Guest post by Supertradmum
Mr. Toups has greatly increased my joy these past months since April by allowing me to write for his popular blog. Sadly, I have incurred a shoulder injury, which means I must limit my typing and texting.
For several months, I shall need to nurse the tendons in my right shoulder. Such is life.
However, in this last posting, I want to write a short delineation on the great duty of the lay person. One may ask, is it charitable works, or evangelisation?
Let me begin this short essay by stating that two excellent and traditional priests have shared with me the huge problem of lay people today, which interferes with their progress in holiness.
These good and holy priests, whose names I cannot use, as they are both too famous, but whose simple idea I can share, told me that the problem with the laity, both those who are liberals and those who are orthodox is simply this. The lay people do not know their own Faith.
One does not have to get into a blame game on why the laity do not know the Faith. I shall not use this platform to blame the lack of good sermons, or the lack of catechesis.
Basically, it is the duty, and it is a daily one, of each Catholic person, to learn the Faith inside and out, and not though private revelations or even the Holy Mass, but through reading.
Too many lay persons are seeking to grow in the spiritual life without knowing the basics of their religion.
Before one can embark on a certain journey of holiness, following a specific way, such as the Dominican or Ignatian way, or the Carmelite way, and so on, one must know the basic Credal truths of the Church.
How does one do this?
Three ways, which are simple, come to mind.
First, one must read the Bible with Catholic commentaries, and not Protestant ones. I recommend the footnotes in the Navarre Bible series which are superb.
Second, one must study the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or use other solid Catechisms, such as the Catechism of the Council of Trent or even Servant of God, Father John Hardon’s The Catholic Catechism. Without reading and studying the CCC or solid alternatives, one will be led astray. Satan is more clever than any human being, sans Christ and His Mother, and twists solid doctrines into heresies in the minds and hearts of those who do not understand basic truths.
For example, years ago someone told me they were having visions of God the Father and that His Heart was revealed to this person. I reminded the person that God the Father is Pure Spirit and does not have a heart. Only Christ does, as exemplified in the devotions to the Sacred Heart and the Divine Mercy. The visions were false ones, based on a heresy, that God the Father has humanity. Only Christ shares in our humanity. A simple truth, that Christ is True God and True Man, the Incarnated Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, whereas God the Father and the Holy Ghost are spirits, blew the false visions out of the way. Sadly, the person did not agree with centuries of teachings in the Church, and has been misled by false visions.
Simple truths can also be learned in the study of the heresies and the doctrines and dogmas of the Church. This urging makes up the third point.
One must study at least basic Christology and Mariology, as defined by the Church and not as noted in private revelations. This is learned thought the council documents from the earliest days, and from the Early Church Fathers and Doctors of the Church.
Study takes effort and time, which the lay person must agree to pursue, if he or she want to become a saint.
Anti-intellectualism is a plague of the modern Church. Those who say they only want spirituality and not theology are doomed to fall into false teachings. Without a solid background in the teachings of the Church through a study of the councils and the heresies, one will fall prey to false ideas, false visions.
I hope this little note on the duty of the laity puts some things into perspective. There are NO shortcuts into heaven, but lots of hard and time consuming work. There are no shortcuts to holiness.
God can give and does give some people direct knowledge of the Truths of the Church. I know a few people like this, who have keen discernment without study, but this is a rare gift.
Do not presume that God will give you this gift. Getting to heaven is not easy. Prayer and study must go together.
Bye for two months and God bless you all.
JMJ, pray for us!
God is good,