[quote=demolitionman65]Hi there. As has been shown by me in the past, I am a high school teacher who deals with students struggling with their faith.
I have a cousin who is in her 30’s and also struggling back and forth between belief and agnosticism.
As she started to talk to me what I uncovered was that there were alot of blanks about the faith. Where did the blanks come from? Very shallow catechesis: God is love and love is God. Love and Mercy.
Of course, no discussion of Justice and Sin.
I have purchased for her, Fr. John Hardon’s catechism books and she is glad to have them. She has a PhD in Sociology and spent time studying sexuality too. I suggested she read the ever popular Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II. She was glad to take that too.
If the catechesis was well grounded, then I would say that they are allowing themselves to be swayed by popular culture. Review with them the meaning of the things that Pope Benedict raised in his Pre-Conclave Homily as Cardinal Ratzinger.
Read slowly especially when you get to the “How many winds of doctrine” and succeeding paragraph. Review and define those things with the kids. (see text in next post below - couldn’t link).
I was following many winds in my own way. Cardinal Ratzinger taught me a very valuable thing: One cannot proclaim to be going North all the while bending their compass needle to another direction. This is the heart of relativism. Jesus said the path was narrow and that means that we must fix our eyes on simple Truth which is static or unmoving, rather than on ways that are dynamic and complex. We must peel away the layers of complexity or shades of gray that cloud the simplicity intended by Jesus. That means purging the excuses.
Also, todays kids and adults are accustomed to doing what feels good and is convenient. This is not the way of the cross. Imitating Christ is to share the love, the joy and the passion. It means taking the difficult path more often than the easy one. It means self-denial and self-mastery.
With this self-mastery comes a simple principle - it is in my sig below: Trust in the gift of Holy Spirit without obedience to the gift of the Papacy and the Magisterium is not just a clanging cymbal but a great big gong. Obedience out of knowledge is good, but obedience out of pure trust that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Papacy and Magisterium is what the Lord expects and treasures the most. We deny ourselves in deference to the Lord’s will.
As Catholics, we must
- Know the teaching
- Obey the teaching
- Understand the teaching
And, in that order. Notice that “understand” comes after obey. The fact that obey is 2nd is because we have to trust that over 2000 years the Holy Spirit has operated and gotten us to this point. To think otherwise is not giving the Holy Spirit due credit. If one does not understand they have an obligation to learn from books, talking to priests or even in the context of confession discuss the issue to seek understanding. “Seek and you shall find”. Also, I have found that when I struggled with a church teaching the Lord has never let me down when I approached him with a humble and obedient heart and asked for understanding. It comes on His terms and time and could be weeks or months later. In the meanwhile, we obey the doctrine.
Tell the kids to imagine a ship with 10 captains each with a different interpretation of orders on where to sail. God knew of this potential for confusion so he gave us the Papacy. If every Catholic interpreted the bible the way that suits their desires, the faithful would be headed in every direction on the compass, while some head North. He made it simple so we wouldn’t have to struggle and that is why the Papacy and Magisterium (or teaching institution) are considered gifts.
This obedience does not limit itself to that which is declared ex-cathedra. Read more here on the subject from the Opus Sanctum Angelorum - Work of the Holy Angels, an ancient order that is strictly loyal to the Vicar of Christ and Magisterium.
Hope this helps. I know this discussion seemed to have helped my cousin and she admitted that she had a real problem with the “all over the map” thing and seems to be clinging to my message to look at Truth that is fixed, not moving. She is also clinging to my message to search for simplicity ever peeling away those layers of complexity. I can give examples but babbled enough for now.
All for the glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ!