Pluck Out Thine Own Eye is a Meaningless Statement to the Blind
Perhaps the greatest obstacle to becoming a saint is complete honesty. What is honesty? It is more than telling the truth and being equitable in one’s personal and business dealings. Honesty is not something one does, rather is something one is. In other words, one does not make choices in life to be honest in this and, well, let us say, less honest in that. No, one is either honest or one is a liar. How can it be otherwise?
To See or Not To See, That is the Question
I think the greatest obstacle to honesty is willful blindness. Willful blindness is a deliberate effort not to think something through to it logical conclusion because one intuitively knows the answer and not wanting to abide by what the answers implies simply refuses to go there. Another obstruction is selective vision. Selective vision occurs when one sees only the part of the picture one likes or that does not seem too difficult, but for the rest there is a claim of lack of understanding or a parsing of words that allows one to abstract their meanings. Checking and rechecking definitions, considering poetic meanings, or claiming an unknown symbolism. Take for example: I know of no footnote, endnote, asterisk, parenthetical clarification, alternative translation, any ifs, ands, or buts to the commandment “Thou shalt not kill,” and yet everything seems to be an exception even down to “American interests.” Ahh, only if it were in the American interest that people were to live in peace. Of course, we can say this of almost every nation under the sun, but I mention America because I am an American and because of the excesses of my life, I hold a share in the violence visited on the world by America’s unchecked greed. I have the blood of millions on my hands. Look how I rub my hands, Out, damn’d spot! out I say!–One; two; why, then ’tis time to do’t.–Hell is murky. . .
Returning now to earth: Living the Gospel of Jesus Christ is hard. To follow the Gospel in its physical reality is hard, yet its burden is light and its yoke easy in spiritual truth. Jesus does not call us to abject poverty. What Jesus does demand of us is that we have no more than the poorest among us. Not the poorest in our neighbourhood; not the poorest in our nation; not even the poorest in the so called developed world; but the poorest among us everywhere and anywhere. We must all climb into the same boat and pull together, anything less is not adhering to the Gospel of Christ. What Jesus asks of us is to share in the blessing of their poverty, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Sell All You Have and Give It to The Poor, and You Will Have Treasure in Heaven
Jesus calls us to share in the Treasure of Heaven, to which we aspire to by giving all we have, by following the New Commandment He gave to us in the Gospel of John: Love one another as I have loved you. Ask yourself: In His love for us, what did Jesus withhold? First, imagine what the King of the Universe sacrificed in order to be born a baby to the spiritually rich but materially impoverished Blessed Virgin Mary and the True Man of God Joseph. Jesus became poor, hungry, ridiculed, punched, beaten, whipped, mocked, crowned with thorns, and was crucified that we all might share with Him in eternal life and come to know fully the Love of God.
For my part, I don’t even know how to sacrifice. Giving up (and I do not live an extravagant life in American terms) what “little” I have puts me in a kind of fear that I will be without. I would classify myself as “upper-working-class,” and perhaps, at least at this moment, have little to fear with regard to becoming homeless. So, here is the problem: If I want to be a saint (remember, the road is narrow and few will have the strength to enter and, bear in mind, we are all called to be saints), how can I muster the fortitude to do what Jesus asks? How far am I willing to simplify to give more and more to the poor? How can I overcome my fear of poverty, and put my complete trust in God? How can I not think : God is for salvation and money is for everything else? I wonder if having “just enough” is enough for a person who, like me, lives surrounded by a culture of wealth where the most frivolous wants present themselves as needs. Take for example the need to have something good or new to watch tonight on my computer. Oh God! What am I?
So here we are in Advent. Advent these years seems more like an orgy of consumerism than a spiritual preparation for the coming of the King of the Universe who showed us that it is through rejection of material wealth, the humbling of one’s self, and the embracing of material and reputational poverty we are liberated from the world of sin and secure spiritual riches and glory (if you will) in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Meditating on this consumerism, it occurs to me that we in the so-called first world claim capitalism to be of a high morality. We equate capitalism with democracy and compare it to communism–a form of government that more or less met its demise in the last millennium. However, this is false. Communism was evil, but in many ways less dangerous to the soul than capitalism. Here is what I mean: Marxist communism denied God. It claimed man to be the highest good. This form of government set up dictatorial governments and oppressed the human spirit claiming to liberate the human mind and body. In this falsehood, communism claims the liberation of human creativity and innovation, but the sad reality is that without knowing God in one’s life man has no soul. Man becomes dead and he is merely a body serving a function. Communism however, and stay with me here, was less dangerous to the soul than capitalism in that it did not claim to be God, it denied God and so there was still a clear choice–God or No-God.
Capitalism, on the other hand, has twisted God and recreated God through its greed, desires, and lusts. Capitalism offers no choice and says this materialistic-money-driven-principle is God. A god whose sacred rituals include financial gain, investment, and unmitigated exploitation of people and resources for personal advancements. Capitalism’s high virtues include profit, acquisition, power, materialism, sex, avarice, worldly honour–to name a few. Capitalism replaces the Holy Eucharist, the Precious Body and Blood of Christ with dollars and coins that are distributed by the high priests such as His Holiness Wells Fargo, Citibank, Bank of America, etc. They raise the almighty dollar to the heavens and proclaim: In God We Trust; To which we are to respond: Amen.
Man is Motivated By Profit and Material Gain; Without These Rewards Man Will Never Progress
This is an evil lie. We value money, profit, and individual material gain because we have been educated–brainwashed–into believing these are sacred communion with God and that through these our lives are made, and we are proven to be, good. It is true that these things bring one sort of progress, but toward what or whom do these things progress?
I submit to you that if we placed God at the center of our lives and at last realized in one another the living icon and reflection of God that we would inevitably create a society that places humankind at the center. In doing this, each one of us would secure his financial future and material well-being by establishing a stable, secure, affluent culture in which every person has his or her needs met for it would be unthinkable for it to be otherwise; much in the same way the idea of meeting the physical needs of all people seems unattainable today. Smiling, happy, creative people centered on God, obsessed with natural beauty, edifying poetry, uplifting song, inspirational art. Opened to us would be a world of possible–not an impossible utopian dream–it would be the Kingdom of God.
Think on this: In a world in which the economy is based on war, police, prisons, sex, violence, abortion, destruction of the environment, gender ambiguity, lies, anger, violence, prayerless schools, and a Godless public square, where people are embarrassed and ashamed to be Catholic; in a society where people line up around city blocks for Black Friday Sales or Star Wars: Episode 33 A New Annihilation and these same people will not darken a door of a church even once a year when we, as Catholics, believe our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ are in reality present in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. In actual I can touch Him presence. These same people dare not miss a Sunday of football–six, seven, eight hours and countless more hours during the week analyzing plays and stats only interrupted for prime time television with shows that not so long ago would have been rated XXX for violence and porn–This is the great and holy gift of capitalist society.
NO! REJECT THIS WITH ALL YOUR BEING!
If you believe in an Almighty Creator, His Son our Lord Jesus Christ, and His ever present Holy Spirit free yourself, by His Grace, from this evil or you will be lost and damned to Hell.
There is no once saved, always saved to be saved (and only God can save us) we must live as God commanded us to live. If we do not follow the Gospel and live not as individuals but as one people in the Kingdom of Heaven, we are choosing Hell. Make no mistake, Hell is real. Hell is all consuming and it will torment and devour your soul and flesh for all eternity.
Prepare the Way of the Lord, Make Straight His Paths
Choose the narrow path that leads to Heaven. Read the Gospels for it is clear what Jesus is saying about how to live. Do not be afraid and do not trade a few years of earthly pleasure for an eternity of weeping and gnashing of teeth. Suffer hardship here in this world for a little while to gain eternity in paradise with God the Father, His Son our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord and Giver of Life Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the Saints, and Angels. Lest you choose to pursue the momentary pleasures of this world, I beg you first call to mind the words of the prophet Isaiah (not profit although his words will profit you greatly): Woe unto those who call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Know that if others are paying the price of suffering that you may derive pleasure, luxury, and wealth from their toil and labors that you have chosen a path that will lead you to Hell and from its flames you will not escape.
Choose a modest lifestyle–not relatively modest–a modest lifestyle. We must no longer pander to the rich. If they are of the mind to reject God in favor of money, we should as Children of God reject them. If they say “We will start our own religion with country clubs and stock options,” by God let them go! Let them retire to their marble and golden mansions, banks, temples of commerce where they keep their “safes” or the tabernacles of their god’s eucharist to which they cry out in endless chorus “in God we trust!”
Catholics are Royal Subjects to the King of the Universe Christ Jesus
Catholics are not democrats
Catholics are not republicans
Catholics are not libertarians
Catholics are not green party
Catholics are not communist
Catholics are not capitalist
Catholics are not socialist
No more 700 Club Catholics
No more watered down Catholicism in favor of protestant prosperity gospel principles. We are Catholics. We are members of the Universal Church established by Jesus Christ Himself. We are subjects, Royal Subjects in the Kingdom of God. If we are to be an Army, let the arms we bear be bare arms with which we embrace all our brothers and sisters. The Law of the Lord is our Constitution. The Beatitudes are our Bill of Rights. We are poor, humble, and meek. We are hungry and thirsty for righteousness. We are merciful, pure peacemakers, and we shall see God for ours is the Kingdom of Heaven. We speak truth. We feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty; welcome the stranger, the migrant, the refugee; clothe the naked; visit the sick and imprisoned; and care for our common home. Do these things or, forgive my candor, go to Hell.
Let us pray:
O Lord, we beseech thee, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, let our hearts be not proud, nor our eyes haughty. Let us not concern ourselves with great matters believing ourselves great among the powers of this world. Rather Lord, still our souls, hush our restless souls like weaned children. Like weaned children upon our mother’s lap, so are our souls within us when they rest in You. Lord, we hope in You now and forever. Let us at last find peace in You through Christ Our Lord.
May almighty God bless you; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
(C) Copyright 9 December 2018