I shall do everything for heaven, my true home. --Saint Bernadette
God sent us our Savior because we do not need solving, we need saving. Catholics, like St. Paul says, work out their salvation in "fear and trembling"; we are not a "once saved, always saved," people. I think it very misguided to think that the human person can be solved, whether this solving come from secularists or professed religious persons. When I was studying at Brown, I fell into reading a lot of intellectual Marxism: feminist Marxists, literary Marxists, all manner of Marxists. Among my contemporary students were a very small portion of "limousine liberals," alot of well-meaning middle class "bleeding hearts" (myself in this category) and, because of Brown's admirable effort to give lots of financial aid, a good portion of Dorothy Day-type socialists (before she converted, that is), the best sort, really. The common denominator among us all was the fallacy of all social engineering, which is that the human person can be solved. The human person is in need of her God, not of her raising herself to the place of the Godhead. (I am slowly reading Dorothy Day's The Long Loneliness, the recounting of an awesome journey. Here is Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Long-Loneliness-Dorothy-Day/dp/0060617519)
Ideas matter. A few months back, I read Raymond Arroyo's authorized biography of Mother Angelica, the foundress of a religious order and the marvelous broadcast network, EWTN. My children and I want to get our hands on a bumper sticker that she had printed in the 1970's that said, "Fight Mind Pollution." Mother Angelica is a prophet, which is not to say that she reads tea leaves, but rather, that she is as close as a human can get to knowing God's will. Over and over, in her words and deeds, she has warned us that American society is falling down the slippery slope -- and if hearts do not change, our American culture will lead the globe into utter moral degradation. The consequence of this immorality is slavery, both political and personal.
I was so heartened to pick up the current edition of the National Catholic Register. Here is their website: http://www.ncregister.com/. There is an article about the priest who celebrates Mass for the Chicago Bears. We are off to a Superbowl party this afternoon, even though we do not normally watch football games. Jerry and I both were competitive swimmers. When we were first married, we hiked alot: Kennesaw Mountain, the Smokies....Now, my husband has to put up with a cripple (which he handles better than I do). I have severe arthritis in my neck, back and hips. I was diagnosed in 2003 with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) which is similar to Lupus. I live with chronic pain and disability, as do the rest of my family. Faith is stronger than fear (see today's Gospel, Luke 5: 1-11) and, it is my experience, that faith gives a purpose to our sufferings, both emotional and physical. Flannery O'Conner said that illness before dying is a gift, and I wholeheartedly agree with this. I have twice been on my deathbed, so I do not take for granted that I will live a long life. What freedom there is in enjoying the small and simple pleasures in life like watching the sun set, drinking your tea really hot and relishing a buttery, toasted English muffin with that yummy Dickenson's blackberry jam<:! This is not a popular idea, but I believe it to be true: the media often tell us to chill out and not "sweat the small stuff," so we will not pay attention to our sin. If our purpose is to get ourselves and our family members to heaven, then everything matters. We Catholics actually believe in "sweating the small stuff"; we call this venial sin. Our view toward life is utterly countercultural. We look to love as Jesus loved which means seeing the weak, the small, and the quotidian as all being significant. Look at the spiritual exercises of the great Spanish saint, Ignatius of Loyola. He teaches us how to examine our consciences everyday. We can help God whittle us down, trim our pride and banish our vanity. Our Heavenly Father is the perfect father. He would do anything for us, including taking on human flesh. We converts tend to truly appreciate the Eucharist as the Real Presence of our Lord and Savior. We believe that we "are what we eat". God does not mind this. He freely gives Himself to us as food. Wow! We are so in need of our Savior! We ought to approach that altar in holy fear (awe) and trembling. Praise be to God.