Disclaimer: What I am about to say is going to be said with a lot of love. I absolutely love my parish, I love our priests, who have guided Seraphina and I to more spiritual development than I could ever imagine. They are absolutely wonderful and so are all the members of our parish who dedicate so much time, energy, and love to everything we do. I don't want this seen as a personal attack or critique. That being said,
In order to understand this blog post, I was in this frame of mind, and you should read this from NunBlog so you can understand my context. Part of the issue here was that false prophets were comforting the people of Israel leading up to the captivity, making them feel somewhat soothed about their sin and the problems rampant in their nation. I'm not one of those evangelicals who predict the end of the United States or claim that ever disaster that befalls our nation is because of some sort of sin (9-11, Katrina anyone?). That being said, I feel that sometimes, at least in the masses that I have attended, the daily readings and especially the responsorial psalms have been somewhat sugar coated from time to time. Case in point, my wife and I have spent several masses noticing how the responsorials that we sing change the wording of the Psalms or take specific passages out without presenting the whole truth. Sometimes they focus just on the "love" of God without looking at the "justice" that is also present in the Psalms. Of course, in reality, love and justice cannot be separated from one another. I think the fact that our redemption emphasizes Grace is important, because it shows us that God's love allowed him to make provisions so we would not be eternally damned for sin (which we "justly" deserve, I guess you could say). I don't necessarily (at least I HOPE NOT!) believe that they chose responsorial Psalms based on this fact. As a matter of fact, I think it's largely a result of modern church music and our hymnal. But sometimes we tend to want to not discuss our sins, and the possible consequences for these. This ties in somewhat with my post on confession, because here we have to personally confront our sins and confess them to God. And, trust me, coming from a Protestant background, it is much easier just to say a little prayer and go on with your life than to have to actually examine your conscience and confess your sins in a given manner.
As a nation, a Church, and as individuals, we need to confront the problems and conseqences of sin in our society. Maybe we should talk more about death, hell, eternal punishment, but to overly sooth others when they are in sin would be a fatal mistake. Yes, there is a balance. For instance, if you read certain passages in the Catechism about specific sins, sometimes addiction, habit, anxiety, and other stress can limit the severity of certain things. We see that carried over in the court system as well with "mitigating circumstances". But, at some point we have to realize that we truly are responsible for things and make them better. I don't want that to get lost in the shuffle of feel-good. On the other hand, again I don't want to fall into the trap of evangelical fire and brimstone teaching either.
ASK FATHER: What is a “privileged altar”? - From a reader… QUAERITUR: I’ve occasionally seen high altars inscribed with the phrase, “altare privilegiatum.” 1) What does (did?) this mean and how did a...
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