(A number of people commented and asked for reprints of this bulletin column, so I share it here for future reference.)
“The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.”
These immortal words of Sacred Scripture help to define us as Christians, and should also help to articulate our spirituality amidst a world given over, ever more, to new spiritualities based on the rebirth of ancient pagan ways. Even a few decades ago a ‘new paganism’ was noted. The original paganism awaited the revelation from God, which came in the fullness of time; the new rejects the entirety of Revelation, and almost rabidly rejects Jesus Christ.
Hence, we often find ourselves today amidst those who reject Jesus Christ and his Church. “I don’t have to go to Mass.” “I don’t have to go to Confession, I can go directly to God.” “God loves me, He knows I don’t need to do all of that.” “I don’t believe that the Church is right regarding birth control.” And the famous lines from the 80’s which were always leveled against Pope John Paul II, “Keep that man out of my bedroom!”
Such statements highlight the ignorance which many people have of the Faith, and bring pain to the hearts of those who live it valiantly, witnessing that a light has shown on those who dwelt in the darkness. Many people learn their Faith as children, but then never again engage their intellect as they age, considering that what they learned as 8 year olds is as intelligent as the Faith gets. And as we know that’s entirely wrong; the most brilliant minds in history have been Catholic, have grappled with the Faith at every level, and have come out victoriously witnessing to the Light of Jesus Christ. Many more people of great mind have entered the Faith after setting out to disprove it entirely.
As I write up this bulletin note I’m sitting in my room in Washington D.C., ready to head outside for the March for Life. It’s 11 degrees at the moment outside, and yesterday we had 8 inches of snow. But nothing is deterring the witness of Faith which is happening all over the world in regard to life itself. We live in an era which values the right to death more and more. We’re seeing euthanasia being touted as the new norm for people tired of living, even for adolescents. We’re seeing a growing trend towards sex changes being done at any age, even being ‘recognized’ in children. Abortion has become so commonplace, that many of a liberal mindset consider that the ‘battle is over’, and tell pro-lifers to quiet it down (to put it lightly.)
But, given the great treasure of knowledge and reason which we have in our Faith, we can never pipe down, and we can never quiet down. We may all well end up being martyrs for life at some point, but God calls us to witness to the Truth, and not to witness to a comfortable, unchallenged life.
“And the light shines in darkness, a darkness which was not able to master it.” We read this in the Gospel of John, and it used to be read at the end of every Mass. It’s a reminder that we have a great light in our spirituality, which is the person of Jesus Christ, who will guide us onwards to eternity. Many in our generation are, literally, hell bent. Be courageous and be a witness to the light of Jesus Christ. Learn your Faith more, and drag as many people to Heaven with you as you can.
Fr. Kenneth Allen