God First

Dear friends in Christ:

This is a wonderful time of year on the church’s liturgical calendar – The Ascension, Pentecost, Holy Trinity, Corpus Christi, and The Feast of the Sacred Heart! These are all wonderful feasts. Unfortunately, they also coincide with summer vacations, graduations, First Communions, weddings, baseball, bar-b-ques, the beach, camping, etc. These are also good things, but we should not let them push these holy feasts out of our consciousness. Recently, I was reading Last Testament by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. In the foreword by Peter Seewald is a quote of Pope Benedict writing to the bishops of the world where the Holy Father states:

“The real problem at this moment of our history is that God is disappearing from the human horizon. By extinguishing the light of God’s approach humanity is losing its bearings with increasingly evident destructive effects.”   ~Pope Benedict XVI

This trend or movement is called Secularization and it is the main characteristic of our contemporary age. Simply put, we live with little or no reference to God in our world, in our decisions or in our lives. We make decisions and see ourselves, others, our jobs and all else without any consideration of God. We live our lives as though God does not exist.

Even for us who believe in God and love and worship him, too often we compartmentalize God in our lives. We keep God and our faith in God in a box and keep our faith separate from all other aspects of our lives. This secularism promotes a divorce of individuals and society from our past. By refusing to look to God and to see how he has cared for us and loved us in the past we are left impoverished in the present and even more so for the future. Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Pope Benedict’s former job) writes: “In reality, by rejecting faith in God, by losing sight of his bountiful generosity and the blessings we have from him in our life – that is, by losing our foundational memory, forgetting that he is our beginning and foundation…we have turned into little gods who refuse to reach deep into ourselves and who end up redefining our identity according to our whim.” With that statement alone each of us should spend some time in serious reflection and study.

So what should we do as individuals, as families, as a parish, as the church, as a society? What can we do? The answer is both complicated and yet simple. There are a few things and there are many things that we can do. The simplest answer is to always keep God front and center. “The fool says in his heart ‘there is no God!’” (Ps 14) We can also say that a person is a fool if they act as if there is no God! And there are lots of fools today! Look around your house – do you have nice things on the wall? Do you have anything to remind you of God? Look in your jewelry box? Nice things? Any religious things? Look at your schedule? Pretty busy, important matters to attend to, some leisure and entertainment? How much time for prayer, spiritual reading, weekly mass, charity work, ministry at church, adoration, the rosary? What are the problems or challenging situations you are currently facing? Who have you consulted and counselled with? Doctors? Lawyers? Therapists? Financial Planners? Life Coach? Spouse? Trusted friends? Have you taken it to the Lord in prayer? Asked for the help of the saints?

Too often, we fall victim to the spirit of this age and do not open ourselves to God. We don’t bring all of our decisions to the Lord. We do not keep God in front of us always or let him into every part of our being. We keep him boxed up, compartmentalized. We only let him deal with work problems if we are in trouble. We do not take our every day, mundane decisions and place them before him. This summer keep God before you! Celebrate not just the Astros and summer vacation, but the feasts of the Holy Trinity, Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart. Keep God ever before you!

In Pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately