Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

Order 'Evolution for the Catholic Student' - Click on the image above

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Bulletin Announcement for C. and E. Catholics

A Bulletin Announcement for C. and E. Catholics 

The following is one of the best bulletin announcements I have ever seen. The priest, like a good fisher of men, knows that to haul in a catch sometimes you need a hook with a bite to it: 

From the Pastor: No Marshmallow World Today

There is an old song I remember from childhood which is often played alongside Christmas Carols. Sung by Dean Martin, it starts off, “It’s a marshmallow world in the winter, when the snow comes to cover the ground. It’s the time for play, it’s a whipped cream day. I wait for it the whole year ‘round.” It is a catchy little ditty, a simple tune with simple words and it makes you feel good about the cold weather. “The world is your snowball, see how it grows...” Admit it, you are singing it in your head right now. But as for it being a Christmas song, well, it simply isn’t one. It never mentions the baby Jesus, the Virgin Birth, Salvation, Peace on Earth, choirs of angels, or anything else that could be truly considered Christmasy. There is no depth to it. Just as a bag of marshmallows should never be devoured as if it were a nutritious meal, this song should never be sung as if it were a real Christmas Carol. Yet too often such distinctions, obvious though they are, are not made by anyone, me included, nowadays.

Looking back at my past Christmas bulletin articles, I think I have been too quick to give you all a marshmallow world message. I write nicely pleasing words of welcome to all of the C&E Catholics and remind them that we actually celebrate Mass every day, every week, every year. Ho ho ho! But that message, while being a truthful one, is really no different than, “Those are marshmallow clouds being friendly, in the arms of the evergreen trees...” So this year instead of serving marshmallows I think it is time to feed you some real meat, even though it is harder to chew and digest.

After writing, “Merry Christmas! I welcome all of you who are here!” I am going to mostly ignore those of you who come here daily or weekly. You are already striving for holiness and, even though not yet perfect, you are sinners on the path to Heaven. I will focus instead on those of you who only occasionally bother to show up for Mass. You are sadly on the path toward hell. Yes, hell. You likely are not so much afraid of hell as of being informed that you are heading there. We celebrate Christmas because Jesus is “God who saves” us from hell, which we all deserve due to our sin. Those who die denying that in thought, word or deed can never enter Heaven. The Savior revealed the fullness of the Father’s love in His plan for our salvation and that plan essentially, not tangentially, includes the supernatural graces found only in the Catholic Church, Her teachings and Her sacraments. Therefore, if you willfully reject the Church—even partially—you reject Jesus and you reject salvation itself.

Consider these truths. Those who deny mortal sin being mortal (deadly to the soul) and/or refuse to avail themselves of the grace of Confession for those sins, refuse absolution, refuse salvation, refuse Heaven. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass re-presents the very act of salvation—Jesus giving His life in exchange for ours. We are to participate in this greatest of all acts of love at a bare minimum of every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, not just Christmas and Easter, weddings and funerals. If you purposefully miss Mass on even one of these days and die without being reconciled to God and His Church (i.e., through Confession) you have rejected salvation, rejected Heaven. If you deny that Jesus is truly present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist, you will either skip Mass and refuse this “true food” which “gives life to the world” or you will receive Holy Communion without being in a state of grace and either way you condemn and damn yourself.

Chances are pretty good that if you are attending Mass today and have read this far without bursting into flames you know that what I have written is true. You want to be saved, you want to be a better Catholic, you want to go to Heaven. Now start acting like it. Meet me in the confessional and I’ll welcome you back to the path to Heaven. I promise to be gentle. After all, “It’s a yum yummy world made for sweethearts...”

With prayers for your holiness,