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The Hearts Of Many Will Wax Cold

October 4, AD2017

homelessness, poverty, neighborScripture warns us clearly that in the last days, charity will suffer.

Matthew 24:12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” I always considered the imagery of cold hearts as horrible and something I was immune to. I have learned that the warning St. Paul gives about not assuming we are on solid spiritual ground applies to me.

I read this often and never imagined it could happen to me. But it has. My parents imparted many of their wonderful qualities to me. I learned by their example. First, love of God and the Church. Respect for others.  A sense of self-respect and self-love, joy and a great sense of humor. And, perhaps, more importantly, love of the poor. My parents are very charitable and they love people and animals and have good hearts.

My Parents Taught Me Charity

Mom and dad always spearheaded our volunteerism, charitable donation collections and many acts of random kindness when my brother and I were kids. My wife and I follow suit feeding and clothing the hungry and reaching out and helping those in need, many times actively seeking out those in trouble.

Lately, I felt myself slipping a bit in my thoughts and my willingness to share my time, talent and treasure. My wife has chided my attitude and promptly ignores me when I tell her that we should cut out all donations. I thank God for her, she keeps me grounded.

Fraud and Corruption Changed My Views

What changed? I believe it is my awareness of the total corruption of every human organization on earth. The fraudulent charities that have been in the news lately coupled with mismanagement of donated funds in prominent corporate charities and the well-publicized welfare fraud got to me. Adding insult to injury are the obscene school taxes for public schools we never used. Living in New Jersey brings with it a heavy real estate tax burden in large part because of corrupt politicians and public unions. Everyone appears to be on the take, except me. That’s how I was viewing it.

Fifteen Hour Work Days

I have a 15-hour workday. When I watch people who are recipients of the fruits of my labor protesting and complaining on the nightly news it infuriates me. Large groups of diverse people from diverse backgrounds with hands out demanding entitlements they never earned is galling. Politicians are using our social security safety net to fund their social programs for votes. Some politicians call social security an entitlement. In one sense it is exactly that. Are we not entitled to our own money that we worked for? They threaten reductions and extended retirement times. Meanwhile, they are set with fat pensions and a subsidized health plan for life. They pass entitlement programs to garner votes. Some of the entitlements are ridiculous. In NYC, those that qualify get subsidized money for food but can use it for booze and tobacco. Subsidized housing which is supposed to be temporary lasts for generations. Those that qualify are provided with free cell phones and free internet. They give nothing in return. Workfare was dismantled under Obama. Nothing hardens hearts like ungrateful people gaming a corrupt system.

Madonna House and Good Counsel

There are legitimate reasons people need subsidies, however, the main factor for poverty is illegitimate children. Single moms make up the biggest group of poverty-stricken Americans. Oddly enough my ire is not directed against them. In a weird way, I view them as heroes because they chose life. My wife and I support two Catholic Organizations in New Jersey that assist these young moms and their babies. Madonna House and Good Counsel. Chris Bell of Good Counsel is a saint in my book. The folks who dedicate their lives serving these people have hearts of gold. I don’t condone those who make a living out of having illegitimate kids and my ire is directed at that group with four or five or seven kids with as many baby daddies as well as the able-bodied idlers.

Washington Traitors

I’m not alone in my feelings. The recent election reflected the frustration and the hardening of hearts of so many people for so many reasons, but I think corruption in Washington was number one. Politicians are bought and paid for by lobbyists. They are traitors to the people who elected them. Politicians who sell out their constituents need to be voted out. The powers that be create situations designed to trick the people that they can not be trusted to think on their own. They want us to think we need a ruling class. A government that influences how we think, work and live. A government we just can’t live without. As believers, we know that our trust is in Jesus. We the people knew that. Our national motto proclaims it. It is on our money, ” In God we trust”, so what happened? The answer to that question would take up too much space here. Suffice it to say, we need to know love and serve God. Our hearts will be restless until they rest in God. Same for the whole world.

Let Our Light Shine Before Men

Because of wickedness, the hearts of many will wax cold. The imagery of a cold, unlit candle comes to mind. It is a horrible scary image when applied to the human heart. A dead heart in the chest of believers is an abomination. Cold and dead, devoid of God and love. Scrooge-like. The Gospel tells us we are the light of the world. It reminds us not to hide our light under a bushel basket. Tongues of fire appeared above the heads of believers on Pentecost. The Scriptures tell us to let our light shine among men so they will give glory to God. Allowing my heart to wax cold is dishonoring God, my parents and my very profession of faith. Cold hearts lack fire, passion, and love. My recent attempts to reach out in various ministries in and beyond my home parish did not bear fruit. After being thwarted several times I was resigned to retreat, give up and just worry about number one. But God is not one to give up easily. Like a gentle breeze, He keeps reminding me through His Word. Over and over again Matthew’s prediction gently invades my thoughts. The hearts of many will wax cold. It convicts, shames, encourages and saddens me all at once.

A Change Hearts

This past week due to timing issues, we assisted at Mass at a neighboring parish. The elderly priest always gives thoughtful, encouraging homilies which I really enjoy.  His homilies provide me with meditations for the week. He always brings to light personal shortcomings in himself or positive achievements and asks questions which only we can answer. They are sometimes provocative but always thought-provoking. I love this little country church and really enjoy going to mass there. As we exited our vehicle we noticed many people bringing in doughnuts and breakfast treats. We were greeted with smiles and handshakes by people we never met before and then I noticed the sign. Parish Ministry Day. All through mass, I felt the inspiration to go and see. Was my heart really waxed cold? That good priest encouraged the congregation to investigate some of the ministries. He invited us to get involved. Was I going to just walk away from letting my light shine? Nope.

As I walked in I was greeted by a neighbor who left my home parish to join this parish. He welcomed me, introduced me to another guy and told me about all the good things the Knights of Columbus in their parish are doing. They invited me to join. I signed up. I hope to get involved helping the local poor and those who need help. I’m sure they will do more ministering to me than I will do for them.

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

As a Franciscan and a Catholic, we are instructed not to judge who is worthy or not worthy of charity. Charity simply means love and love is the greatest gift of all according to Scripture. When I judge worthiness, I judge myself. When I withhold charity, I do harm to myself. It all ties in with the Lord’s Prayer. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I do not want the Lord to remind me of that line when I stand before Him on judgment day.

Prayer For Personal Renewal

So my prayer for a renewed spirit of charity is:  Father forgive me for offending You in so many ways. Lord, let me always remember my mission as Your emissary. Thank You, Lord, for everything You have given me. Strengthen my resolve to never let my heart wax cold no matter the increase in worldly wickedness. Fill me with the Fire of Your Spirit and increase Your gift of charity in me. Grant me wisdom to know and do Your will and to serve Your people all the days of my life. All my love, praise and adoration belong to You Lord. Thank you. Amen

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Ed is a devout Roman Catholic who loves people, animals, nature, cooking and of course all things Catholic. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York of first generation Italian American parents. He is married to a wonderful faith filled woman and they share their lives with a beautiful Great Pyrenees rescue dog named after the Arch Angel Raphael. Ed works on Wall Street and assists at Daily Mass during his lunch hour. He enjoys spending time with the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration, Lectio Divino and praying the Holy Rosary.

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  • Andrea Taylor

    Unfortunately, on the way to cold, I settled way too long at lukewarm. I scared myself when I realized it. I was reading scripture and read about Jesus reaction to the church who was lukewarm and found myself in the front pew. With the Grace of God and a spiritual Bic lighter, I can start heating myself up and, hopefully, achieve to boiling over. I was truly mortified at the complacent Catholic state that I had become. I really had a serious case of the “good enoughs”. I have been blessed by humility and prayer and seek mercy and love as my spiritual antibiotics of choice to this serious malady of the heart. With more prayer and Rosary therapy, I am regaining my strength. I am truly grateful that I didn’t proceed to wax cold, but I, also, never want to be satisfied with lukewarm again. I thank the Good Lord and our Blessed Mother for allowing me to check my soul’s burner before the pilot light went out. God bless.

    • Eddie

      Wonderful comment, very thoughtful. I recently decided to go on a two week diet eating just veggies and protein, drop a few pounds and join the gym all centered around the Feast of the Assumption. Discipline was the key. I lost 13 pounds, lift weights do plenty of cardio and eat and drink less. I feel great, better than in my 20s. I spoke to the Lord, promised that I would get in shape spiritually, made a good confession and I’m moving forward growing my spiritual muscles. Discipline. Body and soul. It takes the three Ds. Decision, dedication, doing. Make the decision for Christ and what that means. Self denial. Dedicate yourself to discipline God bless.

  • lfrancis

    Thanks Ed for your honesty and humility in this essay. Food for thought indeed. Pray for me that my hardened heart may soften towards my spouse. Thank you.

    • Shmoolie

      I will pray for you. What I have discovered is that I have the power to soften my heart. You do too. No matter the circumstance. The Lord instructs us to love our spouses as Christ loved the Church. Christ was crucified for and by the Church. I pray for you and your family. Pax.
      It ain’t easy but you can do it.
      Eddie

    • Andrea Taylor

      Prayers. That’s an area I am working on as well.

  • Howard

    I initially misread the title as, “The Hearts Of Mary Will Wax Cold”. Now there’s a chilling thought! If the heart of the Blessed Virgin is cold to you, you must literally be in Hell.

  • Larry Bud

    In my childhood parish in the Rust Belt, everyone contributed to the life of the parish by volunteering at our fundraising dinners and carnivals.

    The parishes I attend now in the Southwest don’t have fundraisers, and all the volunteer “ministry” opportunities are for retirees and non-working folks who have free time during the week. So the value of volunteering is no longer being taught like it used to be.

    • Micha_Elyi

      Likely, the “working folks” didn’t show up so the ministry opportunities evolved to suit the availability of the “retirees and non-working folks” who do show up.

    • Larry Bud

      I don’t think I agree with that. I arrived in my current diocese in 1985 and there have never been any meaningful ways to contribute to the life of my area parishes. There are no social events or social groups. (That has much broader cultural and social consequences, but that’s not really relevant to this article.)

      The diocese here has there hand out for cash all the time, but 1) I have always considered volunteering to be more meaningful and 2) I consider the diocese to be horribly bloated and inefficient and not deserving of my money.

    • Shmoolie

      Yes, I find that in my parish too. I have a long day, can’t get þo a meeting before 8 and I’ve told the Knights of Columbus for example, however, they are not interested in meeting an hour and a half later so I can’t participate but I pray for them.

  • YoikesAndAway

    I can sympathize with your conflict as I too have been over the past years found myself waxing cold on issues that I once felt very strongly about. I have however discovered that one factor that has seemed to caused this is what I view as manipulative benevolence. I find it quite disconcerting when suddenly politicians, media, businesses, groups, celebrities, all start emphatically telling us the great unwashed that we lack compassion, care, respect, concern for others. That they have self appointed themselves as the face of all goodness in the world, only to see colossal hypocrisy and vileness coming from them as well. Politicizing social issues, politicizing solutions, is their method which is devoid of any real, hardworking response to the actual issues they are guilting and shaming everyone into believing are happening. Those who lack real knowledge and wisdom about issues have become rabble behind these entities giving them support and voice thereby sucking more people into this propaganda.

    Another aspect to why hearts wax cold, is the unceasing violence, hatred, extremism, all the way down to actual evil against all that is innocent in this world. I can not take much more of it as it has become a daily slap in the face to all that is good and just. There is a lack of gentleness, patients, respect, truth, common sense, kindness in peoples daily lives and in the general tone and background noise of society. Therefore, I have backed off supporting any current issues and the groups representing them, I limit my exposure to people and places that are breeding grounds for all this, and I no longer listen to the manipulative pleas of a false compassion that lacks wisdom and facts. I will not be shamed into compliance, and if those harpies for even a second actually did some listening from their critics, they might become aware of how destructive their so called campaign of benevolence is far from it.

    • Howard

      Oh, how I love Humanity,
      With love so pure and pringlish,
      And how I hate the horrid French,
      Who never will be English!

      The International Idea,
      The largest and the clearest,
      Is welding all the nations now,
      Except the one that’s nearest.

      This compromise has long been known,
      This scheme of partial pardons,
      In ethical societies
      And small suburban gardens—

      The villas and the chapels where
      I learned with little labour
      The way to love my fellow-man
      And hate my next-door neighbour.

      — “The World State” by G. K. Chesterton

    • Shmoolie

      Oh, so true. Thanks for the comments.
      Eddie

    • Shmoolie

      Excellent, very well put. Thanks for the comments.

    • Shmoolie

      Thank you or your comments, right on point.