It’s Critically important to know our faith. Far too many people who attend church and call themselves Catholic do not really know the faith that has been handed down to us of the past two millennia. Far too many of us tell ourselves and others things we think the Church stands for but are wrong. The same can be said for many other denominations as well but I think it’s quite a problem among the Catholics. We did not do a good job of passing our faith to our children over the past decades and many of them have fallen away from the Church. I think a key reason we did such a poor job as a generation is that we too didn’t really know our faith. A century ago, everything we did was seen as simply part of the “Christian World” around us. Everyone we saw and interacted with was a fellow Christian and more likely, a fellow Catholic (or Anglican or Lutheran). We as a people did not need to worry about defending our faith or about convincing our children that God exists. It was just assumed that everyone would “Know” that God exists.
Unfortunately, for far too many people, that assumption that our children would just “Know God” was terribly wrong. Additionally, in recent decades, we have seen the rise of “the new atheism” in which it was not good enough to just quietly “not believe” in God, it became imperative to convince others of their (lack of) belief. Whereas our greatest threat was that one denomination might proselytize our youth away from our denomination, we are now being faced with our youth being proselytized away from religion at all.
The factors of poor knowledge of what our youth believe, and the strong atheist influence we see in the very secular world around us means people are no longer following Christ. This is happening in every denomination of Christianity and it’s time we stop attacking each other because we are only contributing to the cause of our decline. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Mk 3:25.
When I say strong atheist influence, I am not only talking about the many who love to ridicule and insult Christians and Christianity. I’m talking about so much of the world in general.
Take Movies. They almost never portray God or Christians in a positive light anymore. Christian beliefs are portrayed as being quaint at best but are not generally portrayed as ‘normal’. Take the long-standing belief that sex should be something within a marriage. Gen 2:24, Mk 5:31 and Eph 5:31: a Man will leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
For example: Nowadays , Love and sex are not connected to marriage in movies or media in general. Typically, now, a man realizes he’s in love with a woman when he wakes up in the morning with her beside him. Even if they didn’t actually show the sex (which is almost never needed), it’s clear that’s what happened. Our children for decades have been taught a moral that is very different from what Christianity has taught for centuries. That’s just one example of the kinds of anti-Christian influences our children face now that we never faced before. It’s just one reason why we need to know our own faith better and teach our own children better in the faith, so they have something to stand on when they find themselves facing those pressures.
In this new year, We need “up our game”. We need to deepen our knowledge of our faith and our own relationship with Christ, and through Christ, the Father and together with the Holy Spirit. As men, we need to know our proper roles in the Church and especially in our own domestic Church. What are you planning to do this year to deepen your own faith? I have an extensive reading list and have some plans to work through the bible again this year. I was working through “the bible in a year with Mike Schmidt” this past year and it was great.
One thing I am looking for this year and something some of you can help with. I’m looking for a group of men who are interested in joining me (and Joe Roddy) in forming a men’s group to work our way through Exodus 90. There have been some postings about this program in the Parish Bulletin. You can look it up at http://exodus90.com. Please contact me (Michael@Mombourquette.com) or Joe Roddy (email@example.com). We are looking to form a group (or even two) of men who want to deepen their faith. The program involves daily prayer and reflection and actions to deepen our faith and to teach us freedom from all the pressures and sins of the world. We meet weekly in a group (likely by zoom for a while) where we can share and pray together.
May God bless you and your family in this new Year,