Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What’s Changed? How Do We Change?

“When social forces press for the rejection of age old Truth, then those who reject it will seek meaning in their own truth.  These truths will rarely be Truth at all; they will only be collections of personal preferences and prejudices.
     The less depth a belief system has, the greater the fervency with which its adherents embrace it.  The most vociferous, the most fanatical are those whose cobbled faith is founded on the shakiest grounds.”
The quote from Odd Thomas, repeated above, hung with me for a few days, and took my thoughts deeper.
I think many of my liberal friends do not understand the true depths of faith and do not possess a heartfelt love of Truth.  It is all tempered relative to the impact on themselves, their conveniences, what they want, and what they (not the Church) proclaim as important.  Therefore, where we might equate the loss of the abortion issue or abuse of the sacrament of Marriage as we might the loss of a child, they would look at our sorrow and not understand, being more concerned --- with deep fervency --- with other issues, and so as friends they might speak to us innocently:  “So you’ve lost a child.  I understand.  But look at the nice ice cream cone I bought for your other kids.”  (Remember the post where I wrote how self-centered they are, and any life that is not their own is of much less importance?) 
That they would ask innocently and naively about our concerns, I do accept, but it is not with the innocence or lack of understanding of a child, but rather like that of drunk drivers who have killed someone.  In their drunken state, they don’t understand what they have done, yet they are still at fault.
So, how do we deal with our “innocent” neighbor, who does not understand our sadness (nor our anger)?  And how do we deal with our faith, which says to forgive him, and to love him?  Over many years they have evolved to their shallow belief system, so how do we change to deal with these people, our friends and neighbors, who are not the same people as they once were, as we fondly remember them?
If we ignore the commands of our faith, and choose to direct our sadness and anger AT them, are we not, in effect, killing the drunk driver in retaliation for his error, and expecting him to understand the justice of it?  And then, regarding our faith, would we be any closer to God than he?
No, we can yell at and curse at and beat up the drunk driver all we wish --- and he may indeed feel some pain --- but he still wouldn’t understand.  For him to understand, time needs to pass; he needs to be cold sober; he needs to see the pain and damages he has caused us, and then HE must will to change his life, and help with reparations, if he can, none of which will happen with our continued confronting of him.
So what do we do?  Do we just pray?  I don’t think so.
If we hear of the drunk driver who killed someone, or the Englishman who killed someone because he didn’t know you drive on the right side of the road in America, or the robber who stole everything from the neighbor down the street --- what do we do?  If we could do nothing ourselves to impact the evil perpetrators, there still are at least two things we can and should do which indirectly (or with God’s grace) will impact them.  First, we should comfort those who suffered as a result of their actions, and perhaps ourselves mourn, and second, we should ensure that we ourselves are not future victims of such evils --- or perpetrators.  This means putting locks on our doors and windows against the robber, and making sure we are modest drinkers and safe drivers, and know the rules of the road.
Relative to matters of our country’s moral degeneration, this means that our responsibility is to ensure that we know the rules of morality, that we know and understand the Truth, and practice virtue in our lives.  Both entail learning and deeply understanding what our faith teaches --- AND WHY, and taking that understanding, with grace, to the depths of wisdom and Truth.   
Wisdom of God, be with me, always at work in me.
As our country heads not off a fiscal cliff, but down a moral toilet, let us not be ones contributing to the mess being flushed.  First order of business:  pay attention to what our Church, God’s Church, teaches.  This is the Year of Faith, a call to self-evangelize first.  Follow the lead of our shepherds.  Do something!  Read the catechism and read the Bible.  Go to talks and classes at your parish and in your diocese.  Spend time in adoration.  Make the time!!  Don’t assume you already know how everything is, assume you don’t know in your heart WHY everything is.  If you don’t understand the importance of a child, like it was your child, then if you see a child seriously injured on the street your reaction will be: “Tsk, tsk.  Oh well, there goes another one.”  That is the liberal, relativistic reaction:  it doesn’t impact me, so it’s not that important.  Someone else should do something about it.
Your faith, your relationship with it, is more important than any child, even your own.  On your faith and knowing the Truth, depends YOUR eternal life.  Even if you don’t care about any other life, care about your own!  Build a fire in your heart for your faith, to prevent yourself from being the drunk driver who doesn’t understand, or the robbed homeowner who opens the door and asks in confusion: “What happened?”
If you want to change moral direction of our country, it starts not with our government or someone else’s actions, it starts with you.  You need to change.  There is a battle over moral truth in our country; you can’t fight unless you arm yourself with the Truth.
The first step in growing your faith is: knowing the wisdom of the Truth.  Gaining that wisdom may seem a huge, inconvenient job.  It is.  But remember my fictional review of the movie 2026, it’s the moral relativists who choose the easy path.  And remember too, that although this first step, knowing the Truth, may seem hard, the reward is great.
And at least in the beginning, try not to think about the second step.  The first step in growing your faith asks if you are willing to know the Truth.  The second step asks if you are willing to die for it.  We had a great Teacher once, Who knew that second step perfectly.  But it’s enough, for now, to learn what He told us about that first step.
He called us to change our lives, to be examples for others --- and we may think we are doing that, but until we are willing to consider that second step, we really don’t know the first.  And it’s about time we did.  Considering how we’ve lived our life thus far, how we’ve seen our country sink into moral decline, it’s about time we take that first step.
This morning’s Second Reading in the Liturgy of the Hours has some good, and encouraging, words:
 If we are zealous in doing good, we shall have peace, but there is no peace for those who, governed by human respect, prefer present enjoyment to the future promises.  They realize neither the torment that is laid up for them on account of these momentary pleasures, nor the joy of the promises to come.  And indeed it could be endured if their conduct affected only themselves, but as it is, they persist in corrupting the innocent, unaware that they incur a double condemnation, for themselves and their disciples.
Therefore, my brothers, in order to obtain the reward, we must endure in hope with unwavering faith. … We should blot out our past sins by being truly sorry for them, and then we shall be saved.  We must have no desire to curry favor with men, nor should we think only of making ourselves acceptable to our fellow Christians.  We should live upright lives in order to win the respect of non-Christians as well.


  1. Excellent quote! Excellent post! CONCUR! Which book did the opening quote come from?

  2. The opening quote comes from the book Forever Odd, by Dean Koontz. I have read the first four books of this series by Mr. Koontz (a Catholic writer) and am deeply impressed. Not only are the stories interesting, but he has wound in depths of Christian belief into the story in a way in which I have seen in few other books. To me, it is not preachy, but rather fits with the thoughts of the book's lead character, Odd Thomas (so-named because his parents didn't notice the first letter of his name, Todd, was left off his birth certificate).

    I look forward to reading the last of the series(so far), recently released in hardcover. Interviewed on the Raymond Arroyo EWTN show, Koontz indicated he plans seven books in the series.