May the *Real* Force Be With You!

May the *Real* Force Be With You!


Kids love to pretend they possess the superpowers of their favorite superheroes. In just a few days, the highly anticipated Star Wars film premieres, “The Force Awakens.” While there is much secrecy as to the storyline of this film and the meaning of this title, it seems to imply that “The Force,” which had been dormant, rises to its former power.

Whether it is costumes or video games or movies, we (not just children) seem to be fascinated by the notion of “superpowers” or “The Force,” even if pretending. Why is that? I believe it is because we all know, at a spiritual level, that there is a power that is not pretend … it is REAL! In fact, you and I are called to be *actual* SUPERHEROES with *actual* SUPERPOWERS!

Fr. John Hardon wrote:

“St. Thomas Aquinas believed that man is more than a composite of body and soul, that his is nothing less than elevated to a supernatural order which participates, as far as a creature can, in the very nature of God. Accordingly, a person in the state of grace, or divine friendship, possesses certain enduring powers, the infused virtues and gifts, that raise him to an orbit of existence as far above nature as heaven is above earth, and that give him abilities of thought and operation that are literally born, not of the will of flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

In his classic spiritual work, The Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales wrote:

In so far as divine love beautifies our souls, and makes us pleasing to His divine Majesty, it is called grace; in so far as it gives us strength to do good, it is called charity; but when it reaches such a degree of perfection, that it makes us not only do the good, but do so carefully, frequently and readily, then it is called devotion.

Pope Benedict XIV, whose chapters on heroic virtue are classical, thus describes heroicity:

“In order to be heroic a Christian virtue must enable its owner to perform virtuous actions with uncommon promptitude, ease, and pleasure, from supernatural motives and without human reasoning, with self-abnegation and full control over his natural inclinations.”

An heroic virtue, then, is a habit of good conduct that has become a second nature, a new motive power stronger than all corresponding inborn inclinations, capable of rendering easy a series of acts each of which, for the ordinary man, would be beset with very great, if not insurmountable, difficulties.

The way I like to put it is that someone participating in the Divine life under the power of supernatural grace, is able to simple say, “Of course” … “Of course I will help that person in need … of course I will adhere to the teachings of the Church … Of course I will worship God with due reverence … of course I will live every moment of every day with the intention of bringing Christ’s love and joy to every person I meet … and so on …”

“Participation in the Divine life” … this is the “real force” … this is what it means to be empowered by grace! And this, I believe, has been lying dormant, by and large, for a number of decades, because we have “denied its power.”

In his letter to Timothy, St. Paul warns of these times:

But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power. Reject them” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Pope Benedict XVI said, “the true problem of our times is the ‘Crisis of God,’ the absence of God, disguised by an empty religiosity.” Many want to blame Vatican II for this secularized version of Catholicism (“pretense of religion but deny its power”) we have endured. But, I believe that is too simplistic. Many factors inside and outside of the Church contributed to this “denial of supernatural power.”

LiturgicalAbuseHowever, I could not agree more with Pope Benedict who wrote:“I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is, to a large extent, due to the disintegration of the liturgy.” Pope Benedict also wrote, “The liturgical reform, in its concrete realization, has distanced itself even more from its origin. The result has not been a reanimation, but devastation [think of the scenes of devastation in the new Star Wars movie]. In place of the liturgy, fruit of a continual development, they have placed a fabricated liturgy. They have deserted a vital process of growth and becoming in order to substitute a fabrication. They did not want to continue the development, the organic maturing of something living through the centuries, and they replaced it, in the manner of technical production, by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment.”

“Banality” is a word that means bland, ho hum, dull, boring, uninspiring, nothing special. Look at the photo (above) … tell me which one of those children’s faces is saying, “This is God right there on the altar!” Every single solitary modern change to the liturgy has had the intention of making it “ordinary” … “nothing special.” Every frivolous modern song, every stripped out church, every effort to take our focus off of God and place it on ourselves, was meant to DENY ITS POWER. It is highly unlikely that the children in that photo will experience that “quickening” in their soul that brings them to their knees as they say “Yes” to participating in the Divine Life of God … saying “Yes” to the free gift of the POWER OF GRACE. Unfortunately, they are destined to join the 75% in America and 90% in Europe that “could care less” about the Mass, and the free offer of grace.

MassBeauty1cropYet there are signs of an “awakening,” particularly in those churches teaching and worshiping with a “sense of the sacred (or supernatural).” These are the places seeing a rise of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Why? Because at our deepest level – the spirit level – we all know this is real and true and right. People are not likely to devote their lives to merely “another organization doing nice things.” But, start talking about and worshipping as though there is, in fact, a real calling to be Superheroes – heroic virtue infused by the power of supernatural grace – then see how “attractive” that is!! Yes!! The Church grows by “attraction” … superheroes with superpowers – supernatural grace – living extraordinary lives of heroic virtue. THAT is attractive!!

Our world needs saints right now. Evil is now moving unabated in our times. Evil doesn’t even bother to hide, but places itself boldly in the public square.”What “force” is there to keep evil at bay? What force is there to convert evil to good?

Pope Benedict XVI said, “The heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind … the Evil One has power in this world, as we experience continually; he has power because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God.”

The time is now to awaken the “real force” capable of transforming our world. Do you want to be counted among God’s superheroes possessing supernatural powers? Then, flee from the poison of banality (especially, guard your children from this poison), get around holy things and holy people, support holy things and support holy people, spend time with our Lord in Adoration, say “yes” to ALL of the teachings of the Church – Listen to our Blessed Mother who said, “Do whatever He tells you.” OBEDIENCE is the key that unlocks the power of grace! And …

… when you turn to our Lord and ask for the power of supernatural grace to awaken in your life, and the Lord speaks to your heart, as he did to the two blind men (Mt 9:27-31), asking,“Do you believe that I can do this?” Say, “Yes, Lord!” Then he will say, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” Let GRACE AWAKEN in your soul!!

And GO TO CONFESSION (frequently!!)


Category Latest Posts, Soul