Wanting Everything For Free, Including Salvation
Thomas A. Droleskey
This will be a very short article I am continuing work on my other writing project that will probably be divided into a two volume book.
Let me begin this very short article by referencing what I wrote in the immediate aftermath of our current reigning caesar's election as President of the United States of America on Tuesday, November 4, 2008:
There is no electoral way out of this mess that has been created by the
multifaceted, interrelated forces of Modernity and Modernism. Political
ecumenism is as incapable of producing social order as theological
ecumenism is as incapable of producing a "united" Christianity. There is
thus no electoral way for any semblance of Catholic
truth to prevail in a pluralistic system that puts a premium on
falsehoods as the foundation of everyday living. No way whatsoever,
especially when one considers most carefully that the concentration
camps known as public "schools" and most of the formerly Catholic
schools that are now in conciliar captivity are steeped in one
naturalistic lie of the "leftist" bent after another. (See Apostasy Has Consequences.)
Obama's broad coalition of electoral support will only increase in the
next four years as more detainees from these American concentration
camps are "graduated" and can then express their own support for him in
the year 2012 (and as older voters die off!). The "votes," my friends,
are not to be found for a "restoration" of a mythical "American" order.
As was eminently predictable, Caesar Barackus Obamus Ignoramus's public opinion approval ratings are on the rise.
Our reigning caesar's popularity as grown despite a national debt that has grown by over $5 trillion since he took office on January 20, 2009.
The Marxist-trained statist in the White has seen his popularity grow despite budgetary proposals that are nothing more than campaign slogans to promise voters all manner of goodies that appear to be "free" but will never be paid back as the country becomes more and more fiscally insolvent, a situation which the statists desire in order to control more and more of social life.
The internationalist who abhors American national sovereignty is taken seriously as a leader of men even though he does not care to secure the borders of the United States of America and has committed the armed forces of the United States of America in situations where there are no legitimate national security interests of this country.
Barack Hussein Obama's popularity has grown despite one flagrant violation after another of the terms of the United States Constitution without being checked at all by the yellow bodies who comprise the alleged "opposition" in the Congress of the United States of America.
The man who was known for many years as Barry Soetero, Jr., stands a very good chance of being re-elected on November 6, 2012, despite a monstrous takeover of the American health care industry by means of a Trojan Horse, ObamaCare, that is designed to limit legitimate personal freedom and to engage in mandatory social engineering that evokes memories of Adolf Hitler's eugenics programs in the 1930s.
Apart from simple stupidity and the vapidity that exists in a pluralist nation wherein Every Error Imaginable, each of which stems from the multiple, interrelated errors of Protestantism and Judeo-Masonry, much of the support that Barack Hussein Obama receives outside of the hard core ideologues of the false opposite of the naturalist "left" is that many Americans want everything for free. They want to live in their world of bread and circuses and constant leisure activity, believing that there is never any consequence, whether temporal or eternal, for their actions, and that life is about the satisfaction of every carnal desire without restraint.
Alas, there is a deeper reason for wanting everything for free in this passing, mortal vale of tears. Most Americans believe that their salvation is "free," that is, without cost to them in terms of pain, suffering, rejection, ostracism, ridicule, calumny, misunderstanding, betrayal or hardship of any kind at any time.
A world of instant gratification is a world of unrestrained infantilism, of barbarism, of whining and complaining and throwing temper tantrums when things don't go one's way all the time and without any reservation or qualification. "Mommy Dearest" must be "there" for them to assure them that all will be well. And the "Mommy Dearest" to whom large numbers of Americans turn with utter dependency is our government of statism, collectivism, redistributionism, materialism, moral relativism and legal positivism, a government that is hostile to the truths contained in the Sacred Deposit of Faith and thus can never be an instrument of the provision of the common temporal good undertaken with a view to man's Last End, the possession of the glory of the Beatific Vision of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost for all eternity in Heaven.
Pope Leo XIII explained to us in Exeunte Iam Anno, December 25, 1888, that we are not to spend our days immersed in the search for material pleasures:
Now the whole essence of a Christian life is to reject the corruption of the world and to oppose constantly any indulgence in it; this is taught in the words and deeds, the laws and institutions, the life and death of Jesus Christ, "the author and finisher of faith." Hence, however strongly We are deterred by the evil disposition of nature and character, it is our duty to run to the "fight proposed to Us," fortified and armed with the same desire and the same arms as He who, "having joy set before him, endured the cross." Wherefore let men understand this specially, that it is most contrary to Christian duty to follow, in worldly fashion, pleasures of every kind, to be afraid of the hardships attending a virtuous life, and to deny nothing to self that soothes and delights the senses. "They that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences"-- so that it follows that they who are not accustomed to suffering, and who hold not ease and pleasure in contempt belong not to Christ. By the infinite goodness of God man lived again to the hope of an immortal life, from which he had been cut off, but he cannot attain to it if he strives not to walk in the very footsteps of Christ and conform his mind to Christ's by the meditation of Christ's example. Therefore this is not a counsel but a duty, and it is the duty, not of those only who desire a more perfect life, but clearly of every man "always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus." How otherwise could the natural law, commanding man to live virtuously, be kept? For by holy baptism the sin which we contracted at birth is destroyed, but the evil and tortuous roots of sin, which sin has engrafted, and by no means removed. This part of man which is without reason -- although it cannot beat those who fight manfully by Christ's grace -- nevertheless struggles with reason for supremacy, clouds the whole soul and tyrannically bends the will from virtue with such power that we cannot escape vice or do our duty except by a daily struggle. "This holy synod teaches that in the baptized there remains concupiscence or an inclination to evil, which, being left to be fought against, cannot hurt those who do not consent to it, and manfully fight against it by the grace of Jesus Christ; for he is not crowned who does not strive lawfully." There is in this struggle a degree of strength to which only a very perfect virtue, belonging to those who, by putting to flight evil passions, has gained so high a place as to seem almost to live a heavenly life on earth. Granted; grant that few attain such excellence; even the philosophy of the ancients taught that every man should restrain his evil desires, and still more and with greater care those who from daily contact with the world have the greater temptations -- unless it be foolishly thought that where the danger is greater watchfulness is less needed, or that they who are more grievously ill need fewer medicines. (Pope Leo XIII, Exeunte Iam Anno, December 25, 1888.)
Pope Leo XIII explained is not a "counsel but a duty" to walk in the footsteps of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and conform our minds to His as seek to live in a penitential manner and refuse to be drawn into a spirit of worldliness, especially during the season of Advent into which we enter in but a few hours. We are not to have the false spirit of the world within our hearts, which must beat in unison with the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
As can be seen from final few sentences of the paragraph quoted above from Exeunte Iam Anno, Pope Leo XIII explained the we need the Catholic Faith to overcome the concupiscence of our fallen human nature. He emphasized that very point again and again in his writings, especially in Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae, January 22, 1899, and Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus, November 1, 1900, teaching us that we need the Catholic Faith to fight against sin and as we seek to keep the binding precepts of the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Law. Catholicism is indeed the one and only foundation of personal and social order.
Nothing has changed since Saint Francis Xavier provided this description to his Jesuit superiors of the dreadful nature of the Indian people, so exemplary of Modern American pagans and barbarians, as they were steeped then (as they are steeped now) in their worship of devils, which ensnares their immortal souls all the more to the devil as they are provoked to thoughts of hatred and acts of violence against others (and as they are steeped in all manner of sins against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments):
We have in these parts a class of men among the pagans who are called Brahmins. They keep up the worship of the gods, the superstitious rites of religion, frequenting the temples and taking care of the idols. They are as perverse and wicked a set as can anywhere be found, and I always apply to them the words of holy David, "from an unholy race and a wicked and crafty man deliver me, O Lord." They are liars and cheats to the very backbone. Their whole study is, how to deceive most cunningly the simplicity and ignorance of the people. They give out publicly that the gods command certain offerings to be made to their temples, which offerings are simply the things that the Brahmins themselves wish for, for their own maintenance and that of their wives, children, and servants. Thus they make the poor folk believe that the images of their gods eat and drink, dine and sup like men, and some devout persons are found who really offer to the idol twice a day, before dinner and supper, a certain sum of money. The Brahmins eat sumptuous meals to the sound of drums, and make the ignorant believe that the gods are banqueting. When they are in need of any supplies, and even before, they give out to the people that the gods are angry because the things they have asked for have not been sent, and that if the people do not take care, the gods will punish them by slaughter, disease, and the assaults of the devils. And the poor ignorant creatures, with the fear of the gods before them, obey them implicitly. These Brahmins have barely a tincture of literature, but they make up for their poverty in learning by cunning and malice. Those who belong to these parts are very indignant with me for exposing their tricks. Whenever they talk to me with no one by to hear them they acknowledge that they have no other patrimony but the idols, by their lies about which they procure their support from the people. They say that I, poor creature as I am, know more than all of them put together.
They often send me a civil message and presents, and make a great complaint when I send them all back again. Their object is to bribe me to connive at their evil deeds. So they declare that they are convinced that there is only one God, and that they will pray to Him for me. And I, to return the favor, answer whatever occurs to me, and then lay bare, as far as I can, to the ignorant people whose blind superstitions have made them their slaves, their imposture and tricks, and this has induced many to leave the worship of the false gods, and eagerly become Christians. If it were not for the opposition of the Brahmins, we should have them all embracing the religion of Jesus Christ. (St. Francis Xavier: Letter from India, to the Society of Jesus at Rome, 1543.)
We must work to restore Catholicism as the one and only foundation of personal and social order in the world An impossible task? No more impossible now than it was on the first Pentecost Sunday as the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost, descended in tongues of fire upon the Apostles and our dear Blessed Mother, thereby starting the missionary work of the Church that would result in the conversion of men and kingdoms to the true Faith. Are thee graces won for us by the shedding of every single drop of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's Most Precious Blood and that flow into our hearts and souls any the less powerful or efficacious now than they were then?
Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI must believe so as he has stated in Faith and the Future that the "pluralism" of the world in which we live is irreversible. This is false. This is a lie. He is a liar and a deceiver. To state that the "pluralism" of the world is irreversible is to contend that the missionary work of the Church is somehow "stalled" because of the proliferation of false religions, which is why we must engage in "dialogue" rather than to seek with urgency the unconditional conversion of non-Catholics to true Faith, a blasphemous proposition. Must we say that a soul in a state of Original Sin or Mortal Sin is in an "irreversible" condition? Of course not. Well, the state of the world depends upon the state of souls. Thus it is that the way to reverse pluralism is to seek the conversion of all men and all nations to the true Faith, entrusting our efforts to succeed in this mission to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart as the fruit of the faithful fulfillment of her Fatima Message (which will be accomplished when God restores the Church in His time as He sees fit).
Pope Saint Pius X was not uttering ethereal platitudes when he wrote the following in Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910:
This, nevertheless, is what they want to do with human society; they dream of changing its natural and traditional foundations; they dream of a Future City built on different principles, and they dare to proclaim these more fruitful and more beneficial than the principles upon which the present Christian City rests.
No, Venerable Brethren, We must repeat with the utmost energy in these times of social and intellectual anarchy when everyone takes it upon himself to teach as a teacher and lawmaker - the City cannot be built otherwise than as God has built it; society cannot be setup unless the Church lays the foundations and supervises the work; no, civilization is not something yet to be found, nor is the New City to be built on hazy notions; it has been in existence and still is: it is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic City. It has only to be set up and restored continually against the unremitting attacks of insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants. omnia instaurare in Christo. (Pope Saint Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910.)
The insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants are to be found today in the counterfeit church of conciliarism. Their apostasies from the Catholic Faith have done incredible damage to the souls of Catholics and non-Catholics alike, thus furthering, whether wittingly or unwittingly, the anti-Catholic agenda of the Judeo-Masonic lords of naturalism who profit handsomely from the immersion of Catholics into the worldliness of the moment. We cannot be part of this stampede against the Holy Faith.
Nothing in life is free. It is precisely because most people in the world today, including most Catholics attached to the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism, believe that everyone goes to Heaven no matter what religion--or lack thereof--they profess and no matter what they do in their own personal lives. If people are possessed of this fundamental falsehood, my good and few readers, then it is easy to expect the "secular church," the government, to provide all temporal goods and services for free in exchange for their very souls while looking at suspicion with those who dare to prick their consciences to the contrary.
Part of the cost that we must pay in this time of apostasy and betrayal, a time in which figures of Antichrist walk amongst in our executive mansions and legislatures and courts and throughout the nooks and crannies of what passes for popular culture, is being misunderstood and placed under suspicion even by our friends and relatives and former associates.
The Venerable Anne Katherine Emmerich explained a vision she was given on August 25, 1820, that speaks about the ways in which those of us who are opposed to the errors of Modernity in the world and Modernism in the counterfeit church of conciliarism will be viewed with suspicion:
"She (the Holy Mother) said a great many other things that it pains me to relate: she said that if only one priest could offer the bloodless sacrifice as worthily and the same dispositions as the Apostles, he could avert all the disasters (that are to come). To my knowledge the people in the church did not see the apparition, but they must have been stirred by something supernatural, because, as soon as the Holy Virgin had said that they must pray God with outstretched arms, they all raised their arms. These were all good and devout people, and they did not now where help and guidance should be sought. There were no traitors and no enemies among them, yet they were afraid of one another. One can judge thereby what the situation was like." (As found in Yves Dupont, Catholic Prophecy, TAN Books and Publishers, 1970, pp. 64-65.)
There is indeed a cost to be paid in this time of apostasy and betrayal, and each of us should learn to live in peace as we are calumniated and rejected and ostracized and misunderstood for refusing the ways of worldliness and of liturgical sacrilege and theological aberration.
Sixteen days after the vision recounted above, that is, on September 10, 1820, Anne Katherine Emmerich had yet another vision:
"I saw the Church of St. Peter: it had been destroyed but for the Sanctuary and the main Altar. St. Michael came down into the church, clad in his suit of armor, and he paused threatening with his sword a number of unworthy pastors who wanted to enter. That part of the Church which had been destroyed was promptly fenced in with light timber so that the Divine office might be celebrated as it should. Then, from all over the world came priests and laymen, and they rebuilt the stone walls, since the wreckers had been unable to move the heavy foundation stones." (As found in Yves Dupont, Catholic Prophecy, TAN Books and Publishers, 1970, pp. 64-65.)
We must keep our hands on the plough as we attempt to til the soil and plant the seeds for a restoration of Holy Mother Church and thus of Christendom in the world, praying as many Rosaries each day as our state-in-life permits, recognizing that, no matter what others may think of us for rejecting the ways of the world and the ways of ready compromise over matters Faith and Morals and Worship, man sees only the appearance. God, however, sees the reality. So will everyone else on the Last Day, at the General Judgment of the living and the dead. And that is the only thing that matters, and we do not need to--nor must we endeavor to--justify ourselves before men. It is enough to pay the price of our salvation by remaining faithful to the end by cooperating with the graces Our Lord won for us on the wood of the Holy Cross by the shedding drop of His Most Precious Blood that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, she who is the Mediatrix of All Graces.
This is enough, isn't it? This is indeed more than enough.
Unlike Caesar Obamus and other midget naturalists, we do not strive to be "approved" by men. We strive only to please Christ the King through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Viva Cristo Rey! Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, pray for us!
Saint Joseph, Patron of Departing Souls, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Andrew the Apostle, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
Father Frederick William Faber on Worldliness
Father Frederick Faber, writing in The Creator and Creature,
published in 1856, explained the influence of worldliness upon Catholics
even in his own day, which was not all that terribly long ago, now was
The question of worldliness is a very
difficult one, and one which we would gladly have avoided, had it been
in our power to do so. But it is in too many ways connected with our
subject, to allow of its being passed over in silence. In the first
place, a thoughtful objector will naturally say, If the relation between
the Creator and the creature is such as has been laid down in the first
eight chapters, and furthermore if it is as manifest and undeniable as
it is urged to be, how comes it to pass that it is not more universally,
or at least more readily, admitted than it is? Almost all the phenomena
of the world betray a totally opposite conviction, and reveal to us an
almost unanimous belief in men, that they are on a quite different
footing with God from that one, which is here proclaimed to be the only
true and tenable one. There must be at least some attempt to explain
this discrepancy between what we see and what we are taught. The
explanation, we reply, is to be found in what Christians call
worldliness. It is this which stands in the way of God's honor, this
which defrauds Him of the tribute due to Him from His creatures, this
which blinds their eyes to His undeniable rights and prerogatives. How
God's own world comes to stand between Himself and the rational soul,
how friendship with it is enmity with Him--indeed an account of the
whole matter must be gone into, in order to show, first, that the
influence of the world does account for the non-reception of right views
about God, and, secondly, that the world is in no condition to be
called as a witness, because of the essential falsehood of its
character. This identical falsehood about God is its very life, energy,
significance, and condemnation. The right view of God is not unreal,
because the world ignores it. On the contrary, it is because it is real
that the unreal world ignores it, and the world's ignoring it is, so far
forth, an argument in favor of the view.
But not only does this question of
worldliness present itself to us in connection with the whole teaching
of the first eight chapters; it is implicated in the two objections
which have already been considered, namely, the difficulty of salvation
and the fewness of the saved. If it is easy to be saved, whence the
grave semblance of its difficulty? If the majority of adult catholics
are actually saved, because salvation is easy, why it is necessary to
draw so largely on the unknown regions of the death-bed, in order to
make up our majority? Why should not salvation be almost universal, if
the pardon of sin is so easy, grace so abundant, and all that is wanted
is a real earnestness about the interests of our souls? If you
acknowledge, as you do, that the look of men's lives, even of the lives
of believers, is not as if they were going to be saved, and that they
are going to be saved in reality in spite of appearances, what is the
explanation of these appearances, when the whole process is so plain and
easy? To all this the answer is, that sin is a partial explanation, and
the devil is a partial explanation, but that the grand secret lies in
worldliness. That is the chief disturbing force, the prime counteracting
power. It is this mainly, which keeps down the number of the saved; it
is this which makes the matter seem so difficult which is intrinsically
so easy; nay, it is this which is a real difficulty, though not such an
overwhelming one as to make salvation positively difficult as a whole.
Plainly then the phenomenon of worldliness must be considered here, else
it will seem as if an evident objection, and truly the weightiest of
all objections, had not been taken into account, and thus an air of
insecurity will be thrown, not only over the answer to the preceding two
objections, but also over the whole argument of the first eight
This inquiry into worldliness will, in the
third place, truthfully and naturally prepare us for the great
conclusion of the whole inquiry, namely, the personal love of God is the
only legitimate development of our position as creatures, and at the
same time the means by which salvation is rendered easy, and the
multitude of the saved augmented. For it will be found that the dangers
of worldliness are at once so great and so peculiar, that nothing but a
personal love of our Creator will rescue us from them, enable us to
break with the world, and to enter into the actual possession of the
liberty of the sons of God.
O, it is a radiant land--this wide,
many-colored mercy of our Creator! But we must be content for a while
now to pass out of its kindling sunshine into another land of most
ungenial darkness, in the hope that we shall come back heavy laden with
booty for God's glory, and knowing how to prize the sunshine more than
ever. There is a hell already upon earth; there is something which is
excommunicated from God's smile. It is not altogether matter, not yet
altogether spirit. It is not man only, nor Satan only, nor is it exactly
sin. It is an infection, an inspiration, an atmosphere, a life, a
coloring matter, a pageantry, a fashion, a taste, a witchery, an
impersonal but a very recognisable system. None of these names suit it,
and all of them suit it. Scripture calls it, "The World." God's mercy
does not enter into it. All hope of its reconciliation with Him is
absolutely and eternally precluded. Repentance is incompatible with its
existence. The sovereignty of God has laid the ban of the empire upon
it; and a holy horror ought to seize us when we think of it. Meanwhile
its power over the human creation is terrific, its presence ubiquitous,
its deceitfulness incredible. It can find a home under every heart
beneath the poles, and it embraces with impartial affection both
happiness and misery. It is wider than the catholic Church, and is
masterful, lawless, and intrusive within it. It cannot be damned,
because it is not a person, but it will perish in the general
conflagration, and so its tyranny be over, and its place know it no
more. We are living in it, breathing it, acting under its influences,
being cheated by its appearances, and unwarily admitting its principles.
Is it it not of the last importance to us that we should know something
of this huge evil creature, this monstrous seabird of evil, which flaps
its wings from pole to pole, and frightens the nations into obedience
by its discordant cries?
But we must not be deceived by this description.
The transformations of the spirit of the world are among its most
wonderful characteristics. It has its gentle voice, its winning manners,
its insinuating address, its aspect of beauty and attraction; and the
lighter its foot and the softer its voice, the more dreadful is its
approach. It is by the firesides of rich and poor, in happy homes where
Jesus is named, in gay hearts which fain would never sin. In the
chastest domestic affections it can hide its poison. In the very
sunshine of external nature,in the combinations of the beautiful
elements--it is somehow even there. The glory of the wind-swept forest
and the virgin frost of the Alpine summits have a taint in them of this
spirit of the world. It can be dignified as well. It can call to order
sin which is not respectable. It can propound wise maxims of public
decency, and inspire wholesome regulations of police. It can open the
churches, and light the candles on the altar, and entone Te Deums to the
Majesty on high. It is often prominently, and almost pedantically, on
the side of morality. Then, again, it has passed into the beauty of art,
into the splendor of dress, into the magnificence of furniture. Or,
again, there it is, with high principles on its lips, discussing the
religious vocation of some youth, and praising God and sanctity, while
it urges discreet delay, and less self-trust, and more considerate
submissiveness to those who love him, and have natural rights to his
obedience. It can sit on the benches of senates and hide in the pages of
good books. And yet all the while it is the same huge evil creature
which was described above. Have we not reason to fear?
Let us try to learn more definitely what the world
is, the world in the scripture sense. A definition is too short, a
description is too vague. God never created it; how then does it come
here? There is no land, outside the creation of God, which could have
harbored this monster, who now usurps so much of this beautiful planet,
on which Jews was born and died, and from which He and His sinless
Mother rose to heaven? It seems to be a spirit of spirit, which has
risen up from a disobedient creation, as if the results, and
after-consequences of all the sins that ever were, rested in the
atmosphere, and loaded it with some imperceptible but highly powerful
miasma. It cannot be a person, and yet it seems as if it possessed both a
mind and a will, which on the whole are very consistent, so as to
disclose what might appear to be a very perfect self-consciousness. It
is painless in its operations, and unerring too; and just as the sun
bids the lily be white and the rose red, and they obey without an
effort, standing side by side with the same aspect and in the same soil,
so this spirit of the world brings forth colors and shapes and scents
in our different actions, without the process being cognisable to
ourselves. The power of mesmerism on the reluctant will is a good type
of the power of this spirit of the world upon ourselves. It is like
grace, only that it is contradictory.
But it has not always the same power. It the
expression may be forgiven, there have been times when the world was
less worldly than usual; and this look as as if it were something which
the existing generator of men always gave out from themselves, a kind of
magnetism of varying strengths and different properties. As Satan is
sometimes bound, so it pleases God to bind the world sometimes. Or He
thunders, and the atmosphere is cleared for awhile, and the times are
healthy, and the Church lifts her head and walks quicker. But, on the
whole, its power appears to be increasing with time. In other words, the
world is getting more worldly. Civilization develops it immensely, and
progress helps it on, and multiplies its capabilities. In the matter of
worldliness, a highly civilized time is to a comparatively ruder time
what the days of machinery are to those of hand-labor. We are not
speaking of sin; that is another idea, and brings in fresh
considerations: we are speaking only of worldliness. If the
characteristic of modern times go on developing with the extreme
velocity and herculean strength which they promise now, we may expect
(just what prophecy would lead us to anticipate) that the end of the
world and the reign of anti-Christ would be times of the most tyrannical
This spirit also has its characteristic of time and
place. The worldliness of one century is different from that of
another. Now it runs toward ambition in the upper classes and discontent
in the lower. Now to money-making, luxury, and lavish expenditure. One
while it sets towards grosser sins; another while towards wickedness of a
more refined description; and another while it will tolerate nothing
but educated sin. It also has periodical epidemics and accessions of
madness, thought at what intervals, or whether by the operation of any
law, must be left to the philosophy of history to decide. Certain it is,
that ages have manias, the source of which it is difficult to trace,
but under which whole communities, and sometimes nations, exhibit
symptoms of diabolical possession. Indeed, on looking back, it would
appear that every age, as if an age were an individual and had an
individual life, had been subject to some vertigo of its own, by which
it may be almost known in history. Very often, the phenomena, such as
those of the French Revolution, seem to open out new depths in human
nature, or to betoken the presence of some preternatural spiritual
influences. Then, again, ages have panics, as if some attribute of God
came near to the world, and cast a deep shadow over its spirit, marking
men's hearts quail for fear.
This spirit is further distinguished by the
evidences which it presents of a fixed view and a settled purpose. It is
capricious, but, for all that, there is nothing about it casual,
accidental, fortuitous. It is well instructed for its end, inflexible in
its logic, and making directly, no matter through what opposing medium
to its ultimate results. Indeed, it is obviously informed with the
wisdom and subtlety of Satan. It is his greatest capability of carrying
on his war against God. Like a parasite disease, it fixes on the weak
places in men, pandering both to mind and flesh, but chiefly to the
former. It i one of those three powers to whom such dark pre-eminence is
given, the world, the flesh, and the devil; and among these three, it
seems to have a kind of precedence given to it, by the way in which our
Lord speaks of its in the Gospel, though the line of its diplomacy has
been to have itself less thought of and less dreaded than the other two;
and, unhappily for the interests of God and the welfare of souls, it
has succeeded. It is, then, pre-eminent among the enemies of God. Hence
the place which it occupied in Holy Scripture. It is the world which
hated Christ, the world which cannot receive the Spirit, the world that
loves its own, the world that rejoices because Christ has gone away, the
world which He overcame, the world for which He would not pray, the
world that by wisdom knew not God, the world whose spirit Christians
were not to receive, the world that was not worthy of the saints, the
world whose friendship is enmity with God, the world that passeth away
with its lusts, the world which they who are born of God overcome, or,
as the Apocalypse calls its, the world that goes wandering after the
beast. Well then might St. James come to his energetic conclusion, Whosoever
therefore will be a friend of this world, becometh an enemy of God. It
is remarkable also that St. John, the chosen friend of the Incarnate
Word, and the Evangelist of His Divinity, should be the one of the
inspired writers who speaks most often and most emphatically about the
world, as if the spirit of Jesus found something especially revolting to
it in the spirit of the world.
It is this world which we have to fight
against throughout the whole of our Christian course. Our salvation
depends upon our unforgiving enmity against it. It is not so much that
it is a sin, as that it is the capability of all sins, the air sin
breathes, the light by which it sees to do its work, the hotbed which
propagates and forces it, the instinct which guides it, the power which
animates it. For a Christian to look at, it is dishearteningly complete.
It is a sort of catholic church of the powers of the darkness. It is
laws of its own, and tastes the principles of its own, literature of its
own, a missionary spirit, a compact system, and it is a consistent
whole. It is a counterfeit of the Church of God, and in the most
implacable antagonism to it. The doctrines of the faith, the practices
and devotions of pious persons, the system of the interior life, the
mystical and contemplative world of the Saints, with all these it is at
deadly war. And so it must be. The view which the Church takes of the
world is distinct and clear, and far from flattering to its pride. It
considers the friendship of the world as enmity with God. It puts all
the world's affairs under its feet, either as of no consequence, or at
least of very secondary importance. It has great faults to find with the
effeminacy of the literary character, with the churlishness of the
mercantile character, with the servility of the political character, and
even with the inordinateness of the domestic character. It provokes the
world by looking in progress doubtingly, and with what appears a very
inadequate interest, and there is a quiet faith in its contempt for the
world extremely irritating to this latter power.
The world on the contrary thinks that it is
going to last for ever. It is almost assumes that there are no other
interests but its own, or that if there are, they are either of no
consequence, or troublesome and in the way. It thinks that there is
nothing like itself anywhere, that religion was made for its
convenience, merely to satisfy a want, and must not forget itself, or if
it claims more, must be put down as a rebel, or chased away as a
grumbling beggar; and finally it is of opinion, that of all contemptible
things spirituality is the most contemptible, cowardly, and little.
Thus the Church and the world are incompatible, and must remain so to
We cannot have a better instance of the
uncongeniality of the world with the spirit of the Gospel, than their
difference in the estimate of prosperity. All those mysterious woes
which our Lord denounced against wealth, have their explanation in the
dangers of worldliness. It is the peculiar aptitude of wealth and pomp,
and power, to harbor the unholy spirit of the world, to combine with it,
and transform themselves into it, which called forth the thrilling
malediction of our Lord. Prosperity may be a blessing from God, but it
may easily become the triumph of the world. And for the most
part the absence of chastisement is anything but a token of God's love.
When prosperity is a blessing, it is generally a condescension to our
weakness. Those are fearful words, Thou has already received thy reward;
yet how many prosperous men there are, the rest of whose lives will
keep reminding us of them; the tendency of prosperity in itself is to
wean the heart from God, and fix it on creatures. It gives us a most
unsupernatural habit of esteeming others according to their success. As
it increases, so anxiety to keep it increases also, and makes men
restless, selfish, and irreligious; and at length it superinduces a kind
of effeminacy of character, which unfits them for the higher and more
heroic virtues of the Christian character. This is but a sample of the
different way which the Church and the world reason.
Now it is this world which, far more than
the devil, far more than the flesh, yet in union with both, makes the
difficulty we find in obeying God 's commandments, or following His
counsels. It is this which makes earth such a place of struggle and of
exile. Proud, exclusive, anxious, hurried, fond of comforts, coveting
popularity, with an offensive orientation of prudence, it is this
worldliness which hardens the hearts of men, stops their ears, blinds
their eyes, vitiates their taste, and ties their hands, so far as the
things of God are concerned. Let it be true that salvation is
easy, and that by far the greater number of catholics are saved, it is
still unhappily true that that the relations of the Creator and the
creature, as put forward in this treatise, are not so universally or so
practically acknowledged as they ought to be. Why is this? Sin is a
partial answer. The devil is another partial answer. But I believe
worldliness has got to answer for a great deal of sin, and for a great
deal of devil, besides a whole deluge of iniquity of its own, which is
perpetually debasing good works, assisting the devil in his assaults,
and working with execrable assiduity against the sacraments and grace.
The world is for ever lowering the heavenly life of the Church. If there
ever was an age in which this was true, it is the present. One of the
most frightening features of our condition is, that we are so little
frightened of the world. The world itself has brought this about. Even
spiritual books are chiefly occupied with the devil and the flesh; and
certain of the capital sins, such as envy and sloth, no loner hold the
prominent places which they held of the systems of the elder ascetics;
and yet they are just those vices which contain most of the ungodly
spirit of the world. The very essence of worldliness seems to consist in
its making us forget that we are creatures; and the more this view is
reflected upon, the more correct will it appear.
When our Blessed Lord describes the days before the
Flood, and again those which shall precede the end of the world, He
portrays them rather as times of worldliness than of open sin. Men were
eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage; and He says no
more. Now none of these things are wrong in themselves. We can eat and
rink, as the apostle teaches us, to the glory of God, and marriage was a
divine institution at the time of the Flood, and is not a Christian
Sacrament. In the same way when He describes the life of the only person
whom the gospel narratives follows into the bode of the lost, He sums
it up as the being clothed in purple and fine linen, and feasting
sumptuously every day. here again there is nothing directly sinful in
the actions which He names. It surely cannot be a mortal sin to have
fine linen, nor will a man lose a state of grace because he feasts
sumptuously every day, provided that no other sins follow in the train
of this soft life. The malice of it all is in its worldliness, in the
fact that this was all or nearly all the lives of those before the
flood, of those before the days of anti-Christ, and of the unhappy
Dives. Life began and ended in worldliness. There was nothing for God.
It was comprised in the pleasures of the world, it rested in them, it
was satisfied by then. Its characteristic was sins of omission.
Worldliness might also be defined to be a state of habitual sins of
omission. The devil urges men on to great positive breaches of the
divine commandments. The passions of the flesh impel sinners to give way
to their passions by such dreadful sins, as catch the eyes of men and
startle them by their iniquity. Worldliness only leads to these things
occasionally and by accident. It neither scandalizes others, not
frightens the sinner himself. This is the very feature of it, which,
rightly considered, ought to be so terrifying. The reaction of a great
sin, or the same which follows it, are often the pioneers of grace. They
give self-love such a serious shock, that under the influence of it men
return to God. Worldliness hides from the soul its real malice, and
thus keeps at arm's length from it some of the most persuasive motives
to repentance. Thus the Pharisees are depicted in the Gospel as being
eminently worldly. It is worldliness, not immorality, which is put
before us. There is even much of moral decency, much of respectable
observance, much religious profession; and yet when our Blessed Saviour
was among them, they were further from grace than the publicans and
sinners. They had implicit hatred of God in their hearts already, which
became explicit as soon as they saw Him. The Magdalen, the Samaritan,
the woman taken in adultery--it was these who gathered round Jesus,
attracted by His sweetness, and touched by the graces which went out
from Him. The Pharisees only grew more cold, more haughty, more
self-opinionated, until they ended by the greatest of all sins, the
crucifixion of our Lord. For worldliness, when its selfish necessities
drive it at last into open sin, for the most part sins more awfully and
more impenitently than even the unbridled passions of our nature. So
again there was the young man who had great possessions, and who loved
Jesus when he saw Him, and wished to follow Him. He was a religious man,
and with humble scrupulosity observed the commandments of God; but when
our Lord told him to sell and give the price to the poor and to follow
Him, he turned away sorrowful, and was found unequal to such a blessed
vocation. Now his refusing to sell his property was surely not a mortal
sin. It does not appear that our Lord considered him to have sinned by
his refusal. It was the operation of worldliness. We do not know what
the young man's future was; but a sad cloud of misgivings must hang over
the memory of him whom Jesus invited to follow Him, and who turned
away. Is he looking now in heaven upon that Face, form whose mild beauty
he so sadly turned away on earth?
Thus the outward aspect of worldliness is not sin.
Its character is negative. It abounds in omissions. Yet throughout the
Gospels our Saviour seems purposely to point to it rather than to open
sin. When the young man turned away, His remark was, How hard it is for
those who have riches to enter into the kingdom of heaven. But the very
fact of our Lord's thus branding worldliness with His especial
reprobation is enough to show that it is in reality deeply sinful,
hatefully sinful. It is a life without God in the world. It is a a
continual ignoring of God, a continual quiet contempt of His rights, an
insolent abatement in the service which He claims from His creatures.
Self is set up instead of God. The canons of human respect are more
looked up to than the Divine Commandments. God is very little adverted
to. He is passed over. The very thought of Him soon ceases to make the
worldly man uncomfortable. Indeed all his chief objections to religion,
if he thought much about the matter, would be found a repose on his
apprehension of it as restless and uncomfortable. But all this surely
must represent an immensity of interior mortal sin. Can a man habitually
forget God, and be in a state of habitual grace? Can he habitually
prefer purple garments and sumptuous fare to the service of his Creator,
and be free of mortal sin? Can be make up a life for himself even of
the world's sinless enjoyments, such as eating, drinking, and marrying,
and will not the mere omission of God from it be enough to constitute
him in a state of deadly sin? At that rate a moral atheist is more
acceptable to God than a poor sinner honestly but freely fighting with
some habit of vice, to which his nature and his past offenses set so
strongly, that he can hardly lift himself up. At that rate the Pharisees
in the Gospel would be the patterns for our imitation, rather than the
publicans and sinners; or at least they would be as safe. Or shall we
say that faith is enough to save us without charity? If a man only
believes rightly, let him eat and rink and be gaily clothed, and let him
care for nothing else, and at least that exclusive love of creatures,
that omission of the Creator, provided only it issues in no other
outward acts than his fine dinners and his expensive clothes, shall
never keep his soul from heaven. His purple and his sumptuous feasting
shall be his beatific vision here, and then his outward morality shall
by God's mercy hand him on to his second beatific Vision, the Vision of
the beauty of God, and the eternal ravishment of the Most Holy and
Undivided Trinity! Can this be true?
Yet on the other hand, we may not make into sins
what God had not made sins. How is this? O it is the awful world of
inward sin which is the horror of all this worldliness! It is
possession, worse far than diabolical possession, because at once more
hideous and more complete. It is the interior irreligiousness, the cold
pride, the hardened heart, the depraved sense, the real unbelief, the
more implicit hatred of God, which makes the soul of the worldly man an
actual, moral, and intellectually hell on earth, hidden by an outward
show of faultless proprieties, which only make it more revolting to the
Eye that penetrates the insulting disguise. The secret sins moreover of
the worldly are a very sea of iniquity. Their name is legion; they
cannot be counted. Almost every thought is sin, because of the
inordinate worship of self that is in it. Almost every step is sin,
because it is treading underfoot some ordinance of God. It is a life
without prayer, a life without desire of heaven, a life without fear of
hell, a life without love of God, a life without any supernatural habits
at all. Is not hell the most natural transition from such a life as
this? heaven is not a sensual paradise. God is the joy, and he beauty,
and the contentment there; all is for God, all from God, all to God, all
in God, all around God as the beautiful central fire about which His
happy creatures cluster in amazement and delight. Whereas
in worldliness God is the discomfort of the whole thing, an intrusion,
an unseasonable thought, an unharmonious presence like a disagreeable
uninvited guest, irritating and fatiguing us by the simple demand His
presence makes on sufferance and our courtesy. O surely such a man has
sin in his veins instead of blood!
Worldliness then is a life of secret sins.
It is such an irresistible tendency to sin, such a successful
encouragement of it, such a genial climate, such a collection of
favourable circumstances, such an amazing capability of sin, that it
breeds actual sins, regularly formed and with all the theological
requirements, by millions and millions. It we read what the catechism of
the Council of Trent says of sins of thought, we shall see how
marvellously prolific sins can be, and what a pre-eminently devastating
power sins of thought in particular exercise within the soul. In
numberless cases open and crying sins must come at last. Still we must
remember that on the whole there are two characteristics which always
distinguish sins of worldliness from sins of the passions, or sins of
direct diabolical temptation. The respectability which worldliness
affects leads it rather to satisfy itself in secret sins. Indeed its
worship of self, its predilection for an easy life, would hinder its
embarking in sins which take trouble, time, and forethought, or which
run risks of disagreeable consequences, and therefore would keep it
confined within a sphere of secret sins. And in the next place its love
of comfort makes it so habitually disinclined to listen to the
reproaches of conscience, or the teasing solicitations of grace, that it
passes into the state of a seared conscience, a dreaded moral sense,
with a speed which is unknown even to cruelty or sensuality. (Father Frederick Faber, The Creator and Creature, written 1856 and republished by TAN Books and Publishers, pp. 314-328.)