Saturday, 24 May 2008

Looking for truth!

I was watching EWTN's journey home on the internet this evening and being honest I was a little bit bored; I like the journey home but sometimes I get the impression they try and paint the Church as a great utopia which is all smiles. Personally that's not been my experience of the Church and I think anyone being honest would admit that fact in their own lives too.

What interested me though was a statement made by the guest on the show this evening, who converted from Jehovah Witnesses, through Evangelical protestantism, and eventually came home to Rome i.e. became a Catholic (or a pape as Scottish people would say). He said:

'I'm concerned about converts, because so often (and something catholics are guilty of too) we are looking for what is wrong, whereas we should be continually searching for the truth'.

That is a very profound thing to say... I remember as a seminarian I was a bit of a human heresy detector, bashing anyone over the head with the catechism or the latest document from the Vatican when I was challenged on an article of faith.

How many blogs are a little bit obsessed with this today? How many faithful are strong and have a wonderful relationship with God, yet maybe push the faith down peoples throats which might make us feel better about our own zealousness and fidelity to the Gospel, but which actually make other people think we are mad and turn them away from Christ rather than towards Him.

All truth is a reflection of Jesus Christ, because He is the truth, not 'a' truth, but 'thee' truth. Maybe a reason why the Church is failing in this country just now, is because we're now at logger heads with the culture, rather than engaging in the culture.

I've had this conversation a hundred times with friends and I generally get opposition to my view is that we cant just forget the people who are in our lives, who are not Christians and living outside the Church. One recent example is when a friend was going to go to a retreat, yet was going to miss an important occasion with his friend. I told him that fair enough, maybe you want to go on a retreat, but what is the loving thing to do for your friend? In the end we agreed to disagree, but do you see what I mean?

Sometimes it's the people in the Pub who need us more than the nuns in the retreat house. That's not to say go out and get drunk and never go on retreat... That is to say don't forget your bread and butter, and if Christ is truly the centre of your lives, and when you are looking outwardly, genuinely thinking about how we can save souls, then I don't these issues really become problematic. When we are living according to the Gospel and in union with God, then we understand that calling of all Christians, go out and make disciples amongst all people.

Interestingly enough St. Ignatius when he was studying found within him a great desire to pray all the time. Eventually he realised that this itself was a temptation, because he knew if He always just simply prayed, he could never pass his exams which is necessary if he wanted to be ordained to the priesthood. (I wish I had temptations like that). I think sometimes we fail to see our zealousness and gradual slipping out of the world as a bit of a temptation, it seems as if we are holy, when actually we are neglecting those who truly need us. Again it's important to pray, but our lives should be a prayer, as well when we are on our knees.

If we come to know Jesus, we come to know the truth and error will present itself - you don't really need to look for it, the devil (and believe me I know) will make sure of that. We need to continually remain open to the truth in order to be truly faithful Christ and His Church


Anonymous said...

John Paul as a seminarian myself I'm glad I've come across your blog. Finally its a common sense blog that isn't obsessed with intricacies of liturgy an all that nonsense. Just plain solid orthodox stuff that doesn't put people off because they're not in the loop. Keep it up.

John Paul said...

My prayers are with you in the seminary, and with your brothers there and indeed those brothers studying all over the world. Oremus pro invicem! Regina Cleri Ora Pro Nobis.