Tag Archives: secularism

The Call to Evangelization has been Heralded by three Popes and the Clergy. So how do we answer their Call?

Evangelism                                                      en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

The term, “New Evangelization” was introduced by Pope St. John Paul II, back in 1983. This call to evangelize has been carried forward by Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. Even today, our priests often tell us to go out and evangelize.

Evangelization by the laity makes sense. A simple way to understand the problem is to consider that only 22% of those who say they are Catholics attend Mass on Sunday. Incredibly, 70% of those that profess Catholicism do not believe in the Real Presence. Those two things, the Mass and the Real Presence, are the nucleus of our faith. How can so many be so lost yet still say they are Catholic?

We Catholics have heard much about how we must evangelize. Unfortunately, most Catholics still do not know how to do it. Most of us even avoid discussion with each other about controversial topics in the Church. Indeed, none of us are going to stand on a milk crate on a street corner, hold up a Bible, and say, “Repent, repent.” So…how should Catholics evangelize?

The first thing we must realize is that we are part of a team The name of the team is Catholic/Christian. The owner and general manager is Jesus  The next position is that of“coach.” There are different coaching levels such as cardinals and bishops. But we, the laity, have one regular weekly coach. He would be the priest saying the Sunday Mass we attend.

Standing at the ambo after reading the Gospel, he could prepare us for the week ahead. The ambo is his “bully pulpit,” meaning he can say anything he wants. The good part for him is that no one will say anything back or challenge him (at least I have never seen that happen). He would be our coach, and we parishioners, his team.

When we leave  Church, that should mean  the kickoff has been made and  it is “game on.”  We, the members of the coach’s team, will primarily and foremost behave according to the commandments. They are what we should treat as the “fundamentals.”  However, we need to know more than the fundamentals. We need “coach” to talk to us about what is going on within the church and is on everyone’s mind. We need to know how to confront the other team’s game plan. By the way, the other team members consist of all those who reject and/or have fallen away from our faith.

We cannot evangelize if we do not know what Holy Mother Church teaches about certain things that are heard about every day. We rarely hear about church teaching on euthanasia and birth-control which are not permitted by the church? How about being told that gay marriage is not allowed and that the church only approves of marriage between a man and a woman.

You can be in full communion with the church and be a homosexual. But you cannot have a sexual relationship. The sex act is for married partners, a man, and a woman, only.  I am a widower and therefore a single man. I am not allowed to have a sexual relationship unless I remarry. Priests take a vow of celibacy and do not have sex.

Here is a “newsflash: We have to eat, and sleep, and breathe, to live. We do NOT have to have sex to live. If we abstain, we will not die.  How often have our coaches talked about those things as we sit in the pews?

There is more the coaches could help us with. Our game plan needs to expand. We need to hear about how divorce and getting remarried without an annulment is against church teaching. We need to know the rules about marriage, contraception, and birth control. And we need to be ready to talk about these things and not be afraid. And the coaches have to not worry about being politically correct or socially sensitive. They are there to help save our souls, not to make us happy. That can come second.

Alone, we can always be setting Christian example by giving a smile to someone passing by, saying hello to a stranger, opening a door for someone, giving some money to a person in need, or saying grace publicly in a restaurant. Those things can be our evangelizing warm-ups.

However, we do have an evangelization technique available to most of us. It is called social media. My method of being a “lone evangelist” is via social media.  How many of you use Facebook and/or Twitter? How about Linkedin or Pinterest? Youtube? Snapchat? Google? Chrome? Tumblr? Instagram?

Go on Facebook and post, “I LOVE JESUS.” That’s it—you are spreading  the “Good News.” We all can be evangelists right from our own homes. How easy is that? Or is it? You may lose some friends. I have for sure. I have also gained some. In fact, I have been kicked off Facebook twice for posting something about Our Lady.

Facebook seems to be primarily for folks to share about themselves and what they are doing, how they are doing, and how their friends and families are. Most people will not spread the “GOOD NEWS” on Facebook. But why not? You can post a picture of a child to promote life or an image of people feeding the homeless. Those are always Christian messages. The fact of the matter is, the laity must help spread the Word. The clergy needs us…and we need their coaching prowess. We are all in it together.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

 

Loneliness in America; a growing and deadly Epidemic

Loneliness                                        stockvault.net

By Larry Peterson

My wife passed on almost two years ago and when you become “widowed” there is an inescapable loneliness factor that enters your life. But I have learned that loneliness has no boundaries. It reaches out for everyone and captures many of the unsuspecting, including the seemingly happy and contented and successful, dragging them into a world of hidden misery and often depression.

Even though loneliness does occupy a unique place in the widowed equation, as it does for those who may have lost a child, a parent, or even a dear friend,  loneliness reaches out and grabs many unsuspecting folks who, on the surface, have happy and contented lives going on. It has become a social condition of almost epidemic proportions that has swept across America and is affecting millions of our neighbors.

When a man and a woman have been together for a long time, and one of them dies, the one left living is deeply wounded. But as painful as that may be, it makes sense; part of who they were is now missing and they cannot get that part back. Over time the wound will scar over and the intensity of the pain will diminish yet never leave. But what about the others?

Cigna referenced a “Loneliness Index,” and it shows that loneliness is an actual epidemic in the United States. This worldwide health service company used the UCLA Loneliness Scale  (yes, they have a loneliness scale) which is a 20 item questionnaire that was designed to determine a person’s social isolation and their subjective feelings. This evaluator is used frequently to track and measure loneliness. Some of the results were astonishing. This is from their report of May 1, 2018:

  • 47 percent of Americans sometimes or always feel alone
  • 27 percent of Americans feel no one understands them
  • 40 percent feel that their relationships have no meaning and feel isolated
  • 20 percent feel they feel close to no one and have no one to talk to
  • AMAZINGLY—the Generation Z people (18 to 22) are the loneliest generation. How scary is that?
  • Social Media users have a 43.5 percent loneliness factor which was comparable to the 41.7 percent for those who do not use social media.

If we think about the actual numbers these percentages refer to it is mind-boggling. In s nation of 330,000,000 people, 20 percent is 66.000,000 of us. When we say 47 percent, we are almost at 150,000,000 people. How can almost half the population of the United States of America, feel alone? How can 66,000,000 people feel close to no one or have no one to talk to?

The answer may be right in our face, but the secular world will never factor it in. You see, nowhere is the name of God mentioned in these findings. And nowhere is the importance of the traditional family considered.

Over the past 25 years, there is a 58 percent drop in attending club meetings, a 43 percent drop in family dinners, and a 35% drop in having friends over. Children have regulated play time, and they are deprived of social development. We reach in our pockets and pull out electronic devices that allow us to instantly reach each other day or night anywhere in the world, but how many of us are talking to each other.

Is our main mode of communication now email? How many young people can even write a letter or address an envelope? Job applicants interview over the phone or skype, couples break up via text message.

Loneliness is brought upon us by things we have no control over such as death, injury, accidents, and natural disasters. This we understand, this makes sense. But for so many, especially the young, to feel so alone with no one to turn to, is one of the saddest commentaries of our era. This does NOT make sense.

Getting back to God and family would be akin to putting the lynchpin back into the hub of life. Then, people, kids included, might be taught that they can turn to Jesus and think of His words from Matthew 28:20   And behold, I am with you always, until the end of this age.

Interestingly, the first three words of the Bible are; “In the beginning—”  Could the Bible or an app for the Bible be the beginning for someone to believe that they are NEVER alone?

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted
is the most terrible poverty.”
St. Teresa of Calcutta

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019