If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

By Degrees

But you, beloved, build yourselves up in you most holy faith . . . (Jude 20).

Some time ago, close friends gave me a Day by Day Bible desk calendar for Christmas – the kind with tear-off sheets for each day of the year.  Each sheet had a Bible verse and an encouaging quote from a Saint or other notable Christian. I referred to the pages nearly every day I was in my office.

The gift didn't surprise me. From all external signs, she and her husband of fifteen years seemed a model Christian couple. They attended Mass each Sunday and sent their two children to Catholic school. But a few months after they gave me the gift, her husband discovered she’d been routinely unfaithful to him for more than two years.

I know it happens all the time – people attend Mass, say the prayers, hear the homily, sing in the choir, receive the Eucharist. But beneath the religious activity can lurk a Judas.

In the decades I’ve walked with Christ, I’ve observed that no one walked away from Him overnight. It's always been a slow process. A compromise here. An excuse there. Another rationalization. And the heart hardens by degrees.

That's one reason I bring myself to God every morning and evening in prayer, study of His word, and worship. I do it because, although I love Him with a deepening love, I fear that, given the right circumstances, I could deny Him three times. I could succumb to Satan's insidious deceptions and grow, by degrees, unfaithful to my Divine Bridegroom.

So I take the time and I make the effort to strengthen myself in my faith and in my faithfulness to Him. And I routinely ask, Lord, help me labor to remain honest and pure. And holy.


Gary Presley said...

"Unfaithfulness" ... "Judas" ... a nice parallel. I often think about the figure/concept of Judas contrasted against the redemption offered by faith. Judas is a metaphor for those of us who turn away from the promise of love, I know, but Judas, according to Scripture, was left without hope of redemption. Did he know? I suppose your friend understood her betrayal. I hope she understands there is redemption.

Maybe some time you'll write more about Judas. Perhaps it is my sentimental nature that wants to believe God sent him to purgatory to meditate on his sin.

Richard Maffeo said...

Thanks, Gary. Yes, I believe Judas was without redemptive hope . . . but who knows his last thoughts? I'm tired of judging what God does, did, or should do. I'm often wrong.

Kari V. said...

So Very True! I feel the same way you do. I feel I need constant nourishment on a daily basis to help me live the right way.

I am not sure about the Judas thing to because God is the only one that can determine that.

ANyways great post. Just reading through some of your post.