SAINT OLGA

SAINT OLGA
MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER, SAINT OLGA, PATRON SAINT OF CONVERTS

Sunday, June 28, 2015

DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE IN GOD, OR ARE YOU JUST PRETENDING?




Some people pick a religion based upon what they already believe.  If there is any aspect to the religion with which they don't agree, they either ignore it or it becomes so annoying at some point in time that they go in search of a religion that agrees with themselves more tidily.  If there isn't a "better" religion, in their estimation, they lobby to change the one in which they find themselves, in order that it may more closely meet their desires.

The inner sanctum of the church is not immune.  Thus, we have nuns lobbying to become priests, priests lobbying for "gay marriage" and the occasional bishop assigning luxurious living accommodations to himself and his cronies, even though, at the very least, a simple style of life is required of them, what to speak of the poverty that characterizes the lives of nearly all the saints.

All of these faux Gods are using a false and self-reverential criteria.  Religion is not supposed to be a means to soothe the ego and make ourselves feel good, but this is exactly what many people now hope to get out of it. The so-called "new age" religions that hit America at end of the 19th century and spread like wild fire can lay claim to some responsibility for individuals elevating themselves above the saints and sages because the emphasis shifted from the individual being guided by God to one in which each individual replaces God as the ultimate authority in their own life.  At the very least, the individual's personal opinion takes precedence over the saints, sages, theologians and scholars that have digested and analyzed the scriptures over the last 2,000 years.

I hasten to append that, in many cases, these New Age mystical religions have been misinterpreted and that, while the religions of personal mystical experience are meant to corroborate the teachings of the saints and sages, devotees replace them, instead, with their own misshapen ideas.  Our modern culture has assimilated these foreign philosophical systems in this misshapen form and, when the Christian religion of the land was inoculated with them, it caused a terrible confusion in society, which confusion clearly continues until today, when the Supreme Court of the land enshrines sterile, unnatural unions between same sex couples as a form of so-called "marriage".  "Right" and "wrong" are no longer solidly understood but have been replaced by a modern relativism that has nearly destroyed the moral underpinnings of society completely.

The crux of the issue is that, even people who self-identify as religious or "spiritual" do not actually believe in God.  They will insist that they do believe in God, but, conveniently, their "God" agrees with them in every one of their unique inclinations.  Each person has become his own God, the big cheese sitting in the big chair with the long beard.  Each person has become the sole and complete arbiter and judge of truth.  Satan's sin was that he also considered himself as good as God, and for this he was kicked out of heaven.

Coincidentally, these self-made deities either dismiss or discount any scripture, saint or religious authority and tradition whenever and wherever they contradict the individual's all-mighty opinion. Frequently, these self appointed demi-Gods cite the ancient scriptures as the very reason why the Catholic Church is wrong because the scriptures are so old that they couldn't possibly pertain to our time.  "They need to be updated!" is the cry.  Never mind that, for God, there is no time.  The entirety of our puny history is with God in its entirety at every moment.  He knows the whole of my life because he's not stuck at any point in time.  He can't even be said to travel in time or forsee something "in the future" because, for Him, there is no future and there is no past.  There is only the eternal NOW.  The only case in which this may not have been true was perhaps when Jesus walked the earth.  Our Lord, as Jesus Christ, experienced time, suffering, pain and death.

Jesus asks us to learn from Him and He taught the Apostles the manner in which they were to do this. He breathed on them and gave them the Holy Spirit.  He gave Peter the keys to the kingdom and told him that He was the rock upon which Jesus' church would be built.  This didn't happen 2,000 years ago, according to God.  It is happening now and now and now.  The Eucharist is Jesus today in the same degree as it was in that upper room when he instructed the disciples to eat his flesh and drink his blood.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, except you eat the flesh of
the son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in
you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has
eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.  For
My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.
He that eats My flesh and drinks My blood, dwells in me,
and I in him." ~ John 6:53-56


God did not give us temporary Truths that need our hands to fix them.  It makes no sense to do so. What is true then is true now.  God needs no replacement.  He doesn't need our help.

I insist that the moment someone sets themselves up as their own God and their own arbiter of what is right and wrong in the Christian faith, that is the moment when it is revealed that the person does not believe in God at all.  If one believed in God, one wouldn't dare attempt to usurp Him and deny the relevance of His church to today's world.  Humility and fear of the Lord would overtake that person if he or she had a consciousness of the reality of God.  At the very least, a wise person would employ enlightened self-interest and would obey the commandments, despite any small misgivings or doubts. After all, following the commandments of God would not hurt if it turned out there was no God, but doing so is essential if there really is a God.

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle
and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For
My yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:29-30




"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; 
yet not my will but yours be done."  Luke 22:42


When Jesus speaks about being humble, he isn't referring to a personality type that bows and scrapes and defers to everyone, nor to a self-deprecating point of view.  He certainly was not like that.  He modeled for us an obedience to God that was a sublime lesson to those of us who try to balance prayers and desires for oneself with the desire to also do the will of God.  We have been given free will, otherwise our consent to living a holy life would be a condition of slavery.  We have to willingly gives ourselves over to the will of God, even as we ask for something from him.

Children cannot stand to be told "no."  Sometimes they have a fit.  The mature disciple bows their head in reverential agreement, confident that the good Lord knows best, that His church knows best, and that the disciple's possible disagreement with the will of God is none other than the childish ego raising it's head and having a temper tantrum.

Obedience to the will of God is not popular these days.  Many people say they are Catholic while at the same time denying the unchangeable Truths of the faith and lobbying to change those divine truths to suit their cultural norms and, in some cases, their own sins. Some of them prowl the corridors of Facebook, inserting their heretical ideas into conversations and berating anyone who does not fall in line with the "modern" way of thinking. Dealing with them can be exhausting.

"Whoever is not with me is against Me, and whoever
does not gather with me, scatters."  Mark 9:40

Before I became a Christian, I followed my own inclinations.  In many cases, I was wrong, and no good came from it.  I've decided to put aside my own independent tendencies in favor of the commandments of Jesus.  I pray daily that I become a better Christian, more faithful, more worshipful, more pure and more holy.  I ask that you also pray for me, that I can become a better Christian, and I invite you to follow me in that pursuit.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015

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