"But with many of them God was not well pleased." --First Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle X, 5
This is how Father began his sermon today (which was very powerful and moving to say the least). He told us how our Church is being attacked and tormented by society as Catholic institutions are soon being obligated to offer contraceptives and stuff like that. These things clearly are against the Church and are insulting the our Lord's institution of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and the privilege He has given to some to be able to reproduce human life and bring souls into the world to be saved by God.
Are we going to stand up and fight or are we going to remain on the fence, mouths shut, and act like it's not that big of a deal? When will us American Catholics rally together and be the Church Militant? I feel like the doctrine of the Communion of the Saints has been forgotten. I'm trying to figure out what I can do personally to join in this fight. I've been praying, of course. I have been speaking of the issue here and there. But Father did recommend fasting and the Rosary and other acts of penance.
"Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain. And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things: and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible one."
--First Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, IX, 24, 25
I go in extremes with my spiritual life and fighting for the prize of salvation and eternal life: either I'm being extremely hardcore and devout and constantly nurturing my spiritual life, or I'm not trying at all because I get discouraged and get the feeling that I'm not making progress. Because most of my friends are not believers, it's easy for me to find the lives they lead appealing...who wants to be lonely after all, right? Moreover, it gets exhausting having to constantly defend the Church against their indifference and sometimes hatred of her.
Part of me feels like maybe they aren't the friends that I need if I am so easily tempted to go against my beliefs because of them, but the other part of me feels like they would never come into contact with the Holy Gospel except through being around me. Yes, that sounds very prideful, and I feel bad for seeming that way, but I don't want any souls lost and I don't want to give up on souls in need.
But maybe it is possible, with the Grace of God, to persevere in His service and do His will even with them as friends and if I got strong enough, my example may help them to come to Him?
Anyways, I want the grace of perseverence. I want to be holy all the time and ideally I would like to cast aside my wants and those things that are pleasing to me, and only desire what God desires. St. Paul the Apostle tells us in the Epistle of this Sunday that athletes train hard and with dedication to receive their corruptible and passing prizes (that really only mean anything here and now) if they're serious, but that our prize is eternal and incorrptible and that it is our duty and obligation to take it seriously.
But really, how am I training? What am I doing to make sure that I obtain the prize? There is no doubt in my mind that our Prize is more worthwhile and valuable than any earthly, temporal trophy or reward, but do I treat it as such? Maybe I just am not quite sure how to train... Like I said, I pray, meditate, try to do good works out of love for God and in reparation for my sins and in thanksgiving for His blessings! but I don't feel changed really. Between myself and other Catholics, I feel like I'm so much worse a Catholic than they are and like I can't do anythingabout it.
St. Paul the Apostle says that he "brings his flesh into submission," but how? What exactly does that mean? There are so many things to correct and that come between the Lord and myself that I have no idea where to begin. Yes, the Sacrament of Penance, I knowww, although I want to make sure that I am really ready so that I do not commit sacrilege to that instrument of God's Grace.
The Holy Gospel of this Sunday touched on envy a little (Parable of the Owner of the Vineyard), and I get very envious of other Catholics because they receive Holy Communion, they seem to be liked by other Catholics, they seem to be good Catholics to others, and I feel like I try hard, but they do not necessarily care (aside from the fact that there is something wrong with my assuming that God's opinion of me is based off of other Catholics' opinions of me...), and I get envious because I feel like I try hard, but who am I to say that they are not trying harder??
After reflecting and meditating on this parable and reading what St. John Chrysostom had to say about it, I decided that I should be happy and rejoice that they can receive Holy Communion and that they are in God's friendship and not at enmity with Him! (A good Catholic would never, ever want anything less than the spiritual good of others, and certainly should not envy it to the point of ill feelings or despair.)
The Tract spoke of waiting on the Lord and crying to Him from the midst of death and distress. Maybe patience is in order, and God will give me His help in His own time when He sees fit.
"A helper in due time in tribulation: let them trust in Thee who know Thee: for Thou hast not forsaken them that seek Thee, O Lord. For the poor man shall not be forgotten to the end: the patience of the poor shall not perish for ever: arise, O Lord, let not man prevail." --Psalm IX, 10, 11, 19, 20