by Fr Richard Heilman | September 2, 2023 11:18 AM
At the risk of being simplistic, I always search for the “simple answer,” and here is mine …
First, I turned 65 years old this year, and I have spent my life “hungering for souls.” I look back and ask myself, what have been my successes and failures in this area. I’ve come to a simple conclusion. At some point I needed to jettison suspicious teachers in favor of those I highly respected and trusted.
In my view, the modern suspicious teachers had run our Church into the ground. I began to realize that their motives resembled much of what we are seeing in the culture today, which is a desire to get that dopamine rush from being seen as the purveyors of all things new … seen as possessing a new understanding beyond what “ordinary folks” are still latching on to. The modern nickname for this is “Woke.” The “woke” seek change for the sake of change, and that buzz they get from knowing more than the deplorables.
No, I needed to lean into the Pope Benedicts and Cardinal Burkes of the world. Those who were unafraid of being ridiculed and marginalized for the sake of doing and teaching what is “best” for souls, not teaching what “builds their own brand”, i.e., woke.
So, here’s the “simple truth” I had drawn from them, and was later verified by watching souls, particularly young souls, coming back to Church in droves to UNITE AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS.
Pope St. Gregory the Great ordered the gifts of the Holy Spirit. My simple truth is that my primary mission is to prepare (predispose) souls to receive the first Gift, which then opens them to Gifts two through seven.
The first Gift is “Fear of the Lord,” or “Awe and Wonder.” If I can do everything I can to get them to receive Gift #1, they begin their journey, now, in this new life in the Holy Spirit. The Church has been MAGNIFICENT in predisposing souls to receive this “Gateway Gift.” Until our modern era that dismantled all things sacred and, now, even punishing efforts to promote the sacred. What do they call modern architecture? Brutalist. You know, brutalist, like the beasts … not like holy children of God.
As far as teaching, you can’t teach a soul that does not want to be taught. St. Paul wrote: “The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14).
We will continue to manage decline, until we return to this simple truth, the truth our Church was MAGNIFICENT at until the modern era: Prepare souls to receive the Gift of Awe and Wonder.
What can the laity do? Support priests who know this simple truth. And, by all means, protect them in every way possible. Satan hates this simple truth and those who know it more than anything else, and he is aggressively attacking them. They are seen as “dangerous,” and must be mocked and marginalized. “Openly” come to their defense.
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