I was going to send some friends the beautiful text on serving the poor in Monday’s Magnificat, but I never wound up sending that. Subscribe to Magnifcat! You won’t be disappointed with what you find there. I wasn’t trying to be stingy though, that wasn’t my reason for holding back. It’s that I found what comes before today’s Magnifcat entry, in the original text. And if you read it, it might change the course of your Lenten day today. It comes from Servant of God Catherine De Hueck Doherty, the foundress of Madonna House in Combermere, Canada.
“[W]hat really binds us together is the Lord, and our love for him,” she said.
And we might have something else in common, “something deep within you that’s not getting an outlet because of the secularism and atheism of the society that surrounds us,” she continued.
“I’m not talking about communistic atheism. I’m talking of simple apathy, disregard for God, even non-belief in God,” she continued. I think we can call that practical atheism, too. Baptized pagans, to borrow a phrase from George Weigel in his new book Evangelical Catholicism.
“It hits you hard. I know it hits me hard. We live and move in a sea of apathy, of selfishness, of greed,” De Hueck Doherty continues. I’ll move into the present tense because it is as relevant today, right now in your life, in mine, as ever, isn’t it?
“We say to ourselves: ‘But I’m baptized! Something has got to be different for me. This is not the kind of life I want to lead,’” she goes on.
How do we make it different? Randy Hain tries to walk through that, walk with anyone who wants to join him.
The difficult situation for Christians is that the world has become more and more secular. We modern people simply don’t know where we are going in life. We’re at sixes and sevens over this tragic situation, and we’re not alone.
Look at this little one here—he’s an absolutely perfect child. What kind of a world are we making for him? Is it his destiny to die of an exploded bomb? Or to go begging like a hobo? What will it be?
We must face up to the fact that this little fellow is going to grow up and be a big fellow someday. It’s worth laying down your life for this child. So it’s time to reappraise our values and to change the way we live our lives.
Let’s face it: we have to change our lifestyle. We Christians have to stop wanting so many material things. We have to stop worshiping things and start loving as Christ loves.
Do people in New York or Chicago or anywhere clap their hands and say, “Oh, look how those Catholics love one another”? Do they?
Sometimes. Some of us. Some of the time. Sometimes they can tell we are Christian by our love. But it can take just one time to scar.
She asks: “Do we love one another, deeply and sincerely? With grave humility and infinite meekness, in the way of Jesus Christ? Think about it. Do we?”
Unconditional love! That’s hard. Even impossible. That is, without Him who loves us unconditionally! Everything is possible with Him. Knowing we are loved by a merciful Father makes it possible for us to truly love.
She goes on:
These days there’s trouble everywhere. I just returned from one American city; at the airport, the man in charge of the luggage said, “Don’t go out after 11:30 p.m., because they’re apt to slit your pocket or slit your belly.”
I said to myself, what barbarism have we come to? You have to acknowledge that we’re in a state of barbarism today, with violence born of anger. It’s a terrible thing, this desire to kill without reason. But it has become a part of life. We have to face that there’s an awful lot of anger in America and Canada. We’re facing the end of an era, like the Romans.
Anger and hurt. How can we not think of the 40 years marker we hit this year here?
And now for the action item:
There’s only one thing that’s going to help us, and that is prayer. It’s time to turn to God. Don’t be afraid; just begin to pray. Don’t go and say a lot of prayers. Just pray in a very simple way, perhaps for the first time in your lives.
Maybe for you it’s different, but for so many people, God seems very distant. But he’s really right there, with you. I always invite him for a cup of coffee. Do you know that God never drank a cup of coffee while he lived on earth? They had no coffee.
Mentally, I invite him for coffee. I take the Bible and put it between us, saying: “Lord, you sit there and I’ll sit here. Here’s your cup of coffee, and here’s mine. Now we’re going to have a dialogue from your own book called the Gospel. So now I’ll be the apostles and you be yourself.”
You’ll be surprised what happens when you do that. Just have a simple discussion with God over the Gospel. If I can do it, so can you.
You really truly can. Just want to. Just start out. He will help you. Simply set out to pray, he will do the rest.
Catherine De Hueck Doherty is sharing and even pleading with us here:
It changes your whole life when you do that. You start to look at things differently. Yes, life changes when you start to have faith and live the Gospel. It’s hard to put it into words—there’s a kind of joy. Do you feel what I feel? For example, when I have a surplus of something, it’s such a joy to give it to others.
How can you not want that? So that we may give it!