow the REAL truth – the World – well then, that person has faith in the World, not in Christ. We can say that he has joined a new Denomination: the Church of the World. He has concluded that the Church of the World REALLY has the answers for happiness, and this faith underpins his whole view. That is the religion of the world, a different religion than Christianity, and they have joined it. Millions have joined it.
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George Weigel[i] says, that many explanations have been given for the collapse of Catholicism in the west; but the primary reason, is that many people ceased to believe that the Gospel is true. There are some who chose to reject only one teaching of the Catholic Faith – but in doing so, they lost their Faith entirely. By picking and choosing in matters of Faith, one allows the Evil spirit in. As the Lord says: ‘that spirit then brings 7 other spirits more wicked than the first, and the last state of that man is worse than the first.’ St. Augustine says, ‘a person will possess the Holy Spirit in proportion to his reverence and adhesion to the Church of Christ.’
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The core problem we have, is that many have switched their faith, and joined the Church of the World, and that faith is what informs their world-view. They really believe it.
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Cardinal Ratzinger[ii] in his Introduction to Christianity says, Faith is that firm ground upon which we choose to stand. Faith is our response to the Divine Word that has come into the world. It is our response to Jesus. Faith means knowing that what cannot be seen, is more real and important than what can be seen.
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The Church of the World teaches that what can be seen and experienced is all there is, and so the most important thing is that everyone should enjoy himself without restriction.
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We must pray for an invincible and supernatural Faith which will rule our life; then we will say with St. John, ‘This is the victory which overcomes the world: our Faith.
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‘What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?’ What does it profit a man to be accepted by his peers and praised, for conforming his opinions to the world, but to end in hell.
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At death, the Church of the World sends no ministers to comfort the dying. There is no comfort to be had. There is no future for them.
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But the dying Christian is blessed with Jesus and Mary there, who dwell with them and their Faith – their Faith in the world to come, which is waiting for them.

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[Entrusted to the prayers of St. Mary Madelene]

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[i] Evangelical Catholicism, p. 51.

[ii] Introduction to Catholicism, p. 43.

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