“You shall not carve idols” (Ex.20:4)
With the First Sunday of Advent we begin a new Church Year. The observance of Advent gives direction to our lives. Unlike most of the world around us, we know where we are going, for, as St. Paul says:
“Our citizenship is in heaven from which also we eagerly await a Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will refashion the body of our lowliness, conforming it to the body of his glory by exerting the power by which he is able also to subject all things to himself” (Phil.3:20,21).
The young are not being taught the truth about life in this world. They must be productive ciphers of the system. They are fodder to be thrown into the front lines of battle, so that the “fat cats” of this world can enjoy their luxury yachts and their grandly appointed estates. Well might they enjoy their lives in this world, because the next isn’t going to be much fun for them! Now this is not to say that all rich people are evil and all the poor are good. There are kings and queens, and rich men like Zacchaeus in heaven.
For many others there is direction in their lives, but it does not lead them to the desired destination of Heaven. Already in ancient times, God spoke through Moses to His people about the requirements of true religion:
“I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I the Lord, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their father’s wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Ex.20:2-6).
The false religions promise salvation of one kind or another, but it is a false hope without foundation. The key that unlocks the door to eternal life is faith, faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Divine Son, and in the Holy Catholic Church which He established, with its holy Sacraments and its bishops and priests ordained to administer them. The Church is the anteroom to Heaven where we prepare to enter the golden door into eternal happiness.
By the grace of God we have been received by the Good Shepherd into His flock. This took place at our Baptism. And we are formed and nourished by the holy Sacraments of the Church, especially the Holy Eucharist, the Bread from Heaven, of which Our Lord said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me and I in him. As the living Father has sent me, and as I live because of the Father, so he who eats me, he also shall live because of me. This is the bread that has come down from heaven…” (Jn.6:54-59).
Today many “carve idols” for themselves. Today there are many allegedly “true religions,” all of which are said to have their origin in the “religious sense” which arises spontaneously from within the person. Pope St. Pius X demonstrates the absurdity of this in his encyclical against the Modernist heretics:
“In the religious sense (as the Modernists understand it) one must recognize a kind of intuition of the heart which puts man in immediate contact with the reality of God, and infuses such a persuasion of God’s existence and His action both within and without man as far to exceed any scientific conviction. They assert, therefore, the existence of a real experience, and one of a kind that surpasses all rational experience…
“How far this position is removed from that of Catholic teaching! … What is to prevent such experiences from being found in any religion?… On what grounds can Modernists deny the truth of an experience affirmed by a follower of Islam? Will they claim a monopoly of true experiences for Catholics alone? Indeed, Modernists do not deny, but actually maintain, some confusedly, others frankly, that all religions are true. That they cannot feel otherwise is obvious. For on what ground, according to their theories, could falsity be predicated of any religion whatsoever?” (Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Sept. 8, 1907).
Our first Holy Father, St. Peter, warned:
“There were false prophets also among the people, just as among you there will be lying teachers who will bring in destructive sects. They even disown the Lord who bought them, thus bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their wanton conduct and because of them the way of truth will be maligned... Their condemnation, passed of old, is not made void, and their destruction does not slumber” (2Pet:2:1-3).
Four of the Novus Ordo Cardinals at the Vatican have awakened from their slumber and are calling for Antipope Bergoglio to account for his heretical teachings in his document Amoris Laetitia. Bergoglio says he is not losing any sleep over it. We shall “stay tuned” for further developments.