Our world is spinning wildly out of control with new offenses against nature such as transgender sex-changes for children, sex-based elective abortions, assisted suicide, and federally mandated legalization of same-sex marriages. The collective mind of society has gone out of orbit. Common sense has disappeared into a black hole of self-indulgence, immediate gratification, and disobedience — the lair of the Imp of the Perverse.
Ever-evolving evils of these times seem to overshadow and outnumber the good things. Something ungodly is wielding power upon our planet and in our universe: for even nature herself unleashes nothing as dark and vile as the cold, black bile filling the hearts of multitudes today. In her worst disasters, Nature strikes into men, terror, grief, anger, repentance, and a sense of mortality; but not the thick, heavy hatred for all things good, true, and light.
For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
Consumed with zeal for the truth, Christians are everywhere seen standing against these dark forces — in word and deed, and rightfully so, for if Catholics cannot shine the light of God’s love into this darkened world, then we have failed one of the most critical commands of Christ: Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. (Mark 16:15) However, if we so much as dip our tongues into the bile for but a moment, our mission to speak the gospel truth is self-sabotaged.
Truth, spoken without love, is no more than a noise upon the ears of a sinner. Fraternal correction by fear-driven rebuke is fruitless. Only in humility can love be born upon the words of truth to a proud heart. Only by prayer and fasting can some demons be driven out. Only by personal sacrifice can love be true; for love does what is best for the beloved, and is shown by deeds.
As I’ve often repeated, they’ll know we are Christians by our LOVE. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35) While some loosely translate “love” to mean affecting feelings of “warm fuzzies” and practically condoning sin, others take liberties of lambasting anyone in error to the greatest lengths and farthest distances from behavior becoming the Christian. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1)
Social media and internet interactions are the litmus test for all things Catholic today. To record numbers of godless people, their first and sometimes only exposure to Christianity is via the Internet. More than ever, terms defining true religion are dreaded and despised. More than ever, fear reigns amongst the masses. More than ever, we must take care to fully utilize those gifts of the Holy Spirit in carrying out our obligation to teach others the truth.
Fear breeds anger, and only love can remedy anger. Here is a too-common scene on an internet discussion: The non-Christian is fearful that he may be wrong or may have to change his lifestyle, so he grows angry at the truth and the one who bears it; and the hasty Catholic is fearful that he is failing his mission to teach the truth, so he grows angry at the non-Christian for not listening. Remember: A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
When a non-Catholic clicks his way onto a thread where truths are being debated, will he find a light amongst darkness? Will he see respectful, kind discussion between Catholics and non-Catholics? Or will he witness the proverbial stoning of the adulterous woman? Will he observe offerings of life-giving gospel waters being given to those thirsty souls who seek them without knowing what they seek, or will he see them being cast them into the well by Catholics quick to point out their spiritual dehydration? Will he hear the GOOD NEWS, or will he be greeted with gloom and doom?
There is no hell as close to a man’s heart as the blackness of a unreasonably angry and rude Catholic, and there’s no heaven harder to reach than the one used as leverage by those spewing “Heretic!” and “Automatic excommunication!” from the skies. Though Heaven and Hell be true, so also is the reality of each man’s own sinfulness, and his forgiveness through Christ. Lest any lover-of-law forget:
While we were yet helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man—though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11)
We are called to radiate the light of God’s love in the darkness — a light which is strong and steady, sure and sound, resolute; yet bright, promising, warm, and inviting. As love does what is best for the other; so our light must show the way home to the Faith, and ultimately to Heaven. We must shine forth a guiding light. Not a lightning bolt, not a nuclear blast, not a hellfire … just beautiful light.
In the light, things of darkness cannot be hidden:
And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God. (John 3:19-21)
“Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.” —St. Isaac of Syria