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Monday, May 14, 2018

The Easy Road to Hell

In a comment on a previous post, our editor, Mary Ann said referring to past generations, “Life was harder but it was healthier. Hard work taught valuable lessons and kept kids out of trouble.”
WOW!  That statement says a LOT.
What made life healthier?  Life was not nearly so infected with vulgar temptations on a nonstop basis.  Our government had not deprived us of the “food for thought” we all need in our lives----symbols of faith such as stone tablets with the Ten Commandments on them at our court houses,
prayer in schools, songs in music classes that echoed what we heard in church, and elected leaders who were not afraid to give credit to the Creator for the blessings we have, knowing it is from the Almighty that all things come.  Mothers were doing what mothers do best and fathers were providing for and protecting them.  Kids were reared by their parents and not the state.  They belonged to and were the responsibility of their parents and not “the village.”  Those same parents had the best interest of the child in mind and not the needs of society at large, run by men that see in youth only a future work force or a passive electorate and not a little soul in need of salvation. 
When it comes to “hard work and valuable lessons” one wonders today if the word hard has lost most of its meaning.  The Church teaches us that we should fast, but that’s hard and most resist doing it, or engage in it very seldom, and only when nearly forced to do so.  We want everything to be easy and consequently we have very little self-mastery.  When you have trouble understanding or begin to believe that doing what is hard is not worth the effort, you eventually look for the very wide path of least resistance. 
It is the wide well trodden road of the masses.  It is the easy way out of everything.
I heard a 30 year old on the radio recently tell Dave Ramsay that she had paid off $78,000 of debt in the last 24 months.  She was a nurse who did the hard thing.  She denied herself all luxury and pleasure and worked three part-time jobs.  By so doing she rid herself of the burden of college loans and car payments which continue to trouble most of her peers.  Without a doubt, this was a hard thing for her, but she dedicated herself to the task because she understood that sometimes hard is the only way. 
The valuable lesson, of course, is avoid temptation in the first place and you won’t have to suffer the eventual consequences.  A section on Mastery of Self can be found in the Encyclical letter of Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, paragraphs 21:  

“....To dominate instinct by means of one’s reason and free will undoubtedly requires ascetical practices,…  Such discipline bestows upon family life fruits of serenity and peace, and facilitates the solution of other problems…..
As I reread this papal letter again this morning, in preparation for a Patrician’s meeting at church this evening, I was gob smacked at the number of passages that speak the valuable lessons we seem to have sadly forgotten.  Or did we simply set them aside because they were hard?
I have captured them here below.  As I read them, I could not help thinking of the horrible document Amoris Laetitia, and how that Vatican publication and Humanae Vitae sadly do not reflect the same message.  See if you agree.  Remember, truth never contradicts itself.

Humanae Vitae -- Of Human Life

Encyclical Letter of Paul VI, July 25, 1968

Paragraph 14)  “In truth, if it is sometimes licit to tolerate a lesser evil in order to avoid a greater evil or to promote a greater good, (Pius XII, 1953) it is not licit, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil so that good may follow therefrom, (Romans 3:8)  that is, to make into the object of a positive act of the will something which is intrinsically disorder, and hence unworthy of the human person, even when the intention is to safeguard or promote individual, family or social well-being.”

Paragraph 18) “To tell the truth, the Church is not surprised to be made, like her divine founder, a ‘sign of contradiction,’ (Luke 2:34) yet she does not because of this cease to proclaim with humble firmness the entire moral law, both natural and evangelical.  Of such laws the Church was not the author, nor consequently can she be their arbiter; she is the depositary and their interpreter, without ever being able to declare to be licit that which is not so by reason of its intimate and unchangeable opposition to the true good of man. ………..Faithful to both the teaching and the example of the Savior, she shows herself to be the sincere and disinterested friend of men, whom she wishes to help, even during their earthly sojourn, ‘to share as sons in the life of the living God, the Father of all men.

III. Pastoral Directives

Paragraph 19)The Church, in fact, cannot have a different conduct towards men than that of the Redeemer.  She knows their weaknesses, has compassion on the crowd, receives sinners; but she cannot renounce the teaching of the law which is, in reality, that law proper to a human life restored to its original truth and conducted by the spirit of God.” (Romans 8)

To Priests

Paragraph 29) To diminish in no way the saving teaching of Christ constitutes an eminent form of charity for souls.  But this must ever be accompanied by patience and goodness, such as the Lord himself gave example of in dealing with men.  Having come not to condemn but to save, (John 3:17) He was intransigent with evil, but merciful toward individuals.

In their difficulties, may married couples always find, in the words and in the heart of a priest, the echo of the voice and the love of the Redeemer.

And then speak with confidence, beloved sons, fully convinced that the spirit of God, while He assists the magisterium in proposing doctrine, illumines internally the hearts of the faithful inviting them to give their assent.

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