Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Safe Religon

Unfortunately the Devil has done a good job of blanketing our society with a contraceptive mentality. But closing ourselves off to new physical life is also being done on a spiritual level as well.

It’s nothing new

In Exodus 20:18-21, God’s chosen people receive the Ten Commandments then distance themselves from God’s presence on the mountain. They wanted to be close to God, but not too close. They practiced “safe religion” – after all, it’s much easier to follow a list of rules than be in a real relationship. God wanted to make them a kingdom of priests, but they withdrew from Him and eventually worshiped a golden calf instead. In one sense, a statue is even better; it doesn’t make any moral demands on you. Except perhaps for cult prostitution – and the people we more than happy to engage in that sin!

But the practice of “safe sex” today is very much a physical manifestation of the old sin of “safe religion” practiced by God’s chosen people on the mountain. Many pre-Vatican II Catholics were practicing “safe-religion” in their devotion to God which in many cases meant doing the rituals externally without acting out of love of God in the heart. When asked, “Why do you do such and such?” The response would be: “Because the Church does it that way; and if you don’t do it too you’ll go to hell!”

The reason we do everything we do as Catholics is so that God’s life-giving presence in our souls will grow ever more abundantly. By being in state of grace, the very Trinity dwells within us, making us holy. In fact, every time we are properly disposed and receive a sacrament, God is intimately working in our very souls! “Safe religion” is simply an impossibility for Catholics.

One poet referred to Jesus by saying something like: He turns water in to wine and wine into blood – what would do with me?! God wants to enter into us and produce new life, just as a good husband enters into his wife to produce new life. It has always been held that we get out of the sacraments what we put in. Or in other words, the amount of grace we receive is partially dependant upon the barriers we put up to God’s grace.

There is enough grace in the proper reception of one Eucharist to make us saints. Why then are we not saints? Because we fall into the practice of “safe religion” – we want to control our life-giving relationship with God just as many couples want to control their life-giving sexual relationship.

I would think that refuting “safe religion” would be one tactic in refuting “safe sex”. In both cases, we must remember the mission of Christ: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

No comments: