Sunday, February 03, 2013

A need for Jesus


Save us, O Lord our God

These are words that should begin this weekend's Masses, we Catholics are not that good at speaking about the Lord as Saviour.  Being English probably makes us more reticent.

It demands not only admitting we were lost but also that we have a need for the Lord, a continuing need. Without him we are nothing. "What good would life have been to us had Christ not come as great Redeemer".

I am pretty useless at bringing back the lapsed, it probably isn't
my fault, to give up the faith has as its bottom of the line saying Jesus and his Church have nothing to offer me and I do not need him. It is probably easier to convert an atheist than to restore to full communion someone who has known God and rejected him, thankfully God himself doesn't want to lose anyone and so some do return.

Reading bits and pieces about Cardinal Mahoney and his successor distancing of himself from him after revelations of a massive cover-up of sexual abuse, though I feel sorry for Mahoney, I am rather glad that the age of men like him is passing. Apart from the cover-up, Mahoney created a Church following his own lights and insights. As an outside observer it seems  as if in Los Angeles one was called, in some sense, to believe in Mahoney rather than Christ. He was nicknamed, "the Pharoah", and the notorious annual Religious Education Conferences he fronted seemed to celebrate him and his vision rather than Christ. For me, he summed up the worst 'Americanism' and Modernism, ultimately it seemed to be about pride.

Pride pushes out our need for Christ, effective evangelism must have something to do with humility and speaking about our own personal need for Christ. In the same way growth in faith only comes through understanding our deep need for Christ. In today's gospel his fellow citizens wanted to destroy Jesus because they saw no need for him.

As Christians we need to ask if we ourselves actually do we need him. Regular Confession teaches us humility and to recognise our need for him.


4 comments:

Physiocrat said...

There is no shortage of Catholics talking enthusiastically about their faith in a series called Journey Home on EWTN

When someone mentioned them I was sceptical on account of them being American but they are worth watching.

Cosmos said...

From this side of the Atlantic I find the knee-jerk disparagment of American Catholicism sad.

America has always been's Europe's little brother philosophically: like the Greeks to the Romans. All the big intellectual movements that are infecting the Church, or have taken on some uniquely American form over here, ultimately began in Europe. Europe is, and almost always has, lead the West philosophically.

I also think America is significantly more resistant to the reckless anti-Christian nonsense so central to the most modern beurachracies. Over here, our current President's mandating of contraception, for example, has caused a heated national debate and real problems.

The biggest difference is Americans have an embarassing body of poorly-educated "evangelical" Protestants that have kept the embers of the Christian worldview smoldering even as our elite try to snuff it out of well-mannered society. Ironically, this blog post has done all but quote their basic mantra: "Do you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?" That "silly" little question represents exactly what has been lost in all the Christianity of the educated West--certainly including England.

Long story short, I think the Church in the U.S.--as bad as it is--is in a lot better shape than in most European nations, including England. Our bad bishops are certainly not worse than Europe's.

wretchedwithhope said...

The 'stealth' evangelism of most parishes in the year of faith is probably a good thing since the sort of catholicism being peddled is catholic blancmange. My parish priest made a joke about a booklet with traditional prayers in it being distributed as a complete waste of money. It included more teaching on Christ and His Church than I'd heard in a year of homilies.

I made the mistake of inviting my mother - born and raised Catholic, now in her 70's, hasn't been to Mass in decades - along to Midnight Mass at the Cathedral. It was unrecognisable to her - the sermon was crass, the altar servers young men and women looked like a pagan procession - i could go on - and despite the fact that they included a couple of carols in Latin, all it did was confirm in her mind that there was no Church to return to. The mass distribution of the host literally left right and centre at the end was the last straw - we left 'early'.

Mr Grumpy said...

Another of your posts where one of the paragraphs appears on my computer with a column width of one character - so I've endured a fair bit of torment in reading it. Worth it, though - Amen to everything you say.