Beyond Sodom and Gomorrah
A Cry in the Desert
We are in serious times, but not in impossible times. God is still in charge; He is always in charge; and we hold on to what His Mother Mary said in Pontmain, France, when she appeared in 1871, "But pray my children. God will soon answer your prayers. My Son allows Himself to be touched." Is not Our Lady saying, Our Lord is listening; He loves us and will keep us out of harm's way, if only we pray?
Saint Augustine tells us that the sin of Adam was Pride and Humanism, the desire to be independent of God and His Grace and dependent on no one but himself.
Unlike the Angels, who were given one chance--to choose Heaven or hell, their choice irreversible, man is given options; he can elect to either follow man's first father Adam or Our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ; through one, the gates of Heaven were closed to man; and by the Sacrifice of the Other they were opened! Likewise, when we choose, are we not making a choice between God and the devil, between the pursuit of Heaven or hell?
Have we moved Beyond and Gomorrah?
Saint Augustine said, when God created man, God also created a bridge which connected Adam (and humanity) with God. When Adam sinned against His Creator and Father, he lifted his side of the bridge cutting himself off from God; and then because of Adam's disobedience and defiance, God lifted His side of the bridge, leaving Adam and man to himself. When Jesus suffered and died for us on the Cross, He lowered the bridge on both sides, on one side as God and on the other as Man. As Adam had sinned, a new Adam had to suffer to bring about reconciliation with the Father; and Jesus said Yes!
When we are baptized, through the waters of Baptism, we are cleansed of the stain of sin resulting from the sin of our first parents. When we commit sin, as with our first parents, we alienate ourselves from the Father, lifting up our side of the bridge estranging ourselves from God. By sinning, we are saying we do not need God, we are self-sufficient and able to find our own happiness. But St. Augustine says that man is created with a longing for God which only God can fill; this inner desire struggles to be reunited with God, restless till it rests in Him Who created man. And so, because of sin, man is blind to the truth, and cannot see Who it is he is hungering for; therefore, he goes on a relentless trip seeking fulfillment.
Man has, through the father of lies, been falling to the lowest form of beast of the animal world, in a useless endeavor to satisfy that which he cannot, that void in life which only God can fill. But God never gives up on us. Just as we as parents grieve, when our children go astray, but keep the door open awaiting their return, so God our faithful Father does not close the door but stands ready to forgive and welcome back the repentant sinner.
According to Saint Augustine when we sin, we "deform the image of God" within us. But God in His Mercy is always ready to remold and renew the soul which has wandered from Him, once again into His image, the Image God imprinted on his heart, before he was born. Although by his choice, man shuts out God, devoted Father that He is, God never forgets the child He created. No matter how soiled his soul is with sin, God recognizes the sinner and loves him. No depravity too grave, no estrangement too permanent, God's Arms are opened wide, as on the Cross, ready to embrace the sinner. God never stops loving His children, no matter how much they sin against Him, how much they malign Him, how much they ignore Him, how much they trade Him in, like Adam and Eve, for the false promises of the enemy of God. God will never deny the soul who desires reconciliation.
Why has man turned his back on the Supernatural-God, and has chosen to follow the natural-man? It doesn't make sense adoring the created rather than the Creator of all that is created. Even without touching upon eternal life in Heaven versus temporal or temporary life on earth, let us consider how lasting, how rewarding the prizes of this life are. Houses get old, sometimes past repair; and if not, a storm comes and the house you so loved is swept away. You cannot rely on clothes which the world is designing into obsolescence faster than you can wear them out. Most cars are designed to last until your final payment is made. Man relying on self does the best job he can, for the god of materialism--the corporation, and before he can reap the benefits promised, he is down-sized, a Twentieth Century word for fired, not because he failed the company but because he invested his life and soul in man, not God, and man betrayed him.
Man is living as if this is all there is. What happens when he finds that less and less brings him the joy he craves? Does he try a little more evil, a little more self-gratification? When man decides for the world, he trades in the most cherished distinction between him and all God's other creatures--the Image of God in him, for the reflection of the most depraved of all beasts, one who wanders the earth stalking the innocent, bent on taking souls with him into his final reward in the bowels of hell.
We are living in a time when we are mocked if we believe in Heaven, Hell and Purgatory, oftentimes from within our own beloved churches. We are told there is no such thing as sin, only psychosis; and so less and less take advantage of the Sacrament of Penance and more and more are seeking out man's help on a Psychiatrist's couch. Prior to World War II, a small percentage of Catholics (barely 10%) went to Psychologists or Psychiatrists; today the figures are closer to 40% seeking answers to their troubled lives, rather than seeking reconciliation through the Sacrament of Penance. And yet, a survey made by the American Psychiatric Association revealed that it takes at least four sessions before the patient and therapist achieve the trust level that a penitent has the first time he walks into the confessional.
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Pride-the source of all evil
Saint Augustine wrote that "Pride was a draught which the devil gave Adam from his own cup. This pride, `the head and source of all wickedness and all evil,' lay in Adam's desire to live according to his own will...because he wished to live according to his own pleasure." Augustine called pride the head and source of all evil; it is no small coincidence that the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls the Eucharist the source and summit of Christian life, and the Canadian translation calls the Eucharist the Heart and summit of Christian life. Pride is the head and source of all evil; the Eucharist the source and summit, the very Heart of Christian life.
What do we believe? Do we Catholics not believe that the Eucharist is Jesus truly Present in our Church! Do we not believe that the antithesis of Jesus is the devil; and that the sin of the devil, which got him cast out of Heaven, was Pride; and did not the devil use that same sin to lure Adam into sinning against God, resulting in his being banished from God's presence; and is it not our creed that Jesus died on the Cross, that the devil would not be victorious, and that we would live eternally in the Kingdom?
Saint Augustine speaks of Jesus not coming to earth to do His own Will but that of the Father, and assures us Jesus will not cast out anyone who denies himself and his pride, to do God's Will. But one who gives in to the sin of Pride, because it is the source and summit of all evil, will find himself in the dark, the dark which like a black shade, blocks out the Son Who is the Source of all Light.
When God created man, He carefully differentiated between man and animal, giving man a body and soul and animal only a body; in so doing He entrusted man to look after those without a soul--the animal kingdom. When the flesh controls the soul, man falls to a creature below that of the animal world, seeking pleasure in the vilest of fashions, accounting to no one, not even his God.
Should we apologize for going Beyond Sodom and Gomorrah?
We lived through the Second World War and saw the inhumane, methodical slaughter of God's people because of greed and jealousy, a madman and a powerful propaganda machine breeding hate and division. Hitler fed on the German people's pride which had been all but completely destroyed as the result of the Versailles Treaty when their country was fragmented into tiny pieces. He fed their egos, boosted their self-worth. He promised them change; many were starving, papering their walls with their life-savings of devalued Marks. They were a beaten people; he charmed them, set their hearts on fire; one woman confessed he seemed to be the only one who cared and had a solution.
He used the Jews as targets. He turned the Germans against the Jewish people, charging the Jews with having dishonestly taken that which belonged to the German people. He promised them a better economy, which he delivered, but at what price? He hypnotized the German people into believing the Jews were animals; they were not human, therefore it was all right to kill them. You have only to visit the Death Camps of Auschwitz or Dachau to see the price, how inhumane man can be to his fellow man. Age was no shield protecting anyone from torture and death, beginning with the very youngest--infants snatched from their mother's arms to the very oldest--wives and husbands screaming as their spouses were led into the gas chambers. Mothers tried to hide their babies under heaps of clothing they were told to remove; the Nazis wanted to waste nothing, so they told everyone to disrobe before going into the showers (their cruel joke for what were really gas chambers). We cried, as we passed huge mounds of personal treasures, heaped one upon another--long hair which the Nazis would use for mattresses, combs, tiny shoes, precious items which could have no meaning, except to give those who died so cruelly a name, an identity; they were evidence that someone's children, someone's husband and wife, mother and father had passed this way. No longer numbers in a horrible camp; they were people, families who had been robbed of dignity and hope and then of life; they had been here and we who have been there will never forget! For just as each baby that is aborted is our baby; so each brother and sister who died here is our brother and sister.
The Nazis plowed through one country after the other, conquering, despoiling, torching that which they could not use, dehumanizing, terrifying, torturing and finally annihilating anyone who had what they wanted or posed a threat to them and their regime. German youth of today, ask grandparents who are still alive, how could they have been a party to such monstrous behavior, and they hang their heads and often cry. What will our grandchildren and great-grandchildren ask us?
Does this attack our sensibilities? Is this a tired story and we want to get on with our lives? A sign in Warsaw where Jewish people were herded into cattle cars and taken to Death Camps, reads, "Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it." As we see abortion, the legal, senseless, barbaric annihilation of human beings by their own mothers, do we not hear the Voice of Jesus pleading for these unborn babies He created? Can we not still hear the lament of mothers of the Holy Innocents who were butchered by Herod's soldiers, haunting us, their cries refusing to be stilled, forgotten? For today, the cries come from within mothers' wombs, the holy innocents of today crying, "Do not kill me, Mommy; I will be good."
Jesus spoke of these latter days, when He said, "There will be mother against daughter, and daughter against mother." Is this not mother against child, performing a selfish criminal act, below that of the animal world, which cries out to Heaven? A female animal will ferociously protect her offspring from all possible harm, even ready to fight the male parent, should he venture too close to her pups, fearing, as in the case of wolves, he attack and eat the cub.
There is no accountability, today! Who will pay for the slaughter of so many innocent babies? As Edith Stein, now proclaimed by Pope John Paul II--Saint Teresa Blessed by the Cross, said, as she and her sister were part of thousands of Jews being carted off to die in a Concentration Camp, "Someone will have to pay for this."
Highlights from Beyond and Gomorrah Book:
I. Should We Apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah
II. God Cries out through the Prophets
III. First God the Father
IV. Sign of the Angels
V. A Cry in the Desert
VI. Our Lady Saves us from Destruction
VII. What have you done with my Church?
VIII. World War II-Dress Rehearsal for Last Days?
IX. My Country Tears of Thee
X. Requiem for the Age of Innocence
XI. The Great Battle Between Good and Evil
XII. The Church and the World suffer Atrocities
XIII. The Windows Flew Open - the Spirit entered
XIV. Pilgrim Pope - Prophet - Peacemaker
XV. From Culture of Life to Culture of Death
XVI. History of the World and the Church
XVII. Apostasy and the Antichrist
XVIII. Y2K - Three Days of Darkness?
XIX. Who Can You Trust
XX. Rage or Righteousness
XXI. We can change the World