I always meet fascinating people and new friends when I come to EWTN to tape programs.
I had lunch today with Sharon Giganti of the New Age Deception website.
We discussed what made the New Age Movement so attractive to so many Catholics.
I traveled to EWTN today in my clericals, and as usual I had a good number of conversations with people–all of whom were pleased to see a priest.
One woman told me how she was a Catholic, but that her son had become a Baptist pastor. She was somewhat pleased to find that I was brought up a Baptist and was now a Catholic priest.
I asked her about her faith and she said, “I went to Catholic grade school, high school and college, but I never met Jesus.”
I said, “You’ve been sacramentalized but not evangelized.”
Her husband nodded, and when she went to the rest room he said, “I’m a catechist. I read Scott Hahn and I’m all for the new evangelization. She needs to be evangelized!”
Sherry agreed that so many Catholics seek in the New Age movement some sort of subjective religious experience because for whatever reason they have not found it in the Catholic faith.
I suggested that we have failed to communicate the reality of the possibility of theosis– the belief in the possibility of divinization. In St Ireanaeus’ words, “God became man so that man could become like gods.” Theosis is the idea that we can come to our full human potential through the work of grace.
The New Age Movement sells people a slightly off beam version of this. “You can find the God within!” the teachers say. “Follow your inner god! Listen to your inner goddess!” They say that through their course of meditation or self control (which costs just $59.95) you can attain this inner freedom and your inner god will be fulfilled.
St Paul says in Ephesians that we must “grow up into the full humanity of Christ Jesus.” In other words, we are to become fully human and reach our full human potential, but this is done not by will power or by following our inner god or goddess, but by an infusion of grace, the infilling of the Holy Spirit and a daily, constant yielding of ourselves to the self sacrificial service of God and others.
This is called becoming a saint!
The reason Catholics have gone chasing after New Age teaching is because too many Catholics were simply taught to do the minimum: “Go to Mass every Sunday. Put money in the collection plate. Avoid mortal sin. That’s it. With luck you’ll squeeze into purgatory.”
That is minimalist Catholicism.
We want more, more, more Christianity!
“Sanctity!” St Therese cries, “it must be won at the point of a sword!”
And we agree with her, “You must be a whole saint or no saint at all!”