You’re his friend and he confides in you. He tells you about the woman he’s in love with. She single, beautiful, intelligent, and compassionate. He’s single, with gainfully employment, kind, caring, and compassionate. They’re already in the same circle of friends. But before he can make his feelings known, once again someone else wins the heart of the woman of his dreams.
They had great conversations about love, life, dreams and goals, even philosophy. But his love though genuine, was never made known to her. When she makes her engagement public and tells the story how her fiancé has won her heart, she explains how he made it clear that she was all he wanted in the whole world. He convinced her that his love for her was stronger than anyone else’s could ever be! And not only that, he convinced her that he could make her happier than any other man ever could!
She would go on to share how direct her fiancé was in communicating the life he wanted. She told of how he communicated clearly that he wanted to marry her and have a family. He played no games. He did not talk of love in the abstract. He spoke of specifics and had concrete plans for their life together.
The same heartbreak has befell our fictional character many times. Many times he has been given the advice to be more direct. To be more purposeful. But he has rejected that advice in favor of his failed approach of constantly speaking in the abstract. His hopes are that one day the love of his life will somehow read his thoughts through his words and fall in love with his endless talks about life and love in the abstract.
Now to the church….
Modern man has been taught that there is no absolute truth, and that everyone’s truth is valid in their respective experience and situation.
But in contrast to this modern ideology, the church exist to give witness to one truth, that is, the Word and Sacrament, our Lord Jesus Christ.
And as we now witness the collapse of Western Christian thought, culture and society, much as those on the lifeboats watched the titanic slip into the Atlantic, we wonder what’s next.
The church seems to have doubled down on a failed approach of speaking in the abstract about the gospel, love, obedience, sin, heaven, hell, and the Deity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. While the pagan and post-Christian World sits across the table and nods her head in agreement with the church’s abstract ideas about inclusion, social gospel, love and general conversation about being nice and co-existing.
Meanwhile another is winning her heart, namely our adversary the devil. He is cunning, deceitful and direct with his lies. He will not give the church chance after chance at winning society back to the one true faith.
So if I am giving advice to my shy friend, the church, I say, “be bold!”. Make your intentions clear. If you want the unbelieving, unchurched, or fallen away churched to convert, tell them what they’re converting to. Tell them the Way is Narrow, as Christ did. Tell them of the infinite Love of God. Tell them of the suffering Christ and His Passion. Tell the Truth! Tell of love eternal manifest in our Lord Jesus Christ. Tell of the horrors of hell and the love that has been manifest to save men and women from going there. Tell of the horrors of sin. Tell of the grotesque ‘hook-up’ culture, perverted and homosexuality, the pornography epidemic and disordered family arrangements. And then tell of the beauty in God’s Divine Order! Tell of the rewards of chastity, holiness and the narrow way! Tell of the beauty of God’s design for the family: the prohibitions against contraception and abortion. We must begin again to tell of the beauty of the heavenly vision, that beatific vision that the saints tell of! We must again tell of the glories to come and suffering to shun.
We must make this gospel personal and urgent. For if our shy friend is to win the love of his life, he must win her away from all others. And so the church must not under-estimate the competition.
For various reasons, our society is prone now to following charismatic and passionate leaders, even if they are liars and proven to be wicked by the world’s standards. People want passion and conviction. Those who God has trusted with the Good News have the best reason to speak with passion and conviction, after all, our Lord Jesus Christ showed us the way to love, a love unto death if need be.
So if we the church do not begin to speak clearly to the questions of our day, someone else will, or already has. The lame, spineless, “maybe this way, maybe that way” approach to winning the hearts of the unbelievers is worn out and hasn’t worked. If the church does not win the nations, something else will.
I am not advocating for forcefulness or abrasiveness. That approach doesn’t work either and hasn’t. I am advocating first, for a rediscovery of what we believe and why we believe it. I am advocating for Evangelism and a clear message that the call of the Good News is a call to conversion, and a call to holiness.
Preaching the Cross draws a distinction. The Preaching of the Cross has always been an offense. Distinctions are rare now days. We must draw a distinction. Some have rightly said, “preach and use words if you have to”. Thank God that many have. But is there ever a time to use words? St. Apostle Paul thought so. He said that God uses the foolishness of preaching. Preaching is a proclamation.
How will they know if no one tells them? Too much is left unknown. I was drawn home to the Catholic Church by a bold proclamation of Catholic Truth. I recognized the proclamation as truth by the seeds of truth learned in the scriptures taught to me my whole life in the protestant church. But how many have any seed of truth to water? How many have any scriptural knowledge to draw on? How many once had any of that but now are brain washed by secularism, modernism or moral relativism?
I thank God for the bold proclamation of the Catholic Church. But is it good news if its not proclaimed? It isn’t good news for anyone if they’re not given access to it.
So in closing, let every man be convinced in his own heart. Let’s stop the charade. Do we have truth that can get souls to heaven? Do we have truth that can fix families? Do we have truth that can set drug addicts free? Do we have truth that can set homosexuals free? Do we have truth that can heal broken hearts? Do we have truth in the area of sexuality? Do we have truth that can still set sinners free? YES! So let’s not hide it. Let it be known! Let the Dogma live loudly in you, as some have said.
Let’s try to cut back on ‘maybe’, and ‘well is that how you feel?’, or ‘great question, what do you think the answer is?’, and lets let our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ be ‘no’.
The truth is that we’re calling people to a brand new life in Christ. A Sacramental and Liturgical life! A life of feast days, holy days, and days of solemnity! A Church full with saints and saints of the day! A Church filled with tradition and magisterium and Holiness!
Being direct on purpose is worth a try, after all, in our modern times all other methods have failed so far.