Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Refuge of Sinners

The Church is the the refuge of sinners. Father Antonio Grossi, one of my late mentors and spiritual fathers in the Holy Faith and of our Church, use to tell me all the time that "Ecclesia refugium peccatroum" (The Church is the refuge of sinners). He reminded me that we must welcome all souls into the Church, the unchurched, the confused, those whose lifestyles did not reflect Christian living, etc. In the same breath he reminded me of what he was taught before he became a priest: "Rimanete fedele alla Chiesa," (Remain faithful to the Church). Father Grossi understood the Church, he knew ecclesiology and he adhered to it throughout his ministry as a priest until his death in 2007. His loyalty was to Christ and His Church, not to passing things of this world.

Today, so many expect that we should change the Church's teaching to accommodate the trends of the world. The world has lost the sense of sin and spiritual blindness ensues. We must love all people and welcome them to the Holy Table so that the holy Sacraments operative in their lives can work to bring about healing and closer union with the Lord. We must conform our will to that of God and the Church He established and not on passing pleasures, trends, desires, emotions...these things all pass away. We must live now for the life of Heaven. This may cause us consternation because the ascetical life is not easy, it is an entering into the spiritual desert with the Lord. Unfortunately, today we have those who have become comfortable with sin, complacent with doing their own will. We are reminded by St. Paul the Apostle, when he was writing to the Roman people, "And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is good, and acceptable, and the perfect will of God," (Romans 12:2). This requires us to rise above the comfort zone of trying to be in bed with the world and at the same time follow the Will of God.
Christ said: "I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the Evil One. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world," (John 17: 14-16). 

Through our Baptism we have been divinely adopted as sons and daughters of God and restored to Grace. This occurs at holy Baptism but then it becomes our personal responsibility to maintain it, keeping our lives in conformity with His Church and the Holy Word. It may be difficult but the Christian cannot serve two masters. If there are things in our lives that we need to adjust then we should work diligently to adjust them and allow our hearts and minds to conform to the Christian life and all that it represents. 

We have to love one another. This does not mean that we have to turn our back on the Church and the Scriptures to make this happen. Love does mean we have to accept everything one does in his or her life. We can love the person and detest the sin. Sin divides the Church, it causes division, anger. frustration, isolation, hatred, etc., because it is selfish and based in pride. 

Let us be faithful to the Church and the authority Christ placed over the Church to safeguard what He divinely revealed and passed down to us through the first bishops, namely the Holy Apostles. 

Focus question: How am I allowing my mind to be transformed from the ways of the world and conformed to the holy Will of God? What needs to change in my life today?

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