Saint Paul pulls no punches – and it is little wonder that others literally pulled no punches with Saint Paul. However constantly beaten, he could not hold his tongue and never hesitated to call a spade a spade. This rare and holy candor is seldom encountered today. Christ told us plainly, "Blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in Me." 1 And yet we are! Deeply. Consider how carefully we couch the words of Christ, the teachings of Holy Mother Church — lest they give offense!
Saint Paul, however, had no problem
with this. He even rebuked Saint Peter himself for equivocating
on doctrine in Jerusalem in order to accommodate the sensitivities
of others! 2
And St. Paul thought Philippi, Iconium, and Ephesus were rough! Here, in Boston — the epicenter of everything that went wrong with the Church following the Second Vatican Council — Saint Paul would confront a hostile audience indeed. Especially in our churches.
A Man for Our Times
For one thing, Saint Paul knew all about shifting winds of popular teaching, human trickery, theological cunning, and corporate scheming — both within the Church and outside of it. He is, in short, a man for our times … but not for our tastes.
We want fuzzy. We want warm. We want our way and God had better anoint it as His own — and if He will not, then our priests, deacons, religious educators and theologians will. Indeed, they have already stepped in, taken matters into their own hands and set things straight and much more to our liking!
Immortal souls, salvation, damnation,
Hell, sin, evil, modesty, chastity, Mortal Sins, Venial Sins, "the
Narrow Way" (which Christ assures us that few take and fewer enter
4 ), "hoping" for salvation rather than taking it for granted
(unlike St. Paul 3 ), the Day of Judgment, Penance, Holy
Confession, guilt, mercy, justice, death, the devil himself!.
What have these things to do with us?
The Opiate of the "Masses"
After all, we have been taught — and we all have come to believe — that despite our sins, our greed, our unbridled and perverse sensuality, our impenitence, our obduracy, even our atrocities, "We are His people and He is our God", as the ditty goes. It is quite that simple. We will speak of other things; you know, social issues, sensitivity, “empowerment”, baseball, and bottom lines — anything ... except what verges upon authenticity in Christ. And we love it!
We do not go to Confession anymore
to unburden ourselves of our guilt and to be absolved of our sins.
We go to Mass when the guilt of our sins can no longer be
repressed so that we may have our weekly "fix" of grace through
crooning about our being God's children, a holy people, the light
of the world, until the pitch of the ghastly singing drowns out
the clamor of the conscience that convicts us, assuring us that
we have no need of Confession for we have perfect immunity from
sin as befits "God's children", and in any event will be "borne
up on eagle's wings" to Heaven when death fetches us off, after
which God (corrected to our sensitivities) will wink at our sins
and tell us what little devils we are ... ;-)
Saint Paul knew the cards. He was, after all, close to the King ... and, for that matter, to the Queen.
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