Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
February 15, 2010
Rebuild the Temple! The Church lies in ruins
Toronto priest says Canada's Catholic youth dying of spiritual thirst
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
SPRUCE GROVE - In the prophet Haggai's time, King Darius encouraged the people of Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple as the centre of the city, the centre of their faith.
There was a great resistance because the people procrastinated and made excuses to delay rebuilding the house of the Lord.
"What the Lord was saying was that the people were getting too comfortable. You built nice homes for yourselves and are enjoying a pretty good life and it's causing you to become lethargic in your faith. You've lost your desire to rebuild the Temple," said Father Mark Goring, from the Companions of the Cross in Toronto.
In much the same way, the Church in Canada lies in ruins, and lethargic Catholics are giving up their resolve to rebuild it, said Goring, featured speaker at the Men of Integrity conference.
The Feb. 5-6 Catholic men's conference was held at Holy Trinity Church in Spruce Grove/Stony Plain.
The Catholic Church is losing its young people. They perceive the Church as irrelevant and many of them are hostile towards Catholicism. The result, said Goring, is that fewer people attend Mass, fewer are living good Christian marriages and fewer than ever are heeding the call to the religious life as a vocation.
"Sometimes we experience the frustration of imminent failure. We put in an effort to build something and get something going, and it all falls apart and it doesn't work out for us. We come to a place of lethargy where we say maybe now is not the time to focus on rebuilding the Church in Alberta," said Goring.
God's house must be a priority in our lives, he said. The people of Jerusalem ate and drank but never had enough, and clothed themselves but no one was warm.
By neglecting the Temple, all of their endeavours in life were unfulfilling. The same situation is happening today, said Goring, when rebuilding the Church is not a priority.
For some university students, they study but still fail their tests. They pull all-nighters, but still fail to get their essays completed on time. Like the people of Jerusalem, by not first seeking the kingdom of God, their endeavours fail.
Now is the time to rebuild the Church. Part of the process includes university students evangelizing others on campus, and businessmen acknowledging that they have a responsibility in the rebuilding.
"Businessmen have their business roles, their careers, their relationships, leisure activities, sports and hobbies - and that's all great.
"But don't forget the house of the Lord. It lies in ruins. We need to rebuild it and now is the time. If you want things to work out in your life, seek first the kingdom of God," said Goring.
An event that illustrates his message was the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. When the levies broke and New Orleans was flooded, immediately the city received numerous offers of help. Wealthy states offered immediate assistance in the way of helicopters, boats, manpower, food and blankets.
However, the problem with New Orleans wasn't a question of resources, but the fact that the typical channels for reaching people were blocked. Flooded roads and railways and non-functioning ports complicated rescue efforts. Amidst a city flooded with warm brown saltwater were people trapped on the roof under a hot sun.
"Rescuers knew that every hour that went by, people were dying. Elderly people, people who were stuck, children and those who were sick faced that. There wasn't much the rescuers could do. I remember watching that on CNN and thinking that's exactly where we are in the Catholic Church today."
Even with unheard-of materialism and entertainment, Catholic young people are dying of spiritual thirst. Society is flooded by the culture of death, flooded by atheism, agnosticism and secularism.
"That's why so many kids are cutting themselves, committing suicide, feel depressed and are taking drugs and abusing themselves sexually," said Goring.
The problem with Catholics is not a question of resources. The Catholic Church is one of the world's most resource-rich institutions, blessed with property, skilled men and women, and an infrastructure that is the envy of other organizations.
"The Catholic Church feeds more people than any other group in the world. We clothe more people, we house more people. Yet here in Canada these resources aren't doing much for our young people. Why? Because the traditional channels that once worked, they ain't working anymore."
Traditionally, Catholic parents sent their children to Catholic school to attain a good Catholic education. A Catholic child sent to Mass every Sunday grew up to be a good Catholic citizen. Today, flooded by a culture that is anti-Gospel, new methods must be used to reach young people.
"Just as in New Orleans, there wasn't time to set up a committee and have a study done about the situation, and get a professional opinion and form a discussion group.
"They had to find a way to reach these people now. Every hour meant people dying. So too with ourselves, now is the time to reach out to our Catholic young people who are dying of spiritual thirst."
Letter to the Editor - 03/08/10
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