2cornucopias

Signs For Our Times – Part II: Holiness of the Church

In 12 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2014/01/18 at 12:00 AM

The second mark of the Church or sign for our times is that of HOLINESS.  Holiness is a state of existence in which a person consciously endeavors to live in accordance with the perceived will of God because He is seen as far superior to man and to whom man owe’s obedience and worship.  This attitude may arise from the dictates of the Natural Moral Law embedded in the minds and hearts of all people by their Creator or the active participation in a religion that fosters holiness of life.

God in His goodness has given man through the Catholic Church a certain way to strive towards holiness because holiness of life is an essential of attaining salvation  which,  whether you believe it or not, is the ultimate goal of human life.  However, holiness of life can be rejected and contemporary society has done just that.  The capital sins are easily embraced and the Ten Commandments are flagrantly violated.  Holiness is not popular even among too many “Catholics”.  Holiness may be rejected, but it is still necessary and it will only be found fully in the Catholic Church.

The first aspect of the Church’s holiness is evident in its Founder.  It can be proven that Jesus Christ is a Divine Person in human form who came to save the human race (those who want to be saved) from the effects of its sins. The historical record shows without doubt that the Founder of the Catholic Church was God Himself.  He claimed to be God and proved it by doing things (miracles) that only God could do.

He even challenged His enemies to point out any moral deficiencies in His life and they could not.

Founders of other religions did not claim to be divine and in every case their lives did not suggest any notable degree of personal holiness.  For example, Mohammed, Martin Luther, the Buddha, and all the other lesser known founders.

Because He was God, Christ could endow the Church with the means to help its members acquire holiness in accordance with the individual’s free choice and acceptance of the graces given.  The means that set up by Christ are the seven Sacraments, which if used correctly, will enable the believer to make steady progress towards holiness.  No other religion, even many who call themselves Christians, have anything even remotely resembling the Catholic Sacraments, and therefore, if any of their members happen to be holy in God’s sight, it is in spite of their religion.

There are thirty thousand plus “Christian” denominations.  Some claim one, two, or three sacraments; none claim seven.  Without the Seven Sacraments, no church can claim to be the Church founded by Christ.

There will be those who say that they have the Bible and that is quite sufficient.  The problem is that the Bible as we know it came from the Catholic Church historically and did not appear as we know it until the end of the fourth century.  Only one apostle could possibly have read the New Testament (St. John).  Christ Himself did not tell the Apostles to write but to preach.  For the first centuries, Christians really did not have access to the Bible as we know it.  If the Bible had been meant to be an essential part of the true Church it would have been available from the  beginning.  The Catholic Church reveres the Bible and uses it, but does not claim it is the only means of knowing God’s will.

Holiness, by its very nature, suggests consistency and permanence.  This is  one of the reasons the Catholic Church is hated and ridiculed…it is consistent in its teachings. It does not bow to the whim of any contemporary culture. What was demanded by divine law centuries ago is still valid, and therefore, the Church refuses to join the cultural bandwagon which is clamoring for sin to be declared non-sin. Other groups that call themselves “Christian” readily and easily salute the contemporary cultural icons and are duly applauded for failure to be a consistent defender of God’s law. How many groups have embraced the homosexual demands  to be designated as  just another lifestyle with no negative moral implications? The Catholic Church does not do this, thus affirming her commitment to the idea of consistent standards of holiness. In another fifty years, the cultural elite will be demanding something else. The Church demands holiness.

There are three questions each person should ask himself:

1.  Where did I come from? (We came from God because parents only make our bodies, but it has to be God who creates our soul because human parents are incapable of creating an immortal soul.)

2.  Why am I here? (Merely to get the most out physical life and then die without any consequences?  No, to serve that God who created your soul and who will judge your performance.)

3. Where am I going?  (To a grave and nothing more?  We have a built-in sense of immortality (which means it is real) and we reach that state eventually, but how we spend it is up to us.)

(The above questions and answers are true whether you believe them or not.)

The Catholic Church alone has the complete truth regarding these questions and the best means to achieve the goals is through the holiness of the Church given through the Sacraments.  If you are a Catholic striving to lead a holy life, keep it up.  If you are a lapsed or an indifferent Catholic who picks and chooses what you will accept or do, you are telling God that you are right and He is wrong.  Rather risky!  If you are not a Catholic, pray for the grace to find God’s will.  If you find it is in the Catholic Church, embrace it and be grateful and live it to the fullest (as do most converts).

Next time we will look at another sign for our times, the Catholicity of the Church.

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