Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Randy Sly

6/29/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

What to do with a leprous nation.

What attracts me to this subject is a fundamental change in the values of society as a whole. This has me vexed. Not only do I find homosexual activists celebrating the victory, but - from social media - I see members of my extended family, acquaintances and former work associates joining in the festivities, citing some type of great altruistic victory for mankind.

Highlights

By Fr. Randy Sly

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/29/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: leprosy, gospel, patriot, patriotism, culture, moral, values, Catholic


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Most of us are still reeling from the Supreme Court decision released earlier this week regarding marriage. Rehearsing the issue one more time will not help us come up with any additional insights per se as people much smarter than I have already weighed in.

What attracts me to this subject is a fundamental change in the values of society as a whole. This has me vexed. Not only do I find homosexual activists celebrating the victory, but - from social media - I see members of my extended family, acquaintances and former work associates joining in the festivities, citing some type of great altruistic victory for mankind.

In reflecting on this while studying the gospel passage for today, a theme emerged that I want to explore - that we are becoming a leprous nation.

In Matthew's Gospel, chapter 8 verses 1 through 4,, we are now finished with the Christ's Sermon on the Mount. As Jesus comes down the mountain, he is met by a leper who wanted to be made clean.

Leprosy was a major problem in New Testament times. Those who were infected were exiled into colonies to keep their contagious disease from spreading. Many lepers were horribly disfigured by the disease and often concealed their appearances when around the general public.

Scholars disagree as to the exact nature of leprosy, believing that it not only included what would be considered leprosy today but also other diseases that disfigured or affected people with physical changes. Whether or not that is the case, the condition, which we now call Hansen's Disease, was definitely a major contributor to the leper population.

We normally think of leprosy as a skin disorder, it's greatest impact in in the peripheral nervous system that extends from the brain and spinal cord. Those stricken can experience disfigurement of the skin and bones, including tumors. The limbs can be twisted and fingers curled like a claw. Sometimes the nose will collapse and the outer ear will grow thick.

The greatest impact, however, comes from the bacterium, which destroys nerve endings that carry pain signals to the brain. Lepers, upon losing pain sensitivity, are subject to injury and infection without knowing that anything is wrong.

As I read over this gospel passage again and again, I'm reminded of the different kinds of leprosy that we can experience. Through the constant bombardment by the world the flesh and the devil, we can become dulled in the heart and undergo a kind of spiritual leprosy. This seems to be what our nation is going through right now.

For example, it would seem that we, as a society, no longer seem to have the same sensitivity to the pain of sin as we used to have. Not only do we see our courts dulled to moral virtue and the common good, a growing segment of our population seem to be unaware that their consciences are no longer pricked by overt sensuality, abuses regarding the dignity of the human person, the death of unborn children and the decay of language, among other things.

In January of 2003, Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon authored an editorial in Touchstone Magazine that highlighted the very concern I'm raising. Ten years ago the spotlight was particularly on abortion. Now natural marriage and religious liberty are also at risk.

"We are not convinced, therefore," Fr. Reardon writes, "that a judicial reversal of Roe v. Wade, though it remains a favor much to be craved, would necessarily diminish the number of legal abortions performed in this country. More likely, such a development would simply shift the pertinent political agitation back to the state legislatures, where, we suspect, the pro-life cause would lose more battles than its proponents contemplate. Law and politics, we contend, lie downstream from culture, and the current cultural state of our nation, particularly with respect to abortion, seems to us not one whit better than it was during the years leading up to 1973.

"Politics and law, we said, lie downstream from culture. Therefore, the real and deeper dilemma, the dilemma arguably as disturbing as abortion itself, is cultural." (Underscores are from me)

We are not only facing a political battle but a cultural epidemic, where a segment of the population has been infected and no longer sensitive to the moral and spiritual values that were inherently present at the founding of our nation. Truly, our founders probably never envisioned that this would happen.

We are not the first nation to experience this, nor will we be the last. The problem remains, however, that without some kind of major intervention, this leprous condition will simply destroy its host.

During the brief history of the United States there have been some great spiritual awakenings. The term "awakening" seems quite appropriate as many seemed to awaken from their spiritual passivity and re-connect with their faith. Called "revivals" or "renewals" by some, these events seemed to be introduced into a culture with some surprise. The same can be said for similar movements of God in Great Britain and Europe.

While these events almost appeared out of nowhere, most who studied these phenomena have realized that they have occurred as a result of fervent and constant prayer by those concerned with the current state of affairs.

We are at the midpoint of the Fortnight of Freedom, which has been proclaimed by our bishops as a time of prayer and intercession for our nation. We are being called upon to fulfil our responsibilities as Catholic patriots in called America back to God.

It would seem that without divine intervention we are heading for harder times. Yet, the spread of leprosy can be abated when those affected will, as in today's reading describes, cry out to the Lord and say, "Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean."

This is not a time to give up; this is a time to stand up and pray.

Our first prayer should be for our Church, that God would awaken the sleepers who need to join the rest of us in this season of intercession. We need to pray for the grace and strengthening of God to enliven them to action.

At World Youth Day in the year 2000 in Rome, Pope John Paul II looked out on the millions of young men and women present and said, It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.

These are the qualities of the army of intercessors needed today!

Then we need to pray for our nation and our leaders, praying fervently and regularly.

A quote from Edmund Burke perhaps may be overused in recent days, yet the truth that underlies his comment is anything but cliché. He said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Now is not the time to do nothing. Let us stand up as Catholic patriots and pray that the healing hand of the Lord be extended over the leprosy of the land.

-----
 
Father Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and a priest with the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (http://usordinariate.org) established by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, through the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. He is currently the chaplain of the St. John Fisher Ordinariate Community, a priest in residence at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church and Director of Pro-Life Activities for the Ordinariate. He is a popular speaker for parishes, apostolates and organizations.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Year of Faith

The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading


A Meditation on the Sacred Heart of Jesus: My Heart to Gods Heart Watch

Image of

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, O burning furnace of divine Love, you are the symbol and summary of the whole mystery of our Redemption.  O mystery of mysteries, an infinite Love which no vessel can contain emptied itself into a finite human vessel of love-and so became ... continue reading


Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading


Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading


The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading


Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading


The Kingdom of God is Among You. What Did Jesus Mean? Watch

Image of The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. Indeed, we call an apostolate every activity of the Mystical Body that aims to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. (CCC#863)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. Upon his return it will be made complete and fully manifested in a new heaven and a new earth. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present here and now - as seed and sign for a world which is in labor. ... continue reading


Year of Faith: Bringing the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to Life Watch

Image of The Feast of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated in both the Eastern and Western Churches. It recalls the day in the life of the Jewish girl named Mary (Maryam) when her parents, Joachim and Anne, presented her to the Lord in the temple and dedicated her life to Him.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, let us make the choice to surrender ourselves to the same Lord who Joachim and Ann honored when they presented their dear daughter in the temple. Their daughter, Mary, became the Second Eve. The New Creation was born through ... continue reading


WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Our Lady's Encouragement Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I got off the subway at Termini station and went up to the busy streets of Rome.  I had to walk past the place where all the prostitutes gathered.  I looked down at the street and began to pray in fear.  Suddenly I heard a feminine voice say, "Be a man!" ... continue reading


All Year of Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 9:1-12, 14-16
1 Job spoke next. He said:2 Indeed, I know ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:10-11, 12-13, 14-15
10 Do you work wonders for the dead, can shadows rise ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:57-62
57 As they travelled along they met a man on the road ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 1st, 2014 Image

St. Therese of Lisieux
October 1: Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter