Many of us do not remember the Baptismal promises that were stated at our own Baptism. We relied solely on our parents and godparents to speak on our behalf. This weekend and several times throughout the Church year we are given the opportunity to speak for ourselves. I recommend that we pay full attention to what we say “I do” to as, you can stake your life on the fact, that God does. He takes our “I do” very seriously in these cases, including the ones said at the altar on our wedding day. God takes us at our word because we can take Him at His Word. “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.” (Matt 5:37)
Do you reject Satan? And all his works? And all his empty promises?
Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
Our firm “I do” is only possible with the help of God. On our own, we are too easily swayed when temptation and cultural norms cause us to rethink these promises. I do sometimes… when I agree, and then I do not… when I disagree.
Is our word trustworthy? What does it stand or fall for? When are we silent so as not to rock the boat, stand out or seem too harsh? Not speaking, is speaking. That silence is deafening. Not acting toward the good, is allowing evil to advance. Not knowing our faith and all that the Church teaches for our salvation, easily leads us to be persuaded in directions that muddle or oppose the faith.
After a couple of thousand years of dubious I do’s, opposition, and redirection, we find ourselves at this moment in history. I continue to hear from those who are frustrated and despairing. “How did all this happen?”
In these tumultuous times when all of us have had our world rocked by the pandemic, never imagined events and foul behaviors within our own borders, and seemingly endless deceit by those we should be able to trust, the question I am hearing the most is, “Where is God in all this? We prayed so hard and I feel so discouraged.”
Many of us “old farts,” of which I am now a delegate, can look back over our sixty or more years and think, “what the hell has happened to our country?” I use the word “hell” on purpose because that is exactly what is at play here. We are in an epic spiritual battle the likes of which we cannot imagine nor comprehend. We however get glimpses of its’ effects and how it impacts everyone and everything we once held dear; from the integrity of our clergy and religious from the top down, to the demise of “One Nation Under God.”
We could assume wrongly that God no longer loves or cares for His children.
If you have ever taken the time to do a Bible Study or have read Sacred Scripture you will no doubt recall the wanton history of the Israelites, God’s hand-chosen people. In Deuteronomy chapter five, God bestows to them the Ten Commandments. These were not merely suggestions, but keys that lead to happiness, prosperity, and holiness. In chapter six, God continues to exhort them to follow the commandments and to teach their children.
“Know, then, that the LORD, your God, is God: the faithful God who keeps covenant mercy to the thousandth generation toward those who love him and keep his commandments, but who repays with destruction those who hate him; he does not delay with those who hate him but makes them pay for it. Therefore, carefully observe the commandment, the statutes and the ordinances which I command you today.” (Dt 7:9-11)
“Be careful to observe this whole commandment that I enjoin on you today, that you may live and increase, and may enter in and possess the land which the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors. Therefore, keep the commandments of the Lord, your God by walking in His ways and fearing him.” (Deut 8:1,6)
Then He continues to remind us over and again through the centuries, and finally through His Son Jesus,
“Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He asked him, “Which ones?” And Jesus replied, “ ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother’; and ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matt 19:17-19)
I dare say we failed to learn from their mistakes and have shamelessly repeated them to a greater degree. You might think, this is not the same at all. Read them again my friend and you will see that we brazenly did the same and much worse. What is that saying?
What is a good and loving Father supposed to do to save his children? As a parent myself, I get it. Sometimes we only learn by making mistakes and suffering the consequences. While it is sometimes difficult to watch this process, saving our progeny from learning from their mistakes leads them to never learn the lessons.
We think we are different than the early peoples. We think we are more advanced technically and intellectually. Yet we continue to repeat the same mistakes, cutting out God, making our own fluid rules, disfiguring the human person made in His Image and likeness.
God did not abandon them, and He does not abandon us. He will give us the time to learn, repent and turn back to His waiting arms. I pray we realize the error of our ways quicker than those before us. “Four hundred years” seems to be a reoccurring number before humanity got their heads and hearts in right relationship with their Maker.
In the words of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”
Never lose hope. Turn to God, grow in love and faithfulness to the Church Christ left to aid us, and trust God has a plan bigger than this current conundrum.