Stay calm in the storm: part 3
Maintaining calm amid the storm
This equanimity in the midst of the storms of the world would be perverse if it stemmed from ignorance of the dangers that surround us. If we are unconscious of the presence of the precipices that lie on either side of the pathway of our earthly existence, the calm we maintain is only a regrettable unawareness. True Catholic courage, that we pray may be instilled in our souls, consists in maintaining our resolution to advance in spite of the imminent threat of formidable perils which are known to us.
It is no doubt useful to remember this pathway of existence that we speak of and which we must never leave, as well as the abysses wherein we must not fall. It is good and salutary to reaffirm our Catholic hope, in these difficult years of the 21st century, that we may not lose our way, that we may sanctify and save our souls. Each one of us must make the effort to reflect for a few moments on a few simple, yet profound truths that must guide our lives, of which we must never lose sight. They define our lives and keep us in true hope.
We believe that God exists. He created heaven and earth and all things out of pure goodness. Denial of His existence is foolish and absurd. His existence can be proven by reason alone. However, He has also revealed Himself to us.
We human beings are composed of body and soul. We are on earth for a short time only, a few decades on average. At the moment of death, the soul and the body separate. The spiritual and immortal soul will then be judged by God according to its state at that moment. It will be thrown into Hell forever if it is not in the grace of God. It will be sent for a time to Purgatory if, in a state of grace, there remain nonetheless venial sins or a debt to pay, and it will go directly to Heaven to be face to face with the beatific vision for all eternity if it is entirely cleansed of all stain and debt due to sin.
We will not be judged on the entirety of our life. Our sentence to Hell or our immediate or delayed admission to Paradise will depend on the state of our soul at the moment of judgment. It is sovereignly just and wise that God should judge us based on a given moment because He always offers us His precious help that we may never leave the state of grace. It is therefore just that He should be able to ask us to account for our soul at any moment.
The most obvious proof of human frailty is taking the risk of living, even for just one second, in a state of mortal sin. Men have the grave duty of forming their conscience in order to know what is meant by “mortal sin” so that they may avoid it. It is a transgression of divine law made with full knowledge and full consent. Its consequences on the baptized soul that has committed it, as long as he has not confessed it, are terrible. It causes the loss of baptismal grace. God withdraws from the soul in which He dwelt. The soul in a state of mortal sin is like a devastated sanctuary, where the tabernacle was violated and the Hosts thrown on the ground.
If mortal sin must be avoided at all costs, we must constantly fight venial sin even if our human weakness means that we fail to avoid it systematically. If we understand in the slightest that every sin is an outrage committed against God, we will realize that there is no such thing as a little sin, and that we must live with a great interior desire never to sin, with the help of God’s grace.
It is therefore of capital importance to understand our duties and our various responsibilities in our state in life, to face them without shirking, both in the religious and the political domain. If we do not make a serious attempt to learn our duties, we risk not accomplishing what God wishes from us on earth. Our whole lives must be devoted to extending the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the life of our souls, the souls of others and societies.
We will not be excused for improperly grasping the truth and our duties or for taking them lightly because of the triumph of sin in our society and the extreme gravity of the prolonged crisis in the heart of the Church. Indeed, we must remember that even in the most trying times, the good God does not fail to grant each one the necessary grace to remain faithful to Him and accomplish His justice.
We must not tell ourselves that because the number of Catholics—those who are really Catholic—is very small and because of the increased difficulty of finding a Mass to attend and proper religious instruction, we have the right to slacken and lower our Christian ideals.
Our Christian life, far from merely being a flight from sin, must devote itself on earth to living in an ever-growing love of God and neighbor. He who loves God must rush to take full advantage of the time granted him on earth so that the virtue of Charity, which encompasses both love of God and love of neighbor, may grow unceasingly in him.
For it is on Charity, which summarizes and contains the whole Law and the commandments, that we will be judged. Certainly, the first theological virtue requires the presence of all the other virtues, and it cannot exist alone. But it is indeed alone on the truth of our love of God and neighbor that we will be judged.
We must not be surprised, even though we are judged on Charity alone, to hear those who teach us speak time and again about the virtue of Faith. And indeed the smallest speck of Charity cannot exist without the virtue of Faith, which is why this virtue is necessary to enter Heaven. No one should be surprised to hear priests cautioning us often against the perverse ideas preached by the current ecclesiastical authorities from the pulpit. If these errors surrounded us and our faithful, they would endanger our faith and threaten the life of grace in our souls.
For a Christian life to remain or become fervent, we must make a serious study of our Faith and the errors that oppose it. There is probably no better book than They Have Uncrowned Him by Archbishop Lefebvre to learn about the real religious, intellectual, doctrinal and spiritual issues facing the Church today.