What is urgent is the evangelization of a world that not only does not know the basic aspects of Christian dogma, but in great part has lost even the memory of the cultural elements of Christianity.

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                          Pope Benedict XVI

 

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Smug and in God's Face

 

"I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spew you out of my mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,' and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked."  (Apocalypse 3.15-17)

 

SMUG

Smug --- and "in  God's Face"

"in God's Face"

 

" ... you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,' and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked."


It is extremely likely that you understand these words in an explicitly material sense ... and you would do well, to do so. How many of us are complacent in  our material prosperity, building yet greater barns in the form of "trophy houses" (houses built as a "statement" ... not as a place in which to raise children) in which we envision ourselves in a digital nirvana, unaware that our souls will be demanded of us before the night passes. We see ourselves not so much through our own eyes, as through the eyes of others: they invest us with a value that corresponds to, is commensurable with, our success in accumulating, acquiring, amassing, matter as emblematic of value.

It really is a matter of perspective — and taste.

From God's point of view we have merely succeeded in blinding ourselves. We do not see that what we have gathered to ourselves are the very things so distasteful to God that He is prepared to spew them out as something vile.

A more profound dimension remains often untouched: our lack of poverty, not in things material, but in things spiritual. How many of us realistically consider ourselves in terms of the poverty of our spirit?

Few.

Most often, we are, as it were, the fourth, as yet to be acknowledged person in a holy quadrinity. Next to God, we are inerrant, impeccant (without sin).

Do you doubt this? Count the number of people who go to Holy Communion (really, it would be easier to count the number who do not go ... most often a cipher) — then count the number of people lined up for Holy Confession ...

We have amassed to ourselves a spiritual and often garish grandiosity that speaks eloquently of our complacency. Sin is a phenomenon that occurs in "others" – not in our parish, maybe not even in the Catholic Church. Perhaps not in Christianity itself. We have become our own "redeemers", and the very people who should be admonishing us against this, our bishops, priests, catechists, "Ministers-of-this--that-and-the-other" — are the people who are most eager to place the laurel of victory on our proud heads ... even if the race is not yet finished.

Were we just tepid, we would — or at least should — fear being spewed from the mouth of God Who sees our hypocrisy. But we are worse than tepid ... we are arrogant, unwilling to acknowledge our wretched, pitiable poverty. We are naked ... and do not even know it. Or what is worse yet, know it, and pretend that we have no shame.
 

Geoffrey K. Mondello
for the Boston Catholic Journal

 

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 Scio opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum 
I know your works ... that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name. (Apocalypse 3.8)


 

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