Who are we? Where do we come from? Why are we here? These existential questions are fundamental in our quest for truth. Getting the answers wrong is the equivalent to using the wrong measurements to build a house. Not asking the questions, is like building a house without measurements. In both cases, the house will either crumble or never get finished (Mt 7: 24-29). The person looking to build shelter this way, will inevitably end up homeless. And so it is with our life.
In one paragraph, the Church teaches us the answer to all three questions:
“God…in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man… He calls man to seek Him, to know Him, to love Him with all his strength… In His Son and through Him, He invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, His adopted children and thus, heirs of His blessed life.” (CCC1).
In other words, we are children of God, sons and daughters of Our Father. We are here to love Him and love others, not merely as we would love ourselves (golden rule), but as Jesus loves us (God Rule Jn 13:34). Our identity rests not on our race, skin colour, or sexual preferences. It is not determined by national borders, place of birth, or economic status. Our identity as children of God transcends our past history, it transcends even our own self-described image(s) of ourselves. The anorexic for example, is not obese even if she self-identifies as being so. To affirm this belief and support her choice to starve, would make one accomplice to that person’s eventual death. Assisted suicide is murder.
Determining our own identities and ultimate purpose in life outside of God’s plan, is to live literally under a make-believe illusion. We pursue our own desires and then try to project meaning to them, so as to give us a purpose. In some cases, we pick an identity just to help fit in with a group (peer pressure is not only a high-school phenomena), or to gather sympathy. A white little girl who is constantly told she is born a racist, that her parents and ancestors are the root of all hate, and that any good in her life is a privilege gained through violence and oppression, will naturally want to change identity. That’s when this innocent, little white girl realizes that if she announces she’s really a boy, the same people that were condemning her, suddenly begin to “accept” her…him.
St John Paul II in his 1988 encyclical, Christifideles Laici 5, gave us, almost prophetically, the following warning:
“When the individual is not recognized and loved in the person’s dignity as the living image of God (cf. Gen 1:26), the human being is exposed to more humiliating and degrading forms of “manipulation,” that most assuredly reduce the individual to a slavery to those who are stronger. “Those who are stronger” can take a variety of names: an ideology, economic power, political and inhumane systems, scientific technocracy or the intrusiveness of the mass-media.”
How many more children, born and unborn, are we willing to sacrifice on the hospital beds and school desks in our communities? How long will we remain silent, as the trains of the “education” system pass by transporting our children to the prisons of hate, racism and sexual perversion?
We deny Christ when we deny the dignity of the unborn (“let the children come to Me” Mt 19:14). We deny Christ when we deny His Church (“You are one of them too”…Peter, “No I am not…” Lk 22:58). We deny Christ when we deny His identity as Son of God (“Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, or one of the prophets” Mt 16:13-18). I often struggle with the image of the disciples watching our Lord being savagely beaten, “at a distance“. I struggle because I see myself doing the same, when I ought to be at the foot of the Cross, as our Lady was. Like Peter, I hope to respond with a resounding “Yes you know I love you Lord” when the opportunities arise, and they surely will. To do so, I must not be afraid to pay, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, the “cost of discipleship”.
The answer to our identity begins with the identity of Jesus. Is He a nice guy, or the second best prophet, or an enlightened being, or Elijah, or a threat to the state, or a lunatic, perhaps a deplorable or racist, or a liar, or (fill in the blanks), or is He “the Christ, Son of the Living God”? If we recognize Jesus’ identity as the Son of God, then our identity will become recognizable, because He called us His brothers and sisters when He prayed, “Our Father…” (Mt 6:9-13). If we don’t recognize His identity, we will end up like the mad crowd, choosing today’s Barabbas, literally the other “son of the father” [Bar (son of) – Abbas (father)]. St Josemaria Escriva in his reflections on the via dolorosa (Way of the Cross) said, “We must accompany Him so closely that we come to live with Him, like the first Twelve did; so closely that we become identified with Him”.
Do our children, fellow brothers, identify as sons and daughters of God? Do they feel the love of God the Father through our love as fathers? Or do we watch them grow “from a distance” as they are led to their misery? Today’s state and religious authorities (including some within our own Church hierarchy), are they any different than Herod (massacre of the Innocents i.e abortion), or Caiaphas (blasphemy i.e hate speech), or Pilate (what is truth? Relativism)? The latest authorities indoctrinate children with the falsehood that there is no objective truth, before objectively affirming that only whites are racist and accusing anyone who thinks we are “one big human family” as a covert white supremacist (Halton Catholic District School Board). They groom children to believe their gender is fluid (leading increasing numbers of kids to undertake surgeries that will render them sterile for rest of their lives), but are unable to even define what a woman is (US Supreme Court judge). To show inclusiveness, they exclude the Cross, and replace it with ever changing flags (Halton Catholic Board trustees). To show how welcoming and open to diversity they are, they call you “deplorable”, “fringe”, “racist”, “homophobe” when you think differently than they do. They say there’s no such thing as sin, but then want you to pay for the past failings of others (i.e residential schools), a sort of “community of sinners” where all our sins are combined under a collective guilt. Of course, no such dogma is applied to the indigenous (murder of Christian missionaries, first immigrants), Muslims (Siege of Vienna, massacre at Famagusta, invasion of Iberian peninsula, ISIS, etc etc), or atheists (Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao, etc). Like good Marxists, they attempt to divide people and group them against each other, while they remain in power. Substitute class with race, gender, sexual orientation, or any of the other categories, and then it’s easy to construct a narrative of oppressed vs oppressor, the necessary ingredient to end peaceful, joyful living.
To break this narrative, we need to recognize the icon of Truth as Veronica did, her name meaning literally the icon of truth (Veron – truth, ica – icon). She came to Jesus and lovingly wiped the dripping blood off His face, when everyone else mocked and spat at Him. When we take up the Cross, it becomes not only our symbol, it becomes our identity, thereby breaking the tentacles of insidious ideas such as CRT (critical-race-theory) and gender ideology. God desires that we live life to the fullest! (Jn 10:10) As any good father, He wants to bless His children with plenty of “good things” (Mt 7:11), even if we sometimes don’t recognize or appreciate His gifts.
As St Paul told the Galatians, “There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither slave nor freeman, there can be neither male nor female — for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:28)
Happy Easter brothers! He is Risen!
St Joseph: Pray for us
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