Small, More Convinced Communities

I find it, at the very least, intriguing that a major hurricane has closed in on poor New Orleans at a time that has forced the cancellation of the Southern Debauchery Weekend. This, by the way, is the second time in three years that a major hurricane has hit at this particular time in the area of New Orleans and caused this cancellation, the last of which was Katrina in 2005.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be one of those crazies who wants to rant on how God is destroying the wicked – bla, bla, bla. But here is what I will say about this …

I concur with some out there in the blogosphere whose reflections lean in the direction of, rather than this being some kind of judgment, seeing it as a message to those whom God is calling, which is a minority, not the masses. What does this mean? Well, think about it. It is the righteous that are said to have eyes to see and ears to hear to discern what probably was going on with Katrina and, now, with Gustav, and their timing with the infamous debauchery weekend. Jesus taught in parables to hide God’s truth from those who were not called yet so that only the called ones who had their minds opened to spiritual understanding could understand these mysteries.

Whether it is Katrina and Gustav – and their coincidental arrival at the time of the debauchery weekend – or maybe for some it could’ve been 9/11, or for others it could’ve been all the scary talk leading up to Y2K … whatever it might be, these are our wake-up calls as God seeks our attention, grabs hold of us, and lifts us up from drowning in the sea of lukewarm superficiality and indifference in our relationship with God.

Who are these righteous remnant (minority) God protects and saves? They are the innocent – the poor ones – the humble anawim who are filled with grace; a grace received because they are diligent (devout) in seeking God and doing His will (no matter what level of understanding they may have). If you do this, it is accounted to you as righteousness (Gen. 15:6), and God promises blessings and protection to those in this category, but not to the merely lukewarm innocent.

Abraham’s pleading for the righteous, not the innocent, of Sodom when God planned to judge the city demonstrates this. Abraham did not pray for the innocent or the entire city:

Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it for you to do such a thing – to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

And so here is the point … I’ve come to understand that it is not enough for me or anyone else to linger on the fringes of our faith lives as the lukewarm innocents. GOD WANTS US AS HIS OWN – THE FAITHFUL ANAWIM WHO DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM!!!

I cannot tell you when my wake-up call came, and when this goal was thrust into a state of URGENCY for my state of righteousness and those God has placed in my path along the way, but it has become URGENT.

And I believe it is this “state of urgency” that keeps me from drowning in a sea of lukewarm complacency, as it calls me to help others from drowning as well. I have humbly tried my best to dedicate my life to enriching my relationship with my Father in Heaven, and to do all I can to prepare hearts to meet Him … to let them know it is even okay to start out doing God’s will from fear and desiring protection in this increasingly unsafe world.

God meets us where we are at using what motivates each of us. He knows that as we practice our faith more and more, even for less than ideal reasons, that we will eventually seek Him for all the right reasons – for love and gratitude towards Him our Creator and Father.

And, finally, these comments from a 2003 interview by EWTN’s Raymond Arroya with the then Cardinal Ratzinger, where he states so well that it is our conviction God seeks, rather than great numbers of lukewarm hearts:

Raymond:  … Talk for a moment about the New Springtime.  The Pope has talked a great deal about the New Springtime and you, yourself have laid out your own ideas.  Your vision is a little different from some.  Some see the numbers growing and everybody believing and dancing hand-in-hand (the Cardinal chuckles) into the millennium.  You see a different picture.  Tell us what that picture involves.  How do you see this Springtime evolving?

Cardinal: … And my idea is that really the springtime of the Church will not say that we will have in a near time buses of conversions, that all peoples of the world will be converted to Catholicism.  This is not the way of God.  The essential things in history begin always with the small, more convinced communities.  So, the Church begins with the 12 Apostles.  And even the Church of St. Paul diffused in the Mediterranean are little communities, but this community in itself is the future of the world, because we have the truth and the force of conviction.  So, I think also today it should be an error to think now or in 10 years with the new springtime, all people will be Catholic.  This is not our future, nor our expectation.  But we will have really convinced communities with élan of the faith, no?  This is springtime — a new life in very convinced persons with joy of the faith.

Raymond: But, smaller numbers?  In the macro?

Cardinal: Smaller numbers, I think.  But from these small numbers we will have a radiation of joy in the world.  And so, it’s an attraction, as it was in the old Church.  Even when Constantine made Christianity the public religion, there were a small number of percentage at this time; but it was clear, this is the future.  So we can live in the future, just give us a way in a different future.  And so, I would say, if we have young people really with the joy of the faith and this radiation of this joy of the faith, this will show to the world, “Even if I cannot share it, even if I cannot convert it at this moment, here is the way to live for tomorrow.”


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