Friday, 19 April 2013

Sharing the Jewels of our Faith

Blessed be God, forever and ever.

One of the primary errors of those of us who are Catholic, is to be a condescending, self-righteous policeman of morality, who proudly wears an interior badge that reads 'false-piety', and a fine swede trench coat crafted by Satan under the popular fashion brand: 'false-humility'.

As Christians we are blessed immensely, but furthermore as Catholic we are blessed evermore immeasurably. For indeed there lies specks of truth, of gold scattered throughout all the universe and particularly in humanity, in the various religions, philosophies, arts and cultures. (See Saint Justin Martyr on seeds of the Word here [chp 44).Yet the source of all Truth and Truth itself is Christ Himself who says "I am the way, the truth and the life" [Jn 14:6]. Christ is thus not a speck nor a collection of specks of gold (of truth), but He is the rich goldmine of infinite depth. It is He who is both goldmine and gold; and the fullness of this inheritance is given to His Bride the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

As Catholics we are promised to became not part-sharers in this infinite wealth of an inheritance but sharers in the fullness of this inheritance; for the honour bestowed on the Bride is bestowed not only on her individual members, but on Her as a whole. To put it simply, as Catholics we are given a lot, and therefore much is expected for "every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required" [Lk 12:48]. Let us draw from the parable of the talents:

"For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more.  But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money." Mt 25:14-18


 Scripture is the Word of God, and although there is One Truth, that One Truth has an infinite variety of glimmering sides and perspectives like an elaborately polished diamond. To draw from one brief glance at one side of the Diamond of Truth we can come to consider that we Catholics are those that are given the five talents, other Christians two, and those who belong to other religions or modes of belief are those that are given the one talent. But let us consider this, have we used our five talents wisely as did the servant in this parable? Did we make use of the infinite graces granted to us, or did we shew the Dove of the Holy Spirit away as though an unwelcome guest in the garden of our soul?
  
Let us pray that we don't become like most of us already are, that is puffed up and sickly in arrogance, due to the fact that we have unworthily being given more money than the non-Christian lad beside us. Are we not so very often poisoned by our gluttony of the graces we have being given by God? Do we not as practising Catholics roam the streets of this earth as men rich in knowledge and truth? As men with the wallets of our hearts full and pockets of our soul brimming with fine jewels? Indeed we do, but how do we roam the streets of this earth? Do we roam the streets like Jesus did, and seek out the lost and the hurt; those who were the poorest of the poor in order to fill the satchels of their wounds with wealth? 

No, I think most of us roam the streets of this earth like the false-Pharisees of old; we horde our wealth like a savage beast guards its slain prey, slashing out at anyone who dares to steal what is 'ours'. We tend to use our talents to make ourselves feel better, to make ourselves feel as though we are really good people, for after all the flashing of our wealth is the misuse of the wealth given to us. For the wealth of Truth and Knowledge we have been given was given in love, to be used in love; not to be used in self-love. A Catholic shows off their wealth like a proud sheriff shows off his badge; and for a Catholic this badge is false-piety. If we were to permit false-piety to say a few words she would say: "I pray my Rosary daily, kneel throughout my holy hour, go to daily Mass and give fifty dollars a week in the Parish collection; o my, how holy I am!". The sickness of false-piety is a plague that corrupts the faithful; for it causes us to turn the tools (e.g. the sacraments, prayer, virtues) God has given us for the Salvation and Sanctification of all Creation, into tools of fashioning ourselves into Golden-Calves to be worshipped. My language may seem extreme but this is sadly nothing short of the truth!

We as Catholics, and here I am speaking of those of us who are 'practicing' the faith, have the tendency to bury our five talents under our trench coat of false-humility. We say to ourselves, "I am no saint, I cannot deny myself, or give too generously, for I am a poor sinner who can do nothing but the mediocre. Here I have these five talents but I cannot use them for I am unworthy; I must hide them out of sight and bury them". Such a rhetoric must smell revolting to God, and how many mouths lift up this stench to Him I wonder! We have all been there, I know I have. For you see false-humility is precisely a fine swede trench coat, for it is not humility at all but only appears to be so to the deluded wearer and those under the same spell of Satan. False-humility involves a degradation of oneself, thus of God, by denying the gifts, skills and graces he has given. True-humility involves an embrace of the Truth, in which one comes to recognise his own filth and the ability and desire of God to make Him clean and proper. False-humility buries the five talents, whilst true-humility makes use of the talents as does the servant in the parable.

The Salvation of an individual depends on their making use of the talents they have been given. Just as much is expected from those who have been given much, so to little is expected from those who have been given little. As Catholics we can become pompous with the spiritual wealth we possess, but our duty is not to exalt ourselves due to our five talents, but to humble ourselves even more so than those who are given two or one talents; for how much more unworthy are we Catholics, we beggars who have been given a Mansion whilst the other beggars are given a simple cottage. Truly we possess all things, for we possess Christ Himself in the Eucharist, He who is the very meaning of life itself. And with all the goods we have been given, should we not be running about to distribute these countless goods. Emptying our Mansion that shall be infinity replenished, in order to fill the cottages of those around us; so that soon enough they too may inherit a Mansion.

How do we go about spreading the wealth of our faith? Do we shove it down peoples throats, attempting to force feed them in an act of false-charity, a charity which seeks to make oneself feel good rather than their neighbour? Or do we prepare a nice meal in the private kitchen of our souls, allowing the sweet aroma to entice them to come have a taste; even going to the point of offering a taste to those who seem even slightly keen, in the hope that they may join in on the Wedding Feast to which Christ invites all people through His Bride the Church and the many brides (you and me) of which she is consistent. 

It is the fulfilling of the Will of God in our lives that gives the Will of God to all who accept it and hunger for it. For the very Will of God is "love and mercy itself" [Divine Mercy Chaplet], and since Jesus says "my bread is to do the will of him [the Father] who sent me" [Jn 4:34] so too is our bread, for we are called to imitate Jesus in all things. The Father's gift to us is His Son, His Will Incarnate, given to us on earth in the matter of Bread. After all a Father wins Bread for the life of His wife and children. This is why Christ joyfully gives Himself to us in the Eucharist, that He might feed us, and live in us, so that we might give Him to others and feed others by giving Him to them.

Let us not forget that "after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them." Likewise shall the Master come to settle accounts with us. Yet we can encounter the Master within every person we meet, the Master who cries out to be given what he is owed, like a hungry child who rightfully asks to be fed after starving for quite some time. As Catholics we are privileged. Indeed much has been given us, and so much is expected, but do not think this is a burden! For with five talents we can prepare a feast for the Lord who hungers in all souls; and this is much more than the faithful servant can do with his two talents; yet the point remains that we must be faithful to the graces we have received. We must remain as a faithful bride to her husband, whom has given us everything; and the Immaculate Bride Our Lady, is the one we must imitate in this faithfulness. A faithfulness that is only possible when one is madly in love with her spouse. So, are we daring enough to ask God for this wild and radical kind of love? After all, do we not long with all our being for the Lord to say unto us: "'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.'" [Mt 25:21].