THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Her Doctrine and Morals

Third Sunday after Easter

22 April 2018

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Dear Friends,

Through faith, we catch glimpses of Jesus Christ here on earth. With the true eyes of faith, we see the hand of God in all of creation. We catch brief visions of His goodness, His love, His wisdom, etc. as we uncover these things in His creation. The material world shows us God and the way to God if we only have the eyes of faith to read these signs. When we advance in faith, we advance in the ability to strip away the material substance of things and see into the spiritual reality of things and there see God ever more clearly.

This is a continual progress as we progress in the spiritual life. We look through or above the material creation to consider the spiritual creation, and then we strip away the spiritual creation to behold the Creator of all things — God, Himself. In this, we gradually die to this material world and grow and develop in the spiritual life. While we live in this world we do not physically lose these material things, what is lost is the attachment or affection for these material things. The material things of this world are still there and we still use them, but we begin to fulfill the suggestion of St. Paul and we use them as if we used them not. Our thoughts do not focus our sight on them but see beyond them with much greater clarity into their purpose and existence.

When we drive our automobiles we see the windshield in front of us. We know it is there and we are thankful for it, but to drive the vehicle safely we must look through the glass and not at the glass. If we focus our thoughts and attention on the windshield in front of us, we fail to see the road beyond the glass, and we fail to navigate the vehicle safely to our destination. Our spiritual life is like this. We see all the good material things that God has created and given to us, but we must look beyond the physical things into the spiritual realm. We must not focus only on the material if we are to safely navigate our way in the spiritual life. We must look through them. In this way we see them, but we don't focus on them — we use them as if we used them not.

When we see the material things we are given a glimpse of God, when we look through them into the spiritual reality we see God even more clearly. In dying to the world or dying to ourselves we are gradually seeing further and further into the spiritual realm, and consequently see less and less of the material world around us. Our hearts yearn for more and more of the spiritual realm and less and less for the material one. We seek to make the momentary sight of God, last longer or the time between these glimpses to become ever shorter.

In this manner, Jesus tells us that in a little while we will not see Him then, in a little while we will see Him again. Our sight of Him now is as through a dark glass, but then we will see Him as we are seen by Him. We see Him, then we are distracted by a creation, and sorrow and longing fill our hearts until we once again catch sight of Him. The world rejoices in the sight of the material creation, but the faithful weep at the loss of the sight of the spiritual creation.

Increasing this sight or understanding (the love of God) within us is as a woman giving birth. We are bringing forth the life of Jesus within ourselves, but to do this, various obstacles must be taken away. The barriers must be broken; it is a very traumatic and painful endeavor, but a necessary one to obtain the desired outcome — the life of Jesus Christ within us.

The greater our attachment to the material creation, the greater is the agony of this birth. We also know that in this case (the greater our attachment to the physical), the more necessary is this birth.

We are not seeking to destroy the material things for these are good and given to us by God. These are the first steps in our spiritual life. We cannot burn the bridges when we cross them. We must leave them for others to use as well (we may have to pass this way again if we fall). It is not the destruction of material things that we are to strive for, it is the attachment of our hearts to these things that must be taken down. It is a faulty attachment that is taken down because we seek the good of the creation and neglect to seek the good of the Creator. We tend to hold the creature in the place of God — seeking the pleasure of the creature rather than the pleasure of the Creator — serving the creature rather than the Creator. Through true faith, we see more clearly and we love the creature in the Creator, for the Creator, and with the Creator — in the same manner, that the Creator loves His creatures.

Then we love the creatures truly and more perfectly than we ever did before. They are the bridges to the Creator and are good. We love bridges, but we do not stop and stay on the bridge, we pass over, ever closer to our destination — our home, where we will see Jesus Christ clearly face to face and never lose this glorious vision again.

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