While Las Vegas may choose to wear its nickname of "Sin City" boldly, it demonstrates a need for conversion in our nation. It appears that we have discontinued any semblance of a pursuit of holiness in our culture overall. Obviously, there are exceptions to any broad generalization such as that. However, it seems fairly clear that we are a nation who has accepted impurity on almost all levels as an acceptable and normal way of life.
There have been a lot of vile comments and actions in recent days since the U.S. Supreme Court decision was handed down regarding "same-sex marriage". These have come from both sides of the issue. I don't intend to engage in that type of commentary. On the other hand, I won't distance myself from the Truth. In the last 60 years we have allowed ourselves to incrementally go down a path of moral degradation that has brought us to this point in time. We are now reaping what we have sown on numerous levels.
A lot of finger pointing has been done by "conservative" believers. They have criticized the Church, especially the priests and bishops who have not been steadfast in teaching the fullness of the faith. These pastors are accused of letting the sheep wander from the fold without attempting to bring them back. Some have point blank stated that the members of the clergy are the wolves in sheep's clothing intentionally leading the flock astray. Some of these accusations may bear some element of truth while others are not accurate in any shape, fashion, or form.
In 1968 we had the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI entitled, Humanae Vitae. This document was ignored at best, and ridiculed and shredded to pieces at worst. Theologians and Church leadership were some of the culprits in this particular dissent. However, many of the laity embraced that dissent with vigor as well. The pope was told to stay "out of my bedroom" by a large portion of the flock. Contraception was here to stay. Infidelity, the objectification of women, and a dismantling of the nuclear family was subsequently underway at an alarming speed.
It should be evident at this point in time that we cannot pick and choose which of the Ten Commandments and/or Church Teachings we are going to follow and which we will set aside because they are not to our liking. This approach leads to confusion, inconsistency, and idolatry. Relativism takes hold and doesn't let go. The end result is misery.
There are some people striving to lead a good life. Unfortunately, temptation to sin abounds and we frequently find ourselves needing to seek God's mercy. It isn't easy attempting to lead a holy life when so much of what surrounds us entices, persuades, and beckons us to engage in activities that are less than pure and wholesome. This is true for whatever state in life we find ourselves. We are each called to purity and chastity for our state in life.
If we are honest in the discussion we can see that things have changed dramatically in the last half century regarding our moral compass. Here are just a few examples:
Years ago divorce was a word avoided. It was even spelled out in a song demonstrating how to keep the kids from knowing. Now, divorce is readily accepted even with a clause of "no-fault-divorce." The divorce rate skyrocketed and a lot of pain, disillusionment, and discord has been left in its wake.
If statistics are anywhere near accurate we have a contraceptive mentality even within the Church. Years ago it was good to have a big family. Today it is seen as a financial drain and environmentally unfriendly to have a big family. The "pill" has made it easier to regulate births and to satisfy our desires for a particular lifestyle. Sadly, when we feel okay about attempting to take away the creative Hand of God in regard to the procreative nature of a married relationship, the union of two becoming one flesh that is meant to develop will also be diminished.
If we feel okay about utilizing contraceptive measures to avoid pregnancy it was no giant leap to come to accept abortion as another alternative to regulate births and even make sex-selection choices. There is no way that we as a nation can look upon nearly 60 million deaths through abortion since 1973 and say that we are a healthy society from a physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual standpoint. Our brokenness is evident.
This leads to a discussion of chastity on other levels. Premarital sex is still not a good choice. Purity and abstinence will lead to a deeper fulfillment of one's emotional, physical, and spiritual longings. Although society and the media have been pounding the message of sexual freedom into us for decades, the results show that it has not been a good experiment. The brokenness that the "hook-up" culture has generated is devastating. The Church in its wisdom has proclaimed purity for a very good reason. Our culture would benefit from listening to the message.
Same-sex attraction is another issue which invites an individual into embracing chastity. It may not be an easy role, but the call and invitation remain. That has been a message unheard in recent days during the calamitous gatherings.
The hurt, pain, and suffering of so many people for a variety of reasons is truly immense. That is why I chose the name of my blog to be "Articulating Hope." We need hope when life can seem to be quite painful at times. This is for the young and old, the single and the married, the straight and the gay, male or female. We each have particular challenges and struggles that face us. How will we respond?
There are some who are celebrating the SCOTUS decision for their ulterior motives. That would be some of the attorneys who are looking to cash in on this gold mine. Same-sex marriage means another group of people getting divorced. Cha-ching! Lawyers will be involved. A Knights of Columbus Hall won't host your same-sex wedding reception? Can you say lawsuit? Cha-ching! The florist, the caterer, the minister, the church, and anyone else that stands in the way of progress will be hauled into court. Cha-ching!
In the midst of life's burdens, God's grace and mercy still invites us to come away and rest a while. We can find rest for our souls. We can find strength, comfort, peace, and even hope. Today is a new start. We can repent of our sinfulness and seek God's mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
I want to encourage each of you to embrace the Truth, Jesus Christ. Study your faith. Read the Sacred Scriptures. Pray! Pursue holiness. Strive for purity. Pray for an increase of faith. Implore God for an outpouring of grace. Ask the Holy Spirit to instill within you FRESH FIRE! Don't be conformed to the world. Be transformed by God's love! All that glitters is not gold!