I’m not exactly sure why, but there are times when God likes to shake things up immensely. For instance, the day Jesus was born – when he came down and walked among us – the word made flesh. Now if that wasn’t a shakeup I don’t know what it is. Perhaps his crucifixion and resurrection, that gave us salvation and life everlasting. There are many times when God has shook things up throughout the ages, the great schism, the Reformation, the Council of Trent, Vatican I, Vatican II, stop, let’s talk about Vatican II, or at least that time – the mid 60s.
You see that’s when I began my journey with religion. 1967, I was seven years old. I was getting ready to make my first holy Communion in the Roman Catholic Church. This was a very odd time for the Church, one of those moments when God likes to shake things up, or perhaps we can blame man for this one, I’m not sure which, who am I to know? The Church was definitely split – I experienced very traditional type Catholic’s on one hand, and very liberal, new types of Catholics if you will on the other. It was all very much because of Vatican II.
My First Encounter with Religion
I will tell you, I was totally enthralled with the whole thing, seven years old and full of the Holy Spirit. I loved everything about the Church, except confession, that scared me – that scared me a lot. Even though at seven years old, with not much to confess it still scared me. But the good Sisters of St. Ann’s got me through it, Father was very kind, and I made it out alive. The thought of making my first communion, on the other hand, excited me beyond belief. I was really into this whole thing, I loved it all. I had my little missile, I had my Rosary beads, I was loving it, and for good reason it was all about Christ. That’s me in the photo on my first Holy Communion — I’m the short one on the left.
My little heart was filled with the Holy Spirit. I was in God’s house, this was where it all started. We were doing things that were traceable all the way back to Jesus and the 12 apostles. These rituals were instituted by Jesus Christ himself. Everything about the mass was traceable back to Jesus and the 12 apostles. This is something I never forgot and has always stuck with me. It amazes me how the church could continuously keep this ritual for 2000 years.
A lot has changed since 1967, fast-forward to today, 2014, and sadly I hear a lot of knocking of religion. I hear things like, “I don’t need church to be close to God” or, “Religion is just a man-made thing, it’s not really about God, it’s only about Man.” I don’t understand this, somehow people have the notion that Jesus Christ didn’t come to earth to give us the Church. How did this happen? Here are two facts, Jesus came to give us the word and he also came to institute a Church. He tells us this himself in the Bible.
And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. — Matthew 16:18
All I hear is religion is a man-made thing. Well yes, it is man-made, it was made by a man, that man was Jesus Christ, fully man and fully God, but a man.
The Attack on Religion
I have to tell you, this really is alarming me. There is a whole movement that is just dead set against religion. I don’t know how to explain it but I am offended when I hear people saying bad things about religion. For one, it alarms me how little people know about the history of our church, especially young people. They are so poorly catechized that they don’t know any different. So when some smooth talker comes along and tells them differently, that religion is bad, that religion is evil – they fall for it. Yes, even when that smooth talker is well-intentioned. I urge people to read, read the early church fathers, read the Bible, learn – learn about the history of our church.
This is not a time to be denouncing the Church. We need men that are knights, men that will defend the faith, that will defend Holy Mother Church. We need women to stand up for faith, to stand up for Jesus Christ and the institution of His Church – we need young people especially.
Jesus wants you to go to church on Sunday. There are no Lone Ranger Christians, we’re all called to fellowship every Sunday, to keep the Sabbath Holy, and to worship God in His house. Here’s another thing; we don’t go to be entertained, we need to stop saying “I don’t get anything out of it.” You’re not supposed to get anything out of it. You’re supposed to worship God, that’s the whole point, it’s not entertainment. If you want entertainment, go to a praise and worship concert, they are awesome, but don’t expect that on Sunday. Here’s a tip; if you really understand all the intricate parts of the Mass, or Sunday worship, you would get a lot out of it – much more than entertainment.
I recently heard someone make the comment, “I don’t need the church to be close to God.” Well if you’re feeling close to God without the church, just think how much closer you could be to God with the church. By the way, I want to acknowledge that to feel close to God when you’re not at Church is in fact, a good thing. Look, I know there’s bad in some churches, there will always be Judases in the church. We have to see passed the Judases and see what God is giving us through His church. If you don’t like your church, find another one – find one that you do like and are more comfortable at, you’ll be better for it, I promise.
Don’t let another person take away your salvation. Remember the church is a divine institution, founded by Christ Jesus. Love it, embrace it, defend it always — when you do, you’re defending the Bride of Christ and He will be bless you for it.