Do you see the world as a sinking ship on its way to judgment and hell? Are you grasping for the lifeboat? I have heard numerous comments expressing sadness at the direction our country is going. One person said to me, "It is futile to fight in the culture war. We have lost." One blog post title even lamented that, "Marriage is dead and so is the Church." Another individual so aptly questioned, "Where are we going? And why am I in a hand-basket?"
Much has been written recently about “same-sex marriage,” the Supreme Court actively legislating from the bench, and the continued erosion of religious liberty in our country. The spin placed upon these topics will certainly depend upon which media outlet you are utilizing. My expectations for the secular media are relatively low so I am not surprised by most of it. However, the disheartening moments are when I read statements from pastors representing a variety of Christian denominations expressing their support of these initiatives to legislate and legitimize same-sex unions, keeping abortion legal, and encouraging a continued moral decline within our society. In times like these it is evident that we are far from being one flock under one shepherd.
Disunity in the Church diminishes our credibility to speak effectively on issues of faith and morals. We are in serious trouble when leaders in the Church can't even agree on basic life issues such as (1) marriage is between a man and a woman, and (2) life begins at conception. If we struggle to agree on these basic premises of life, we simply become another opinion out in the world rather than a prophetic voice of truth and reason.
In addition to having philosophical and theological disagreements within the life of the Church, we also must confront apathy, indifference, complacency, and the overall inertia of the Church. I did some research on the internet and found the word inertia connected closely to the word torpor. A search on the word torpor revealed the following quote.
"We find the most terrible form of atheism, not in the militant and passionate struggle against the idea of God himself, but in the practical atheism of everyday living, in indifference and torpor. We often encounter these forms of atheism among those who are formally Christians."
~Nicolai A. Berdyaev
Inertia, torpor, and indifference aren't new struggles within the Church. These elements have been around for a long time. The question becomes, "Are we going to be content with having these elements firmly entrenched in our own lives, as well as within our faith communities, without trying to do something to lessen the detrimental effects of living this way?" Practical atheism in our everyday living simply cannot be a viable option.
Igniting the flame of faith in our lives is essential. Mediocrity is to be avoided at all costs. We are presented with an awesome opportunity to let the Light of Christ shine in a world that desperately needs it. If all of us who call ourselves Catholic were to live our faith life with zeal and fervor we would witness an amazing transformation of our culture. Let us go forth in confidence recalling the words of Psalm 30: “I will praise you Lord, for you have rescued me.”