Sometimes in our lives we are faced with very difficult decisions. Sometimes we are face with looking at things from a perspective which is not our own. I do this every so often and last week I had to do it in a way which made me very sad on one level and gave me a moment of clarity on another.
Being Catholic sometimes means that we have to practice charity. Sometimes it means that we have to understand our own faults. We have to be able to take a step back and objectively look at our lives and try to figure out what it means to live in this world.
Being Catholic is an all or nothing proposition. Either we believe in all that Holy Mother Church brings to us or we don't. If we don't, we can't call ourselves Catholic. We should want to make others Catholic and expose them to the the Truth. We should want them to embrace what we know. We should want them to bask in the light of Christ to the extent that we do, as baptized, confirmed and communicating members of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Sometimes it won't work. And that is when we must do what Christ commanded us and to shake the dust from our feet and move on. Sound harsh? It is. But sometimes it is clear that people can't be changed. That doesn't mean that we stop praying for them and that doesn't mean that we don't circle around and try again, but it does mean that for a time, once in a while, we have to step back and remove ourselves from the equation.
Religious tolerance is just that, tolerance. We tolerate the imperfection of the sinful, fallen person. We acknowledge the attempt for sanctification, but we don't stop trying to convert them. Sometimes, we just can't do it all at once.
I think that God, the Father has a plan for each of us, it is realized in the Church and through Christ. But the sad fact is that because we are sinful and we are fallen, we won't always see it. When we look at Protestants, we should see a reason for catechizing. We should see a reason to better know the Catholic Faith. We should have a strong desire to bring that Faith to them and to help them fully understand the truth. We don't do this by allowing them to freely practice their belief, but rather we do that by sharing, commenting and ultimately, converting them from the error of Protestantism to the truth of Catholicism.
Protestants are Protestant for two reasons. 1) They don't know any different, or 2) They refuse to know, understand and accept the Catholic Truth. This is engrained in them from the start. To perpetuate the error is not freedom. To perpetuate the error is to do disservice to our separated brethren.
When we speak of religious freedom, we are engaging in double speak. On the one hand, we do recognize the importance of the ability to freely practice religion. But on the other hand, there is only one religion which will gain us heaven and the beatific vision. It is found the Church of Jesus Christ. It is found in the Catholic Church. By believing and accepting ALL that the Church teaches gains us true religious freedom. And that is the great double speak. Because we have parameters, because we have Faith in Christ Jesus, we come to know His Truth. That isn't found in heresy, it can't be. That is what Protestantism is, but rather it is found in the truth of His Church. That is what Catholicism is. And true freedom is joining ourselves to Christ is the most intimate way possible.
Sometimes we have to take a step back. Sometimes we have to see what is right in front of us. Sometimes being open to the Truth means that we must stand firm and bring the Truth to the world. We shouldn't be ashamed or recalcitrant, but rather we should find freedom in submitting to God, the Father. He has made covenants with mankind and Has fulfilled them all. His greatest covenant was the Passion, Death and Resurrection. That is the covenant which seal, and completes all others. That is the message. That is the end. And that end, well......it's found in one place, the Church of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church.
May God keep you close.