Christians are called to ‘Hold up the Sky’
It seems wherever I look Christians are afraid, complaining, or worse, actually causing others to succumb to fear or despair.
We are called to follow the One who stretched out His arms and embraced the whole world on that second tree on Calvary’s hill, doing for us what we could never do for ourselves. That Cross brought heaven to earth and earth to heaven, forming a bridge between them. With His great act of surrendered love, He who knew no sin ended the separation which resulted from it and created the world anew in Himself.
I fear that the condition of too many Christians these days is more akin to the fear demonstrated by Chicken Little than to the faith to which we are all called by Baptism. It seems wherever I look Christians are afraid, complaining, or worse, actually causing others to succumb to fear or despair. What happened to faith, hope and love, those “theological virtues” infused within us when we rose from those waters? Why, of all people, do those who know the real King and Sovereign of the entire universe so easily give in to the kind of crippling fear which is such an impediment to living faith?
I made a decision today which I invite my readers to consider. I am going to put up my spiritual umbrella every morning before I even open up my E Mails. Oh, do not get me wrong, I pray every morning. I could not do what I do daily and wear all these “hats” that accompany my specific vocation without having that intimate morning communion with the Lord. Only, I usually open up my E Mail’s over that cup of coffee before I pray. No more.
Too many “Chicken Littles” are using this great treasure of virtual community called the World Wide Web to throw acorns and I need my umbrella! For example, every morning I receive what can only be described as verbal missives from this one prolific Doctor who has decided he has a call to alarm everyone. I have decided today to add him to my blocked senders list. I have tried writing him notes of faith, encouragement and hope, but frankly he cannot seem to find one thing right with the world. Worse than that, he is constantly critical of the Church to which he belongs, sadly exhibiting a real lack of supernatural vision and ecclesial understanding.
Please, do not think that I am suffering from naïveté. I have been in the trenches for years. I truly grasp the gravity of the very real challenges and struggles we face in this contemporary culture of death. I understand the deep effects of what our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI rightly called the “Dictatorship of Relativism.” I know how hard it is to live as a Christian husband, father, grandfather, deacon, lawyer and activist in an age which has lost its moral compass.
However, perhaps because I have also spent years studying our Christian history, I also know that none of this is new. For example, the early Christians who went into a declining Roman empire had to contend with a culture of death that accepted as normal the placing of unwanted infants out on rocks to be either eaten by animals or taken by slave traders. It was a practice called “exposure.” Those early followers of Jesus Christ - and many, many other Christians throughout the ages - also had to face the rancid fruit that always accompanies a culture’s descent into hedonism and self idolatry. However, they went into their cultures as leaven and light, filled with faith, hope and love - and so must we.
We are called to follow the One who stretched out His arms and embraced the whole world on that second tree on Calvary’s hill, doing for us what we could never do for ourselves. That Cross brought heaven to earth and earth to heaven, forming a bridge between them. With His great act of surrendered love, He who knew no sin ended the separation which resulted from it and created the world anew in Himself. (See, 2 Cor. 5: 17 – 21) From the wounded side of the New Man, the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, the Church was formed and that Church is called to continue His redemptive work until He returns to complete the total recapitulation of all things. He defeated death by Death and through His glorious Resurrection He mediates the hope that we who bear His name can walk in, if we choose to do so.
So, let the acorns fall all around you, I assure you the sky is not falling, even if it appears to be. In fact, Christians are the ones called to hold the sky up for others by living our lives now in Christ and helping those bound by the fear of death to find new life in the One who conquered it. “Now since the children share in blood and flesh, he likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life” (Heb 2:14-15)
I for one am going to practice a “new technology” version of what has long been called “custody of the eyes” in Moral theology. I am going to stop reading the growing number of naysayers in the camp who are losing the supernatural sight which is informed by faith and fueled by Christian hope. They are the Chicken Little’s of our own time and seem to have forgotten their umbrellas. Our Catechism reminds us in one of its numerous treatments concerning hope that “The first commandment is also concerned with sins against hope, namely, despair and presumption”. (CCC #2091)
By the way, remember the end of that little childhood story: “Chicken Little always carried an umbrella with her when she walked in the woods. The umbrella was a present from the king. And if — KERPLUNK — an acorn fell, Chicken Little didn't mind a bit. In fact, she didn't notice it at all.” Christians are called to ‘Hold up the Sky’
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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