Sunday, September 14, 2008
There are many people in this world, especially right here in the United States, who would describe themselves if pushed into a corner as Christians, but who would have to almost literally be pushed into that corner and have a knife held to their throat to admit it. You might then even get their denomination: Catholic, Protestant, whatever. But many people are simply reluctant to ever bring up the subject in normal discussion, or to ever 'advertise' their faith, their belief in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Maybe they will wear a crucifix or a cross, but if it's left dangling on the outside of shirts and tops it's many times as much of a fashion statement as anything else. Why is this so? I was reading a great article yesterday by Colonel Oliver North in a recent issue of Townhall magazine. North was lamenting the fact that so many of us seem to know the names of our top athletes such as Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps and Venus Williams, and care about what is going on in the lives of celebrities such as Britney Spears, Madonna or Brad Pitt, but care little about our military heroes. These men and women are fighting and dying for our country, and for the cause of freedom, all over the world. They are often committing tremendously brave and selfless acts that rival and surpass any story that could be told about a sports figure or a Hollywood starlet, and yet you don't know who they are. The vast majority of you reading this article couldn't name a single 'Medal of Honor' winner, a single 'Purple Heart' recipient. The everyday heroes of law enforcement, fire fighting, and other public services only get attention when they are killed while doing their jobs, and even that is usually only a local story, with the exception of an event such as 9/11. Why is that so? Much of the reasoning behind why you so easily speak about sports and entertainment, but so little about Jesus Christ and real American heroes, is that media and academia in this day and age have a political and social agenda. They sell you on what you should and should not believe, what you should not talk about in 'polite' circles or express in any way publicly. They have led the charge to get a basic, founding principle of our great nation, Christianity, out of our schools and public squares. I would argue that this has led directly to the deterioration found in both our schools and in our legal system. They have intentionally distracted you with the sweet taste of games and gossip, and almost completely isolated Christianity and heroism from public discourse. They have been doing it for decades, slowly edging into your grandparents and parents institutions and lives, to the point where many of you just simply picked up the habits and mannerisms taught to you by previously poisoned generations. The only way to break free is to actively recognize what is going on and decide to do something about it. You don't have to do anything grand. Subtle changes in your life and your thinking will make huge differences when spread across the populace. This very website blog is going to begin telling the stories of real American heroes much more frequently. I already devote every Sunday to what I like to call a 'Sunday Sermon' message keying on some component of Christianity. Try thinking about what you really believe in spiritually and morally as much as you think about the coming week's NFL schedule and who is on the cover of 'Us' magazine this week. Try making the tremendous sacrifice and effort of putting your kid into Catholic school rather than leaving them to the indoctrination, 2nd-rate education, and violence found in many public schools. Wear that cross or crucifix on the outside. Pray regularly. Read your Bible. Go to Church. Partake in the Sacraments. One thing is certain, your life will change, and for the better, and the odds are that you will change the lives of others around you as well. You will not be perfect. You will make mistakes. You will sin. But you will also persevere. You will get back up when you fall, dust yourself off, and go right back at life with the same happily determined gusto that you had before falling. God wants you to succeed, and He wants you to believe in His only son, whom He sent to you specifically to heal your life and save your soul. The apostle Saint Paul wrote in his famous letter to the Philippians: "God has highly exalted him, and betowed on him the name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.." And Catholics, don't be afraid of Evangelism. I make it a point to watch the Reverend Billy Graham preach on a regular basis, and have even read a few of his books. The man is a modern day prophet whom we have been blessed with in our modern day. You shouldn't fear exposing yourself to God's word as presented by someone so obviously inspired to it from above. In fact, you shouldn't be embarrassed to spread it yourself. Contrary to what some would have you believe, the Catholic Church is not afraid of the Bible, and in fact embraces it, as should you. Do you need to stop caring about your favorite team, or your favorite celebrity? No. But you do need to start not only thinking about the truly important things at times, when it is convenient to you, when you are alone, or only on Sundays. You need to start doing what Paul implored, confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord. Embarrassed for some reason to say that you believe in Jesus Christ, and embarrassed to say publicly that you believe he died for your sins? Then you need to ask yourself whether you even truly believe it. If you truly do, then stop being embarrassed about it.