Syrian Christians are being forced to hand over their gold in order to survive a Moslem-majority threat. Ukrainian's, to include Ukrainian Christians, are living in the ominous fear of the oncoming Russian Army. European Christianity is now a museum piece, a relic of history, used to amuse bored secularists. American Christianity, lukewarm in cafeteria Catholicism and compromised Protestantism, is currently under siege, suffering from the religious persecution of the Obama administration.
This clearly points out a foundational Lenten fact: Salvation comes only with the Cross.
"I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him." Deuteronomy 30:15-20
The Cross demands what many people today call a dirty word: 'obedience.'
American 'Catholics, and 'Christians,' have long given up on such an oppressive term. Instead, through full-fledged disobedience to the teaching of the Catholic Church, and the fundamental doctrines of non-Catholic Christianity (i.e., the gospel), they have turned their worship toward the gospel of relativism, individualism, materialism, hedonism, and the whims of popular culture.
Consequently, they have not chosen Life!
"Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night." Psalm 1:1-4, 6
Our children are far more acquainted with the ways of Lady Gaga than the little way of St. Therese of Lisieux.
This is our own fault!
Through less intimacy with Jesus, and more intimacy with the popular culture, we have let the Trojan Horse, not only into our homes, but into our hearts. Vice has become glorified, while virtue is considered a prudish and oppressive word.
Consequently, too many 'Catholics' and 'Christians' don't 'choose' Life!
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:22-25
Hollywood Jesus is a soft, effeminate, social worker, who is accepting of all things. The popular culture has tried to hijack Pope Francis' words to serve this false Jesus.
Lent, however, is the season of the Real Jesus.
This Real Jesus, truly Present in the Eucharist, in the gospel, in the Tradition and Magisterium of the Catholic Church, though Merciful and Unconditionally Loving to all persons, carries with Him the only Way to salvation.
And this only Way is the hard wood of the Cross. The Vertical beam of obedience to God's Commandments, and the horizontal beam of compassion, forgiveness, and mercy toward the least of these our brethren (Matthew 25:31-46).
Lent teaches us that we cannot divide the Cross for our convenience. For some, this is too much to handle. Let's pray that this Lent we unite the two beams in the self-sacrifice of obedient Love which comes from the grace of God the Father.
Jesus did, and always does!
Thoughts? Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org