Have you worn out your knees yet? Have your Rosary beads become smooth from the passage of your fingers over them again and again? The Lord knows the times we live in right now demand prayer and fasting and calls for the mercy of God upon us. I find myself frequently praying “deliver us from the fires of hell.” Unlike the massive forest fires to which I alluded a year ago – mere physical scourges – the fires of evil around us, creating spiritual destruction, are gaining strength.
One of the perks of being a lector is reading the Scriptures ahead of the Sunday liturgy. The ones scheduled for the 22ndSunday in Ordinary Time are extraordinarily appropriate to our times. St. James says people are deluding themselves if they think merely hearing the Word but not being doers of the Word will save souls. He calls for us to be unstained by the world. In other words, be in the world but not of it.
In the world but not of it. We are stuck here. This is where we need to earn our salvation amidst the snares of the devil. But we don’t have to be touched by it. Let the Bachelorettes and Masked Singers go their own way, we have been called to a different path.
Of course, in the Gospel, Jesus shoots from the hip on this: purifying things but not our souls will get us nowhere. You don’t go to hell for unclean hands or clothes or water jugs or beds – these things are actually listed in the Gospel. You go to hell for the sins that come from within.
“For from within, out of the heart of men, come evil thoughts, adulteries, immoralities,, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, shamelessness, jealousy, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.”Mark 7:21-23
If anyone thinks things work any way differently from that described by Jesus Christ Himself, they are delusional.
A benefit of being an older Catholics, having grown up right before Vatican II and at the hands of truly Catholic priests and nuns, is a huge mental rolodex of prayers from yesteryear. The Act of Faith came to mind as I thought about our times, when we see outward activities and words of leaders professing to go in one direction but are a smokescreen for their evil within. The Act of Faith ends with a confession of belief in God, “Because Thou canst neither deceive nor be deceived.” He who is Truth knows all and will judge all.
Meanwhile, back to the knees.
This article, Delusion is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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