We must not reason separately from God.
Too many of us have fallen into the trap of thinking we can reason without God. We put too much confidence in ourselves, in our institutions and in our government—and what we have to show for it is not pretty.
We need God. Without Him, our notions are cockeyed.
Nowadays, very often what we consider to be ‘kindness’ in character or ‘charity’ in action is actually an outrage against God. In fact what has always been known to be absolutely wrong, such as the killing of the unborn, has come to be tolerated by those who reason ‘social justice’ comes before ‘right.’ This can only be the result of not following the moral principles of truth as they are manifested in scripture, tradition, the teachings of the church and natural law…..
One has to step far away from the dictates of faith and conscience to rationalize abortion; yet, we do rationalize it. Our laws and reasoning surrounding abortion are or should be anathema to a nation like ours, claiming to be a beacon of hope and justice for the rest of the world.
Sadly, the government, our institutions and even many of our friends are quite comfortable legalizing abortion. Some even deem it an act of charity. The argument is that keeping abortion legal insures proper medical access for a young girl or woman who wants to increase her chances for success in school or career. Access to legalized abortion is considered as a way to empower feelings of self-control. It’s suppose to keep girl or woman from feeling like a human container and spare her the burdens of forced motherhood.
I’ve heard this reasoning come right out of the mouths of so-called ‘social justice’ catholics. I don’t understand this. By my way of reasoning, abortion seems to be an extraordinarily brutal and selfish act, unlike anything we know of our God. It is simply irrational to think God would for any reason sanction the deliberate mutilation and killing of a baby—at any stage of development, be it pre or post natal.
As a measure for just how ugly things can become, last month YouTube published a video of MRCTV’s Dan Joseph on a college campus asking students to sign a petition showing their support for legalizing what he termed ‘4th trimester abortion.’ If you watch the video, you will see he collected 14 signatures in just one hour.
That is the way things are going, because even Christians continue to support the cockamamie attitude that this un-Godly business is a mere matter of choice or an issue not as imperative as the likes of immigration reform and the restraint of wealth. Many social justice Catholics attend every pro-life rally. Then, in the name of the ‘common good,’ vote for the champions of abortion because ‘helping the poor’ is their primary concern.
There are those preoccupied with the forced redistribution of wealth
A few years back my parish held its first session of the “Forward in Faith” series that the archdiocese promoted as a way of renewing our connection to the ‘strength and beauty’ of Catholic doctrine and our relationship with Jesus Christ. We were assigned to tables for 6 to 8 of us. At my table was an elderly man who attended Holy Mass every Sunday, was very involved in serving the parish and believed that there was literally nothing more important in life than the forced redistribution of wealth. He went so far as to suggest that farmers should not be allowed to grow, sell and distribute their crops at a profit. In the world he wanted to force upon us, food and healthcare would be under the control of the state. It apparently did not occur to this man to look at the areas in the world where the state had this sort of power.
There are those preoccupied with the pursuit of wealth
At the other extreme we have those who are utterly preoccupied with wealth. Take, for instance, the pharmaceutical industry. This is a matter close to my heart because my sister has stage 4 breast cancer. The drug Herceptin could possibly extend her life but to stay on that drug costs over $100,000 a year. She can’t afford it. Who can?
Even knowing that their intellectual property rights run smack up against the rights of others to live, pharmaceutical business men and women will argue that their right to ownership is sacrosanct and should be absolute. Swiss drug maker Roche Holding Ltd. has held the patent on Herceptin since 2007. I wonder what good they think they’ve accomplished by pricing their drug beyond the reach of almost every breast cancer patient and healthcare institution, private or public.
I’m not arguing that private business isn’t always entitled to recoup its investment and operate at a profit. Extremists are continuously battling on behalf of that viewpoint; they need no help from me. However, I do pray for the day when we can get a genuine effort to enact laws that will facilitate greater harmony between profit and compassion.
There are things we must not do
God created and put this world into His order, and we are taught that evil is in essence a contradiction to that reality. If that is so, simple logic ought to determine that some things just are not right and must not be done.
Same sex marriage is another gross infraction against God because it is a contradiction to the very thrust of how He determined human life comes to be. Still, there are those Christians who will defend and argue on behalf of this practice, no matter how much their interpretation contradicts the teachings of the church. I guess it does not occur to them to widen the field of inquiry and question the possible consequences that will likely come from violating the very nature and purpose of family, which, as the pope reminds us, is at the very core of the inviolable dignity of human life.
Overall, we cannot deny that we are becoming people who reason without God, who put man first, worldly goods and affairs second and–if we consider Him at all, God last of all. I think it’s time to ask if we can anymore be identified as Christians from what we say and do.
There are things we must do
What Christian hasn’t heard the commandment: love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind and love our neighbor as our self?
To do that, our faith teaches we should look at everything in light of the example of Christ. Theological scholars teach that the imitation of Christ is the highest practice of virtue.
If our eyes are set on Christ, surely we notice how whenever we see Him in relation to any conflict between God, man and the goods of the world, Christ puts God first, man second and the material goods or affairs of the world last of all. In imitation of Christ are we not to do the same?
Then, why do we create notions separately from God? Why do we invert the order: put man first, the goods and affairs of the world next and God last of all?
Christ said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The way I reason we could not be given a more straightforward insight into how God wants us to act. If we were in the womb would we want life taken from us? If we were in need of life-saving drugs would we want them priced beyond our means? If we were hungry would we want to be fed? If we were lost would we want to be found? If we were to want heaven would we want to be led astray from God?
We can see that Christ was always and everywhere kind. What we don’t often see or fail to consider is that his kindness was always for the very evident purpose of joining souls to God. To my way of thinking, one of the greatest lessons we must take from Christ is his determination to follow the will of the Father.
We must imitate Christ
In other words, if any one of us were to be asked what kindness of character is or what charity in action does, the answer would be well put to say. “It is the imitation of Christ.”
From all that we see of our God, if we are each to follow the example of Christ, we must love God above all else, deny our self for the sake of his will and give to others what we would want for our self in their position.
Kindness is the character that moves the virtue of charity into action
Certainly, charity is not only one of God’s greatest gifts to the world, it is also the greatest of all virtues. Biblical scholars point out that faith and hope are resolved issues in heaven but charity is a major part of what everlasting life with God is all about.
Pope Francis recently said that even atheists often have a hand in doing good things. That is true.
Nevertheless, I do think the caveat should be that away from the hand of God kindness and charity can become tactical weapons for evil. History is full of examples of this.
There is no running from the fact that, no matter how grand the intentions, kindness and charity, if it they are not considered in relation to God, have no relationship to the truth of God. God created the world. It is His truth that must be our concern because His truth is our reality. God’s truth crosses all boundaries of life.
There is great charity in God’s truth
Without God’s truth, we have no reality, no basis for goodness. What we have, instead, is the path to ruin.
Think about it. Just the notions of kindness and charity make people feel important and gives everyone, giver and taker, hope and purpose. It is no wonder how easily people are called into action–even evil action–under the banner of charity.
We must remind ourselves that true kindness is the practice of truth, and when it is not, its alluring ways can lead people astray, into a false sense of charity and away from God.
I think it’s fair to say that God has given us a decent shot at salvation. I think we should do all we can to abide by His truth. It, therefore, makes no sense at all to help people feel good about what they are doing when we see them on the path to hell. That would not be kind. That would not be charitable.
Pope Francis is always reminding us that virtue authentically lived is the example of Christ, to live with the sole purpose of joining with him in everlasting life. From all that I see and hear, it is only a fool that believes otherwise.