Thursday, November 29, 2012

"I Can't Wait to Watch It All Burn!"

Let's get our Book of Revelation on!  From today's first reading:

"With such force will Babylon the great city be thrown down,
and will never be found again.
No melodies of harpists and musicians,
flutists and trumpeters,
will ever be heard in you again.
No craftsmen in any trade
will ever be found in you again.
No sound of the millstone
will ever be heard in you again.
No light from a lamp
will ever be seen in you again.
No voices of bride and groom
will ever be heard in you again.
Because your merchants were the great ones of the world,
all nations were led astray by your magic potion." (Rev. 18:21-23)

Of course the Gospel for today talks about the end times, destruction, persecution, the end of the world, flames, etc.

I think there is a temptation for Catholics who try their best to follow Christ and live out the Catholic Faith to get excited when we hear about "Babylon the great city" the country whose "merchants were the great ones of the world" being razed and burned to the ground.

The temptation: "finally, all the wicked people will see I was right, all the people who hated me, who spat on me, who lied about me, who slandered me, who cursed me, they'll all finally see I was right!!!"  There is a temptation to see ourselves as above this fray, above Sodom and Gomorrah, to hold our noses at the stench and filth that exists in our world and say "well, I told you so."

...But neither the saints nor the Church have ever taken that stance.  We don't live in the first society that morally speaking is going down the toilet.  The Church was just coming online as Rome was plummeting towards its glorious destruction and pillaging by the "barbarians" (which side were the "barbarians" is open to interpretation), and the Church has seen lots of other civilizations and nations rise to the top before gloriously and triumphantly imploding into a dung heap.

The saints and the Church call us not to aloofness but to do something try to call out to people EVEN as they spit on you, even as they mock you, just as they did with Jesus.  The saints before us and the Church both ask us to not disengage, but to redouble our efforts in fasting, penance, almsgiving, etc.both for our own continuing conversion and for the conversion of those we live with.

We may live in Babylon the Great, and it may tire us, and we may be tempted to throw our hands up and say, "LATER!  I'm out of here, I'm going to go get a good book to read as I watch this country burn from a safe distance."

but disengaging and waiting for the sky to fall isn't an option for any true Catholic.  Until the sands of time expire, we are asked to see every person as a member of the Body of Christ, and to work like heck to help every last person attain salvation, ourselves included. 


  1. Father I have a question I would love to hear you answer sometime. I have only been Catholic a little while, raised Protestant, and so excuse me if my question covers something most Catholics already know. I read in the Catechism about sex, and my understanding of what I read, is that heterosexual married couples are also called to periods of celibacy, just as are single heterosexuals, and all people who feel themselves to be sexually attracted to people of their same sex. But I never hear anyone such as on EWTN radio or internet, talk about how heterosexual married people are not just "playthings" for each other sexually. Even "natural" birth methods is still manipulating contraception. Why does no one seem to have the courage to tell married heterosexual people that if they really cannot afford a child or another child or are for some other reason REALLY not wanting to have a child, that they should be celibate and put their energies into things like volunteering, helping others, and finding all the myriad ways humans can be intimate without sex? Am I completely off base here? Did I not understand my Catechism. Aren't married heterosexuals called to celibacy the same as priests, religious, single people, divorced people, and so on? Thank you for your consideration of my question.

    1. There are priests talking to married couples about the need for married couples to at time abstain - NFP is a big movement in the Church that a lot of priests preach on.

  2. Thank you Father. I feel like there is still something REALLY important being left out of the discussion of homosexuality, and marriage. Part of "NFP" is still "family planning". Which is another way of saying "Natural Planned Parenthood". It's still contraception. I laugh when I think... can you imagine if, we only went to mass and took communion on days when we didn't feel good and were kind of distracted and mentalled "not there", to make sure the Holy Spirit did not take hold in our hearts and minds and cause new life in us? That's what "NFP" is. The whole reason God made us with these bodies and why marriage is a sacrament, is because God made us to reflect his love and his mystery in the earth and in us. TO CREATE NEW LIFE. To me, as a person who formerly practised homosexual sex, what saved me was the clear, precise revelation that the right purpose of sex is new life. PERIOD. There is still too much focus, in my opinion, on married Catholics trying to figure out "When can we have sex and not get pregnant?" Even the NFP movement is full of zillions of pamphlets and books on how NOT TO CREATE NEW LIFE. If the "homosexual agenda" was combatted with a clear and concise discussion on WHY we have sexuality in the first place, and what it reflects, I believe a lot of people could be freed from both the debate about homosexuality and about contraception. Our bodies are made for life, for new life. Homosexuality creates no new life. Therefore it is anti-God. Contraception, even "rhythm method" is a way of trying to use the body in a way that creates new life... without creating life. Therefore anti-God. As a person who once believed myself to be "homosexual", when I was able to see that God created us to reflect his love which always creates new life, then "celibacy" became something much more easy to conquer: I finally got it that it was not about my "right" to sexual pleasure or impulse. It is that we are called to a life where all we do becomes conscious knowledge of where we fit in God's purpose. I pray priests continue to challenge ALL people to question the idea that sex impulse is a "right". I hope more married people reject the term "NFP" as a huge and sad irony: if someone kills another man with bare hands ("naturally") is it any less a murder? "Family Planning" means humans are planning, not God. The message should be: "If you don't wish to create new life, do not have sex." And, more to the point, "If your sex does not create new life, it is a sin." I thank God today that these things became clear to me, and home legions of priests begin to preace not just ABSTINENCE, but CELIBACY, for all those who do not wish to create new human life.

    1. Well, NFP is approved by Paul VI in Humanae Vitae, so if you are opposed to NFP, you are opposed to Church teaching. What is debatable is how often NFP ought to be used; that is to say Paul VI certainly seems to think NFP shouldn't be used unless a couple really can't afford children or there is some other burden, while some couples today use NFP as contraception. But...if you are against NFP as a whole, that is contrary to Church teaching.

  3. Catechism to the rescue:

    2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom.

  4. Thank you for the great reminder to rise above when things seem to be rough. Not only in the country in general but in our daily lives. I really needed this post today. Thank you Father for this excellent post. God Bless.

  5. Like ! i like it, very usefull with me ...