Here's my summary of Fr. Jim Kubicki's Heroic Catholicism: Can You Live the Faith Today?
Fr. Jim began by speaking about a book that was written by a psychologist in 1978. It was rejected by the publisher because it included a chapter on religion. Nobody would buy it, they thought. Finally Simon and Schuster accepted it and released it as a paperback in 1980. Upon publication this little book made publishing history and was on the New York Times bestseller list for ten years. It began with these words: "Life is difficult." Well everyone already knows that life is difficult but most people don't know how to get through this difficult life so they purchased The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck to find out how to do so. And the author offered four means of coping with a difficult life:
1. Discipline-delayed gratification
2. Love-dispel the myth of romantic love-true love begins when the feelings wear off
3. Religion-deep faith in God
4. Grace-the power outside of ourselves that can bring healing and growth
The message in this book is counter-cultural. We live in a culture that says you can have it your way, don't accept responsibility, make excuses, and everyone is doing it. Our culture equates love with sex, it's a "hook-up" culture all about me and how I feel, and religion is unscientific and untrue.
These two psychiatrists and authors have found that the secret of a good, happy, fulfilled life on a basic level has to do with spiritual values that don't revolve around the self but that goes out to others and to God. This notion is basic for supernatural happiness and heroic Catholicism. Heroic Catholicism helps us to live well here and in the hereafter.
Back in the 1960's JFK said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Now apply this saying to the Church today. Most people would turn that around and say, "What can the Church do for me?" or "I don't get anything out of going to Mass" or "The Church is all about rules and doctrines." It was Pope John Paul II who said about Christian living that, "It's a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity marked by a minimalist ethic and shallow religiosity." We can see his point when we hear people ask "How far can I go before its a sin?" and "What's the minimum requirement to be in good standing with the Church or with God?"
When it comes to love you don't ask about the minimum, you say, "What can I do to show that I love you?" When we fail to give the maximum in our faith we become not only mediocre Christians, but Christians at risk. We need to take our faith seriously. Secularism eats away at our faith. Pope Benedict XVI speaks about two kinds of atheism: The theoretical atheism where people struggle to believe in God and practical atheism in which the truths of faith aren't denied but they are detached from life. People believe in God in a superficial manner and live as though God did not exist. Practical atheism is more destructive than theoretical atheism.
|Pope Benedict XVI|
This is what makes up heroic Catholicism. It's a living relationship with the Person who transforms our life. And what does heroic Catholicism look like? To find out we look to the example of the saints such as Saint Ignatius of Loyola whose example of discernment revealed a movement of God within his heart leaving him with peace and joy instead of emptiness, and Servant of God Dorothy Day whom Cardinal O'Connor spoke about as an "idealist in a non-ideal world."
|Fr. Walter Ciszek, SJ|
|Blessed Mother Teresa|
There's an old saying, "Don't feel your way into acting. Act your way into feeling. Act and the feeling will follow." We are heroic when we don't let our feelings control what we do. Be faithful in the little things we do every day-this is heroic Catholicism. Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, "The battle between good and evil crosses every human heart." No one can escape it.
But we know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He's the truth about God and truth about how to live. Follow Him for deeper joy and peace amidst trials and struggles because life is difficult. We are fortunate to have Jesus in prayer and sacrament. Our greatest prayer is the Mass where we find Jesus in word and flesh, united to us in Holy Communion. He strengthens us to live this heroic life.
We are all called to live our faith in a world that eats away at our faith. Do you have it in you to live that faith today? You will if you have Christ in the word and Sacrament because Christ will be living in you. That will give you the courage to live Heroic Catholicism.