Saturday, March 13, 2010

Enter the House of God

The last couple of weeks I've been reading "Quiet Strength" by former NFL head coach Tony Dungy. Dungy was a very successful NFL coach, but he views the impact he has on people, his Christian faith, and his family as his priority. He proved that you don't have to curse and yell to be a successful coach. His mild manor is well known and I for one am a huge fan. When Granny came up to stay with us last week, she picked up the book and began reading it and couldn't put it down. So I decided to start reading the next book on my list; "The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics."

I read the preface to what may be Lewis' greatest work, "Mere Christianity," and was immediately very intrigued. C.S. Lewis belonged to the Church of England, but his writings are loved by Catholics as well as Christians of all denominations and even non-Christians. In describing what he hoped to accomplish with "Mere Christianity" he brought up an interesting analogy. If there was a house that represented Christianity, he hoped to get people to enter the hall of that house. The rooms in the houses are where people lived and they represented different Christian denominations. His writings were not to debate the differences between the denominations but to rather focus on the similarities of all denominations. His goal was to evangelize to those who had little, incorrect, or no knowledge of Christianity. He did not desire those already in the rooms to leave there room to enter the hall because as he said the hall is not a place to live. It is better to live by the creed of your room than to stay in the hall, but it is better to be in the hall than outside the house entirely.

As I reflected on his words, I found in them profound wisdom. C.S. Lewis desired to bring people together toward Christ. He did not dwell on the differences but focused on the core beliefs that all Christians share. This was his mission and he has been wildly successful, and yet he acknowledges the necessity for others to focus on the differences between the rooms. He does not deny that these differences exist, but that it is not his mission to address them. He also says that just because he doesn't address these differences or certain controversial issues does not mean that they are unimportant or insignificant.

In my reflection on his wise words, I thought about my blog and what I hoped to accomplish. When I created this blog I thought long and hard about the title. I initially thought of naming the title "A Catholic Perspective on Life," because I am Catholic and my Catholic identity is very important to me. While this is true, I like C.S. Lewis hope to unite rather than divide and while there is nothing divisive about the word Catholic, which actually means universal, I wanted to reach out to a wider audience. While my views are from a Catholic perspective, they are also from a Christian perspective because to be Catholic is to be Christian.

I believe that the Catholic Church contains the fullness of the truth, and to live a life faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church is the surest way to heaven because it is the Church established by Jesus himself. It is because of this belief that I desire all to come to understand the Catholic faith because who wouldn't want the fullness of truth and the surest path to heaven? My desire for extended family and friends to consider the Catholic faith is, I believe, a selfless desire for them to receive the great gifts the Catholic Church offers. It is not to diminish their faith or their congregations. In fact, I see in them and in some of their churches many desirable characteristics. Many of my acquaintances have a great love of God and it is clearly visible in their actions. Many of these people are living a more "Catholic" life than many Catholics themselves. Every Easter several people enter the church as converts and often times these converts are so on fire for God and His teachings that they are an inspiration to the entire church. I see in them great joy when they first receive the Sacraments. These Sacraments of baptism, confession, Eucharist, confirmation, holy orders, marriage, and anointing of the sick strengthen our faith and heal us mind, body and soul. I often times take for granted how lucky I am to be a Catholic and have these Sacraments available to me on a regular basis. Thank God. I know the great graces God bestows upon us in these Sacraments and I desire for all to receive these graces.

My blog is for everyone. I, like C.S. Lewis, desire for all to come to know Christ and accept the Christian faith, however my goal is not to simply get people to enter the hall. My blog is more geared toward those already in the hall or in the rooms. I want to inspire Christians to challenge themselves. My goal is to motivate myself to become a better Christian. I want to lead by example. I will fall, but I must always repent and get back up because I do not want to be the hypocrite. Those who speak but do not act according to their words will not gain followers. Although my desire is not for others to follow me but to follow God, the reality is that my actions can influence or dissuade people toward or away from God. My hope is that more often than not I am leading others toward God.

If you are in the hall, I challenge you to find a room. If you are in a room, I challenge you to find the room that will most surely lead you to the roof not necessarily the room that is most comfortable. If you are in the room that has a door leading directly out to the roof, I challenge you to abide by the rules of the room and see to it that others in the room follow the rules. Do what you can to see that those in your room don't leave for a more comfortable room or leave the house entirely. I challenge you to invite others to join the room so that they might have easy access to the roof. The other rooms will also have access to the roof, but they may have to climb through a window to reach the roof. We are all one house. We are one body in Christ. Let us work together to accomplish a common goal.

Eternal Father, I thank you for this day and for the gift of life. I ask that you continue to bless me, my family, my friends, and all the readers of this blog. May your love shine through us and may this love be evident to everyone we meet and inspire them to yearn for You. All praise and honor is Yours for without you we are nothing. May our common goal of eternal life in heaven unite all Christians. Amen.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT. I would like to know your thoughts whether it be about this specific post, about my blog in general, or if there is a question you might have for me. Are there any changes you would like to see? What aspects of this blog to you enjoy? How can I make this blog more interactive? Because I very rarely get any feedback, I often wonder if anybody is even reading. Perhaps I am asking just to feed my ego, but I truly believe that the best way to evangelize to to have honest dialogue and communication is a two way street. If I don't get any feedback, I don't know what issues you'd like for me to discuss or answer any questions you might have. I really do appreciate you. Thank you for reading. Without your encouragement, I probably would not have lasted this long. I ask that you pray for me and know that I will also be praying for you. I also ask that you pray for a good alternative solution to the current health care proposal which will lead to the largest expansion of abortion since Roe vs. Wade and is not financially feasible. It is not only immoral based on the life issues of abortion, euthanasia and unacceptable conscience clause protections, but it is also immoral to place an unrealistic financial burden on our kids and grand kids. This is a good lesson that we must exercise our civic duty and vote based on those people who best reflect our values. As we have seen, elections have huge economic, moral, and social consequences. Goodnight, and God bless!

No comments: