“What’s in it for me?” is a perfectly reasonable question to ask whenever someone tries to persuade you to take a risk. It may not be the only or even the most important question but it is certainly one which can legitimately be put. One cannot, therefore, blame non-Christians for taking it into consideration when hearing the appeals of evangelisers to be ‘born again in Christ Jesus.’ To people who believe in neither heaven nor hell the promise of the one and the threat of the other will make no impression. Likewise those who have no sense of sin are conscious of no burden of guilt from which they have to escape. None of these things then can be advanced as being relevant to the “what’s in it for me?” criteria.
The idea that the population would be susceptible to such appeals is the heritage of a time which has now past. Where you have a society in which almost everyone accepts the basic ideas of Christianity the task is to energise them, to get them to move from theory to practice. In the West today there are few if any such societies so the strategy requires to be revised. Fortunately the Church has experience in dealing with a world in which most people were ignorant of, indifferent to or antagonistic about basic Christian doctrines. This was the gentile world of the first century Mediterranean where the Apostles and their associates did the work of planting the Catholic Church in the first place. I think that they made three distinct promises which each convert would receive as a gift when becoming converted to the faith, promises which the Church can still make and which provide the answer “this is what is in it for you.”…click here to read more
Pure Hearts mean light burdens, for it is sin that burdens and chains us down. With pure hearts we are free from sin. We are light as a feather! Jesus said, “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for … my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Here Jesus speaks of the yoke of obedience, telling us that our lives would actually be much happier if we were to align our intellects and wills with His; that life would be… Read more…
Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that exhibits its fruitfulness when we maintain a deep abiding relationship with Christ. As we celebrate Easter, and have now completed our Lenten sacrifices, I have to ask: How have you done with your Lenten sacrifice? Were you able to exhibit self-control and maintain your promise to Jesus in thanksgiving for the sacrifice He gave for you? Perhaps you gave something up, or perhaps you pledged to do something for others, or perhaps you elected to practice a specific virtue this Lent. Although Lent is over, you can still live up to your promise, for Jesus always gives us another chance, with each and every day that He gives us to live.
Jesus is our living example of one who bears fruit through the use of self-control. We only need to look at Matthew 4:1-11, where Matthew writes about the devil tempting Jesus three times during Jesus’ 40 days in the desert. Read more…
As I live in a pile of ashes that seems to follow me through Lent this year, I have found that a flame inside me is creating them. They are ashes of sin burning away from my mortal body. They leave behind skin that is raw and painful. Denial of bodily cravings, leaving mind-numbing television behind, and dragging my feet through the mud of humility, makes me evermore aware of the the burning fire of the Holy Spirit in my soul..
It tries to breakthrough and the burning is not quenched by any salve, but only by more time in prayer, with the Eucharist, and with my eyes wide open to the trail of my past, its revelations of where holiness may be possible. I long for Easter and the new skin of purity to be worn through next year, for a taste of the glorified body that will eventually be mine to inhabit.
All praise to our Lord Jesus Christ, be merciful to my soul!