“…The seed is the word of God. And they by the wayside are they that hear; then the devil cometh, and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved. Now they upon the rock are they who when they hear, receive the words with joy; and these have no roots, for they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they who have heard and going their way, are choked with cares and riches, and pleasures of life, and yield no fruit.” I am highlighting the Gospel reading of Sunday, February 20, 2020, Luke 8:4-15 from the Extraordinary Form.
The words “these have no roots” and “those among the thorns” struck my heart and have become part of my Lenten journey. I find these groups of people heartbreaking. I pray that their ears may hear and their hearts be changed as they once heard and knew the word of God. I can only use my emotions to glimpse at the heartbreak of God. They have been led astray by the temptation of man's vanity, pride, and greed—a clever trick of Satan and his fallen angels. Earthly pleasures by themselves are not evil. God wants us to experience the joy of life and His creation with gratitude and thanksgiving for His gifts.
With current world news, my heart turns towards two current world leaders who have Catholic and Orthodox roots but appear to have become “those among the thorns.” I highlight these two world leaders as examples of people who could be great healers of the world, uniting people in peace and elevating the human condition. Instead, they have succumbed to the popular secular ideals of modernism where man is supreme, and his emotions rule the kingdom. God becomes an old idea and relic. Leaders of nations have caused much pain and sorrow with no Godly reference point. The events of today's news bring witness and suffering close to home as my husband's family roots come from the Ukraine and Russia.
Godlessness is on the rise in the United States. We have suffered under movements taking God away from every aspect of life (through abortion) and death (assisted suicide wanting to gain legislative control in my state), as well as the moral and ethical decay of God’s natural law in His creative design. This godlessness comes at a cost, with more suffering to come as the forces of darkness become commonplace with increased allowances as status quo. Our religious leadership fails to call out the offenses of government wrongdoing but instead supports God shelved because of monies given to them by the government. Those religious who speak out against the Catholic Chao are chastised and discredited. Attempts to prevent the traditional Catholic liturgy from being offered to faithful Catholics is another suffering caused by leadership that wishes to change the nature of our Jesus’ established Church. The prayer of Ash Wednesday “ Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return” or “Repent and hear the Good News” are the wake-up calls of the season and the personal markers to check yourself and the state of your soul. As you leave this planet with only your soul despite what you think or feel.
Faithful Catholics have place their hope in the Lord. We know that Our Lady has crushed the head of Satan, and Jesus will return to set things right. In the meantime, we are the witnesses to this period of history in which the fruits of godlessness are coming to fruition, causing unnecessary suffering, pain, and sorrow. We will continue to suffer as long as men/women of goodwill do nothing to speak out and help to redirect the world back to God’s rightful place. Many say to me, Chaplain, “Why did God do this?" “Why doesn’t God fix this?” “How could God allow such tragedy and suffering?" The answer is that God doesn't go around creating problems for people. In fact, He has already provided humanity with salvation through the death of his son. It was always God's intention for his human creation to be happy with Him in paradise forever. However, man continues to walk away in disobedience, and yes, God justice does allow us to see the horror of a life without Him in tragedy and suffering. Yet even at our worse, He provides the nudge of grace and mercy so that we will turn back to Him.
All baptized Catholics have a duty to pray for the conversion of sinners and to bring people to Christ. If we are faithful and stay close to Him, God will provide us the grace and peace to live life during these difficult times. May those, who “heard and bared good fruit", do the work of penance and sacrifice for the world, for the religious, for broken families, and for souls and that we may help to convert the hearts of humankind. Only in the conversion of hearts will humanity find joy, beauty, and everlasting peace. Let our example be the light of Christ in the world.
Please visit Insights under the Spirituality tab for a helpful YouTube and my new favorite prayer. As always, your comments are welcomed.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.