One of the verses struck me as I was preparing my sermon last Sunday, “I asked for power that I might have the praise of men”. When we look around the world we can see people that achieve this ‘so-called honour’. In the world, I can understand, that is how power and authority work, the praise and adulation of women and men, is needed to be elected.
A Christian Confederate Soldier’s Prayer
(Anon – alleged to have been found on a CSA casualty at the Devil’s Den, Gettysburg)
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for but got everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all people, most richly blessed.
When we look around the Church, do we seem the same? Are there people in the Church that want the praise of men. and their adulation, and move away from the Magesterium, and God, to get it? Perhaps, we should pray that everyone in the Church should be like this soldier, or better yet, perhaps our prayer should be, “May all of us be made weak by God, so that we become strong in Christ”. Then we would not be concerned about what the world thinks of us, but only what God thinks of us. Ultimately, it is God that we have to satisfy, not society, or society’s peccadilloes.
I just will never understand why people want to change the the teachings of the Church, as outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, on a whim, or because we have to become ‘relevant’, or because we may ‘upset some people’.
St Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica II-II Q.5 a.3):
Now the formal object of faith is the First Truth, as manifested in Sacred Scripture and the teaching of the Church. Consequently whoever does not adhere, as to an infallible and Divine rule, to the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the First Truth manifested in Sacred Scripture, has not the habit of faith, but holds the [other articles] of faith by a mode other than faith. If someone holds in his mind a conclusion without knowing how that conclusion is demonstrated, it is manifest that he does not have scientific knowledge [i.e. knowledge of causes], but merely an opinion about it. So likewise, it is manifest that he who adheres to the teachings of the Church, as to an infallible rule, assents to whatever the Church teaches; otherwise, if, of the things taught by the Church, he holds what he chooses to hold, and rejects what he chooses to reject, he no longer adheres to the teachings of the Church as to an infallible rule, but to his own will. Hence it is evident that a heretic who obstinately disbelieves [even] one article of faith, is not prepared to follow the teaching of the Church in all things (but if he is not obstinate, he is not a heretic but only erring). Therefore it is clear that such a heretic with regard to one article has no faith in the other articles, but only a kind of opinion in accordance with his own will.”
It does not take a genius to see that ‘opinions are innumerable’, and fleeting, dependent on the ‘current trendy thing’, but the Faith, and the teachings of the Church are Divine. I will hold fast to the Teachings, and practice, of the Magesterium (as expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, promulgated by St Pope John Paul II), and I will resist any notion of ‘gradualism, or changing ‘language’ to fit the times we live in. May I, along with the soldier above, be ‘made weak, so that I might learn humbly to obey.’