POLITICIANS, PRIESTS, AND BILLY GRAHAM

It’s always dismaying to read (or write) about “the state of the Church” — and especially on a Sunday.

Since giving up many of the teachings, traditions, and now even doctrines of 2,000 year-old Christianity,  the Modernized Church has weakened, stumbled, fell, skinned its knees, dirtied its face, and is  limping along towards further trouble.

How far along has this process gone?   All the way, I’d say.    Recently, in a church near me,   a priest was acting like a politician and gave a sermon that instructed the people on gun control, border walls, and racism.    Whatever you think of these Hot Button Leftist Talking Points,   most people would instinctively know that this is not what sermons should be about,  nor is it the role of the priest to act as a politician.

Don’t Leftists believe in “separation of church and state”?    (That’s a mild jab from me, with a smile.)

Before I go back to What Happened Next in that church,   here is what the role of a priest traditionally is,  Church teaching from St. John Eudes:

The priest is an evangelist and an apostle whose
chief work is to preach publicly and privately,
by word and example, the Gospel of Jesus
Christ; to continue and perpetuate the functions
that the apostles were commissioned to perform
and to practise the virtues that they practised  
His duty is to make them worthy to possess in eternity
the very kingdom of the Sovereign Monarch of
the world.
In a word, the priest embodies a world of grace
and benediction for the entire Church, but
especially for that portion which God has called
him to govern and guide.

 

The words were printed in the Scottish newsletter*, so that’s why the spelling of some words is different. This portion is just a small part of the saint’s teaching about priests,  but it’s an example of how far from secular politics is the duty of any Roman Catholic priest.

The duty of a priest is the things of God.  However in the local church that I began to write about, the words of that priest were so emotionally incendiary (patterned after the reporting presented by our entertainment-news media:  arouse the people!!),  so arousing, that a man got up in the back of the church and shouted out  his disapproval to the priest and then left the building.

Now, according to reports,  the word “panicked”  was used at least three times.   The people in the church “panicked”  because of the shouts (of the man who had quickly left) and police were called, reports were made, etc., etc.

So –  divisive politics strikes close to home.    I wonder about that scene.    I wonder about our society that has produced people so easily “panicked,”  whatever that meant.   I wonder about the psychological soundness of people with weakened faith (maybe through no fault of their own – living in such a changed Modernized church) –

Opposed to this scene is the teaching of the Church:     For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (II Timothy 1:7)       

As much as I’d like to comment on that verse,   it brings me to Billy Graham, whose biography I saw tonight in a documentary, which happened to be on TV after NASCAR!  (Happily for me.)

However many ways you can look at the man, Billy Graham had greatness and he was important to a wide variety of Americans.     His words changed lives.      As I listened to this documentary,  I was struck by how firmly he stuck to his message:

1.   Every man, deep down is longing for something; he has a hole to be filled:   “Everyone is born with a God-shaped hole in his heart.”   “The heart is restless until it rests in Thee.”  (St. Augustine)    Or listen  to Blaise Pascal about the abyss in our hearts:

What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”
– Blaise Pascal, Pensées VII(425)

2.   From there Billy Graham goes on to state that  not only do we all feel an emptiness,  but we also know, deep down, that we are sinners.

3.   God loved the world so much that He sent His Son to die for us, to “take away”  our sins, to give us new life, and to create a soul worthy of Heaven, sharing in his divine life.
Period.

4.    “If you want to have peace with God, come forward . . .”    in those big crusade auditoriums.     Don’t misunderstand me,  I’m being respectful.

With God (the Third Person of the Trinity) living in you,  you have  increasing faith, which leads to peace and spiritual health, strength, and a sound mind.

I think that factors in somehow to wondering about a “panicked”  congregation whose emotions were so stoked that a shout from the back of the room led to  fear for personal safety.

Fear does not come from God.   (Direct quote from Malachi Martin!)

But “Panic”  comes from the god Pan, according to the Greeks.   In other words,  from evil entities in enmity with God and man, all flourishing in a time of a weakened Church.

  _____________________________________________________

 

There are some priests who strive to resemble St. Eudes’  description as partially quoted above.    All is not lost.    The priest I see each week reminds us frequently that it’s his job to  help us live holy lives –   he’s rather young, he works hard at it, even to the detriment of his own health, as I’m observing.        Just thought he deserves some praise.

 ________________________________________________________

.*  CatholicTruthScotland

 

 

 

 

 

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