WANTED: Lepers and Prophets
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By Michael Seagriff
8/16/2018 (10 months ago)
Harvesting The Fruits of Contemplation (https://harvestingthefruitsofcontemplation.blogspot.com/)
Few people warm up to lepers or prophets. That is most unfortunate.
In Jesus' time, lepers were shunned.
In Jesus' time, lepers were shunned. Rarely would they show themselves in public and when they did so they kept their distance from the rest of the community - warning those nearby of their diseased presence by their voices and/or by ringing bells.
What great courage and faith it took for them to seek Jesus out. They knew He was the source of mercy, forgiveness, healing and eternal life. They begged Him to have mercy on them and cleanse them physically. Jesus, defying the norms of His day, not only approached them, He touched and healed them. Unfortunately, true to human nature, not all of those cured expressed their thanksgiving and gratitude for the opportunity at a new life.
Man's ingratitude toward His God has continued over the centuries.
As the undeserved beneficiaries of God's mercy and spiritual healing, how have we expressed our gratitude to Him? What portion of the 168 hours in each week that He gives us, have we given back to Him by talking to Him, listening to Him, adoring Him and spending time in His Presence?As best as I can recall from my reading of Scripture over the years, prophets fared little better than lepers in the reception they received. It was an important but difficult and painful task for those chosen to share God's words. Not many of the Lord's prophets were willing ones. Can you blame them? No one wants to constantly hear "Here's trouble. All he ever does is focus on the negative. He'll have nothing positive, to say." Much of what these messengers had to share were predictions of captivity, destruction, doom, eternal damnation and war. Few were thrilled about serving in that capacity. One became so discouraged, he sought death rather than the treatment to which he was subjected. They rarely felt welcomed; they were often despised, ignored, imprisoned or killed. Some tried to flee from their duties.
Let me ask you: Who are the reluctant and ignored lepers and prophets in our midst today? Who are those who are criticized for being negative, for scolding, and for upsetting the feelings of those to whom they share God's messages? - anyone who points out the obvious but ignored Truth -that we have lost the sense of the Sacred in our Churches and reverence for and belief in our Lord's Eucharistic Presence here among us!
On Mount Horeb, God the Father told Peter, James, John and all who would hear of that event to listen to His Son. Over the ensuing centuries, so many souls have refused to hear. So, the lepers and prophets among us, must proclaim the following truths to God's often reluctant and deaf creatures:
We don't love God as we ought and as He deserves. We fail to provide Him the reverence to which He is entitled. We ignore Him and act like He is not really and substantially present here with us as a prisoner in the tabernacles of His churches. We offend Him and cause Him pain. We pierce His side with the lances of our indifference, disbelief and irreverence.
Why is this message so important? Because such conduct offends God, destroys priestly vocations, desecrates and devalues the Eucharist, and causes countless souls to be lost!The fastest growing group within religious denominations are those who have left the Catholic Church. It is commonly accepted that less than twenty-five percent of those identifying themselves as being Catholic attend Sunday Mass and among those that do, it is estimated that as many as seventy-five percent of them no longer believe that the Eucharist is the actual Body, Blood Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
The first step in solving the problems I have described is to acknowledge their existence and make their eradication priority number one. For some time now, our Church has been unwilling to do so. Do you want a forum, for example, to promote illegal immigration, universal health care, or the acceptance of the active homosexual lifestyle - no problem. Desire to address the irreverence in our Churches and lack of belief in the Real Presence of our Lord among us - not so much.
Our Church buildings are sacred places 'designated for divine worship... Only those things which serve the exercise or promotion of worship, piety, or religion are permitted' there. 'Anything not consonant with the holiness of the place is forbidden.' The Ordinary may, however, for individual cases, permit other uses, provided they are not contrary to the sacred character of the place (See Canon Law, Canons 1205 and 1210).
Just look around and ask yourself how does any of following conduct conform to these Canon Law provisions or promote a sense of the sacred or reverence for and belief in the Blessed Sacrament?
No tabernacle in the sanctuary, but organs, pianos, drums and an army of what were supposed to rarely used extraordinary minsters of Holy Communion abound
No reverent silence before and after Mass but loud raucous and inappropriate chatter tolerated
Little or no silent time after Communion for thanksgiving
Widespread acquiescence to sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion.
Disobedient priests who celebrate Mass irreverently, not fully vested and contrary to the rubrics of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal
Failure to promote Eucharistic Adoration or visits to the Blessed Sacrament
Unwillingness to have Benediction and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
Locked Church doors so no one can ever visit the Blessed Sacrament
Secular movies and concerts of secular music allowed in our Churches
Slideshow presentations highlighting the lives of the parish's high school graduates in lieu of homily or at the end of Mass
Coffee and snacks in the main body of the Church for a social hour
The obvious answer to the questions I posed above is they don't and they never will!
Tragically, there are countless other horrific examples one could share, all of which would further contribute to the loss of belief in and reverence for our Eucharistic Lord. Not enough of our bishops and priests have addressed these destructive abuses.
What then are we lay folk going to do about this? Our continued silence is not an acceptable option.
We need more lepers and prophets - those willing to speak the Truth, to challenge souls and to encourage and assist our priests and fellow parishioners in restoring a sense of the Sacred within our Churches and in the manner in which Holy Mass is celebrated and the Sacred Eucharist is treated. And, of course, the willingness to suffer the consequences for having the courage and faith to do so.
My blog where I promote zeal for the salvation of souls, awe and amazement for the Holy Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration, and fidelity to the Truths of our Catholic Faith.
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