Saturday, July 12, 2014

NO JOY IN CATHOLICISM

There seems to be no joy in Catholic blogdom. Just read some comments here. A loss of Faith and joy pervades so many comments and instead of seeking the joy in the few scraps God tosses out, there is bitter blaming apropos our current culture of victimization and want.

The following is a Protestant lament from an Augusta area Protestant minister  who writes this article for Saturday's Augusta Chronicle's religion section. I think too that there are some crossover elements that could apply to Catholics.

Don't miss purpose by focusing on fads




Have you ever just listened to the people around you? I mean, when you’re out and about in town, or more importantly, while you’re at church. Do you listen to what their conversation seems to be about or how they show their excitement for various things?
It seems that there is so much excitement and joy over “stuff” that we have totally neglected and forgotten where our true joy should come from.
Take a look around. The joy of the Lord seems to have taken a back seat to the latest fads, programs, ideas and gimmicks. I say this with a broken heart: There is no joy in the church today. Sure, we may have things that make us joyful to be in the church, but as for the joy that only comes from the Lord Jesus Christ, it seems to have been lost, and because of this, Christianity today is probably the weakest it has ever been in history.
Look back to the Apostles who Christ used to establish the New Testament Church. They didn’t have programs, they didn’t have gimmicks and they didn’t have the latest technology to enhance their “worship” when they came together. All they had was a deep love for their Lord and Savior and the boldness to preach the word without having to use funny illustrations, props or the like.
We have become too accustomed to relying on “things” to get people’s attention rather than focusing on Jesus for who he truly is in the Scriptures.
So many churches today are totally focused on the youth, for instance, that they will get and do whatever seems “cool” in order to possibly draw them in while unconsciously pushing the older generation out.
Church buildings have become more like social gathering places or hang-out places rather than a place for the body of Christ to come together to worship and praise the One True God for who he is and what he has done.
If we are going to cater to someone, rather than letting it be a certain generation, shouldn’t we be catering to our Lord?
Shouldn’t we be asking for him to show us through his word how he wants us to live, breathe and worship and then rise up, go out and do it?
This isn’t a popular thing to say or even to live, but we have not been called to popularity; we have been called to sanctification, being different than the rest of the world and not just like them.
It is when the world around us sees the true joy that we have in Jesus Christ and the salvation that he offers that they will be drawn unto him. It’s not through the video games, the music or the atmosphere that we can produce of our own power or liking, but rather through the love of God manifested in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It’s time for us to wake up, get up and follow him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.
THE REV. JAMES COLE IS THE PASTOR OF SOVEREIGN GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH IN GROVETOWN.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

There isn't a whole lot to be joyful about in the Church these days. To add salt to the wounds, Francis appointed a pro homo as Archbishop of Cologne, the liturgy remains in shambles in most places, diocese are taking $$ from HHS. What news is there to be joyful about?
I go to Mass, try to avoid liturgical abuse, and try to not lose my faith in the Church, that's how I stay joyful and it's a tough enough job

Gene said...

Fr, God does not "toss out scraps." He gives us the full measure of His love and Grace in Jesus Christ. The Church, in the eyes of many faithful, is not mediating those blessings as it once did. God cannot be blamed for the failures of His Church. Many of you Priests and Bishops, perhaps even the Pope, are flirting with idolatry by appearing to believe that whatever the Church says or does is God…that the Church, by nature of just being the Church, can never be wrong. Any liturgical abomination, any false teaching by Bishops or Priests, any cultural syncretism or compromise with Modernism must be ok because it is the Church doing it. The Church has long turned a blind eye to Bishops who teach falsely and make stupid statements about social issues or public figures who flaunt there heresy. Once in a while there is a token discipline of someone, which only serves to highlight all the ones who go
unpunished. No, it is not God who is tossing scraps...

JBS said...

Anonymous,

Our joy does not come from the virtues of men, but from our faith in Christ. Just be happy that we can read the Bible, go to confession, participate in the Holy Mass (even a sinfully distracting one), adore the Most Blessed Sacrament, teach the True Faith, etc. "And he said to me, 'my grace is sufficient for thee, for power is made perfect in infirmity'. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. For which cause I please myself in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ. For when I am weak, then am I powerful."

George said...

GK Chesterton:

"Christianity has died many times and risen again, because it has a God who knows the way out of the grave."

We should NOT see all members of the Church as being true faithful members of the Mystical Body. The Church in its essence contains the fullness of Truth in its Mgisterial teachings and in its Sacred Tradition.There are many who have left the Church but there are many others who remain but who(intentionally or not)subvert her teachings and so do much damage. Countering this requires much prayer,sacrifice and alms-giving on the part of those true and faithful members.
We must not lose faith in the Church itself even though many of her members have lost faith.


quicumquevult said...

I, respectfully, am inclined to agree with everything Gene just said.

Gene said...

JBS, That is 2 Cor. 12:9.My translation (KJV) says, "…for MY strength is made perfect in WEAKNESS." RSV says, "My power is made perfect in weakness." Big difference in hermeneutics and exegesis there. To say that "power is made perfect in weakness" is a big difference from saying " MY (God's) power is made perfect…" More humanism. Infirmity is a tepid and vague term for a tepid and vague exegesis. Paul has been given a "thorn in the flesh" (scholars still debate what it was…some have suggested that Paul stuttered, others that he was lustful towards women, some of our more modern issue have even suggested that he was homosexual) "lest I should be exalted above measure." The entire chapter plays down human initiative, particularly Paul's. The "MY" is the most important word in the verse.

Cameron said...

Well I thought Protestantism was just a fad.

Gene said...

PS Oh, I forgot that some of our illustrious Biblical scholars have suggested that Paul was epileptic and that his encounter on the road to Damascus was nothing but an aura preceding a seizure. Isn't it great that we have such people teaching in seminaries and influencing generations of pastors and preachers? Man, the fire is going to burn hot!

George said...

There are those who have gone through trials, difficulties, sicknesses, afflictions and infirmities who have become stronger spiritually because of enduring these things. Enduring trials and suffering engenders an increase in humility which brings spiritual growth because a person comes to more clearly see and accept through these experiences and conditions dependence on God and others. We are aided in this way in combating pride.
As Paul says: "Therefore that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being to elated." The Power of God within us is made stronger the more humility we acquire.

The "angel of Satan, to beat me" is interesting. We know that quite a few saints, such as St John Vianney, St Padre Pio and St Gemma Galgani to name a few, endured actual physical assaults and beatings from the Devil.

Militia Immaculata said...

Anonymous at 11:11am:

You claim Pope Francis appointed a "pro homo" as Archbishop of Cologne. Apparently you're referring to when this archbishop allegedly said the following:

"If two homosexuals take responsibility for each other, if they are loyal to each other over the long term, then one should see this in the same way as heterosexual relations."

However, blogger Rod Dreher, who had previously reported on the archbishop's words back in 2012, later issued a clarification from the archbishop's press secretary. He writes:

Press Secretary Stefan Förner explained that media reports had severely truncated [the Cardinal's] words. It is the Cardinal’s desire that homosexuals are “not discriminated against.”

The press secretary then explained [the Cardinal's statements] word for word to KATH.NET: “Cardinal Woelki set long-term homosexual relationships in which two people have already made a life-long commitment to one another in relation to [certain] heterosexual relationships which indeed are not in any case “in [proper] Catholic order” (the unmarried, those lacking commitment, etc.). A comparison with sacramental marriage between man and wife was absolutely not the theme.”

Press secretary Förner explained in concluding to KATH.NET: “Sacramental marriage between man and woman retains its special role. I see no cause for confusion.”

Nathanael said...

I would add to the other statement about the Cardinal Archbishop. He made some very sharp comments about homosexuality (in general). I believe the comments the other poster referred were to open dialogue with the gay community in Cologne. Isn’t that part of his ministry? He was praised for them (much in the same way the Holy Father was) without the fullness of his statements being taken into account.

Joe Potillor said...

I consider joy to be rather a state of being versus an emotional super high. The melonchalic that I am, you won't see much would be considered super emotional highs one way or the other. I can be joyful without a smile...I get the sense whenever I hear "joy" being proclaimed, it's always to the emotional rather than the supernatural....It's possible to be joyful, even though one may write about things that wouldn't be considered joyful.

On the human level the Church is in shambles, but on the Divine Level, She is perfect.

JBS said...

Joe Potillor,

Well said. Sadly, a driving force in liturgical planning, youth ministry and even some "prayer groups" is the desire to excite the emotions. This is not unrelated to the drug culture. But not only can the emotional "high" not be sustained, it can distract the believer away from grace and from the need to cultivate virtue. Joy is discarded and replaced with ever alternating excitement and boredom.

Bernard Fischer said...

Chesterton described the doctrines of the Church like a wall that surrounds a playground on a mountaintop. As long as the walls are in place and sturdy, the children can run and play without fear. But if the walls are removed, we would find the children huddled in the middle for fear of falling over the edge. I think it's fair to say that in the past few years or decades of scandalous behavior, secularism and, of course, "who am I to judge?" That the walls are weakened and the precipice seems more of a threat.

These will be difficult times. The Church will emerge better than ever, but for those of us alive today, it will not be pleasant.

Gene said...

Joe, Yes, indeed. People confuse joy with happiness.

JBS said...

Bernard Fischer,

Great quotation! This is why Holy Mother Church provides her children such things as the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The teachings set the parameters, which remain in place even when some choose to scale the walls.

Bernard Fischer said...

I would also like to point out that this is the first post on this blog to produce two GKC quotes in the comments. :)

Gene said...

Speaking of which, I see the Pope wants us to just love us some illegal immigrants…that's ILLEGAL ALIENS. Illegal…get it…illegal.

Gene said...

So, the Catholic Church, via the Pope, is encouraging us to harbor law breakers and criminals. Have I got this right? No? Show me how I am wrong.