Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another Reason

As I was rolling around on my way back to the Church, grasping at straws for a more "palatable" faith, I was struck by some pretty major differences between us Catholics and other Christians.

I dated a man for a while who considered himself quite a "spiritual" fellow.  Every morning he read from a book of daily something-or-other.  Affirmations?  (delusions?)  The book was supposedly "Christian," but was all about the theology of plenty of money and a life with no illness or pain.    We took a camping trip once and he shared this morning ritual with me.  I was appalled.  I grilled him about it.  HOW do you know that God wants you to have tons of money?  HOW do you know that God is interested in providing you with good health every day?    Maybe God wants you to suffer!  Maybe illness or poverty would provide you with the greatest good!

I might not have made it back to the fold by then, but clearly, I was thinking like a Catholic.  I don't know how one can erase that part of a soul or mind.  I never managed.  

The way I "feel" is not an accurate gauge of my spiritual condition.  Some of my "happiest" times in life have been when I have been immersed in sin.  

It is not easy to live your entire life in an effort to please God.  The Ten Commandments are difficult to obey.  I am not complaining, but I am stating what I think is the obvious.  This is NOT the easy way.  This way does not lead to everything going my way and no more unhappiness ever darkening my door.  

I have to guard against shallow emotional prayer and worship.  I can get goosebumps when I listen to a song from my drunken youth.  That is not the kind of reverence I need to bring to my maker.   I go to mass, not to feel good, but to worship God.  It is not about me - it is about God.  

This is the real deal.  Pain, suffering, and all.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.  


  1. I cracked up at your (delusions?) comment! I know the type of books you are talking about. They don't have much basis in reality and set people on the wrong track. Plus, there's something a bit scary about a person trying to attract riches to themselves through "positive thinking". Who knows what else they are attracting? It would be better for them to aim for truth. You can't go wrong this way.

  2. Well, to be completely honest, there have been occasions when I thought I could not take anymore and someone would say "it's because He loves you so much" and I wanted to shout "please, love someone else this much." But then He gave me the grace, as He would for anyone who asks, to bear it with joy. As St. Therese would say, not sensible or felt joy, but the kind of joy that brings with it the inner peace that I am acting in accordance with His Will. I have to tell you that after the hell of my last job, the fact that I'm enjoying my new one actually has me worried. I don't think that's what God is asking of me either, but it does make me stop and think sometimes.

  3. Great blog! I don't know what he was reading, but in fairness to our protestant brothers and sisters, that's not the core of any protestant Chrisitanity either. Sounds really dumb.

    You know, lately I haven't been able to listen to my rock-n-roll music either. I've cringed when I hear certain lines or even songs. It must be the influence of all the Catholic bloggers I've been hanging around with lately. ;)

    I laughed on the "delusions?" line too. Very funny. LOL.

  4. MC
    For some reason, this post is not showing up on my blog updates. Any idea why? I always look for a new post, but what's showing up is the post prior to this one. I had some problems with Blogger earlier, was wondering if you did too.

  5. Hmmm. I don't know why this update is not showing.

    And I am not trying to criticize protestants. This was some kind of pop psychology / christianity lite thing he was reading. I don't remember anymore who the author was. It was a long time ago.

  6. I don't believe we should be suspicious of enjoying things in life. IMHO, God reserves the consolation-free life for very few. I do think we should not take too many cues from our circumstances regarding the will of God for our lives, either. Circumstances are fickle, God reigns in all of them. Some of us are given earthly wealth. I often thank Him that I don't have tons of wealth (by American standards) because I know how easily I get comfortable. I have never been able to buy into that wealth=God's favor routine. Our feelings and perceptions of things are not to be our base line, MC, so true.
    And Manny, of my many and varied single mom jobs, I was a night club singer and instrumentalist in the 80's! (of all times). Talk about cringing when I think of the songs I sang. Not ONLY immoral, but GOOFY! lol

  7. Kelly - I want to see a photo of your 80s singer days!

  8. HAHAHAHA! I do have one around here somewhere...

  9. The topic begs us for truth.
    If someone came to us and told a bald faced lie, we would recognize it immediately as a lie, and remove ourself.
    The most convincing lies, are wrapped like a candy-cane, with a thread of truth within the entire lie.
    Now, instead of rejecting it quickly, we are trapped by noticing the "truth" embedded in the lie.

    The books, preaching, and error spoken of in the post is called "The Gospel of Prosperity".
    It is espoused by folks like Joel Osteen and Rick Warren...Purpose Driven Life, and many more preachers today.

    But it is important to note two things here:
    1) Anyone in any denomination, who professes belief in the Lord, Jesus Christ is a brother or sister.
    And brothers and sisters may disagree on denominational differences or doctrinal baggage, but remain in the family, as one does not excise a brother or sister. Same Jesus for all.
    Belief in Jesus makes us heirs, adopted children in the family.

    2) The truth of the Scriptures is often the thread used to deceive....just as satan quoted scriptures to Christ during the temptation in the desert. Imagine that!

    Let us go to where this started a few years back. Nobody reads Chronichles I or II, but within those Old Testament pages is a small story on an honorable man named Jabez.

    "Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”
    ~~~ 1Chronichles 4:9-10
    (CAPS mine for emphasis)

    Here is an honorable man
    Asks God to bless him
    Enlarge my territory, meaning give me wealth and land and influence

    Let your hand be with me...why?
    To keep me from harm and pain.

    You don't hear too much about Jabez.
    But a few years back, he became the thread of truth to the massive deployment of lies in the Gospel of Prosperity...that God wants you to have, to succeed, to be "blessed"....a Jesus word in the Sermon on the Mount meaning to be "Happy".

    Christians must discern what is truth.
    Pilate asked Christ "What is truth?" when he was staring TRUTH in the face.
    Christ previously told all "I am the Way, the Light, the TRUTH".

    The Jabez story is truth. But it is true for Jabez as an honorable man and a pact with God agreed upon.

    Jesus also said : "The poor you will always have among you" when Judas got bent out of shape at the Nard being used to anoint Christ, instead of being sold for the poor.

    So IF the poor will always be among us---straight from the mouth of Christ----how then can the Gospel of Prosperity have any merit whatsoever?

    Our brothers and sisters in Christ are being deceived. The serpent....still slithers.

    Help folks to open their eyes, through your prayers to the Holy Spirit to act in them.