Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Reverend Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

4/3/2014 (10 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As Christians, we claim to be the followers of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. St. Paul repeatedly admonished his people to walk honorably as in the daylight. But how do you know if you are doing so?

As Christians, we claim to be the followers of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World.  St. Paul repeatedly admonished his people to walk honorably as in the daylight.  But how do you know if you are doing so?  Let me offer a brief examination of conscience, which can serve as an acid test for your own blindness or insight. When the media attack Christian values, what is your reaction?  When the polls inform us that x% of Catholics approve of practices contrary to the Catholic Faith, what is your conclusion?  When the Church, which offers the light of Christ to the world, challenges your own personal behavior with the unfailing standard of the Gospel, what is your response?  When political messiahs present you with an attractive social or economic package but likewise peddle immorality, do you vote for God or Mammon?  When the pseudo-intellectuals in our midst today, who have been blinded by their own enlightenment, serve up their pontifications, do you heed them?  If you do not choose Christ and His Church, you are blinder than the Pharisees or the French anti-clericals ever were!  Choosing the light means both thinking the right thoughts and performing the right actions.

Highlights

By Reverend Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/3/2014 (10 months ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: light, living faith, eyes of faith, Christian courage, moral life, heroic virtue,


FALL RIVER, MA (Catholic Online) - This past Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, the Church observed "Laetare Sunday," "Rejoicing Sunday" because Lent is more than half-way over.  Visually, this theme is evoked as the priest replaces the somber purple vestments of Lent with rose-colored ones.  Many times , the prayers of the Sacred Liturgy sounded the theme of joy, often connected with light and enlightenment.

Have you ever lost your sight - even temporarily?  Have you ever been plunged into darkness unexpectedly?  It is a frightening, fearsome thing.  Darkness/light, night/day, and blindness/sight are themes frequently repeated by St. John in his Gospel because he wanted to teach some important truths about Jesus and the nature of Christianity through these familiar human experiences of reality.

In the third chapter of St. John's Gospel, we are allowed to eavesdrop on the dialogue between Our Lord and Nicodemus, a leading Pharisee who - at the same time - is a disciple of Jesus, approaching Him only under the cover of darkness.  Christ reminds Nicodemus that there is an intimate connection between walking in the darkness and doing evil deeds and between walking in the light and performing righteous deeds.
 
Six chapters later in Sundays passage, the Evangelist has this theological lesson acted out or dramatized for us in the cure of the man born blind.  There, we see a study in contrast presented for our consideration.  We meet the  man born blind, through no fault of his own; he is eager to see both spiritually and physically - he is open to the workings of God. 

Then we encounter the Pharisees, who have physical sight, but they have become spiritually blinded because they have lost all perspective; instead of rejoicing at the healing of the blind man, they react to the fact that Jesus has healed him on the Sabbath.  These men prove true the adage which says, "There are none so blind as those who will not see."  What John has done, then, is to present us with examples of two types of people we always have with us:  People who are willing to accept Jesus as the Light of the World, and people who are unwilling to do so.

Some time back I viewed the video of  Francois Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites.  Although it lacks the excitement or lyricism of a Puccini opera, it contains a powerful message.  The action occurs in France during the French Revolution and zeroes in on one Carmelite convent, which becomes a symbol or microcosm for every other religious house at that time. 

If you recall your history, that period was also known as the Enlightenment, which prided itself on replacing the God of Revelation with the god of unaided human reason.  It was, of course, characterized by an active hostility toward religion.  As the plot unfolds, the revolutionary forces offer the Religious a choice: Give up your convents and habits, or give up your heads.  As a result, thousands of clergy and Religious were martyred - the first fruits of the so-called Enlightenment.

When man exceeds his bounds; when he is blind to his human limitations; when he tries to be like God; the enlightenment which follows is, in reality, darkness.  The Enlightenment continues to have a pernicious influence on our culture, bringing in its wake every kind of disaster from abortion-on-demand, to family breakdown, to sexual promiscuity, to materialism, to teenage suicide.  Man has attempted to experience enlightenment without Christ, with the result that the darkness has never been deeper, the blindness has never been more devastating.

Returning to our opera, we see that as the guillotine hits each nun's neck, the blindness of their persecutors in their hatred for Christ's truth becomes eminently clear.  Then true Enlightenment dawns on the crowds, who gradually stop their barbaric cheering of the violence and are forced to consider the witness of these rather unexceptional but holy women - women who were bearers of light in one of history's darkest hours.  They succeeded in bringing people from blindness, to sight, to genuine insight. 

An interesting historical note: So impressive were the courage and fidelity of those nuns and so negative the reaction of the people to their deaths that they were the last victims of a public execution for the remainder of the French Revolution.  Like Jesus, their witness to truth and love brought peace and reconciliation.

As Christians, we claim to be the followers of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World.  St. Paul repeatedly admonished his people to walk honorably as in the daylight.  But how do you know if you are doing so?  Let me offer a brief examination of conscience, which can serve as an acid test for your own blindness or insight.

When the media attack Christian values, what is your reaction?  When the polls inform us that x% of Catholics approve of practices contrary to the Catholic Faith, what is your conclusion?  When the Church, which offers the light of Christ to the world, challenges your own personal behavior with the unfailing standard of the Gospel, what is your response? 

When political messiahs present you with an attractive social or economic package but likewise peddle immorality, do you vote for God or Mammon?  When the pseudo-intellectuals in our midst today, who have been blinded by their own enlightenment, serve up their pontifications, do you heed them?  If you do not choose Christ and His Church, you are blinder than the Pharisees or the French anti-clericals ever were!  Choosing the light means both thinking the right thoughts and performing the right actions.

On Laetare Sunday, Christ the Light of the world asked you: Can you see, truly see - which is to say, are you walking in the light of a Christian day and thus do you truly have cause to rejoice?

---


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


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2015
General Intention:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Missionary Intention: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Living Faith

What Does the Lord Jesus Mean When He Calls us to Be Perfect? Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The character of Jesus Christ is being formed in each one of us as we say yes - and choose to cooperate with the Lord who is making us new, every day.  Perhaps our problem is rooted in understanding - and responding - to this call to be perfect. Perhaps it is ... continue reading


Making a Lenten Retreat with Pope Francis: Learning from Elijah Watch

Image of There is a mystery here, deep and profound, yet as simple as the broom tree encounter of our teacher Elijah. God is searching for men and women who will surrender their lives in love to Him in this hour. Often, it takes the depletion of all of our own efforts and resources before we are willing to give up - and give in - to Him. When we do, the life of true faith begins. It is there we learn to hear the God of surrendered love in the whisper of the wind. It is there that we learn the Faith of Elijah, under the broom tree.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In many respects, our life on this earth is a classroom of love and a continual invitation to holiness. As we age, we are given the opportunities we need to receive the graces we need to empty ourselves of all that clutters up our life - so that we can be free to ... continue reading


ISIS is not the first to persecute Christians, a look at the Roman persecutions of the early Church (PART ONE) Watch

Image of St. James the Greater, one of the first Christian martyrs.

By Robert Mullen (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is a sad and disheartening fact that many Christians suffer from constant-and often brutal-persecution today, most visibly in places like the Middle East where the Islamic State rules, or in Asian nations like India or China where Christianity is a ... continue reading


Vatican deeply apologizes for Pope Francis' Argentina 'Mexicanization' comment Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis did not mean any offense - but in a private email about his native land Argentina's drug trafficking issues, the pope expressed concern over Argentina's "Mexicanization." The Vatican is now trying to clarify and apologize to any parties that may ... continue reading


UPDATE: Two years after resignation Pope Emeritus Benedict said to be doing well Watch

Image of Pope Emeritus Benedict is said to be in better health since his resignation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With Pope Francis in the spotlight, many wonder what is happening with Pope Emeritus Benedict, who is keeping true to his pledge to remain out of the public eye. For the curious, we have good news, Pope Emeritus Benedict is doing well, if not even better than before. ... continue reading


Beating swords into plowshares

Image of

By Tony Magliano

"In the days to come, the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills," writes the prophet Isaiah. "Many peoples shall come and say: Come, let us go up to the Lord's mountain . that he may instruct us in his ... continue reading


Andrew M. Greenwell: St. Bonaventure on Counsel Watch

Image of

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

In Bonaventure's analysis of this gift of counsel, there are three steps to sound counsel, which we may also call distinctions.  Counsel relates to whether something is permitted, and, if permitted, whether it is appropriate, and, if permitted and ... continue reading


Pope Francis wants you to pray to end Christian persecution. But will Catholics answer him?

Image of Christians face more than the Islamic State. Destitute, they lack sanitation, privacy, food and water, and their spiritual end educational needs aren't being met. A tremendous effort will be needed to restore these people. Let us pray.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With the mass kidnapping of over 100 Christians in Syria, it has become painfully clear that the Islamic State thinks nothing of targeting innocent civilians and children, threatening, enslaving and murdering anyone whose faith is different. We need now, more than ... continue reading


Saint Gregory of Narek to become 36 Doctor of the Church Watch

Image of An image of Saint Gregory of Narek on an illuminated manuscript.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An Armenian monk and poet from the 10th-century has been named a Doctor of the Universal Church by Pope Francis, an announcement which may be timed coming so close before the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, in which over a million Armenians were ... continue reading


Join Pope Francis and Christians around the world in a Global Day of Prayer to STOP the violent persecution of Christians at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists

Image of The world is asked to join in prayer to end the grave dangers Christians face around the globe.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

We have come to a time of great trial and tribulation in the Church. Christians around the world face more persecution today than they did in ancient Rome. On a daily basis, Christians are being martyred only because they refuse to renounce their faith. It is time for ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Psalms 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
4 I pleaded with Yahweh my God and made this ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
15 Costly in Yahweh's sight is the death of his ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 9:2-10
2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James ... Read More

Reading 2, Romans 8:31-34
31 After saying this, what can we add? If God is for ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 1st, 2015 Image

St. David
March 1: According to tradition, St. David was the son of King Sant of ... 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