Clearing the Heart to See the Truth
“Jim”, a life-long Pentecostal who, with his Catholic wife, is attending a class taught by the Holy Family School of Faith on the catechism for the Year of Faith in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas told me last week that he has thoroughly enjoyed learning what we have covered so far (Faith and reason, the Holy Trinity, Creation, and the Fall, just to name a few of the themes,) and that he has not heard one thing from me that he doesn’t already believe, and is looking forward to our resuming after the Christmas break.
“Kate” is a young, attractive, 20-something fallen away Catholic, and is attending a Year of Faith catechism course, and has now returned to practicing her faith. “It just opened my eyes to what I have been missing, and I want more!”
“Bill” is a mechanic and is currently involved in his parish’s RCIA program, and is taking the class as part of the catechumenate. He commented recently that he was so happy to be joining a Church that offers him the truth in a world that often offers confusing and morally relative advice that can “mess with you.” Bill is a recovering addict, and is now finding a source of strength in sobriety in the life and teachings of the Catholic Church.
Since the election, so many people have come to me privately to tell me how worried and concerned they are about the direction that the country is headed. No doubt there is room for grave concern. The HHS mandate as well as the extreme pro-abortion/pro-homosexuality positions of the Obama administration is legitimate cause for anxiety. Our Lord warned us of persecution, however, and this is why St. Paul reminded the persecuted Christians in Rome to have hope, “where sin abounds grace abounds more,” (Rom 5:20). This may sound like wishful thinking in the face of terrible and insurmountable odds, but it is not. It is really true, Grace abounds more!
Pope Benedict the XVI has taken a radical step this year in his obedience to the obvious promptings of the Holy Spirit when he not only declared this year as the Year of Faith, but further encouraged each Catholic to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
In responding to this call, our Archbishop, Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, asked that the Catechism of the Catholic Church be taught to adults in parishes across the Archdiocese. There were so many requests from the parishes that we had to get creative in order to figure out how to reach at all of the interested parishes. The turn-out has been utterly incredible! There are parishioners from all walks of life who are hungry and excited to received knowledge regarding their Catholic faith.
Someone from the USCCB’s office called the Archbishop and wondered what was happening in Kansas City, Kansas. They had never received so many orders for the catechism! Great credit goes to Archbishop Naumann for his commitment not to let the Year of Faith go by without responding to the graces offered by God. Further, credit especially goes to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI for his prophetic leadership and courage.
Something is happening in the Church in the United States. Yes, there are problems as the recent election displayed with sad and somber honesty. To avoid a crippling sense of despair, I decided to quit watching and reading internet news, even the conservative ones, and began paying closer attention to what the Holy Spirit is doing right in front of me. I have found much greater peace and optimism as a result.
There is a surging interest in the teachings of the Catholic Church. Even better, there is an increased desire in Catholics with whom I am meeting to grow in holiness, which is the only solution to our current dilemma. Before we broke for the Christmas season, I asked all of my students to do one thing during our recess: pray the rosary daily for the conversion of our President and Country, for me and the School of Faith, and for one hardened sinner of their choosing, be it someone they know of someone famous. I told them they needn’t share who it is with anyone other than the Lord. Padre Pio called the rosary his ‘weapon.’ We should heed this great modern saint and pray the rosary daily for spiritual and moral victory.
St. Paul also said “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Let us keep in mind these two pieces of advice, where sin abounds grace abounds more, and if God is for us who can be against us? In so doing, we will confront this growing culture of death with the proper optimism, joy, and strength needed to win the spiritual battle. And we will win, for the victory has already begun! Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and of the New Advent, Pray for us!
UPDATE: For parishes and diocese’s interested in offering a catechism study for their faithful, please check out the School of Faith’s DVD series Pilgrimage of Faith, available on our website at www.schooloffaith.com.