Monday, 18 October 2010
The devil in disguise . . ?
I don’t know if you’ve ever come across a book called ‘Lukewarmness : The Devil in Disguise’ ? I picked up a copy a fair while ago now; and whilst I don’t necessarily endorse the way in which it says everything, I do think that the overall message is a valuable one, and that the bulk of the content is effective.
Lukewarmness (at least in the context of Catholicism) is so common nowadays : think about the congregation around you at Sunday Mass; think about the lack of obvious, open, physical reverence towards Our Blessed Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament; think about the lack of devotion, the inattention, the ‘peremptoriness’ of such a large percentage of the congregation – fulfil the obligation, and then get going for another week.
I spend quite a lot of time regretting my own inattention and lack of devotion, my own deficiencies in reverence, towards Our Lord – particularly towards the Most Holy Sacrament . . . and I don’t think the fact that a large percentage of those I see about me don’t seem to even meet my inadequate standards makes me any better; it just distresses – perhaps even depresses – me further.
Can I just give one little quote from the book for your consideration ? I think you may find it informative, perhaps even challenging; and I’d therefore really love to hear your thoughts on it. It is discussing what it describes as ‘mental torpor’.
Little by little, the interior life appears ever more unattainable until that moment when it is denied. This attitude of pragmatism is the product of our secularized times wherein God has been relegated to the sidelines. We see many Christians today who appear to have been won over by the spirit of the age. They have put aside the fact of their Baptism and their religious education. They have allowed their piety to be corrupted by paganism in our environment. Whatever remains of their faith is not strong enough to have a decisive influence on their lives and their surroundings. These people appear to have lost their ability to pray.
When I look at myself in the past, I have to admit that there is so much truth in that comment : I am infinitely grateful to my friends, particularly the Saints who have befriended me, and by whose prayers I was saved from sliding too far away from God; but I recognize that that slippery slope is there, and that it’s not even something one necessarily deliberately starts upon . . . it can all-too-easily creep up upon you hidden in what you believe are trivial failings and omissions . . . but they’re not; because the effect of them is not trivial, but (at least potentially) catastrophic.
Lack of commitment, in other words – lukewarmness – is capable of bringing about destruction; not because you choose that, or even knowingly accept it . . . but because it will creep up on you unawares; and you’ll probably never even realize it. The only way of preventing it, is to ensure that you keep your eyes and ears open, and your mind on God and His love . . . and keep praying.
That’s how I see it : tell me what you think.