So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Friday, November 7, 2014

Upstaging Grace

Amidst all the furious debating during and immediately after the recent Synod concerning mercy for the divorced who have remarried without benefit of a decree of nullity, where was the appreciation for and trust in the grace of God that is available to help people make substantial changes in their lives? Where was trust in God's mercy and saving grace that can help people turn from impossible situations to a life of love that is good and holy in the sight of God? Excusing transgressions that separate people from God using a principle that, in the hands of manipulative and dissenting men, tolerates sin, fosters confusion and endangers souls.

Proponents of the principle of graduality, at least as they understand it, ignore Jesus' clear call for the decisive rejection of sin. In all the erudite chatter calling for mercy, there is among men who should know better a surprising confusion between the acceptance of the repentant sinner—emphasis on repentant sinner—and tolerance for sinful behaviour. One bishop confused about the Gospel is one too many.

Jesus provided people clear teaching that challenged sinners to make a choice between accepting His Gospel or rejecting it. Jesus did not run after disciples who abandoned His company over difficult teachings, nor did Jesus suggest that we should mollycoddle people and tolerate lukewarm commitment to the Gospel.
No man putting his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.—St. Luke 9:62 
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.—Rev. 3:15-16.
Gradualism, misunderstood and misapplied, permits dangerously loose play with the time people have on this earth to repent of sin and accept the Gospel.

Mercy toward the sinner requires that people be told the truth received from the Apostles. Sin kills the life of the Spirit in man. Venial sins weaken one's relationship with God. Mortal sins destroy the life of God in the soul. People who put Christ first in their life respond in obedience to the call for repentance and, accordingly, conform their lives to the Gospel. Repentant sinners choose God and live! Those who willingly choose and prefer sin to the salvation found in Jesus Christ, i.e., those who live as if the Gospel has no bearing on their lives, are not disciples of the Lord. Plain and simple.

The experience of the confessional should console and convince any sincere disciple of the Lord that true mercy—i.e., mercy that does not excuse sin but confronts evil and reminds man of his dignity—awaits in the confessional wherein the penitent, eager to please God and avoid the devastation of hell, meets the same God who absolves sins through His priest. O glorious sacrament!

The Lord Jesus Christ and His Church call us to a decision: accept Jesus and live. Reject Him and the consequences of that choice to embrace sin over Him are too hellish to imagine.
And (the rich young man) said to him, “Teacher, all these (commandments) I have observed from my youth.” And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.—St. Mark 10:20-22.
Be a hero. Be a saint. Be holy. Christ first in all things! Trust in Him and ask for the grace to be a hero, a saint. Go to confession!

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