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in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Faith

But when the Son of Man comes,
will he find faith on earth?

—Luke 18:8

 

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UNITY . It sounds like a nice concept. We pray for it in every Mass. We hold it up today as a concept to be defined by scholars and ecclesiastics through theological dialogue. But what is unity? Does it mean that with one mind we should embrace a multitude of realities, truths, beliefs, faiths, and doctrines? Well, no. Unity does not come through heresy and disobedience. Unity—real unity—comes from one thing and one thing alone: oneness. That is, Christian unity comes from oneness with God as expressed by one reality, one truth, one belief, one faith, and one doctrine.
 

There is only one REALITY: God, the creator of heaven and earth, who has revealed Himself to us as the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Read an excerpt from a letter about the Trinity
by Saint Athanasius, bishop

There is only one TRUTH: that no soul can stand in God’s presence unless, purged of all self-interest and impurity, it becomes love, as God is love. 

  

All religions have some truth to them. Through natural human reason even non-Christian religions have independently discovered elements of truth. But every soul, no matter what religion it practices in this life, will, at the moment of its death, be judged according to its fulfillment of the commands of Christ. Therefore, only the Catholic Church, which has faithfully preserved the teachings of Christ, has all the truth.[1]

Some persons say, “There is no absolute truth.” Yet that statement in itself is a declaration of absolute truth. Therefore, object as they will to the absolute truth preserved by the Church, these persons make objections that invalidate only themselves. 

  

There is only one BELIEF: that Jesus is the Christ: the Messiah, the Son of God (John 11:27; 20:31).

Can anyone outside the Church
be saved?

There is only one FAITH: that Jesus the Christ died for our sins; that by repenting our sins and being baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit we are cleansed of past sins; and that by living a holy life thereafter and persevering to the end we will be given to enter into God’s presence.

  

Nor did the Lord need our service. He commanded us to follow Him, but His was the gift of salvation. To follow the Saviour is to share in salvation; to follow the light is to enjoy the light. Those who are in the light do not illuminate the light but are themselves illuminated and enlightened by the light. They add nothing to the light; rather, they are beneficiaries, for they are enlightened by the light.
 
The same is true of service to God: it adds nothing to God, nor does God need the service of man. Rather, He gives life and immortality and eternal glory to those who follow and serve Him. He confers a benefit on His servants in return for their service and on His followers in return for their loyalty, but He receives no benefit from them. He is rich, perfect and in need of nothing.
 
The reason why God requires service from man is this: because He is good and merciful He desires to confer benefits on those who persevere in His service. In proportion to God’s need of nothing is man’s need for communion with God.
 
This is the glory of man: to persevere and remain in the service of God. For this reason the Lord told His disciples: You did not choose Me but I chose you.

  

—from the treatise Against Heresies
by Saint Irenaeus, bishop
Office of Readings,
Saturday after Ash Wednesday
 

God, therefore, does not need our praises. But we need our praises of Him. So even though, in our wretched sin, we really deserve nothing but condemnation [2]—Christ has told us what we must do to claim this unfathomable gift: deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me (Matthew 16:24).

True faith, therefore, is not blind faith. Faith is not just a deadening of emotions, a defense created in childhood as a response to feelings of rejection. True faith requires that you can say, consciously and willingly, “Despite what I’m feeling—despite the fact that I feel [uncertain, confused, vulnerable, inadequate, etc.]—I trust in You, Lord.”

  

Consider the difference between the blind man of Bethsaida (Mark 8:22–26), whose cure required that Christ lay His hands on him a second time, and the woman with a hemorrhage (Mark 5:25–34) who was cured instantly by merely touching Jesus’ cloak. What was the difference between them, such that one cure took repeated effort, and the other cure happened immediately? Their depth of faith.
 

  

There is only one DOCTRINE: the doctrine of the Catholic Church, by which Reality, Truth, Belief, and Faith are preserved and taught.

 

 

THIS IS ALL SO SIMPLE that one has to wonder why Christianity has become such a cause for schism and protest and so encrusted with academic intellectualism.

Why go to Church if it is
filled with hypocrites?

So why is the Church stained with schism and heresy? Well, the answer can be found in one word: love.

In its essence, love requires that we not use others for our personal pleasure but that we forsake our own pleasures in order to seek the good of others. And the “good” of others means their salvation through their “death” to the sins of the world. After all, that’s how Jesus lived his public ministry, right? In His journey to the Cross, as He called us to repent our sins—for our good—He had no possessions and no place to lay His head. He was even buried in a tomb prepared for someone else. In His life and death Jesus proved to us that love is self-sacrifice.

But to most persons today “love” means satisfaction. It means happiness. It means having one’s emotional emptiness filled with, well . . . just about anything, as long as it’s filling. It means “I’m OK, you’re OK.” In all its meanings, “love” means self-indulgence.

But in this definition of “love” cleverly constructed to suit popular culture, something is missing: sin. In a popular culture of narcissism in which anything that serves the “self” is acceptable, sin—the narcissistic preoccupation with immediate desires that leaves little, if any, altruistic awareness of anyone or anything else in the environment—is robbed of its definition And that’s precisely where everything goes wrong; when anything is socially permissible, real love is trumped and defiled by common love.

Many persons can accept the one Reality, for it’s easy enough merely to acknowledge that God exists. These persons, however, will use every psychological defense mechanism in the book to avoid seeing the TRUTH, because, if they did see it, they would have to repent and change their lives—and that’s just too . . . well, inconvenient. So once we hide sin to remove it from the picture, then TRUTH becomes diversity. “What’s impurity?” we say. “God is love. God created everything. Everything is good and pure.” And with purity diluted to the point of irrelevance, then BELIEF collapses. “Jesus was a good man, like Buddha and John Lennon . . .”

So there you have it. When Truth becomes diversity, we have schism and protest. When BELIEF collapses into relativism, we need academics to offer clever interpretations of the rubble. And where, then, does that leave FAITH? That’s what Jesus asked. “But when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). 

  

How sad it is, O Jesus, when we ourselves are the cause of the loss of graces. Whoever understands this is always faithful.

  

—Saint Faustina
(Diary, 690)

 

Who wrote this web page?

 

Notes.

1. Nevertheless, many, if not most, so-called Catholics today disavow the teaching of the Church and live in a pathetic state of unforgivable sin. But this is not the fault of the Church herself. It is the fault of bishops, priests, and deacons who refuse to preach and teach the true faith; it is the fault of the laity who refuse to study and learn the true faith; and it is the fault of parents who allow their children to be brainwashed by the heathen society around them.

2. Because our souls do not perish at the death of our bodies, each soul must seek out it’s own fitting place in the spiritual realm. Souls who separate themselves from God in this life by persisting in sin and refusing to repent of it will have no choice but to hide themselves from God in the afterlife—and that “place” of eternal separation from God, to which the soul’s own sins condemn it, is called hell. Souls who do repent of their sins in this life and seek reparation through Christ’s mercy will, after first being cleansed in Purgatory, be received into God’s presence—and that “place” is called Heaven.

 


 
The text of this webpage, integrated with other material from my websites, has been conveniently organized into a paperback book of 350 pages, including a comprehensive index.

 

Though Demons Gloat: They Shall Not Prevail
by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.

 
Though we are attacked by liberal activists from without and by apostasy from within, the true Church—that is, the body of those who remain faithful to Church tradition—weeps, and she prays, because she knows the fate of those who oppose God.
     Our enemies might fear love, and they can push love away, but they can’t kill it. And so the battle against them cannot be fought with politics; it requires a pro­found personal struggle against the immorality of popular culture. The battle must be fought in the service of God with pure and chaste lifestyles lived from the depths of our hearts in every moment.

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